Today’s session was to learn all about Japan from language, eating, money, and bathroom etiquette. There were several guest speakers who came to visit with our Nāaoloa group. Mr. Art Taniguchi, Honorary Consul General of Japan at Hilo, came to congratulate our group, but also provide us with money tips. Since Mr. Taniguchi is also affiliated with the Bank of Hawaii, as their Senior Vice-President & Regional Manager, he will help our students who wish to purchase Japanese Yen through his bank for our journey. Two returning Global Vulcans, Ms. Kayla Ing (Meio University) and Ms. Anela Nishimoto (Tokyo Gakugei University) also shared about their experience while studying abroad to Japan.
Everyone found entertaining learning how to eat properly and especially knowing that we had to hold up our rice bowl at all times during each meal. Refraining from making noises while we eat when visiting Japan will be challenging as here in Hawaii we tend to make noises when we find something to be ʻono.
Another thing that our group found intriguing was that the Japanese do not accept monetary tips at food establishments or even at the hotel, but it was recommended by Mr. Taniguchi that we bring makana from Hawaii as that is an acceptable form to thank them for their hard work. Our group is also excited to experience using the bathroom! Ayaka shared with us how the toilet seat has several buttons which will warm the toilet seat and that there is a function that will spray water in order to help you wash your ʻelemu. She also shyly shared that in the women’s bathroom there is device that will mask the natural sounds one makes when occupying the bathroom stall. To recap their presentation, and to tuck away for later, maybe even when we are traveling in Japan, we’ve included it here for everyone to enjoy.
Also, should the opportunity present itself when we are in Tokyo, we will be prepared to jump on the train as Yui provided a detailed play by play of purchasing our ticket, waiting in line for the train to arrive, traveling in the train, and leaving the train station. It does seem all confusing knowing which train number to use to get from one place to another, and we hope we will have a local guide to be with us at all times.
Kumu Ohara gave us an opportunity to learn some basic Japanese vocabulary and phrases that will help us as we travel throughout Japan.
- Hajimemashite. Watashi wa (name) desu. Doozo yoroshiku. Nice to meet you. I am (name). At your service. [ This is all said while bowing to the person in front of you.]
- Anata wa (name) desu ka? You are (other person’s name)?
- Watashi wa (name) desu. I am (name).
- Ogenki desu ka. How are you?
- Hai, genki desu. (other person’s name) san wa ogenki desu ka? I am fine. (other person’s name ) and you?
Overall after the two hour session our group left knowing a bit more than what we initially knew about Japan’s culture, customs and language. Next week we plan to practice our hula, mele and gather our makana to take with us on our journey to Japan.