2005 – The Year of the Bird- India and Japan.


The image above came from a drawing given me in May 2005 by Mrs. Atsuko Mizuno from a book she published on this vanishing species to which she has given special attention.  The comments below are an extended “Thanks” to all those who made May 2005 a reality and at the same time an answer to those who ask, “How was May term in Japan and India?”  Thirty  pages are probably too many as an answer to that question;   but some of my readers will be those will be looking for their own name below.   Others may be friends who funded the trip for this band of eager learners who are pictured below.  So, dear students, fellow travelers, guides, home stay families, and friends, here is my report.


            Here is our class still in Redlands during the spring semester, when we were still reading Asian Literature and hearing about the places we would visit. Especially useful were the words from Weaver’s Wisdom, the most popular book read during the semester for some of the students.  As for me, we went to some of the same places which I had visited these same places many times in Japan.  On this my 20th landing in Japan,  I became aware that I was passing  through the immigration and customs counters I have seen many times before.   But I enjoyed once more doing many of the same things that had re-kindled my interest in Japan for two decades—visiting Kabuki plays, Shinto shrines, Buddhist temples, Hiroshima's Peace Park, and Miyajima  (Island).



I.                    Our days (and nights) in Japan



In Kyoto I got to see my friend Takuji Yamazaki, who first taught me the elements of the Japanese language in the spring of l984 when he was the Reitaku University exchange student to Redlands.  In 2005 he came from Fukui City where he operates a private school, and he led our group through the Ginkauji (Silver Pavilion) and then down the “Philosopher’s Walk.”  Each student would have a chance to talk with him and their journals show the many sided dimensions of his personality.   


My favorite temple in all of Japan is the Ryoan-ji in Kyoto, which I first visited in l986 during a Waseda trip on a cold December afternoon.  The Waseda group came alone to the temple, and we were able to sit on the steps pondering the meaning and placement of the rocks which seem to move somehow across the sand. But this year during “Golden Week” it was a hot May afternoon with hundreds of people  pushing their way onto the steps, some talking on cell phones, others chattering as if their thoughts should fill the silence, one even dropping her shoe down onto the sand and walking down and on the sand to pick it up.  After a while, I started laughing not being able to control myself at the change from the earlier visits.  But this was a holiday for Japanese people, and I remembered it was their country and their temple and withdrew from any attempt to meditate.




One of the stops along our hikes through Kyoto which produced the most delight was when students took time to do shopping as in this group in a shop which specializes in wood block prints.  Notice that the animated sales lady seems just as pleased as the students carrying out their bags. 


We stayed in Kyoto in the Palace Side Hotel just across the street from the Imperial Palace, and so different from the buildings we imagined while reading the Tale of Genji back in Redlands.  From Kyoto we took  day trips to the Todaiji in Nara and the Peace Park in Hiroshima.  To be in Hiroshima was very important in this year—the 60th anniversary of our bombing of the city—would offer a moment in the lives of students which I hope will cause questions to arise for the rest of their lives.  One cannot come to understand the degree of destruction and the threat to all human civilizations which took place on August 6, 1945.  (Cf. the stories of several Japanese people, now in their 70’s, who were on the ground that day and several American airmen now in  their 80’s who were in the air above ( Time Magazine, Aug. 1, 2005).


Returning to Tokyo, we stayed one night on the beautiful campus of Reitaku University, where the students prepared for their performances at a welcome party to be given by the Nagareyama International Friendship Association two days later. 




Later Helen and I were able to meet Professor  Jitaro Mizuno and his wife Atsuko for a dinner and conversation about our friendship now 24 years old since they first came to our house in Redlands. Is he smiling because he finished 2 terms as Dean of the Faculty at Reitaku University? 



In this image, on the year of the bird throughout Asia, where we also were flying, the flock seems to be flying into the sunset.  As noted above Mrs. Atsuko Mizuno has written a beautiful story of the almost extinct native to Asia, with colorful images of the bird.  Moreover, she shared as well a letter from the Empress of Japan who had read the book and sent a personal letter to her congratulating her on the achievement.  Would that the leaders and wives of other world leaders would be so attentive to the natural world we live in and its many creatures, not to mention the kindness that the Empress bestowed on one of her subjects.






.  For me it was wonderful to get to stay with the Ono family again with great conversations about Japan and America, about foods and literature, even what we might do next time in Hokkaido! In this photo we met in Minami Kashiwa Station for our ride to Kashiwa on the Chiyoda line.


May 2005 brought excellent home stays for Redlands visitors. Each and every one of the U. of R. students wrote praise for the families who took them into their homes and their lives for the 10 nights in May.   What a great time we had in Nagareyma!  The recent arrival of a packet of student comments with a Japanese translation by Ariyoshi-san reminded me of the great kindness that the Nagareyama International Friendship Association has shown to us.  I realized in writing these comments how important the NIFA members have been to my perceptions and appreciation of Japan in the last decade.  How did the NIFA know how to place my students in the Japanese homes so well, that each and every one of the students had an excellent experience?  Our time in Japan in 2005 was, I know, the best experience I ever had in 19 years visiting that country.




Here in the photograph above Shannon smiled at the Kashiwa Station on her first encounter with her host family- Kato san and her children, with whom she would spend the next 10 days and nights in a very active and loving family, in quite different circumstances than had she stayed in Redlands in May and taken another class on campus and lived in her dorm room.


On the Saturday after our arrival we were entertained at a welcome party, in which every student was to perform on stage; and in turn we were offered the best entertainment I had seen in 10 years in similar events, especially because of the dance performance by several host mothers and daughters in their splendid costumes.  With a little imagination I can see Ozawa-san on the front row, Ito-san in the middle, and Yamada-san on the back row moving across the stage to the music that fishing villages used to celebrate their successes in other times.  This dance group had more energy and better dancing form than those we saw in the Kabuki-za the very next day. 



In the image above  from left to right are  Helen Huntley; Ariyoshi-san;  myself,  in a jacket celebrating a visit to the Ise Shrine in a previous year; Amanda Kattan, in the center; Isabel Sanchez, in the black dragon dress; and Brett Robichad with the guitar; and Ito-san, host mother to Amanda..  The picture was taken just after several people had helped me sing “Kojo no Tsuki’ (“Old Castles in the Moonlight”) which I have been struggling to improve upon over the last 15 years.  This was, I think, the best performance ever because of the help by Ariyoshi-san, Isabel, and Michael (not pictured here).  All seem happy that the song is finished!  I promised to try a new song, should I ever be on such a stage again!


