Friday, September 14, 2007

48 Hours in Chicagoland

Last Friday night we headed up to Chicago for a quick weekend away. After a delayed flight on Friday night, we enjoyed some Chinese food with my parents and relaxed at their house. On Saturday we enjoyed the beautiful weather and did some shopping in the afternoon before heading out for the big event of the weekend, Tiesto at the Congress Theatre. We met up with my friend Jason, who I hadn't seen in eight years, and had an amazing dinner at the Chicago Diner. Yum! The show was awesome as well, and we danced the night away :)

On Sunday we went to the Frank Lloyd Wright home and studio in Oak Park.

Walking around the neighborhood.

After a quick and delicious dinner at Penny's noodle shop, we enjoyed some of the most amazing hot fudge sundaes ever at Peterson's before heading back to the airport and back home.

Kyoto day five and six

On Saturday morning we elected a new group of people to plan the 60th JASC, which will take place in the US next summer. That afternoon we headed to Shuchiin University to meet with students there. We enjoyed a musical presentation by Buddhist monks, and were able to practice calligraphy and the copying of Buddhist sutras.

We also participated in a sake taste testing!

The walk back to the train was through rice fields, and we were able to enjoy a beautiful sunset.

After some shopping, we had a dinner of Korean food in downtown Kyoto, including kimchi, mmmm....

and a Korean-style omlet.

That night we walked to Ninnaji Temple for an overnight stay. We took the opportunity to finish the leftover sake from our earlier tasting.

The funny exit sign.

Leaving the temple in the morning.

A group of us started our last day in Japan at Kenninji Temple, the first Japanese Zen Temple, dating from 1202, where we participated in morning meditation.

The famous Wind and Thunder God painting by Sotatsu from the 17th c. housed at the temple.

In the afternoon I was able to meet up with my friend Hillary from back home, and tour the temple where her boyfriend lives. They have a bell that was from the time of Portugese contact, which she rang for me.

The garden at the temple.

Hillary and Taka.

They took me to lunch at a local restaurant that was filled with kitch and memorabilia, even the bathroom!

Saying goodbye outside the temple gate. I did some final souvenir shopping in the late afternoon, and spent the evening at the JASC farewell party and packing up my things for the trip home. It was an amazing month, I made many friends that I won't soon forget, saw many amazing things, and enjoyed some wonderful conversations and lectures.

JASC 59 Pop Art

Our final forum presentation

Kyoto day three and four

Day three was spent with our roundtable groups finishing presentations for our final forum. Above is the beloved Toppo, a favorite snack of our group.

That evening was the Daimonji-yaki Okuribi, the bonfires that represent the return of the ancestors to the spirit world after they visit during the Obon festival. We were able to view the fire near Ritsumeikan.

Friday, August 17 was our final forum at the Kyoto International Foundation. We had keynote speeches by people working in international education and academia, and enjoyed a performance by the Kyoto Intercollegate Dance Team. JASC delegates presented on each site that we visited, and each roundtable gave a final presentation of what they had discussed throughout the conference. Our group created a video to present, which is now posted on YouTube, and this blog.

After the presentation, PopArt with Toppo!

After a dinner reception, a few of us headed to karaoke for a short while before heading home.

Kyoto day one and two

On Tuesday August, 14, our first full day in Kyoto, we started the day by touring the Kyoto Ecology Center and learning about environmental issues like global warming. The afternoon was spent near Ritsumeikan University, where we were staying. The photo above is from the neighborhood around the university. In the afternoon I did a little shopping and found a fantastic sweet shop, seen below.

That evening I participated in a special topics dinner on Religion and the State in Japan and the US over a dinner of Mos Burger, a Japanese fast food restaurant.

On Wednesday we had roundtable discussions in the morning, and an afternoon of sightseeing. My group started at the Kyoto Textile Center, where we first watched a kimono fashion show.

We next had a lesson in weaving, and made small textiles that we took home. This was my first try at it!

The loom.

The finished product!

Our next stop was Ginkakuji, built in the late 1400s by the Ashikaga shogunate. The following photos show the different views of the building from the landscape that surrounds it, as well as the bamboo forest and rock garden.