LSIP Day 1: Sightseeing

Thirty-eight educators arrived in Tokyo, Japan yesterday afternoon from all over the U.S. and Canada. The flight was long (about 13 hours), but we were all ready to begin the Lesson Study Immersion Trip to Japan 2007, in spite of severe jet lag! We are staying at the very comfortable Keio Plaza Hotel in the busy and interesting Shinjuku section of Tokyo.

Today was our first full day in Japan and to take advantage of the effects of the jet lag (almost everyone was wide awake at around 2:00 or 3:00 AM), we went to the Tsukiji fish market at 5:00 AM on a chartered bus. Our very helpful (and funny) guide, Yoko-san, told us that this is the largest fish market in the world. Fortunately, we got there in time to see the tuna auction where buyers bid on huge blue fin tuna that fetch up to $20,000.00 a piece. We also saw so many different kinds of fish and sea creatures. We were all so impressed by how clean the fish market was, not a single fly!
Seeing so much fish made us all very hungry so afterwards, we went back to the hotel for breakfast where we could choose from a typical Japanese breakfast or an American breakfast. Many of us chose the Japanese breakfast, which consists of miso soup, rice, grilled fish, pickled vegetables, fresh fruit and other delicacies. I heard that the American-style breakfast was also very good.

At 9:00 AM, we all went on a sightseeing tour of Tokyo, beginning with the beautiful Asakusa Kannon Temple where we saw and learned about Japanese religious customs, and even witnessed a bride and groom coming to the shrine for a traditional Japanese-style wedding. Afterwards, we went to the Imperial Palace, which is where the Emperor of Japan, Akihito, and his wife live with 1000 servants. We were only allowed to view the impressive 280-acre compound from the outside (visitors are only allowed inside twice a year on special holidays), but we learned many interesting facts about the history and culture of the Japan.

After the sightseeing tour, we had lunch at a Kusheage restaurant where we ate skewers of battered, deep-fried fish, meat and vegetables. It was absolutely delicious! After lunch, we all had the afternoon and evening free. Many people went to museums, parks, shopping, or just walked around to take in the multitude of sights and sounds of Tokyo. All in all, it was a wonderful beginning to our trip! Now, we are really looking forward to our school visits where we will be observing classes, eating lunch with students, and observing and discussing research lessons.

Sayonara from Japan,
Bill Jackson

Tokyo, June 23, 2007

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