Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tokyo Notes

Random thoughts on many things...

Wed. April 30, 5 AM, Tokyo time (which is 4pm, Tues., Apr. 29, NY time)

Leaving tomorrow early to start heading home. Plane takes off at 11 AM and we arrive in NYC at 10:30 AM, a half hour earlier than we left. Will I be a half hour younger?

I came to Tokyo as part of a group to assist with the Asian Open FIRST LEGO League tournament. The event ended Tuesday afternoon after 3 intense days. As a first time referee I was in the middle of a lot of the action and there's a lot to say about FLL, robotics, etc.

This trip also turned into a unique opportunity to interact with a great variety of adults and children from all over the world. So much has gone on, it is hard to contain all of it. We have also been on the constant run - I'm leaving soon to meet the teachers and kids from Little Red Schoolhouse from Manhattan for a trip out of town to a giant Buddha. But more on that later. (Note- I'm using a borrowed computer and the browser is in Japanese, so there will be lots of typos which I'll fix when I return.)

There's lot to write about - including some of the observations I've had and many educational conversations I've had with Europeans and Asians and Americans. We had 2 contrasting NYC middle schools here - one public school from the Bronx and the other a private school from Manhattan and I had a bit of perspective from talking to the teachers and observing some of the interactions between the kids, especially last night when we all had dinner together. We were joined by one of my traveling companions from NYC, who is of Japanese descent but born and raised in Brazil but also lived in Japan for 9 years. After dinner a few of us met up with a group of Europeans from the Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark in the bar.

This posting will keep a running account over the next few weeks as things come back to me.

Last Saturday there was a planned excursion to a temple, followed by lunch and then onto an area of Tokyo known as electronic city - think of a thousand B&H's and J&R's piled on each other block after block - plus assorted other stuff like the old Canal Street hobby shops. Geek heaven. Back to that later.

About 200 kids and the adults with them milled about the lobby at the Keio Plaza hotel. The teachers from Little Red -Sherezada, Karen, and Steve finally met Gary who works with the Ridder Kids from the Bronx to hand over the $1200 they raised from bake sales to help out the Ridder Kids.

We were part of a group that never signed on, so there was no room on the buses.

...to be continued

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