As a part of the Field Studies for Grade 11, we went to the city of Takayama. During this trip, I learned new skills such as hiking, mapping skills as well as meditating and making Japanese biscuits. It was a very good trip that I documented in my Field Studies journal, which is below.
1. Learning Targets:
During this field studies, we did have any set targets but did want to have a good time and create stronger bonds between our friends and create new ones with people we did not know.
2. Description of Learning Events:
Today we began our field studies for Takayama. I woke up around 7:00 and began to get ready for the big week that awaited us. It was an exciting feeling, that we would be visiting a wonderful area with our friends.
Once we all met up, with the other students at Shin-Yokohama station, we began to board the Shinkansen train for Nagoya. It was quite a enjoyable train ride, as we had amazing views of the train ride as well as a great atmosphere within the train.
Once we arrived at Nagoya, we then boarded a separate train that would take us to Takayama. This train was much more picturesque and more beautiful, as we swapped landscapes of cities and towns for large forests and beautiful woods.
We finally arrived at Takayama after noon. It was quite a tiring trip, so we were all exhausted after a quite enthralling trip. I was quite shocked by the traditional look of the station, and how everything was all manually done. It was a great way to welcome us to this ancient and fairytale-like town.
We began to walk to a viewing point in Takayama the moment we arrived there, and it was quite an enjoyable walk as we saw all the ancient and stunning Japanese homes and stores. When we arrived at the viewpoint, we stumbled upon a large park with stunning views of the city. It was quite a tiring walk up to the viewpoint though, but it was worth it as we had great views. After we had finished taking photographs and pictures, we headed back to the hotel for a good nights rest.
We began the day by all going on a bus to visit an area called Shirakawa-go. It was a world heritage site that was filled with thatched houses in a pristine landscape. We arrived at the site in the morning and began our visit of the area by going to a Hertiage Museum called ‘Gassho Zukuri Minka-En” which contained many houses and other Japanese style-buildings. It was like a small Japanese village, and it had many gardens and small farms. It was very beautiful, as was not tarnished by any modern buildings or items,. This gave the museum a very realistic and wonderful feel to it.
After visiting the village for a while, we began to make dyed scarves. All the dyes that were used were traditional, natural products and that made the experience of making these scarves much more realistic. I colored my scarf in a red colour, and made patterns in the scarf by tying rubber bands around it. It was a amazing experience to see what Japanese did, and many of the students had unique creations and patterns for their scarves.
We then had lunch in the nearby village near the museum, and I had a “soba noodle”. It was a great way to eat, as we could see what Japanese people in the region ate. Once we finished our lunch, we began to march up to another viewpoint to see the view. It was quite a hard walk to get to the top, and as everyone was already tired after a long day, the students walked slowly and like zombies up the hill.
Even though we were all tired, it was still worth it. The views that we had were stunning. Between two hills covered with trees that had begun to color, there lay the beautiful village. It was a stellar landscape that everyone was in awe of.
It was a great day, where we all appreciated the nature and the stunning beauty of the Japanese homes. This trip made me realize how beautiful this area was.
We began the day by visiting a prefectural town hall. The prefectural town hall was called the Takayama Jinya and was used to conduct legal trials and help control the region of Hida. It was quite an interesting visit, as we were able to see all the rooms as well as learn about how people lived in the region. I was quite interested by their idea of collecting rice in the form of taxes.
Once we ended that tour, we began to cycle. It was a very good route where we cycled, as we were able to see all the sights of Takayama. Not only did we see the city of Takayama, were also able to cycle through the neighborhoods of Takayama which was equally as fascinating.
Once we finished cycling, we visited the Festival Float Museum called the ‘Takayama Matsuri Yatai Kaikan’. It was a really interesting museum to visit as all the floats were large and imposing. It was a beautiful museum that had a good collection of these Festival Floats.
After we finished visiting the Festival Floats, we visited the Handcrafting museum. It was a compelling museum, as we learned about how the builders and crafters built buildings in the Hida region. Instead of using nails and other methods to connect blocks of wood to each other, they devised a way to connect these blocks of wood without using any types of glue or nails. They cut out shapes in the blocks of wood and connected the two joining pieces of wood together. This meant that the buildings were very firm and could withstand earthquakes without breaking and damaging the blocks of wood. It was an enjoyable museum as we were able to fully understand how the builders were able to craft such strong buildings.
