December 19, 2014
Tokyo: Past and Present
Last Wednesday we took a few students on a local field trip to explore and learn a little about Tokyo's past as well as one of the modern faces of Tokyo. This tour was put together to benefit both the international students and the two Japanese students who will be studying abroad (in New Zealand) on a student exchange in the new year. They were asked to use both English and Japanese.
Originally we had planned to visit the Edo-Tokyo Museum in Ryogoku. Unfortunately it closed on December 1st for three months or so for renovations. So, we decided to visit the Fukagawa Edo museum. It was a good choice as there was excellent guide service and some fascinating exhibits.
The guides were extremely helpful and one lady also explained things in English and easy Japanese. We could actually enter into the old houses and look around to see how things were back in the Edo period. Many of the exhibits could even be touched.
After two hours of exploring the Edo period, we took a quick trip to Akihabara. We had lunch at Sizeria, a favourite place for many students, and then we had a short talk about the area. We covered the growth of the area and the transition from the warrior community to the changes that were brought by the railways. We told them about the name changes for the area and how it still uses the “Akiba” name in different ways. And we talked a little about the tragic incident that happened in 2008 which led to the cancellation of the car-free roads on the weekends.
The cold winds made it difficult to just stand and discuss the history and changes around the station so we gave them time to go off together and do some looking around in the various stores. This gave the two students going overseas a chance to ask the visiting students what kinds of things they might need or want to bring with them to New Zealand. And it gave them all a little time to bond and enjoy each others’ company.