Well fall has arrived, but it does not seem to be in any hurry. The leaves have begun to change colors, but the weather seems to have other intentions. Every day is close to temperatures in the 70’s and I have yet to wear a jacket during the daytime. As night approaches, warmer clothing is typically a good idea, but again, not always a must have depending on the day. Yet that may sound great, it allows for one point of great annoyance…mosquitoes. They are still alive and flourishing through November. I just smashed one as I’m writing this now and am the victim of at least two bites currently. I’ll take this weather any day, but I’m not so crazy about the mosquitoes.
Last week I went to the Chubu University Festival which you can see in the picture above, the food tents bordering the street. There were also some performances, but it seemed to be more of a fund raiser for the schools various clubs. For those that are not familiar, Chubu University is the sister school to Ohio University. They have created an exchange student program between the two schools in order to send students abroad for the sake of language and culture.
As I approached the school for the first time, I was able to see a large clock centered in front of the University along with a large banner that had been hung for the sake of the event. It says “Chubu中部 University大学 Festival祭”
Each tent contains students holding signs or dressed in costumes in efforts to coerce other students into supporting their club and buying some of their ‘delicious’ food. On ocassion I would hear a student attempting to practice their English skills on me, while attempting to convince me to try their food.
Below is my friend Yuji, wearing said costume. “Kitty-chan” is a famous Japanese cartoon character from what I was told. Anything that may be presumed as cute can find its way into the public eye one way or another.
Although I was sorry to admit that “Kitty-chan” was not the cutest thing I’ve seen in the world, I had been convinced to try the food they were offering to me for a measly 200円, as they put it. It consisted of a crepe folded in half, filled with chocolate, and some type of cracker. It came fresh off the stove with freshly poured chocolate which made it to my surprise, more delicious than I had expected.
While I explored the Chubu campus, I came across this poster. It shows the different schools and countries to which you can go and study abroad. The areas, as you can see from the flags, include Guana, China, England, America, and Korea. Ohio University is the first American flag, while the second one is West Virginia University. The obvious choice would of course be OU.
I ran into a few old friends while I was at the festival, although I don’t have any pictures of them. It was nice to see them again, but also it had been confusing considering each of them came to OU at different years and different quarters. All in all I have met about 6 groups consisting of 25-40 people over a 3 month period. Place that over a period of 3 years and mix them all together to try to remember everyone and you’ll know my feeling.
Further wandering led me to this structure which strangely reminded me of my old University. As I approached it I was able to read the plaque. It stated that it was a gift from Ohio University in 1994. It is a replica of a 200 year old piece that had been taken from Cutler Hall if my Japanese serves me correctly. It didn’t help that the plaque had been greatly damaged by the weather.
As I left, I was welcomed with quite a view, being that Chubu sits up on a mountain based terrain.
Rather than take the bus back to the train station, I decided on walking and found some other fun things. It amazes me seeing the variety of plants and trees so close to the road. It is in Japan’s culture not to remove nature related things unless absolutely necessary. I, on occasion, can spot road signs hidden by the branches and leaves that have grown around them. Bamboo is another thing that grows all over. In fact, the bamboo below was off a main road in an area next to a large business and it is not uncommon to see similar areas. As a result, the amount of insects in Japan are outstanding. Cockroaches, flies, crickets, mosquitoes, gnats, spiders, you name it. Speaking of spiders, if you don’t like them, you may not want to scroll down.
The last bit I have to show is the number of gardens with fruits and veggies. If I’m not mistaken, then I would say this is an orange tree. It’s strange seeing an orange tree filled with green oranges; however it makes sense when you actually think about it. There is actually a process to “degreen” oranges that are behind schedule. It consists of using a gas on the oranges to change the pigment of already matured fruit.
The number of backyard gardens is fairly large. My neighbors have a kiwi tree that hangs over their fence and down the street there are 3-4 gardens similar to the one below. I’ve seen oranges, lemons, peppers, lettuce, kiwi, avocado, and even apple trees, along with of course vast amounts of rice and tea crops. I now know that if I ever become homeless, Japan is the place to be.