Stories From The Road

Technos International Week – Day 12

Thursday June 17, 2010

TECHNOS COLLEGE, Japan – Today was another day of on campus programs at Technos College. We awoke early and decided to walk again. This time we made it on time and avoided getting lost.

Top three bartenders

Umi

When we arrived at the college we were brought up to the skill up room where we were split up into our groups for the day. My group was brought to the hotel department. In this department the students train to be bartenders, waiters and waitresses and learn about the management of running a hotel. We entered the room, which was set up with two tables decorated with table cloths covered with many different size origami cranes. Everyone was seated at one of the two tables and then the students proceeded to serve us. First the students in the wait-staff program brought out green tea followed by ice cream topped with fruits. The service was excellent and extremely professional. After our meal the top three-bartending students came out and did a demonstration of their own uniquely creative drinks.  They then taught us how to make these drinks. The drink that I made was called Umi and is made with Blue Curacao, orange juice and grapefruit juice. These drinks were non-alcoholic but still very good. It was recommended that either vodka or gin be added for a cocktail party.

After the demonstration of the hotel department it was time for lunch in the cafeteria again. It was another great meal. I had rice and curry with miso soup.

Temple in Asakusa

Our afternoon activity today was with the concert department. We met the concert department students in the tea salon where they had set up a big screen to play Wii. They also had costumes to dress up in, as well as picture frame decorating. After taking part in all of these activities, some more of the students ran into the room and led us in large group dance, which was extremely fun.

Pagoda in Askausa

With the end of the group dance we were free to leave. Today we would have a lot of time to go out into the city and explore. I decided to travel out to Asakusa.  Asakusa is a city that is out near Akihabara. My reason for traveling here was to buy something samurai related. The trip took about an hour. We exited the subway and walked toward the temple, which was where the shopping area was. There were vendors that lined the pathway to the temple. We walked all the way to the temple but it was closed and under construction. We walked back exploring the shops. Within a few minutes I found the store I was looking for. This store sold samurai swords and sword guards. I was going to buy a sword but then decided not too considering that I would probably have a hard time getting it through customs. Instead I purchased the sword guard which are collectibles and highly ornate. The one I bought shows two cranes fighting.

Shrine in Asakusa

We walked around this area some more and eventually found a sushi go round. Emily and I had been a looking for a sushi go round a couple days earlier but were unable to find one. We decided to try it out. There are sushi go-rounds in the US, but I had never eaten at one. We walked in to the small restaurant, in the center there was a man standing surrounded by a conveyor belt that traveled in a circle transporting the sushi. We each sampled several delicious plates before heading back to the train station. We had earlier made a plan to meet everyone in Shinjuku for our last night in the city. We got on the train and made our way an hour back toward Shinjuku.

Sushi-go-round

When we arrived in Shinjuku we about an hour and half early and decided to get some dinner. I had mentioned trying okonomiyaki and both Annie and Emily wanted to try it. We found a small restaurant and made some okonomiyaki, which was still just as good as the first place that I had eaten it with my host family.

When dinner was over we walked down through Shinjuku taking in the city’s nightlife. We stopped at an arcade to take pictures at a photo booth. These photo booths are nothing like the ones in the US. They are much more advanced and over the top. The booth has different lighting and once the pictures are developed you can add borders, writing and other decorations before they are published. After our pictures were done we went back to the trains station to meet up with Phil and Vienna.

After about a half  an hour wait, Phil and Vienna had arrived. Phil wanted to get dinner so I went with him. Vienna had met up with her cousin who was working in Tokyo.  Annie and Emily decided to wander around the city some more. Vienna, Phil, and Vienna’s cousin and myself went to a 270-yen restaurant. Everything in this restaurant costs only 270 yen. As with all other restaurants we were required to take our shoes off before being seated. Every table was in its own private room. We were led to ours and we sat down. There was little computer at one end of the room, which was where we ordered our food. Everything on the menu was in Japanese so we just pushed random buttons and hoped for the best. We all got a round of drinks and Phil got a meal. After eating Phil wanted to try another beer, however, instead of ordering beer we accidently ordered Shochu. Shochu is an alcoholic beverage that has no real flavor but is very potent. Because it has no real flavor you do not realize that it is starting to affect you. We all tried it, and enjoyed it. When we finished the Shochu, we pushed the button for the waiter. When the waiter arrived I placed my two index fingers in an “x,” which is the international sign for check. We paid our check and then left. We walked around the city and then headed back to the hotel. We took our time getting back as we wanted to be sure that our senses drank in all the sights and sounds of this wonderful place as our time in Tokyo is coming to an end.

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