This weekend we headed to Lake Yamanaka for our retreat with the Meiji Students. Lake Yamanaka is one of the 5 lakes surrounding Mount Fuji and is known to be a tourist location for many Japanese natives and international visitors. We started Friday morning with a 3 hour bus ride to the retreat. Despite being a long bus ride, due to a nice lunch break at a rest stop, where we were able to have surprisingly delicious food at a very decent price (something we probably could never find in the US).
As we drove towards Lake Yamanaka, we were greeted with one of the most beautiful scenes of Mount Fuji. The whether was extremely nice and it made for a clear photo, something that Professor Power said never happens during this time of the season.Once we arrived, after unpacking and settling down, we had some time to explore the Meiji University owned lodging and our surroundings. We decided to play some tennis but after about 15 minutes of doing so, we were all tired and ready to get ice cream. After walking down the main street for about 20 minutes we decided to get some Shingen Mochi flavored Ice cream. I didn’t expect to like the flavor as much as I did but I loved it!
We walked back and worked on our research projects until dinner with our respective Meiji Students. We had a homey dinner prepared by the Meiji staff which consisted of a bunch of different side dishes, rice, soup, and chicken. It was delicious and was the perfect compliment to our new countryside surroundings.
We spent the rest of the night relaxing in the bath with the other Meiji students, enjoying a small drinking party with them where we got to know each other better in a less academic setting, and ended with a great night’s sleep in a traditional futon.
Saturday was a very hectic day. We started with another traditional Japanese breakfast and then our presentations were ready to begin. The first group consisted of my topic as well as Verdi’s topic. Then came Renee and Felix, followed by Rubi and Kayanne, and ended with Brenda and Sam. Each session ended with a short group discussion regarding the respective topics. This was interesting as the Meiji students weren’t as familiar with group discussions in their classes, however, they caught on and contributed a great deal to our discussion.
We had a few hours of free time before our dinner so we decided to go down to the lake. We walked down the dock and were greeted with really friendly Koi fish. We spent some time taking pictures and feeding the fish, however, a swan approached us and after having some bad experiences the previous day with the swan attacking some of our students we were really scared as the swan swam closer and closer towards us. The swan attacked us once again, biting a student’s shoe and then a phone was dropped into the lake! We were shocked and wanted to grab it immediately as the water wasn’t that deep, however, the swan was in our way and we couldn’t do anything until it moved away. We moved all the koi to the right by throwing the food far away from where the phone dropped and then Verdi went into the water trying to find the phone. Another student went to go get a shovel and then another man named Mr. Fujii came to help find the phone. After hours of searching we were able to find the phone. Yay! Verdi grabbed the phone and ran it up to the cabin where he immediately put it in rice.
Due to all of his help, we invited Mr. Fujii to join us for dinner and expressed our gratitude with a bottle of sake. We enjoyed our dinner again and the rest of the night included us writing our names in Japanese calligraphy, another comforting bed, and another fun drinking party where we celebrated a fun weekend.