Sunday  May 8 found us at the the Kabuki-za and where from the top balcony we viewed two acts of that days production, “Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami” and  “Imohori Choja,” the latter being very appropriate for people seeing Kabuki for the first time the performance included two forms of dance.  The first one was like ancient Noh drama which we had studied in California,  and the other like a folk dance, which we had seen the day before in our Welcome Party by the NIFA.  The plot was about  an indecisive young woman unable to find a husband, but she ends up with the folk dancer, a “potato picker,” who had already won her heart.  Ayako Ono and Sanjo-san went with us to the production, and afterward to the Omotesando for lunch.





  Jessica displays her charm to this group of students the middle school. On this first day of visits to the Nagareyama schools most of the Redlands students seemed frightened at the prospect of actually trying to teach English.  But a well prepared English teacher there led them into exercises that all of us enjoyed.  We not only visited the classes where English was taught, but we went to the whole schedule of classes, including history, music and Japanese language.  The biggest surprise to me that day was the success that Forrest achieved in writing all the Kanji he head learned in Japanese 101 class, greatly astounding the Japanese children who were surprised to see him doing some of the very same middle school Kanji they were learning, as well as the elementary school Kanji they had already learned.  My own achievement in many years of trying to learn Japanese was called into question many times over these three weeks, and I continue to ponder the intricate nature of the Japanese language.  One of the books I recently read  contains the comment that   “the Japanese style is  essentially an art of transitions, glidings, subtle joinings, and bewildering starts” (Singer, p. 130).  I liked reading that as the author, who spent 8 years in Japan in the l930’s before fleeing as a German-Jew to Australia on the eve of World War II, reflecting on his own language learning in Japan.



The students were scattered in their home stays all over the map in Nagerayama, which meant they need to learn to travel alone to the homes of the host families.  Kashiwa station was a main meeting place through the week, but several of the students stayed with families who lived along the Tobu Noda Line.  It took most only one time with the host family to find the right station to get off the train, but a couple needed to walk the winding roads from the station to the home of those hosting them for those days.  I have learned from students who went on trips with me before that they can always remember the route to walk, even if they go back to visit some years later.  Connections to host families have remained strong for many University of Redlands students.

After teaching one day we went with Ariyoshi-san to Linette’s host family who own a coffee shop, where we rested from our day of teaching and enjoyed one of the most relaxing moments of our week there.    Walker Thompson wrote in his journal that “our role as English ambassadors fluctuated wildly depending on the classroom….and the children were always excited to see us, and our signatures seemed to be our most valuable ability.  There must be something fascinating about handwritten English, just like Kanji are fascinating to me.”





On Wednesday we joined the Kindergarten activities in the morning. For most students this was the most exciting day of all.   So we have the traditional group picture to remember it by.  Walker, Helen and I had shopped for the same kind of hats, offering a special bonding with the children who liked our hats and pointed to them. On Thursday we went to Waseda Univeristy.   There Akane Kaminski gave a presentation on her experience as a Takarazuka actress.  Three Waseda students who will be in Redlands in 2005-06 attended the session and each went to lunch with a group of Redlands students.  Dr. Marek Kaminski had lectured to my groups going to Japan each year for the previous 13 trips, but this year it was his daughter who gave the presentation, carefully prepared in advance as if in an interview form.  She brought along some DVD images of her performances and a CD which demonstrated her beautiful voice singing in various languages, Japanese, English and Latin.  The picture below shows mother, daughter and father all who seemed to enjoy our day together.


In the afternoon several of us went to the l964 Olympic Swimming Pool for a relay race. In the Japan Times that day, I noticed and editorial dealing with that it had been 60 years since Nazi Germany had been defeated, and at a conference recently some 27 million Soviet citizens had been killed in the war, so President Vladimir Putin could say that “grief came to every family, every home;” but, in contrast, President Bush had offered  recently some harsh words for FDR for agreeing at Yalta in l945 to a division of Europe which allowed oppression of many people.  The editor correctly pointed out, in my opinion, that Bush should have known that the “U. S. was in no position at the time to challenge the Soviet presence in Europe.” (editorial, Japan Times, May 12, 2005 p. 18.).  I preserved it to show the subtle and yet correct analysis of American history by the writer.  Moreover, we may note that the writer is Japanese and from a nation more supportive of the US than almost any other on this planet.



On  Friday we went to Yagi Junior High School which was memorable for its theme of respect for the environmental protection of our planet.  The students wear green as their school color for uniforms to show the respect for the environment.  Indeed,  a great deal of wood was to be seen around the building instead of just concrete and plastic seen in other schools.  .Here Brett shows a sense of triumph after guessing “Hello Kitty” by asking “20 questions


On our last evening in Japan we were the guests of Sato-san for a wonderful meal. Pictured from left to right are Amanda Kattan, Sato-san, myself, Helen, Pani (peeking around) Ariyoshi-san, Yamazaki-san and Ohno-san, my host.   









II.  On to India.


On Sunday May the 15th we left Narita for twelve days in India.  I can now agree "India is incredible" as the advertisements affirm (Cf. http://www.incredibleindia.org). We arrived on Singapore Air flights from Tokyo to Chennai.  We landed quite late in Chennai which afforded  us the coolness of evening, but the weather that day was over 100 degrees. We were met by a bus which picked up our group at the airport.   As the bus was loaded, I thought to myself, “We have brought too much!  Why do almost all Americans have to carry enough to live for a year, when they are gone less than a month?”    But I share the guilt with most for even before leaving Tokyo in the airport,  I bought two bottles of water to drink until I found a supply in India.  All through those next two weeks, I seemed to be seeing water, fresh, clean, and sometimes even cold water.  As I drank the ample supply from every hotel, every kiosk, and sometimes even from the bus drivers, I came to be most thankful for water.  I think the most profound gratitude is for those who poured clean water into those various bottles and gave or sold to us—for water, I know better now is  as crucial as breathing  for our lives..


Pani Chakrapani, my colleague in Redlands for twenty years agreed to “take me to India,” if I would “take him to Japan.”  His many insights to our planning,  readings, preparation and travels were very important to the success of our May 2005 travel course.  Our agent, Milesworth Travel, arranged a one week journey from Chennai down  to Madurai in the South and a second week in the North traveling around  the "Golden Triangle" from Dehli to Agra, then to Jaipur and finally  back to Dehli.  Need a map to follow our journey?  Here is one, thanks to “1997 Magellan- Geographic.”



This was my first time to visit India, but I had been longing to go for decades.   In fact, from the time I took classes in Berkeley in l970 on the philosophies of India and Indian art, I had wanted to travel there. I had once started to study Sanskrit, even though I knew the language was spoken in India only by scholars  or Brahmin priests in their chants.   In other times, I had read, Sanskrit “flourished in the heads and hearts of those (just men) who had mastered it; there was no need for a written tradition.”  Rothermund, (p.14). So I did not really expect to hear modern Indians speak it.  I was surprised, after so many times in Japan, that in India so many people were to be heard speaking English.


