Monday, 28 September 2009
Day 1|Musashino art university
Oh my god! I have just spent 13 hours on my feet with the Japanese professors, students and a Tokyo working day. It all began at 6.30am when the alarm rang, and i had only got to sleep three hours since (not due to partying but being awake). Breakfast on the 20th floor with stunning views of Tokyo's fake 'empire state building' and the sprawl of never ending buildings.
Travel there was relatively smooth and i meet Prof Yoshoiro outside Kokobunji station where we then boarded a packed bus to ride for 20 mins to the University.
Those in education may not want to read this next part. Teachers here have assistants. They make coffee for you in the morning, set up IT, prepare info and at times fend of students! What a different world. Perhaps that is were the differences end. Japanese students are like any others in the UK. They fall asleep during a talk! Yes i spotted two nodding off , at times look disinterested and others a little lazy. But then we also share the great parts when students, get excited about what they are doing, discuss their ideas openly, produce some surprising things.
It was an odd day really as i had an interpreter follow me until 2pm, almost like an echo but a different sounding echo. It is really odd as you have to stop for them to repeat what you have said, then you loose your rhythm and thoughts. Not an easy thing. But when she left things got difficult. A good days work from the students by the end of the day. I wonder if they will all turn up tomorrow? Yoshiro said over the years he has noticed a change in attitudes, commitment etc.
There are 'big ben' chimes that announce the start of sessions 9am and end of the day 4.10pm. It felt slightly like communism was somewhere. After the students left with homework tasks. We headed on a tour of the University. I met many other people, exchanged business cards and met a product designer from St. Martins on a weeks exchange.
My welcome meal was in Kokbunji apartment store at a typical Japanese restaurant with four men! A lovely meal of plenty and no surprises this time just sashimi. They laughed about the 'farewell meal'...