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fmf Fulbright Memorial Fund. American Teachers Visit Japan Summer 2001 Marie Urbanski. Summary of the FMF Memorial Fund Program.

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fmfFulbright Memorial Fund

American Teachers Visit Japan

Summer 2001

Marie Urbanski


Summary of the FMF Memorial Fund Program

In June of 2001, I was one of two hundred educators selected from across the United States to participate in a three-week study visit to Japan. Funded by the Japanese government, the aim of the program was to provide the educators with first-hand opportunities to experience Japanese culture and education through school visits, seminars, and home stays. I visited museums and historic landmarks in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Kamakura, and even had the opportunity to stay in a Japanese inn (ryokan).

After a one-week program in Tokyo, we were divided into groups of twenty and sent to specific cities in Japan. I was sent to Noshiro where I visited local schools and spent a few days with a host family.

I truly enjoyed my stay in Japan. Through these slides, I wish to share some of the highlights of my trip with my students.


Overview of the 3-Week Program

  • 6/17 Orientation in San Francisco

  • 6/18-19 Travel to Japan

  • 6/20-22 Meetings in Tokyo

  • 6/23-24 Free Time in Kyoto & Kamakura

  • 6/25-7/3 Visits in Noshiro City, Akita

  • School Visits

  • Home Stay

  • Ryokan Stay

  • 7/4-6Wrap-Up Meetings in Tokyo


This was my FMF group of 19 who were to be sent to Noshiro City for school visits.


I made some very good friends.


In Tokyo, we traveled a lot by subway.


The Diet Building

This is the chamber of the House of Representatives.


Tokyo Tower


We toured the area around the Imperial Palace.


Sensoji Temple is Tokyo’s oldest temple. It dates back to 628.


Tsukiji Fish Market


Auction of tuna occurs at 5 am!


Sashimi anyone?


Koto and Shakuhathi are traditional Japanese instruments.

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Kyogen Performance


Kabuki Theater


Geisha wear beautiful kimonos.


The bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto can reach speeds of 187 mph.


Higashi Honganji Temple is Kyoto’s largest Buddhist temple made of wood.


Nijo Castle in Kyoto was built in 1603 entirely of cypress.


The Temple of the Golden Pavilion was constructed in the 1390’s as a retirement villa for a shogun (military dictator). It is covered with gold leaf.


The Heian Shrine was built in 1895 to celebrate the 1,100th anniversary of the founding of Kyoto.


Worshippers can post their prayers on a board and leave them at the shrine.


A visitor to the shrine can purchase a fortune paper. If it foretells a bad fortune, the paper is tied to this bush and left at the shrine.


The Heian Shrine is surrounded by beautiful gardens.


The main hall of Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto is constructed over a cliff. The height and view are magnificent.


This is the Torii Gate to the Shrine of the Great Buddha in Kamakura.


The Great Buddha is 37 feet high and weighs 127 tons. It was built in 1252.


The Great Buddha is surrounded by gardens.


A store front in Kyoto extends good wishes for a good life.


The mayor and the superintendent of schools welcomed us to Noshiro City.


Noshiro is a port city located on the northwest coast of Japan.


This Buddhist Temple in Noshiro is made entirely of local woods.


This Buddhist monk showed us the proper way to sit when praying.


Energium Park houses a botanical garden.


The Botanical Garden


The Kazeno Matsubara-Pine Field Forest


Rice fields


The Nebuta festival is celebrated in August.

A thousand years ago huge floats like this were used by the central government to frighten the local tribes into submission.


Huge kites are also used during the festival.


Every school we visited made us feel welcome.


Children even asked us for our autographs!


Outdoor shoes are not worn inside the building.


An elementary school science classroom


Students are assigned jobs at their school. They take turns serving lunch.


Other students sweep floors or clean the chalk boards.


The elementary school students performed a special music assembly for us.


The junior high school building was 1 year old and made entirely of cedar.


Middle school students performed an experiment in which they generated carbon dioxide gas.


High school biology students prepared cross-sections of pine needles in order to observe the stomates under the microscope.


Local cedar is used to make barrels for storing sake and for making drums.


This was my host family in Noshiro.


I was taught calligraphy and Japanese cooking.


I learned about a traditional tea ceremony and how to use a pottery wheel.


We drove along the northwest coast of Japan.


We looked out at the Sea of Japan.


This lake is blue because of its copper content.


We stopped for a traditional Japanese meal.


Tempura, fish soup, and sashimi were served.


FMF took us to a ryokan – a Japanese bath house with hot springs.


We celebrated the holiday together.


We had fun times.


Finally, it was time to say good-bye to a wonderful group of friends.


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