Monday, July 9, 2018

Capsule hotel in Osaka airport

When I first arrived at the Osaka airport, I had 18 hours before I was scheduled to be picked up I arrived at night and had a 24 hour flight so naturally I was tired, I was told to go to a capsule hotel by one of the professors at Shiga University when I emailed them that I would be in the airport for a long period of time. I looked up images on Google and honestly I was a bit spectacle because it looked like a sightly bigger dog kennel. But I was tired and wanted to lay down I found a capsule hotel in the airport. I have to say it was very comfortable I was surprised when I looked up and seen a plasma screen TV up on the wall they also provided a shirt and shorts to sleep in and slippers to walk around in. The showers  included full size face wash, body wash and shampoo it was nothing like the small travel-size shampoos and body washes that the hotels in the United States offer. I really enjoyed my stay!

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Hikone-jo Castle

A week ago I had the pleasure of visiting Hikone-jo Castle. The castle was home to the Ii family who were pilars of the Edo Shogunate government. The castle was built using materials from Mt. Hikone also known as Konki castle. One of the unique features of the castle is the way the stone walls were built using Koto rhyolites. While at the museum we saw robes worn to tea ceremonies, samurai gear and swords. We also visited the garden and the souvenir shop.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Food in Japan- Charvonne Johnson

I'm a foodie and I have to say that Japan has the best ice cream and sushi, I haven't eaten a food I didn't enjoy, I will post later with more dept about the food here in a later post and also the ramen you buy from grocery stores in Japan is every college student dream! One of my favorite grocery stores in Japan is called Valor. The 5th picture is a picture of the food in the cafeteria at the university I attend in Japan.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Food Safety in China

Hey Everyone,

I don't know about everyone else, but I am still sleeping a lot more than I did prior to the trip.  It hasn't been unusual for me to sleep until twelve on weekends.  I am sure part of it is jetlag and part of it is exhaustion from the trip.  Anyways, I wanted to touch base about some thing I learned in China.

The first is that the lack of health standards with food and beverage locations is far different than what we experience here.  Amazingly, I did not get sick at all while I was over there.  To my best recollection, I don't think anyone had any issues with the food.  The main reason for this is most likely due to our ages.  Everyone that was there was in a healthy immune state in respect to age.  However, elderly people and younger people would not have faired the same.  This is a common characteristic and needs to be taken into account in future travels.  Also, everyone seemed to be healthy prior to and during the trip other than Addison's migraine, which is not an influential condition to the immune system.  Another reason for our sustained health is probably just dumb luck.

If I had run into these forms of food and beverage vendors in the United States, I would have gone screeching for the door.  Maybe not in college or with enough alcohol in my system but any other time of course.  I think a major reason my reaction was not the same in China was due to the sense of relaxation associated with a vacation to another country.  Also, it probably was due to the regular existence of these forms of vendors, and the presence of so many other people frequenting these locations play.  In the United States, these types of shops are few and far between, which prevents them from normalizing to the same extent they were in China.

I don't know if anyone noticed, but I did not see any postings for health department standards and ratings in any of these locations.  I am sure the lack of visibility to this form of generally accepted scoring lowers consumer standards immensely.  In the United States, if I see a rating lower than a ninety, I begin to get skeptical about the food service standards.  Part of this is due to my background in food service and knowing the amount of violations it takes to get these scores.  If most people actually knew how much a restaurant can get away with because of a lazy health inspector, it would make them cringe.  Given what I know about standards over here, I really do wonder what went on in China's food and beverage vendors.

If anyone is interested in learning more about the food safety standards for Chinese Vendors see below: 

Thanks to everyone for an amazing trip.  I can't wait for the Galapagos Islands.

Jason Alpert

Long lost anime

Years ago an anime called Case Closed aired in the United States, this particular anime is very special to me because it's the first anime I watched as a child and is also the anime that got me interested in Japan. Sadly they stopped airing episodes in the United States, but new episodes are still airing in Japan, you can imagine my excitement when I walked into a uniform store for kids and saw this!

Friday, June 29, 2018

Honkoji Temple - Charvonne Johnson

Today in Japan I went to Honkoji Temple, I meet a priest who first explained the reason he became a priest. 25 years ago his father passed away leaving him to take care of his mother along with his wife, two sons and daughter, he worked as a business man for 20 years and a High School teacher for 30 years, when his children got married and moved out he then had more free time and he became a priest. The temple is over 100 years old, but got remodeled 10 years ago. There are 75 members that the priest visits at their homes and once a month the members go to the temple and read the book of Buddha, but everyone is welcome to visit the temple. I meditated and bowed towards Buddha. The priest also shared a poem written by a 25 year old woman who committed suicide, after her death one of her teachers found a book of her poems. The temple is made out of real gold and Cherokee wood.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Being Healthy

Whew! Is everyone else as glad to be settled at home as I am? I had an amazing time, but I’m glad to have adjusted back to my normal schedule. It’s hard to believe it’s been ten days since we got back.
One of the most common things I’ve been asked, since getting back, is whether the air was very bad where we were staying. I did not end up having a noticeable issue with the air quality myself (I did get a migraine, but those are common for me when my sleep schedule was disrupted), but it isn’t surprising that there is a substantial air quality issue in China itself. As so much of the population resides in densely packed urban areas and technology and industry have been developing rapidly over a short period of time, air pollution is an unfortunate side effect.
China itself is surprisingly health-conscious. In my reading before we left for the trip, I read some about the societal emphasis on caring for elder’s health, but there wasn’t much information on the societal structure towards health and care across all age groups. Being in China, I noticed many habits that the U.S. could pick up from China to help our own health crisis.
One of these habits is the diet based away from sugar-heavy foods. While our meals were huge while we were there, most of them focused on flavor and texture instead of being sweet or greasy, like many American foods. Furthermore, the U.S. can stand to move away from such meat heavy diets—while the foods that were given to us had a significant amount of meats, I noticed that many other people didn’t rely on meats as their primary source of protein. This is ideal for a country with a large population residing away from livestock areas. As the U.S. is looking at a similar urban movement (albeit significantly more slow-paced), we may need to take cues from other countries about our food consumption.
Another one of these habits is exercise as a form of social engagement (this is a topic I journaled about while on our trip). While America has some ‘social’ exercise or movement groups, like Aquacise and Yoga In The Park, the groups are less engaged towards differing age, gender, and economic demographics. In America, these exercise groups are often seen as a ‘necessary evil’ towards healthy behavior. In China, people who exercise socially seem to genuinely enjoy the behavior. The inclusion of exercise equipment and areas to all seniors without payment helps to both encourage healthy behaviors in the aging population, but also to help negate some of the classist issues that plague U.S. health struggles.
Lastly, the engagement of the aging community is so important, and we only got a glimpse of it. Socially engaging the elderly is shown to lessen depression, physically engaging them can delay osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, and heart issues, and mentally engaging them can help to delay dementia and other mental issues. In the visits we took to different historical sites, it was common to see aging people playing games, taking walks, and talking with each other. It was incredible to see people of all ages mingling and helping each other and themselves, and creating these spaces is one area where the U.S. can learn from China.

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