Arriving in Sendai

After almost a week in Tokyo, it's time for us to experience more of Japan! This morning, we checked out of our hotel and made our way to the train station. We were going to the next stop on our itinerary: Sendai. After mastering the trains and subways around Tokyo, we finally took the Japanese bullet train. We boarded the bullet train and, once it took off, it was surprising to feel how smooth the ride was. During the trip north from Tokyo to Sendai, the train reached a top speed of over 300 kilometers per hour. This is probably why the ride seemed so short, even though we were traveling quite a distance. After reaching the Sendai station, we walked to our new hotel to check in before moving on to learn about an important recent event in Japanese history.

In 2011, an earthquake off the Pacific coast of Japan resulted in a tsunami that brought destruction along the coastline east of Sendai, causing mass flooding throughout the region. This event has become known as 3/11. We visited the Sendai 3/11 Memorial Community Center to learn more about the event as well as the progress made in recovery efforts following the disaster. We were also able to talk to someone who had been caught in the middle of the flooding and who was able to share her experience with us while answering any questions we might have. It was incredibly powerful to see what that region had experienced and what was left of such a large region. Although this was not originally part of our itinerary for the day, I believe that all of us were glad that we were able to make the trip today.

For dinner, we met with Professor Orion Klautau, an Associate Professor of Japanese Studies at Tohoku University. We tried a wide variety of foods that are particularly well known in Sendai, one of them being cow tongue. I can understand why it is so popular and famous in the region, because it was one of our class' favorite parts of the meal. I think we are all looking forward to seeing more of Sendai tomorrow as we continue our experience in Japan.

A timeline displayed in the 3/11 Memorial Museum in Sendai, Japan.
Students prepare to eat a Japanese meal during their first night in Sendai.