Ceremonies and Tea Tastings and Fuchu, OH MY!

Hello again!

Yesterday was a whirlwind kind of day. It began much earlier than we would have liked because our sleep schedules are, in a word, WHACK. Urban Dictionary defines whack as “appalling in nature” – and I can vouch for the fact that our snooze schedules are indeed appalling. So we all woke up before 6 AM here in Tokyo, famished and jet lagged. Thankfully, though, we had an incredibly busy and fantastic day. We woke up quickly!

Breakfast included serious chopstick struggles (me) and lots of miso soup (Olivia). After breakfast Olivia and I took a much-needed nap before the day’s festivities began. We traveled to Technos College by bus for the welcome ceremony and party. There is absolutely no way for me to accurately write about the pure energy and insanity that is the Technos International Week welcome ceremony. I’ll include pictures, but it’s one of those life experiences that defies description. As hundreds of our new friends cheered, the international students and faculty members were introduced by school. When McKendree was announced, Alan, Olivia, and I ran through a line of screaming students eager to high-five us as we made our way down the red carpet. We were briefly interviewed and then climbed the stairs (without tripping!) to meet the family that allows Technos to happen each year. We all felt like celebrities because many of the Japanese students approached the international students asking to take selfies! It was a beautiful expression of their love and all of the work they have put into preparation for TIW.

TIW Welcome Ceremony
TIW Welcome Ceremony
They made us feel like celebrities!
They made us feel like celebrities!

The Technos students threw a welcome party/reception for the students where we participated in a tea ceremony, ate green tea Kit Kats, and mingled with all of the international students. Here are some pictures:

Celebrating the commencement of TIW
Celebrating the commencement of TIW
Welcome ice cream cake
Welcome ice cream cake
Tea ceremony
Tea ceremony

In the afternoon, the students traveled to Okunitama shrine in Fuchu, just a short train ride away from our inn. I’ve included some pictures . . . it was remarkable to witness the purity and ancient traditions of the Shinto religion.

Shrine in Fuchu
Shrine in Fuchu
Purifying ritual
Purifying ritual
Me in front of the wishing/prayer wall
Me in front of the wishing/prayer wall

I wish you all could have been there, but this blog post will have to do. We are having a wonderful time, and we are so grateful for the opportunity to meet so many people and experience so much of the incredible Japanese culture.

Until next time,

Hannah

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