On our first night we stayed at the Sakithyan Hotel and slept soundly after our flights to India.  On the next morning in Chennai, now joined by Catherine Walker and her husband David,  we met our guide- Lakshimi Priya-who was as beautiful as she was prepared.  She told us a great deal about the art and history of India, but more importantly she knew how to show sufficient things in a museum, temple or church and to leave us alone for some time of self discovery. 


On our first stop we went to Kapaleeswarar TempleWe and saw a peacock worshipping Shiva. (Cf. http://www.indiatravelogue.com/dest/tam/chen.html).  Indeed, the subtitle for our course “Asian Literature in Translation from India and Japan,” was “The Eagle and the Peacock.”

At the next stop, we were told that in the Church of St. Thomas  one of Jesus' disciples  was buried in the church and that this is one of only two churches in the whole world where one may find the body of a disciple of Jesus--the other being St. Peter's in Rome.  I thought to myself that although the first Christians must have arrived in the South of India in the very place we had come, but how different was what we saw from that what they must have seen.


      Then we went to the Pantheon Complex where Jessica presented her oral report on the history of India.  There our guide gave us a detailed examination of art objects,  such as that  of Nataraja,  the cosmic dancer.  After the museum, we were taken to a craft shop,  were given free water and cokes, and a chance to buy art objects, rugs (one which cost more than our home in Redlands), and other items, but mostly I just wanted to plunge my body into the cool, inviting ocean down the Marina, but Pani wisely advised me to not risk my body and hence this chance to see India before I died.  I agreed. So instead we went to the Weaver's Wisdom Monument, in a 20th Century building that re-stated on the walls, the very text we had spent two weeks discussing in March in Redlands.


            Before leaving Chennai, I realized that Chennai was also the first place that the British had managed to gain a foothold as a trading center for textiles and spices.  Over the next three centuries from 1640 until India was independent, the British made Madras a seat of British Imperial India.”(Cf.  www.indiaprofile.com/monument-temnples/chennai-temples.htm).  On that first day in India, I overlooked the huge influences of British people there with the vast use of the English language, the dress of police and army personnel, the democratic forms of government and names for organizations, and a sense of being part of a global world, which the place in an empire may have cultured. I wished we had been here longer to visit this wonderful and complex city, where 30 years ago my brother, Reid, had been a Fulbright exchange professor teaching American literature.


Back to the hotel,  Pani managed to provide a way to do what we had done in Japan the first week, that is to live without hauling (or having hauled) a  second heavy bag for each of us.  Thus we had momentary MOKSHA  (liberation) of the KARMA and  weight of too many possessions.(If I might use some of the Sanskrit terms I had learned 30 years before, even if I was to hear neither spoken during my sojourn in India.) Then with our lighter loads we were taken to the train station for an overnight journey to Madurai about 10 hours away.  We practiced hauling our bags up and down over a few platforms which made the practice hikes with bags up and down the stairs at the U. of R. tennis courts seem like child's play. 


Finally, we got on the right train, in the right compartment and gave some thanks for the air conditioned spaces with cozy little bunks of 8 to the section.  A very modest meal, chased by vodka, put me to sleep for almost the whole night.  (So ended day 2, and "it was good" -May 16)  Somehow during the night, a family, whom Pani identified as Christians from the names they called the children, joined the six of us from California in our cozy compartment.  On our arrival at dawn at Madurai, we were met by a bus that became our "traveling vantage point" for the next week.   The train ride for must of us was our one public-transportation-experience in India.  .But in that one wonderful  night on the train, we zoomed across the same distance that would take the next 4 days returning by bus.  “What a great plan!” I remember thinking.



We were taken directly from the train station in the dawn’s early light to the impressive Germanicus Best Western Hotel, surrounded by a wall about 10 feet high and guarded by security in amazing costumes. We took much needed showers, had breakfast, and piled in our bus a full day of touring. I remember thinking as I looked back at the hotel, “I have never spent the night in such a beautiful hotel on any journey with students in 15 interim travel trips.”   


We went immediately Minakshi Sundaresvara Temple, (image by Kamiya 508) which had its origins in the 7th century with additions made between the 14th and 18th Centuries (Eyewitness Travel Guide-India, p. 610).   I remember entering the temple where Brahmin priests were sitting by the entrance smiling up at me, and I wondered how I might engage one in conversation.   Later in the temple, I saw one of the priests engaged in a ritual of some kind.  I noted a devout Hindu woman listening intently to the priest and wondered if she had been engaged in something like a confession.   Our guide told us that we were "invited to a wedding," namely that of Shiva and Parvati, his consort.  We were shown where modern weddings might take place.




.  The temple is more than the single building which a post card can capture.  It is a whole complex of surrounding structures, all of which we padded around in bare feet.  Very impressive was the Thousand Pillar Hall, which had sometimes been used for stage performance for the public. (cf. www.pbase.com/ oochappan/meenaksi).  Was it there we met a group of young Indian students who were the same age as our group and also on a school tour and very eager to talk with us?  Pictures were taken, email exchanged and the group even sang a song for us, hoping for one in return.  We failed--no song—not even the Och Tamale!




Later we visited the Tirumalai Nayaka Muhal.  It was started in 1636 when the Nayakas ruled portions of Southern India; but later, the building became the headquarters of the British governor general in the 1860's, and the British helped restore it.  The very same week we were in Madurai, I found a beautiful color photo of the building in The Hindu Magazine (Sunday, May 22, 2005.) with chairs out and lights in place for a modern presentation of some kind.  Again this day, we were taken to another craft shop- “tourist-trap,” from which I escaped with Michael to get some costumes for his Johnston graduation two weeks later..  Only a royal person or a British colonialist, who had delusions of grandeur, would have chosen the bright purple color which Michael picked for us.  

But by 6:00 p.m. our shirts (and trousers) had been completed and were delivered to the hotel. Moreover, the excitement of the workers who made them, led them to return the next morning, as just our bus was loaded.  Four men with more than 100 other sets of costumes similar in size to those they had made for some of us the day  before.  .  From that morning, every where we went, day or night we would be followed by sellers of various objects from musical instruments, chess sets, or garments.  Later, on reflection over the month of travel, I have come to the conclusion that this experience of buying from native peoples in distant lands is just what drove the Portuguese, the British, the Japanese and now Americans all over Asia.  The bargaining for a price is the most extended conversation most of my students had with any natives in India during the time.  Thus is may be the best remembered moment in the travels, for even the objects acquired become tangible and portable reminders of the interaction.





