Saturday May 25, 2019
Good Morning from Yokohama,
It is currently 9pm in Calgary Friday, May 24 for most readers and noon Saturday May 25 for me! Yes that silver time machine (aircraft) that lands us in different parts of the globe has deposited me in Japan. I have never got over the magic of flying. It is simply amazing.
Yesterday I took the direct flight from Calgary to Tokyo in under ten hours, crossed the date line, arriving at 2:30 pm. A quick bag collection followed by the direct 90 minute bus trip south east of Tokyo to Yokohama, home for the next two weeks. It is a small city in Japan relatively... 3.5 million residents! We begin our studies on Monday and I came early to ensure my day and nights are reversed. Falling asleep in class in not an option I relish.
My first impression on the bus ride was amazement. This could be Vancouver! The west coast but for rice fields not veggie fields. Yokohama is a port city, an early harbour Mecca for travellers centuries ago. I expected it to be dreary with that old port feel. Instead it is a sea of sky high cranes, high rise buildings and spectacular architecture. I had this feeling in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with it’s stunning architecture and large open freeways.
The first two university modules, my classmates and I were housed on or near campus in Lancaster England and Sherbrooke Street Montreal. This time the Japanese organizers will pick us up by bus in the am and pm’s. We are at a lovely hotel on the harbour with an almost Expo 67 feel! My room faces an enormous Ferris wheel like the one in London pictures! (I’ll post pictures later of the Ferris wheel and convention centre close by. )
The first week of studies we will be on campus at the Yokohama National University at their Business school. The last week we will use Fujitsu’s corporate classroom near by. The program had a module in China the last few years and switched back to Japan. I believe we are the first cohort here in several years. Perhaps the reason for us to be in a hotel not on campus. Given Japanese bath tub and wash rooms I am happy with the American style facilities...no knee makes options challenging with historical Japanese facilities . I noticed at breakfast this morning my knees did not fit under the table? All short version of a table! The hostess giggled as I shot my leg off to the side.
I must express my bias for politeness and order! Like visiting Germany, the Japanese are amazing at welcoming and moving people through processes! Their degree of respect towards visitors is lovely. The entire passport entry process at the airport took as long as I could walk through line ups. No waits with I imagine over a thousand visitors/citizens being processed. Wow. I’ve stood longer in Edmonton returning from the Maritimes for luggage and security clearance?! Quiet lineups with umpteen people guiding the process every step of the way. There had to be six lines with four individuals in stations taking or passport and finger print info. It flew.
After collecting my bag, the bus purchase booth was logically placed by the exit. I bought a ticket and went to door 12 where a bus was departing. I was advised my 3:15 pm bus would momentarily there which it was. Ninety minutes later I was dropped off and ushered into the hotel by several hotel staff. One is quietly guided to the front desk, to be checked in. Yes a desk with about six stations each with a helper. After another quick process I was individually walked to my room!! The young woman from Hungry finished her degree in languages and spoke English to me and Japanese to her colleagues. These young people! Staff was everywhere, quiet, bowing gently. Without a raised voice in the place. Add no tipping in Japan... it is considered part of their job.
By 5pm I was registered and had run into into one professor and one colleague. Smooth sailing day one. Night one. I unpacked, then went for a light snack and little walk about.
Decades ago brother in law Adam put me onto Melatonin when his work took him to Japan and South America (steel). German friends advise if one mentally clocks onto the destination time zone ASAP the jet lag is minimized. I took the advise with the 15 hour time zone/date line crossing to Japan. Sleeping on the flight made getting to bed around 10:30 pm last night work. Today it’s noon and I feel a1. Yes I did wake a few hours early this am but read and retuned to sleep. Waking a second time at 8:30 am I had breakfast (yes Carolyn yogurt and grains!).
I’m unpacked and ready to go! Today I’ll read a few papers then have dinner with team Canada. My only Canadian classmate is a woman from Toronto, Bishop Riscylla Shaw of the Anglican Church so along with out Tutor Alan from north of Toronto we are three. We arranged to have dinner because once the program gets going chances are good we may not find a block of time again. The days and nights are chalk full!
Thanks to my cheer leaders, family, friends for getting me off! If 80 is the new 60 then my sixties must be the new forty? An ideal time to go to back to school! With time to enjoy studying with exceptional men, woman and classmates. I’m thrilled to be in this program. If you have questions I’m glad to try answering them. All the best. Hugs. Sheilagh
Japan, May 25, 2019
Please excuse edits and typo’s.