Monday, February 18, 2008

Japan will be my classroom

I mentioned in my last post that I've never intensely studied the culture of Japan.

However, during the last 16 years of life that I've spent in school, there have of course been times when I've learned a little bit about the country and its culture. My first memory of hearing about Japan is from a convocation I went to in kindergarten, where some Japanese people taught us how to count to ten in Japanese. It's just too bad I don't remember what I learned!

And I also remember learning about some of the history of Asia--including Japan--in my seventh grade social studies class. But again, I don't remember much of what my teacher said about Japan. After all, that was a long time ago, too!

Just last year, I took a class called Living Religions West, where I studied Buddhism and Shinto, the two primary religions of Japan. (I do remember most of what I learned; Professor Howald should be proud!) In fact, I wrote a 10-page paper about ikebana, the Japanese art of arranging flowers. Little did I know that less than a year from writing that paper I'd be accepting a teaching position in Japan!

So the point of this story is that I really don't know a whole lot about Japan besides its religion and its flowers! But I don't think this is a bad thing because I'll be able to learn a lot while I explore the country. I've heard it said that the "world is my classroom," and in this case, Japan will be my classroom. I am going to do some research about my near-future home before I leave though.

I've actually already begun my research. Professor Pilon gave me a box that contains information about Japan and Kuji, specifically. I've also learned some interesting information from books and Web sites about Japan. I'll share more regarding what I've discovered about the city of Kuji in my next post. But for now, I'll write a little bit about what I know about the country in general.

I know that Japan is slightly smaller that the state of California and is made up of more than 4,000 islands! There are four major islands, and I'll be living on Honshu, the main island. Like the United States, the climate in the southern part of Japan is much warmer than the northern part. T he weather in Kuji will be similar to what I'm used to in Indiana, with four distinct seasons that occur the same time as Indiana's. Japan has the ninth-largest population in the world, and Tokyo is the most populated city in the world. The government is a constitutional monarchy, but the royal family holds no executive power, and Japan has a parliamentary democratic system of government.

One of my favorite things to do is learn. So I’m excited about learning more, especially the first-hand learning I’ll soon be doing in Japan.

Sayonara for now.


Ashley said...

It is nice to learn more about places before you visit. My family and I always read books about the places before we visit so we can see other people's opinions. I can't wait to learn more about what you are learning through your blog.

Amanda said...

Hey Dana!

Sounds like you are on the right track with studying up about Japan. Good for you. I learned some new things just by reading your post, which is EXCITING! I agree with Ashley--I can't wait to learn more about what you are learning through your blog. :-)