Then we went to the Gandhi Memorial, which offered an historical background to the life and influences of Gandhi in pictures and English commentary.  Walker read on one panel that Tagore had given Gandhi the name "Mahatma" or "great soul,” (thus giving our best link this day to readings back in Redlands in the spring course). I found a table of books that Gandhi read interesting, because it contained the poems of Tagore and the New Testament containing the teachings of Jesus, especially that of non-violence which Gandhi said he had found there.   Elsewhere we could see Gandhi placed in prominent places in city parks.  One could even buy a statue of Gandhi, if we had brought even larger suitcases!



The next day we traveled to Trichy.  Soon we stopped along the road at a "brick factory" which was a village industry involving a dozen men and women who were building a kiln in which to fire bricks.  We had to imagine another dozen men off in a wagon or truck gathering the wood to burn.  Meanwhile, wives and children came out to stare back at us.  One little boy, upon seeing me, screamed at the top of his voice, as if he had known me in a previous life which brought back bad karma.   It was not long until  a mother with a child the same age, but with a more benevolent disposition, held out her smiling baby to me, as if to say, "not all the children of the world are afraid of you, old man!"  Another little boy who will be the prime minister of India someday went around shaking hands with all of us.    Meghan's generous smile warmed the spirits of the children who gathered around her.





           Along the way we joined our animated guide "Raja", who felt he could only speak with the total attention of the class, as he summoned us again and again, "Please......I beg your pardon".....  He had a fascination for numbers, especially the number "9" that was amusing.  He did remind us as well that the people of what is now India were the ones who invented the zero "0", not the Arabs who marketed it.




We visited the Ranganatha Temple in Srirangam dedicated to Vishnu. (Cf.  Sri-ranganathaswamy.le-trichi.jpg). The temple was huge and seemed to include  the whole town  within its walls. Later I read that this temple has “the largest precincts in India  (Kamiya, p. 70).   In fact, the temple complex contains 148 acres.  We saw images of warriors, horses, monkeys, and one figure wearing Chinese clothes, which implied to me interaction with China, either in war or in trade. As I was climbing up a roof terrace so I could see acres of temple grounds with a dozen or more temples soaring up all around us, but suddenly I was blinded by the bright sunlight on my left check as if a fire was burning, and my vision was disrupted.  I guessed it must have been the malaria pills which I had started to take that morning, so I immediately abandoned those pills. (The next day Pani managed to get me what Indians take to prevent malaria for $.60 while in the USA mine had cost $140).  I learned on return to the USA that now many patients choose to go to India for serious illnesses and operations, so great is the cost differential between treatments here and in India.





 Later reading about this city and its temple, I learned that earlier in the temple one might have found extensive solid-gold iconography, which had been looted by the Muslims as they sought to subdue the Southern parts of India.  (Keay, p. 258).  But in the 1890’s the Hindu pilgrims to this temple could have seen Vishnu “covered with diamonds, while emeralds and rubies about in number.  There are idols of gold, covered with jewels.  Even the toes are set off with rings of gold studded with precious stones.” (Hurst, p. 295).  As “non-Hindu” we were not allowed to photograph in the direction of the “holy of holies”  nor were we allowed to approach in certain areas of this temple or others in India.  So I could not have seen much, even had I not been so blinded by the malaria pills on this day.   Srirangam was founded at an intersection of rivers, and had a complex series of one way streets, and streets which our bus could not pass because of overhand.  We watched in amazement as our driver backed down several streets to escape one such difficulty.


We arrived at evening time in Trichy (Tirauchirapalli) just below the Rock Fort.  The students and Pani climbed to the top, where some of them reported having a conversation with some recent graduates of an engineering university, and since they had just received jobs in a factory making automobile parts they had come to give thanks to the Hindu god who had made their university days lead to such a successful end.  I wondered if the graduating seniors in our group, who had no such prospects for the immediate future, might have the chance to spend some time in prayer for their own fates!


 Helen and I  were  advised not to climb to the Rock Fort, so we spent a peaceful hour at the Cathedral of our Lady of Lourdes (a famous Roman Catholic Church built in 1849.) We spent most of the time trying to sing along at a service of Indian  hymns. Soon, I became aware that I was saying the Lord's Prayer at the same moment the Indians were doing so, and we finished at the exact same moment.  A wait for our friendly bus allowed me an opportunity to see and enjoy the "hustle and bustle" of townsfolk engaged in their evening outings.



In Trichy at the Femina Hotel during breakfast I met  Professor Boyd Wilson and his group from Hope College, who had just come that night from Chennai by train, as we had two nights before, and had them all dressed in sari of various colors and designs. Boyd’s group was impressive and I pondered what it would have been like to bring 12 women all in Sari, spending the entire month of May in India and using public transport throughout the trip.  On reflection, I decided our way of travel and our clothing were more suitable to our group, for air-conditioned buses and jeans and shorts  were right for us.  But it was a delight to encounter Wilson's group staying in the same hotel and to imagine his group negotiating some of the places we visited.  Raja, our guide on this  on our second day with him,  led us through a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Rajarajeshwara  Temple in Tanjore with its huge octagonal cupola,.  It was finished a thousand years ago sponsored by the Chola ruler named Rajaraja I.  The temple was dedicated to Shiva and completed in 1010.  (I wondered how the temple survived over the ages).  Most students will remember the temple as where Catherine and Isabel bravely rode their first elephant.  Elsewhere elephants, when given fruit expressed appreciation by blessing or sneezing on our heads.  I guarded myself from such a sneeze by wearing my hat. But after my return to California my interest in these temples of South India has grown. The temple building in the South could be contrasted with the architecture we saw around Dehli, which were of mosques and memorials to Mughal rulers and their wives.  The Tanjore Temple led me to learn more about the Chola rulers.   The Chola people were entioned as a Dravidian people in the Ashoka inscriptions (3rd Century BCE).  A thousand years later the Chola rulers turned back the “hegemony of north India, and became “the most successful dynasty since the Guptas”. (4th and 5th Century CE) (Cf. Keay, p. 215).  I also realized that the temple building in the South exactly paralleled the development of the cathedrals in Europe with the movement from Romanesque church design to that of the Gothic.



 This  image, found on www.inmotionmagazine.com/pow/madurai_6018.jpg, captured the same scene we saw a hundred times each day from our bus window. Indeed, my major memories of India were of the small and narrow roads with the cows wandering down the middle of the road or pulling loads and of the agility of the drivers to avoid hitting animate beings or inanimate objects.  Both during the journey from Madurai to Pondicherry in the South, and from Agra to Jaipur in the North, I stored vivid memories as a rider in the front of the bus,  admiring the skill of the drivers who were finding order in the chaos.   Several weeks later, when I thought the trip was over,  I dreamed I was in the back of the bus zooming down a crowded road, but having no power to help the driver swerve out of the way of the next animal headed directly for us.