Later in the evening, we had a quiz between ourselves. We were organized in our groups and my group ended up winning the prize. It was a really enjoyable quiz and we had many amusing moments when answering the questions. I was really proud that we were able to win this competition. We all congratulated ourselves, and we were happy that everybody in our group was able to contribute to this win.
It was another superb day where I learned to like the Japanese culture and I learned a lot about the Hida region and the history of the city. I was quite intrigued by the system of government, and this trip to the Japanese town hall really helped me learn more about the area.
Today we started the day of by going to a traditional ‘Senbie’ or biscuit factory. The factory helped make Japanese slat biscuits and we wee told we would have the chance to make these biscuits. A instructor fistly showed us that in order to make these biscuits, we had to cook them over a stove and make them fill up with air and expand. It seemed like a very hard job, and we were not fooled. Many of us had a very difficult time trying to make these biscuits. When we finished making our cookies, the instructor would judge us on the quality of the biscuits. I had a really fun time making my biscuits and was happy when the instructor told me I did well but could have done better. We all had a very fun time, and were cheerful to begin eating our own biscuits.
We then went to a nearby temple where we met an abbot of the temple. The abbot explained to us about the art of meditation and how to practice it. We then began to mediate for 25 minutes. It was quite a challenge meditating, as many of us had never done this before. It was still a unique experience and was something that I found was a great thing for us to experience as students. Then we went to a the nearby clearing near the temple to help with volunteering. It was fun trying to help clean up the temple and we all thoroughly cleaned the area up.
Once we finished the volunteering we had a scavenger hunt. We were given a list of clues which led to places within Takayama. It was really fun trying to find all these places with my group members of Eva, Hikaru, Yuki and Kooka. We fistly had a really easy time finding all these places but then we ran out of time and had to rush back to the ending location. We only had 3 minutes left until the game finished so we were really happy. We were given a score of 17/25 which was really good so we were full of glee.
Once we finished our scavenger hunt we began to go bowling. Everyone had a thrilling night, and we all a fine time. I was really happy that I won the bowling between our group members, and found that it was a superb way to finish of the field study.
Today was the day when everyone began to pack and headed home. It was quite an emotional day, as many of the students did not want the field studies to end at all. We all knew that field studies had to end though, so with sadness and tiredness we all made for the station to depart. Before we left, we thanked the hotel staff members for making this a really memorable week for us, and for being so kind and helpful in everything we asked for.
When everyone had arrived at the station, we began to board the train to get back home. Since it was the end of Field Studies, everyone was really tired and we all slept on the train ride. It was a really fun train ride though, as we talked about the trip with all our friends.
When we arrived at Nagoya. it was much the same but instead of talking, many people began to play cards or board games. As I was really tired, I talked with Sunbird about how field studies were and we talked about the best places we saw.
When we finally had to say goodbye at Shin-Yokohama station, it was really emotional but we all knew that this we all had memories of this field studies. I said goodbye to all my friends and began to think about the next year an how I needed to finish my homework.
3. Learning Outcomes
Through this experience, I was able to learn new skills, worked collaberately with others and learned about the culture of Japan more.
I developed new skills by learning to make Japanese biscuits called Senbie. It was a really fun experience, and I am very happy that I learned how to make them as it is a very interesting way of making food. I also learned how to meditate during this field studies and I found that this was a very useful skill to have during times when I have too much work to do, so that I can become more serene and clear my mind.
I worked collaboratively with others during the scavenger hunt. Even though we had a arduous time finding all the landmarks in Takayama, we worked together and was able to complete the activity using all our strengths.
We also went sightseeing and I learned more about Japanese culture and traditions during the 1500. I think that this will be useful knowledge as we will be studying Japan in history class and I will be make connections between what I saw and what we will read about and have tests on.
During this activity, I became more curious about Japanese history and culture due to going to all the buildings and old Japanese homes. I was also really interested in the old town as I found that it was very quaint and interesting due to its history.