The 1971-72 Global Semester, Day by Day

Monday, December 27, 1971

Our flight left today just about on time for once (4:30 PM) and we arrived at the kaikan at 9:30 PM. They didn’t weigh our hand baggage and only spot-checked our baggage so we got all of our contraband books out OK. We had a good flight. JAL has very efficient service, clean planes, good food, and cheap liquor.

At the airport we learned that St. Olaf had not sent our room and board payments to Japan until recently so that we will be hit badly by the dollar devaluation.

The kaikan is an ultra modern structure.

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We’re 5 or 6 to a room, tatami style.


The toilets are the bombsight “hit or miss” style and they smell like a lot of people have missed.


Tuesday, December 28, 1971

We had to get up at 6:30 today and go the Buddhist worship service at 7:00 at the Chishaku-in Temple next door. We all nearly froze to death. The thing was all Japanese Gregorian chant. Very interesting but boring after an hour or so. Afterwards, they showed us around the place (the gardens are 600 years old) while our stocking feet froze in the 30° cold. They gave us some pamphlets, green tea, and some puffed paper cookies.

We were sure glad to get back to breakfast. Breakfast here is one boiled egg, fruit, a bottle of milk, and toast. There are only 3 toasters, which are agonizingly slow, so we have to stand around and wait to get ours done.

This afternoon we met some students from the English Conversation School at the university. Don and I were with three girls: one is a pharmacist, one is an English Lit major, and the third is studying dress-making at the university. They took us to some temples and downtown to a nice place for hamburgers. We got back about 5:30. They’re taking us out again tomorrow afternoon.


It’s in the 30’s here and breezy and we’re just not used to it. I’ll have to buy some mittens tomorrow.

The baths are great but you start to get heat stroke after sitting in them for awhile. Tonight Erika and I were sitting in there and were about to leave when two Japanese ladies came in with two little boys.

{from Marylou}

Wednesday, December 29, 1971

Today we went with Keiko Fujimura and Tomoko Fuji to Daitoku-ji (Daisen-in Temple) where they have some very well-known Japanese gardens.


They took us to a restaurant for some Japanese food: sushi and some rice and cucumber rolled in seaweed and some shrimp, octopus, and raw tuna. It was OK but all cold and the rice was very sticky.

At the temple a man served us whipped green tea which was very good. He put some powdered tea in each cup, added some water, and mixed it with what looked like a shaving brush.

The Japanese girls who are staying with us are really sweet. Marina is living with Cork, Terry, Ann, Melanie, and me.

Thursday, December 30, 1971

We had our tenth major Narum lecture today. This one was on Buddhism.

They give us 616 Yen a day for food and we haven’t been spending that much so we can use it for other things.

We had our second local lecture was today, this one on Japanese Modernization. Our students haven’t much appreciated these first two lectures. Book reading, letter and journal writing, sleeping, etc., are prevalent during lectures.

In the afternoon we went shopping downtown with Paul and Dirk.

Friday, December 31, 1971

Today we went out with Yaeko, Tomoko, and 2 guys to the Heian Shrine and the Gosho Gardens. It was a splendid day. Our “guides” insisted on picking up all of the bills.


Some of us went to a nearby restaurant for a small dinner before returning home for various parties and frolics.

Saturday, January 1, 1972

Mrs. Narum had a FYORP party last night (Furnish Your Own Refreshments Please). We played some excellent games: a define the word game and an ink blot game. After that, people gathered in groups and the drinking began. We didn’t buy a big enough bottle of wine to get drunk but it was fun watching everyone else. "Person A" was giving everyone snuggies. "Person B" lay out on the grass for hours before he came back in hiccupping and muttering “damn” or “shit” between hiccups. "Person C" got really funny, talking with a Japanese accent. We finally got to bed at 2:00 AM. "Person D" never came back until this morning.

I didn’t accomplish anything today.

Sunday, January 2, 1972

Another lazy day. In the afternoon we took pictures of the kimonoed Japanese ladies visiting Chishaku-in.


Monday, January 3, 1972

Our lectures today were on flower arranging (ikebana) and kimonos.

Tuesday, January 4, 1972

The lecture today was on Japanese gardens.

Wednesday, January 5, 1972

Today our lecture was on Japanese architecture.