On arrival in Pondicherry, we stayed in the amazing Hotel Annamalai. The next day we found ourselves at the paper factory of the Aurobindo community buying   notebooks and stationery. At the Aurobindo Asram, we would learn about the important role Aurobindo played in modern Indian history, for he had studied Western philosophy and found links with ancient Indian writings.  Later he protested the role of the British, until he was imprisoned.  Thereafter, he went to the French Colony, Pondicherry, followed by many supporters.  Some of them and their descendents now live in Auroville, a l960’s style "Utopia,” with a curious mix of openness to and yet separation from the world. (Diagrams and images of Auroville may be found in Kamiya, p. 493 ).  Some students in our group debated the value of such a “Utopia,” others waited in the twilight until the engine of the bus would start.  But meanwhile, our bags back in the hotel had to be moved out of the rooms within the hour.  We “volunteers” were able to return to the hotel to pack



Our guide, Smrithoy Ghosh, managed to hail down an India Mail vehicle. As I joined him, I thought to myself as I climbed aboard, "I have never ever even ridden in a US Mail van”.   With Alex hanging out the door, held by my weakening left arm, we rode through the beautiful natural surroundings.  I loved that ride and the following one on an overcrowded country bus, which showed Alex’s good spirit as we headed for the hotel.




The next day in Mamamallapuram, we saw the “Descent of the Ganges” with carvings of elephants, yogis, and at least one cat. (left, bottom www.digivideo.fi/ kunzi/mamallapuram.html ).


            Just after seeing the ancient carvings, we walked less than 100 yards to a place where craftsmen were working.  This time, in contrast to the brick factory, we could watch not only the process, but we could buy from the craftsmen who were carving, almost in a style with instruments that looked a thousand years old in design.  Basham (l959) wrote that “much of the work of the craftsman was sold at the door of his workshop directly to the purchaser. Normally each craft or trade was concentrated in a separate street or bazaar, where the craftsman had his workshop, stall and home.”  In this comment, Basham was writing about India of the period just after Alexander the Great started home in the middle of the 4th Century BCE.  Thus, it seems, both the kinds of arts objects popular then and the life style of the craftsmen have survived.


Later with Priya as our guide, we went to the Shore Temple, which was built to honor Vishnu.  The class was informed that this was now an archaeological site, no longer a active temple, Thus we saw no one worshipping there, as we had see in the still active temples the previous days. Craven wrote that the Shore Temple is the “earliest known example of a stone-built temple in the South” and that it probably was placed there “to allow sailors to pay homage to the deity from their approaching boats. (p.151)


. We returned to the hotel for lunch, a swim, volleyball, a walk to see the destruction of the Tsunami. I was pleased to see the gifts sent from all over the world the form of new boats, some with names of the cities in Germany that had given these boats.  I was touched by the human spirit shown among the survivors and the generosity of the contributors.    Portrayed below from the Germans in Essen came help, nautical offering for those who survived the Tsunami.  




Alex learned from two fishermen that boats of the village had been washed away and several houses on the beach had been brought down by the huge waves, and they told us they were not allowed to enter the grounds of the hotel to bring us some purchases.  Helen wondered how they felt about us coming to their country to sleep and eat in a hotel complex they would not even be able to enter even to deliver some objects we bought.




That Saturday (Day 7 May 21) Pani arranged a most amazing dinner of our journey, with an excellent variety of food, with beautiful servers, and three musicians who smiled at us all through the meal.

The next daywe completed our week in the South with a flight from Chennai to Dehli.  Immediately on landing in the North, we saw huge contrasts to the South, with broad avenues and new roads leading from the airport through government buildings. There were Hindu temples here in the North, but our tour took us to the Old City and the Mosque Quwwat-ul-Islam ("The Might of Islam") started in 1193 under the Delhi Sultans.  This was the time of Muslim rule in Spain, also the time of Maimonides -the great Jewish philosopher - who moved freely from Spain to Egypt; and the time of Thomas Aquinas who was writing his Summa Theologica in Paris.  Several students said later that they felt we were not wanted in that mosque, but I had no such feeling.  Indeed,   I even tried to wash my feet as others were doing, but I  fell off the marble platform and had to be lifted to my feet. Catherine managed to get surrounded by a large group of admirers, who wanted to be photographed and see what they looked like on her little screen.


We thereafter went to the place where Gandhi's body had been placed for viewing before it was burned, when he had been killed by a Hindu who believed that Gandhi, on various occasions, had favored Muslims, in the movement toward national independence.  We were getting tired when we went to Humayun's Tomb, built  in honor of the second Mughal ruler in 1565, nor did we realize that we were on a quest to understand the several generations of his family and the contributions to Indian architecture we would view the next 4 days of our travel.   (Cf. Keay, John  the diagram “The Great Mughals.)



Then we met a huge traffic jam, caused by a bomb explosion in a movie theatre near our hotel, which meant we had to ride about 2 miles in "tuk-tuk"s as 3 of us climbed in each little vehicle.  The last nine of us waited in the bus while a host of watchers leered in at us.


Leaving early to avoid traffic out of Dehli, we headed for Agra (Day 9 - May 23) for what would be an exciting day of  artistic appreciation. We went to the Taj Mahal, built by Shah Jahan, in honor of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died giving birth to his 14th child in 1631.  Shah Jahan’s mourning led him to employ 20,000 workers for 12 years and spend 40 million rupees and 1,102 pounds of gold to complete the tomb in her memory.   Yet Shah Jahan’s son soon seized power; then thinking his father had wasted national resources, he had his father imprisoned across  the river in a little cell, from which he could still see his vision.  But perhaps Shah Jahan was, after all, quite wise in building such a memorial.  Think of how many tourists now come to the city to see the monument! It is certainly a more enduring legacy than spending the rich resources of his nation on a war half way around the world from which he had no “exit plan.”  Instead, his monument draws thousands each day to Agra, many leaving inspired by his love.  I have learned since that both father and son were lucky in wars but they had a huge military force which took 80% of the national  budget.


This image from India- Impressions of Agra (See. www.sights-and-culture.com/ India-Agra/Agra-1.html on Google) captures better than any other I found the other world  feeling of  a that special building.  In the construction of the Taj Mahal, no detail was too small to overlook.  The building is, indeed, “incredible.”  We felt quite  lucky to get to go back in a little group of less than 30 people to view it from 100 yards away in the moonlight, under very tight security.  Thanks here to Dean Dan Wacks for his support in this nocturnal event.




