Henri sometimes visits parks around TUFS and tourist places in and around Tokyo and feels refreshed during his study break. There are many limitations under COVID-19 situation, but he is enjoying his life in Japan with friends at TUFS dorm from all over the world.
You can read his essay from below.
Japan has many tourist places as it also has many foods. I feel like I have tried to tour the whole of Tokyo. But often I meet new friends, I discover that there are many places and foods that I have not yet tried and discovered. I have visited the Sky Tree, Tachikawa, Ueno, Yokohama, Mount Takao, Odaiba, and various Shintoism and Buddhist shrines. These are not the only places because I am a fan of various parks and shops. Tokyo is really big.
Anytime and place I visited, I was having fun, learning, open to new things and new people. The most important of every place I visited, I went with new friends from Japan, French, Myanmar, China and Kenya. During all various visits, I had a chance to taste different new foods, I travelled using the train and this made me get familiar with it as well the train transfer system. I am very happy that now I can travel by train to everywhere. I am no longer calling Rodrigue and Shuntaro for company. Thank you, guys that have been passionate, to see me off when I could not be able to travel alone.
I was introduced to very tall buildings such as the Sky Tree and Sky Garden. These buildings are very creative to me. I am not used to tall buildings in my home country. Having these chances to travel to such places helped me to discover another view and perspective of the world. I think Japan is advanced in the arts. I have seen various high and tall bridges above the sea. Surprisingly when passing at the top, it is like you are standing down.
I also enjoy visiting various parks, particularly at weekends. Fuchunomori Park is my favorite park because I often meet "Sho", a child who is a friend to me. I always have a great time with him at this park. Actually, it is very difficult to meet and connect with children in the street of Japan. Weekends are special days when you can see families with kids together at the park. It makes me happy riding my bicycle around the park because it is lively. It impresses me to see each family grouped separately from others. I cannot see many children walking in the street going to school or in the market like Rwanda and Burundi. The park is the right place for people who like to spend time with kids in Japan.
I have made some family friends. I do visit them occasionally. One family is for my classmate. She is a mother from Indonesia who came with her family to Japan. She will be a PhD student after her research completion. It is a nice family, friendly with hospitality. I feel happy to get family friends because it makes me feel a sense of belonging.
There is an important thing I noticed about religion in Japan. I grew up in a society that views attendees of church services as a true follower of a certain religion. However, in Japan it is not the case. Religion is not discussed often in daily life. But for us religion is part of daily activities to many people. Therefore, I used to assume that the Japanese are non-believers. I proved myself wrong about that. When I visited various Buddhism and Shintoism shrines, I had been meeting many people, children, young and adults who are very sensitive and respectful of long spiritual traditions and practices at the shrine. At every shrine, five yen,"go yen", is the coin that plays an important role in connecting people and spiritual forces and different gods. I am happy to have tried these practices, it helps me to reduce prejudices and stereotypes and enhance my understanding of religion in Japan.