Friday, June 5, 2009

Saturday May 23, 2009

Hikone Castle was the

last cultural visit done in Japan. This castle is the most famous historical site in Hikone, Shiga prefecture and one of the oldest in Japan. The castle tour was very nice and interesting; it is surrounded by a magnificent nature and the castle is build on the top of the hill where you can see Hikone city from above. After the Castle tour, we had farewell dinner with two JCMU representatives where they gave each one of us a certificate from JCMU. After that, our group took the train to Osaka where we spend one night at a hotel close to the airport. Oh my god, this hotel has the smallest room I've ever seen but also has everything what a room need, it was really amazing. At night we walked around Osaka city and had our last dinner in Japan, it was kind of sad because we were recalling everything we did in this trip.

Friday May 22, 2009

Today we did a tour of TOYOTA plant in Nagoya. Toyota has several plants in Japan; the one we visited called Motomachi where they produce three main models: Crown, Mark X and Estima. The plant tour was exciting; we were able to see the welding and assembly process of the cars. The welding process is made by robots that weld about 400 body parts to form a car. The latest welding line can handle multiple models on a single line and produce precisely finished car bodies. As for the assembly process, engines, wheels and other body parts are installed. After being fully assembled, vehicles are tested and verified in the final inspection before being shipped. After the plant visit, we visited the Toyota showroom where we saw the latest car models (Crown, Toyota, Lexus…) and innovations (robots) of Toyota.

Thursday May 21, 2009

Today, we were planning to do a field trip to Osaka and to visit the American Chamber of Commerce and attend a lecture about the Japanese style management. But unfortunately the swine flu in Osaka was spreading by a fast rate in the area and all schools and universities in that region closed what caused the cancellation of our program for today. As a backup plan, we visited the Hikone Chamber of Commerce and Industries (HCCI) where we had a meeting with the Associate Deputy Director of international affairs of Shiga Prefecture and with the Managing Director and Secretary General of Hikone Chamber. In the meeting we learned about Hikone's history and its major industries. After the lecture, our group visited the Hikone old shopping area which has a revitalized down town. There you can find all sort of small shops and restaurants which are really nice, it gives you the feeling of a new old town especially when you walk on the street which is very narrow and the buildings and shops are very close to each others. We visited a shop that sells samurai costumes; it was really fun we started trying those costumes on and took tons of pictures. Also, we visited Mr.Odagaki’s art studio which is located in his nice Japanese house. The Japanese Hospitality is more than great!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Tuesday May 19, 2009

The Kyoto field trip was amazing because we were able to learn more about the Japanese culture by visiting the Nijo Castle and the Golden Kinkaguji Temple. We were able to make a tour inside the Nijo castle, what I liked about this castle is that noises come out when you walk on the floor; this is made to know if unsuspected enemies come to the castle. As for the Golden temple, we were not able to go inside the temple but we did the tour of the amazing garden that surround the temple. These two monuments are very famous in Kyoto and important in Japan's history. After that, we watched a traditional Geisha show which includes the performance of various Japanese arts such as classical music and dance. The show includes Koto musicians (traditional Japanese musical instrument), Gagaku performer (Japanese classical music), Kyogen performers (Traditional Japanese comedy) and the Bunraku performance (Traditional Japanese puppet drama).

Wednesday May 20, 2009

In Japan we stayed at JCMU's (Japan Center for Michigan Universities) dormitory, where we met Japanese and American students. In addition , we participated in the 20th JCMU's anniversary where we met guests representing every public university in Michigan.
The Japanese language class was very interesting because we were able to learn how to communicate in Japanese in everyday life; it was difficult but at least we learned some basic Japanese words! Also, the Japanese culture class was very important because we got introduced to several Japanese practices; the flower arrangement ''Ikebona'', the calligraphy ''Shodo'', the tee ceremony ''Chado'' and the music ''Koto''. Each one of these practices is unique and very important for the Japanese people.

Tamkang University Visit

The visit to Tamkang University was very interesting where we had a conference and discussion with the Director of the international education and several other professors from Tamkang University concerning the importance of international education and also they informed us about TKU's history. After the conference we participated in a management science class with local students where we had a group work and a presentation together.The class environment was great and all the student interacted with us very nicely. After the class, we had a campus tour led by Tamkang's students which was amazing; after the tour, TKU students took us to the Tamsui River Area where we visited the night market and had the traditional food of Tamsui.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Eastern Taiwan Excursion

The trip to Eastern Taiwan was for three days where we visited some local tribes and got introduced to their culture. Also we did some group activities where the usage of physical and mental abilities were important. In addition, we visited the ''Toroko National Park'' and the ''Seven Star Lake'' which have breath taking sights. Eastern Taiwan's trip was very interesting because we where able to see both sides of Taiwan; the Eastern side which is less developed and more nature preserved; and the economical, high tech and developed capital Taipei.