Leaving our hotel but still in Agra, we stopped at the Red Fort built by Akbar the Great in 1565.  From the portals of the Fort we could look out across the river to the Taj Mahal in the distance,  a couple of miles at most.  We were looking out of a building, built in the  "early eclecticism of Akbar  (looking toward) the sublime elegance of Shah Jahan," Akbar's grandson. ( DK Eyewitness Travel Guide, p. 170).  A photograph of Linette affirms her special appreciation  this day as she bowed in one of the portals, demonstrating her thanks to me for stepping forward that morning when a marriage proposal to her was offered.  She appointed me as "her grandfather-for-a-day" and I declined the proposal of the intent young man.  Wherever we went in India, she was taken by the natives of India to also be a native to that land.. Out of the portal below and past the bowing figures one can see the Taj Mahal in the distance. I wondered if Shah Jahan was imprisoned in this same room to view his magnificent contribution to the memory of his deceased wife.


Soon  we stopped again at Fatehpur Sikri, the capital city of Akbar's empire (1571-8)  until the lack of water drove the citizens to look elsewhere.  I enjoyed seeing the blending of Hindu architecture with that imported by the Muslims, as we looked at the separate quarters for the various queens- Hindu, Musllim and Christian.  The building was named in honor of a Sufi mystic, Salim Chisti, who foretold Akbar having a son from his Muslim wife. The prophecy came true, the son was named “Salim” at birth,(to later rule as Emperor Jahangir); and his birth made Akbar so thankful  that he walked 226 miles to Ajmer giving rejoicing along the way. ( DK Eyewitness, p. 183).  Later when his son crowned himself ruler, years before his father died, Akbar may have regretted his a long walk.


Our arrival at Jaipur that night meant we were rapidly coming to the end of our journey. Approaching the town at dusk, we saw people who had finished their work for the day climbing on top of buses, since all the seats and standing places were already taken.  Suddenly my eyes met the direct stare of a man in the bus, I wondered what he thought of the relatively few of us in the air-conditional splendor.  His stare gave no answer. .


            Students and faculty had engaged in informal chats, often in the aisles of the buses or on walks between buildings of high academic value, but in these last days we had class meetings in the hotel, as we had done our first leg of the journey in Kyoto.  In both countries we had presentations by students as to what we would see later in the day.    On the first morning in Jaipur we learned from Drew about the city of Jaipur, while our guide, Basant K. Sharna,   listened politely, but with amusement on his face; yet his attention to Drew gave him a better sense of our level of awareness than other less skilled guides that week seemed to have, several of whom had no sense of their audience. 



First, we went the Amber Fort, where we all rode elephants up to the top. Pani seems well dressed for the ride.  I needed my orange hat, but both of us would have looked more authentic had we worn turbans like the camel driver. 


  The l8th century building was a sanctuary of the Rajasthan Maharajas, whom we learned were Hindu, not Muslim, but whose allegiances to the Maghul emperors were trusted, and the Maharajas were given the right to guard the western flank of the empire.  In the Fort we saw art works blending European designs with native Indian ones, as in the tiny mirrors from France used in one of the small chambers. We saw separate quarters for the Hindu, the Muslim and the Christian wives of the maharajas.   Up there the breeze was strong and the view out the windows was wonderful.  The coolness of high elevation made me feel I was already back in California. Kiva captured for me the joy of this place as she danced through the courtyard where we had heard that dancers performed over the centuries. Although the present maharaja still lives in the City Palace, with the nearby observatory, I, if reborn as a maharaja, would prefer the Amber Fort in which to reside; and  even if I were to be reborn next time around as an elephant, I would hope to be able to swim in the lake below the Fort as this young elephant is doing.




At lunch our guide told me he was a Brahmin and asked if I knew what that meant?  I said, “Of course, it is like a Presbyterian in America!”  Seriously, I had studied about the castes of India and looked for chances to identify individuals I met with the castes I had heard about.  I also knew that the Indian Constitution made the castes illegal, but they still exist.  Later, reading Naipul (1972), who brings a radical critique of the caste system, I wished that I had spent longer with this Brahmin guide and representatives of the many other castes to understand the function of that ancient system in India today.  Certainly not all Brahmins are priests and teachers, and I thought to myself, “Good, this Brahmin is in a teaching role as our guide.”  The one book I bought on this trip was Naipul’s (2000) Half a Life, which deals with a Brahmin from India who goes to England to study English literature.  Not a typical Brahmin in his marriage, now was his father a typical Brahmin in India.    But that book by the 2001 Nobel Prize winner raised more questions than it answered for me about the caste system.  Perhaps another trip another year will allow me more reflection on this topic.


The topic of the relationship between caste and class has interested me for some years.  Clearly not all Brahmin men or women in India would  be from an “upper class” in the West.  But what is “middle class” in India?   That very topic was addressed in a newspaper while were traveling in India.  The author, Shashi Tharoor, commented on a survey done in New Dehli which divided Indian consumers into 5 classes as follow:  “very rich” (6 million people), “Consuming class” (150 million), “climbers”as a lower middle class (275 million), “aspirants” (having also 275 million) which would be “poor in America and Europe: and finally the “destitute” (210 million).  The article contained a number of items which the population of India would be buying such as bicycles, portable radios.  I can observe that only one Indian wanted to buy anything from me, my “U. of R.” hat which I traded for a booklet on the Taj Mahal.  I doubt that any of my students sold anything, for they, as I were, most the buyers.


After lunch we tried to figure out the astronomy of the Jantar Mantar which could measure the time down to a minute on a sun dial, and finally we entered the City Palace, where we saw texts of books we had read during the spring semester.   These were the books of the maharajas which were not only collected by the rich rulers, but some looked as if they had been read as well.   A copy of the Gita was there, and I found a copy of the Ramayana  there.  I looked for Weaver's Wisdom.  Gandhi's writings were there, as were Tagore's  for both texts had been studied in our Masterpieces of Asian Literature course while still in California. Yet in India I did not see any in a setting anything like that described by Endo in Deep River nor meet a guide like  Jumpa Lahiri described in Interpreter of Maladies. 



As a result of Kiva and Tessa’s modeling shown above, many  of us went shopping at the same place they had found.  Some of us watched in amazement at the beauty of the costumes on loan and the delight Kiva and Tessa brought to their work.   On our return to California, Helen and I both found ourselves reading novels as well as art history books about India.  One novel we both liked deals with Indian women buying sari, especially since we had not actually seen Indian women buying, only Americans.  We read that the shopkeeper could become very skilled about Indian women, who “otherwise strange and alien creatures to him…..(but)…he had learnt to read their expressions and their moods very accurately.  He could guess when they were definitely going to buy a particular sari” (Bajwa, p. 63).




