Strange, but in the Best Possible Way

I’m starting out week #3 in Japan and I am finally feeling settled into life here. After a long flight over from the UK, the next few days were spent unpacking, meeting people, and sorting out administrative things. Not to mention some rest to get over the inevitable jet-lag. Navigating the grocery store was an adventure of its own. I mistook body wash for shampoo (realizing a few days later) and cannot count the number of times that I have been surprised by beans, which I have found in about half the sweets I have attempted. Hint: if its sweet and filled with anything, it will probably be beans, no matter how much you wanted raspberry filled doughnuts.

Arriving at KIX

Arriving at KIX

The dorms at ALPHA where we will live for the next few months

The dorms at ALPHA where we will live for the next few months

One of the most notable things from the week was the driving lesson. It was arguably harder to pass than my actual driving test in the US.

The driving school. Not sure why bugs bunny is featured

The driving school. Not sure why bugs bunny is featured

Tim learning the road rules from our patient instructor

Tim learning the road rules from our patient instructor

The driving school was its own course, so while real vehicles weren't an issue, they could design it to be as difficult as possible

The driving school was its own course, so while real vehicles weren’t an issue, they could design it to be quite difficult!

IMG_3600

The following week, we did a placement at a bonsai nursery. This was a fantastic learning experience that deserves its own post, which we will be sure to write about soon. Following that, we accompanied a professor from ALPHA, the landscape school where we live, on an ecology trip to study rare marine species. This was in Chiba, which is an area of Japan east of Tokyo. We were able to see and hold (regardless of their slimy textures) lots of alien-like creatures, stay at a traditional Japanese Inn, and enjoy the coastline of Japan.

Dinner with the group

Dinner with the group

Part of our dinner we cooked in a real shell at the table

Part of our dinner we cooked in a real shell at the table

The coast where we did the field study. The veiwing platform in the distance goes to the ocean floor to view fish in deeper water

The coast where we did the field study. The veiwing platform in the distance goes to the ocean floor to view fish in deeper water

Octopus!

Octopus!

Small starfish

Small starfish

Sea cucumber which molded to your hand when you held it...

Sea cucumber which molded to your hand when you held it…

Under the sea

Under the sea

The coastline in the evening

The coastline in the evening

View of Mt. Fuji from the Shinkansen (the high speed train which we took to get to Chiba)

View of Mt. Fuji from the Shinkansen (the high speed train which we took to get to Chiba)

This week we are finally working with Tomoko-san at Kiseki no Hoshi, the conservatory where we will spend most of our time in Japan. I can already tell working here will be entertaining and very rewarding, both because of the horticulture and the people. Here, the main display changes a daunting seven times a year. I say daunting because the entire display is removed and replaced, as you can see in the photos below.

The start of Day 1 of installation

The start of Day 1 of installation

The end of day 1

The end of day 1

Day 2 of installation

Day 2 of installation

It’s a work in progress and I will update with the finished product! Very excited to continue to fumble my way through Japan on what is sure to be an unforgettable experience.

– James

3 comments

  1. Brian Trader

    Please tell Tomoko hello…Enjoy your time there and make sure that every shrimp you enjoy is still twitching….the change-outs of the conservatory are mind-blowing

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