Don, Cork, and I went to a house for tea. It was traditional Japanese with sliding doors and tatamis but with chairs in the parlor, a TV set, and a modern kitchen. The house was made entirely of wood. It had originally been on another site and 7 years ago had been taken apart and reassembled, piece by piece, on the present site. They didn’t think the move was unusual. The hosts were both in their 60s but looked younger. They had been charged by the mayor of Kyoto with the responsibility of entertaining tourists. The hostess was so dainty, perfectly fixed up and gracious, a very proper Japanese lady. He was an English professor at the university. Both were a little hard of hearing. He did all the talking but we could tell that she understood everything that we said. She had an American cookbook (The Joy of Cooking) and a French cookbook, both of which she could read, and she made us chocolate eclairs and fruit bread! She served us and he showed us how to drink the tea (whipped green tea ceremony). They showed us their family album. She is of the Ashikaga family, a noble one who built the Golden Pavilion and Silver Pavilion here in Kyoto. That’s 36 generations of direct line and she is the last one because her father had no sons. Another interesting thing is that they have Christian weddings in their family. Officially, their family is Buddhist, however.

Thursday, January 6, 1972

We had a discussion/lecture for the Narum class on Japanese history and feudalism.

Friday, January 7, 1972

We visited three or four temples in Nara today. Our guide had to speak through an interpreter and was poor. By the end of his talk at each place he had few listeners left. The temple with the deer was entertaining – because of the deer.


Saturday, January 8, 1972

Don and I got our own room today. These rooms are very comfortable for two people. I don’t mind living on the floor but Don can’t sit on floors very well.


I’m finally getting use to the toilets here but it seems like they smell worse every day.

Sunday, January 9, 1972

People are getting edgy. Last night there was some sort of crisis concerning rooms and roommates among the girls.

Monday, January 10, 1972

We went out with our Japanese student friends again. We stopped at the Northwest office in the International Hotel to make reservations for our flight to Minneapolis. Then we visited Nijo Castle.


Afterwards we went to a Japanese restaurant, casual type, where we sat on the floor and fried our own “Japanese pizzas” on a table-like grill. They consist of flour paste, cabbage, an egg, some spices, and some thinly-sliced meat. They were good but had ginger in them which I can’t stand.


Tuesday, January 11, 1972

We had a bus tour of Kyoto. First we had a class lecture by a potter at his studio. After lunch we went to the Imperial Palace, the Moss Temple Garden, and Ryoanji. The weather was bad.


Wednesday, January 12, 1972

Our lecture this morning was on Japanese literature: novels and poetry.

This afternoon we did some shopping downtown and ate at the Asahi Beer Hall.

On the corner of Shijo and Kawaramachi streets in Kyoto is a large pollution meter which measures CO concentration in ppm, usually 14-18.

Thursday, January 13, 1972

We had our last major Narum lecture today. Zen Buddhism vs. Pure Land Buddhism.

Today the local lecture was on Japanese drama (Noh plays, kabuki dance).

We eat every night in a little “greasy spoon” restaurant down the street. It’s family run and has a few small tables and a TV set. We order something cheap and sit and stare at the cartoon or adventure shows which are all, of course, in Japanese. Some are just like our shows and some are quite Japanese (e.g., people fighting with karate or swords).

Friday, January 14, 1972

The Japanese students who have been so kind to us during our stay held a party for us. We had to get up and perform so we sang our old stand-by: “Swing Low” and led them in some others like “Michael.” It was pretty lousy. We don’t sound too bad if we practice with Mrs. Narum but we hadn’t practiced since India.

Saturday, January 15, 1972

We have been working on Narum’s stuff yesterday and today.

Today we went across the street to Sanjusangendo where the annual archery tournament was being held. The contestants, using odd, asymmetrical bows, shot at targets about 130 yards (temple length) away.


Sunday, January 16, 1972

I’ve got all my reading done now and 3 questions written so I’ve just got my long essay left to write.


Monday, January 17, 1972

The lecture today was on Japanese literature "from a comparative point of view."

Tuesday, January 18, 1972

I have just finished my paper for Narum and Mary is recopying hers. We have been working on them for a couple of days now and are glad to be finished. The course was excellent.