  As in Japan, some of the most intense conversations between students and the sellers of goods took place when a sale was being made.  It seems here that all went away happy!  On that same day, we had another memorable meal in the Holiday Inn, Jaipur, where I got to swim morning, noon, and before dinner, but David seemed to enjoy most. his ice cream, which he later ordered for all of us.  Thanks, David, for your wonderful spirit all through the two weeks.  Perhaps it was the ice-cream you gave me, but even I bought another outfit to wear back in Redlands, this time at the a hat and shirt for the graduation ceremony in the Greek Theater, where four of our graduates walked- Defrim, Isabel, Linette, and Michael.




So we packed it all up; Amada portaged a special collection of treasures; and we went to the airport, flew to Delhi, then Singapore, then Tokyo, then LAX and in 40 hours with 30 hours of airtime we landed somehow the same day we left, exhausted, amazed and still pondering what we had seen .I am aware that two weeks is a short time in my own life and less than the blink of an eyelid in the history of India.  So two months after returning, I am trying to remember what I saw, smelled, and felt.  Already Helen and I are talking about what we might see on the next trip like the Buddhist sites of earlier times and the more recent settlements of the Tibetans, who fled China. We want to visit Bombay (Mumbai) and its film studios.  We long to see other places along the West Coast.  But again I wish to thank Pani who took us to his homeland, his hometown and even to meet his relatives and all the students whose energy lifted me to new levels; and to Catherine and David who inspired us all with their questions and their joy of travel, and to Helen, who encouraged me to make this trip by even going on it with me.  Finally, I remember those who offered us water, wherever we went.  This journey more than any in my life reminded me of the value of water for life!


By the time we arrived back in California just in time for the University graduate ceremony, I was somewhat confused be the time warp of 12 and one half time zones we had traversed in the thirty hours of flying time, and I would wake up for several days wondering what city or even country I was in.  But I knew I was changed by this trip and may never be the same again as I dressed for the graduation ceremony. (picture credit here to Dr. Julius Bailey, my colleague at the University of Redlands.)



Works cited:



Bajwa, Rupa (2004). The Sari Shop, Norton, New York.


Basham, A. L. (l954).  The Wonder that was India, Evergreen edition l959, Grove Press, New York.

Eyewitness Travel Guide-India,(2003  DK Publisher. The book was a gift from  Math and Computer Science Department at the Holiday Celebration from a drawing back in December gave the best diagrams of any source used in the commentary above.


The Hindu Magazine (Sunday, May 22, 2005.)


Hurst, John Fletcher (1891) Indika: The Country and People of India and Ceylon, Harpers, New York. This wonderful book was a Christmas present from Helen  to prepare for what we would see in May 2005, but it has proved to be more useful to read after the journey; for we could read what Hurst saw  century earlier.  Helen pointed out how much easier it was to sit and read about India in Redlands than it was to walk through the crowds, take off one’s shoes, stumble around the stones or elephant dung, and look up at the icons almost out of sight to experience India in reality. Indika, by the way, was the Greek spelling from  Megasthenes, the first writer to reveal India to Western peoples. 


 Japan Times Editorial (May 12, 2005).“The Meaning of Triumph over Evil.” p.18.


Kamiya, Takeo (l996). The Guide to the Architecture of the Indian Subcontinent, Aatsushli Saito Publishers, Tokyo. This wonderful gift from David and Catherine captured several of the places we visited and offered a quite different, an architectural, reflection of many places we visited and a haunting reminder of how much left remains of India to see.


Keay, John (2000).  India: A History, Grove Press.  See especially the diagram, “The Great Mughals,” p. 329 including Babur d. 1530; Humayun d. 1556; Akbar d. 1605; Jahangir d. 1627; Shah Jahan deposed 1658 after building the Taj Mahal and d. 1666; and Alamgir d. 170. .


Martel, Yann (2003).  Life of Pi,  Harcourt, Orlando, offers a memorable first chapter about his Hindu origins in India, followed by his attractions to Christianity and then to Islam, without appearing to find any conflicts in his movement.


Naipul, N (2000).  Half a Life,   Picador, Dehli.


Naipul, N. K.  (1972). India: Wounded Civilization.  Harper, New York


Rothermund, Dietmar (l982).  India,  with photographs by Ursula and Willi Dolder, St. Martin’s Press, New York.  Especially interesting were the comments on the power of the monsoon as a event which unlocks the culture of India.  But, alas, we saw no monsoon or even any rain, in May 2005.  In August 2005 more than a thousand people died in a monsoon aftermath the Bombay area.


Singer, Kurt (1973).  Mirror, Sword and Jewel: the Geometry of Japanese Life.  Kodansha, Tokyo.


Thompson, Walker (2005).  Unpublished  “Travel Journal:  Japan/India, (May 2005).


Tharoor, Shashitha (2005).   “Who is this middle class,:”  The Hindu (Sunday May 22, 2005) p. 3.  He also lists his website as www.shashitharoor.com which led me to find he has a bi-monthly article in the Hindu, but the website allowed me to see what he has written for the New York Times and the International Herald Tribune.


















Appendix A contains the list of assignments done in the spring and May terms for REL 411 “Masterpieces of Asian Literature:  The Crane and the Peacock.” Adapted from Blackboard




Narrative in Japan

Week 1 (Jan. 13) Kawabata, Y. (l954).  "Izu Dancer" ATLANTIC MONTHLY found in the reading packet. Write a two page study of any character in the story. also can be downloaded from this link: http://www.skoob.com/webzine/Kawabata.htm

 Week 2 (Jan 20.) Endo, Shusaku (1994). Deep River trans. by Van C. Gessel, New York: New Directions.  Assignment:  Write a dialogue between any character in this novel and the short story from the "Izu Dancer." (5 pages)




Indian writers-Tagore and Lahiri
Week 3 (Jan 27 )


The Gita

Week 4 (Feb 3)

Assignment for the portfolio is an imagined film script of the Gita


First Teaching Presentation

Week 5 -Feb. 10. Presentations of groups of 3 students to an imagined Junior High audience, meet in Tony Mueller's office in the Hunzaker Center, 2nd floor over the student mail boxes.

Portfolio should have your intended goals, methods, and some reflections on what worked and what did not.


Poetry, Drama, and Genji in Japan

Weeks 6, 7, 8, 9  (Feb 17. 24, Mar. 10 and 17)








Poetry, Drama and Genji in Japan


Week 6 (Feb. 17)Topic: Poets, Pilgrims, Priests and Buddhists.
Reading: Keene, [Anthology] pp. 76-81, 192-196, 314-321, 373-385, 1. In the selections which span centuries, changing political and religious outlooks, what abiding images persist?
2. What can be said about poetic form?
3. Do you find any poems in which a sense of sound contributes to the meaning of the poetry (In the Romanized Japanese)?
4. Do you find the Buddhist poets to be preaching? How?

