Experiencing Japan (Without Jetlag)

On Thursday, November 15th, I went to Vancouver with my Japanese class and the Japanese class from the Senior School. I experienced many new and interesting things about Japanese culture. For example, I learned about Japanese calligraphy, origami, and I even experienced a Japanese dollar store embedded in the heart of an Asian mall. Starting in the morning, I had an amazing time despite the early, (5:30 am!) departure.

First, we started our trip at the Japanese Heritage Language School, a white building that had a spectacular view of the beautiful, snow-capped mountains. Ascending up to the fourth floor, I experienced the complicated, but graceful, art of calligraphy. I learned that it takes fifteen minutes to prepare the ink for the brushes. Since that took too long, we used bottled ink. I wrote characters such as Monday and Friday. It was extremely hard to keep the brush from shaking as I began my long strokes. In the end, I had a great time and I was wishing that we had more time to practice.

In addition to the intricate calligraphy, we also learned a Japanese folding art called origami. The people at the station patiently helped us in creating a paper crane. I folded step-by-step and finally, I could see the resemblance of a crane. It was interesting how every fold had to be precise and accurate. I had lots of fun; however, I don’t think I could remember how to make another crane.

Lastly, we headed to Aberdeen Centre, a colourful glass building that is an Asian-style mall. It was extremely modern with beautiful architectural design. I was astonished even before I entered the heavy, glass doors and stepped carefully onto the polished floor. As I progressed further into the mall, I stared, fascinated by the beautiful fountain in the centre. The water shot up almost two floors high; colourful lights shone onto the water giving the effect of a perfect rainbow and a magical scene. After gazing at the fountain, I went to the Japanese Daiso. Everything that you could possibly want was in the store. It was two stories and approximately 26,430 square feet. I explored the store with disbelief as there were so many fabulous things. Although, the hardest part was reading the price tags as most were in Japanese. I could have spent hours in the Daiso and several days in the stunning mall.

In conclusion, the trip to Vancouver exceeded my expectations, and I would love to go again. Japanese calligraphy, origami and going to the Japanese Daiso in the Aberdeen Centre added another exciting page to my life. Indeed, I learned many things about Japanese culture and had a memorable experience.

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