We arrived in the capital city of Fukushima and visited the art museum. I can barely describe the setting--the museum is at the foot of the mountains. The picture doesn't even come close to how beautiful and peaceful it was. There was a exhibition of kimonos and silk screen prints by two Japanese artists who at 84 years of age are still very active in the art world.
My hotel room in Fukushima is small but comfortable. I also ate at my first ever conveyor belt sushi restaurant. It took me awhile to figure out what exactly to do. There was a water spigot sticking out of the bar and I didn't know what is was until I saw a couple make their tea with the hot water!! The sushi was delicious but I'm having to get used to it being at room temperature. That's how it's served here.
Monday we visited Fukushima University and saw how they train their first year teacher candidates and met with some of the faculty. Then we rode a bus to Minamisoma. The town has about 71, 000 people. That's a lot less than Tokyo's 12 million!
After lunch we visited city hall and met with the mayor of Minamisoma and the superintendent of the schools. I gave a speech to the mayor thanking him for the opportunity to visit his city. My interpreter said that it was a nice speech and it was well received. There were reporters there snapping pictures and taking names but so far we haven't made the paper yet! (Update: We made both the local papers!!)
We took a walking tour of the city before dinner. Then six of us ate at a place where your feet drop down. You pushed an egg shaped button that set off chimes to call your server to your table. It was more difficult getting in and out of than I thought it would be but I did it!! I thought I was ordering chicken but I really think it was calamari because it was chewy! It was good whatever it was!
Tuesday we visited the junior high school. The students were a lot more boisterous than I thought they would be but they seemed to be on task and they never showed any kind of disrespect to their teacher. We were introduced to them in an assembly in the gym and they all stood in rows by their classes and didn't make a sound. The students eat lunch in their rooms and they put on aprons and hats to serve one another and then they clean up afterwards. There was also a ten minute period in the afternoon where everyone --from the principal to the smallest 7th grader-- cleaned the building. I even saw two boys on their hands and knees wiping the floor. It was an amazing sight.
We went to an English classroom and the teacher was using a game to help with vocabulary. I felt bad because I misspelled autumn and cost my team points and ultimately 1st place but they were pretty good sports about it!
Tonight we used the laundromat. Several of us tried the pizza place with the funny name and it turned out to be a very good pizza!