5.  Writing Assignment:  Pick one poet from the list and write a letter nominating him for the Nobel Prize for literature.  This should be your most formal and yet gracious style.


Drama in Japan
Kenzaburo ( 18945 Bytes )


The woodcut above was a gift of Waseda University to me in the spring of l987 when I had completed a year of teaching and service to that amazing institution.

Week 7 (Feb 24)Topic: Drama and the Art of Noh and a comparison with Kabuki.
Reading: Keene,Anthology pp. 258-300.
1. How is Noh drama different if seeing it, or reading it?
2. How does this kind of dramatic experience differ with other such experiences you have seen in plays in the West?
3. What values emerge from the tests of Noh or from the performances you can see on film?

4.  Give a synopsis of the  Kabuki play we discuss.

5.  If drama is the "genre of your choice" start to research on both Noh and Kabuki, beyond the selections in Keene.

In the choice of genre to write about in a comparative way between Japan and India, another possibility would be of film.  If so look at the essay go Ozaki, Koji "Popular Entertainments of Japan" Atlantic Monthly (l954) pp. 148-151 in our syllabus.




The Ancient Period and its Poets



Week 8 (March 10) The most ancient written expression of Japanese Poetry.
Reading: Keene, Anthology .

Questions: In the "Manyoshu" what themes did you find that were dealt with already in the course, in subsequent times in Japan and elsewhere?
2. What new themes or "old" themes are not continued in later poems?
3. What do you find, even in the English translation, tha tmight suggest very deep roots of the human spirit?
4. Which is your favorite of the poems that you will wish to remember (perhaps memorize) as an indication of your mastery of one moment in Japanese literature.



Tale of Genji



Week 9 (March 17) "Elegance and Sadness; Ladies of the Court and their Men". Reading: Keene, Anthology. pp. 97-161.

Questions: 1. In the assignment writings of four different ladies are included. What do the four women have in common, from both a literary and psychological point of view? Which of the four might you be most inclined to spend an evening?

2. What about the men most interested in the four ladies, especially Lady Sei?

3. What kind of reaction does Lady Murasaki have to Lady Sei (p. 152)? What in turn is your reaction to her?

4. In the style of Lady Murasaki, compose a short descriptive piece of your own imagined court life

New Topic:  Lady Murasaki, "Tale of Genji". Questions: 1. What sense of abiding values do you find in Genji that we have seen already in other literature of more recent times?

2. What about her poems? How do you see the poems in the context of Japanese poems you have read?

 3. Some think the author’s greatest gift was in her use of narrative. How does she use this gift?

 4. Note the kinds of expression of religion to be found in the Genji. 5.

The assignment for this week is to prepare a summary of one chapter in the book as if a study guide to other students (hence, your audience) about the characters in your chapter, the major events which unfold, the religious suggestions, and what you might hope to see in Kyoto that might be the setting for your chapter.

Genji has been interpreted differently overt the last nine centuries. To some degree this represents changing taste of a classic. But what is your overall interpretation? One modern interpreter has written a "Tale of Murasaki", for a review of this imaginative book, click on the following web link:







Week 10-March 24
Presentation of Group Project to an elementary school--Portfolio should have the lesson plan and a reflection on what went right and what went wrong when you enacted it in Redlands


Week 11 Weaver's Wisdom –March 31
 Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami,( 1999)  Weaver's Wisdom India: Himalayan Academy. Compare the lifestyule of the "householder" with your own view of family life, also of "ministers.royalty and country or nation"  are these the same ideas that can shape our own Supreme Power Country (i.e. the USA).  As for the notion of "Destiny", how does that relate to our notions of religion and of God?


Portfolio's Due tonight

Week 12 (April 5)  Summary of the course.  Portfolio's of all compositions due in a binder( 30 points)

Genre paper also counts here.

The last 40 points should be achieved by writing in the journal you buy for that purpose, light and small



Final meeting before the airport
Tonight meet at the tennis court with your bags packed. We will carry our bags up and down the stairs to the Alumni House a couple of times to see how you handle all you plan to take, and I would guess you can cut down your luggage.


Departure for Japan.

We shall depart on April 26 on Singapore Airline flight SQ011 for Narita Japan, leaving at 1440. 








Golden Week in Japan
is one of great holidays in Japan.  So the first week in Japan we will be doing just what Japanese people (at least many of them) in visiting Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, Kabuki plays and long walks in the beautiful countryside.



Teaching English in Japan

Monday through Friday. We will travel together to many schools, quite early in the morning, often taken by our host families. On Sat. May 7 we will have a welcome party taking most of the day.  Each student should plan on standing on the stage to sing a song, give a speech in excellent English, or offer to the host families one of the short presentations as to what you will do next week in the schools where we teach. Your journal should reflect what you attempted and how you felt it worked.

The rest of this will be generally under the schedule of the Nagareyama International Friendship Association, who have offered us the wonderful home stays and a chance to teach their children in nearby schools  Only Sunday and/or Thursday will be free to do anything on your own.

 On Sun. May 8 we will have a chance to go to the Kabuki-za in Tokyo to see a play. You will have some chance to shop or meet anyone you know in Tokyo after the play.  Your journal for the day should capture the sense of Kabuki.



The India portion of the journey was send to you in a separate form in outline of the daily journeys and visits to the places in the South the first week and the North of India the second week.




Writing Assignments

 As preparation for our journey we will talk about the cultures and peoples we visit, especially the literature of Japan and Asia across many centuries and write essay, speeches, letters and a genre paper.   We will talk about what it is like to do community service.  We will eat some of the foods of Japan and India as a form of cross cultural experience as well.

Here are some other thoughts as we travel:

Travel in a spirit of humility and with a desire to meet local people in the places we go.

Be aware of the feelings of those we meet.

Listen and observe rather than giving your views.

Try to know local customs and respect them.

Remember that we are only visitors to the lands we visit.

Make no promises to local people that you cannot keep.

Spend time each day in reflection on your experiences  so as to deepen your understanding.

Write down your reflections each day before we start a new day.

Be positive in adverse moments. 

Try not to think too often of your home or dorm and compare things you see or feel.  If you want to be at home, why travel?

Remember the words:  "I am a human being, no place is foreign to me."




  (l). The final requirement  for Tony Mueller about our teaching and for Pani and Bill about what we are learning each day.   There will be oral reports each day as well on what was assigned, read,seen, touched, or tasted!