Friday, May 3, 2013

Sayonara, Bradenton. Konitchiwa, Tokyo! This education reporter is heading to Japan!

The Bradenton Herald is going international, as I am on my odyssey in Asia.

From May 7 through May 22, I will be volunteering in schools in Tokyo as a teaching assistant and writing a special series about all things education in Japan --  from extracurricular activities and school lunches to the emotional challenges that students face as they try to succeed in a school system with seemingly high expectations.

Here's a link to my thoughts, published in the Bradenton Herald, anticipating stories, blog posts and more.

I am anxious to explore the culture of Japanese schools from all of these angles.
Things I hope to being back with me from Japan:
1. Everlasting friendships with the students

2. More adventurous taste buds (PS- I'm vegetarian, so I'm hoping there will be plenty of options for me)

3. Chopsticks, so I can bring the experience of a cultural meal home with me

4. Tea cups and tea. I am an avid tea drinker and collector of teacups, and Japan is supposed to be home to some of the finest.

5. Pocky. These long, skinny biscuit like treats are the best. Some stores in the United States sell Pocky, so if you ever happen to come across it, try it! You won't regret it!

6. Outfits. Particularly a traditional kimono and something from the Harajuku fashion district of Tokyo.

7. Manga. As a comic nerd, I am totally planning on geeking out and getting  authentic anime to bring home, read right to left.

8. Shinso. I will only be bringing home this top-of-the-line skincare, but only if I can get it cheap. While Japan is rumored to be very expensive, I have heard from people that have been there that you can get some steals on native products. Let's hope they're right!

9. Umbrella. The Japanese have ingeniously designed umbrellas that come around the body like a bubble rather than spreading out, which is perfect for navigating crowded streets.

10. Hello Kitty merchandise. Obviously.

11. A new appreciation for the Japanese culture and knowledge that extends beyond stereotypes.

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