Today our group visited the Urasenke tea school. We learned the importance of sliding doors, paths, ceilings, tokonoma alcoves, and tokonoma pillars.


Wednesday, January 19, 1972

The lecture today was on Japanese Buddhism.

Thursday, January 20, 1972

We’re done with classes and it’s nice to have nothing important to do. Mrs. Narum is sitting on the floor in the hall playing Monopoly with Marylou and a couple of others. One of the girls is trying to sell rings and baskets that she has bought because she’s broke.

We’re worried that our luggage will be overweight and that we’ll have to pay extra. None of the airlines has weighed us yet. Our standard policy is to scatter when we get in the airport and Dr. Narum tells the airline people that we’re all over the place and it’ll be hard to find us to individually weigh our stuff.

Wrote letters. Read David Narum’s Hardy Boys book.

Friday, January 21, 1972

{from kaikan hosts}

Saturday, January 22, 1972

We had our party last night. They had a college bowl game with questions based on things on our trip. Don was on the winning team with Kit and Ellen. After that, Rosie and Jim did their dirty old man (Tyrone Horneye) routine

{from Marylou}

and Jeff, Ann, Paul, and Jim sang “Green Grow the Lilies” in country western style. Mrs. Lokken, a former Ole, sang some cute songs that she made up about lizards on walls and water buffalo. Don and I drank almost a whole 550 ml of Akidama wine and I got pretty dizzy. The room spun counter-clockwise for about 2 hours afterward. I don’t think I’ll ever drink that much again.

Each of the group received an “award.” Mary’s was for consecutive days of abstinence during a honeymoon. I received two: the Father Flanagan award for enforced celibacy and the John Cameron Swayze award for my continually reminding everyone, whether they asked or not, how long it was in days and hours until we reached Minneapolis. Mrs. Narum won the Pat Pepsodent award for the effect of her teeth gleaming off the glazed eyeballs of airline officials. One of the girls got a book award of “Only Through Surgery”, published by the Preparation H foundation.

This morning Mary and I slept in and ignored the kaikan’s chime wake-up routine, skipping the early morning Buddhist service that was expected of our group.


Our flight to Tokyo was pretty good. We got seats on the left side so we could see Mt. Fuji. The dining room here is really fancy with candlelight and dinner music. Our dinner cost 2200 Yen (about $7). Real steak!

Sunday, January 23, 1972

Our tour today was pretty boring. Half a dozen people didn’t go at all and several of those who did go left at the first chance. We’re just templed-out now. Most of the group is broke, tired, and anxious to get home.

We walked around the outside wall of the imperial palace, which wasn’t as nice as the one in Kyoto. Then we went to the Tokyo Tower where we paid 250 Yen for a view of the smog. Then we saw the Olympic ice rink and the National Museum which wasn’t much better than the one in Kyoto.

Kit has been almost left several times because she gets so absorbed in her new camera. Today she was left. We went back and got her though. She could never have found her way back by herself. She’s usually so sensible and responsible that it’s hard to get mad at her.

Monday, January 24, 1972

Today we went shopping on the Ginza. We have to be checked out at 12:00 tomorrow so we’ll just sit around and be bored until we leave at 7:30 tomorrow night.

Tuesday, January 25, 1972 (first one)

We went down to the Sony building and looked around. The smog was terrible and gave me a terrible, throbbing headache. The rooms don’t have any ventilation and opening the windows only lets in the pollution and the noise. I got unbearably hungry about 3:30 and went down to McDonald’s. We had to check out at noon so only 2 rooms were open to put our hand baggage in and to rest in. I just had to take a nap so I went in the girls’ room which had people two to a bed and on the floor. Eventually I got a corner of a bed and slept for a couple of hours. My headache only got worse, however, and my stomach got upset from the aspirin. When it was finally time to go at 7:15 I didn’t think I was going to make it. I took some Dramamine but it didn’t seem to work. I got up the stairs at the terminal and thought I was going to throw up so I just sat down on the floor with all my baggage and told Don to find a bathroom. He did and I ran into it and just then it disappeared and I felt fine! The Dramamine must have just taken effect. My headache was still there but it left soon after we took off. The flight itself was good. We each had 3 seats to spread out on. I slept about 4 hours.