Ben and I also learned a few new cultural nuances that I never even would known. Schools in Japan were originally founded on buddhist grounds, so many buddhist practices have carried over and are observed as part of daily school life in Japan. It is essential that you have a pair of shoes for use only inside the school, it is important to participate in the cleaning at the end of the day, and it is very taboo to wear the bathroom slippers anywhere but in the bathrooms. You should avoid showing the bottoms of your feet to someone, and sitting positions such as crossing your legs while sitting are not acceptable because someone might have the bottom of your foot pointed at them. All of these practices are carried over from buddhism, and although religion is a strictly forbidden topic in class, many of the rituals are still observed.
I was glad to learn that nutrition is very emphasized here in Japan. Foods not considered healthy are not allowed on campuses by teachers or students. Even fruit is considered a sometimes treat, and is not to be brought in as a part of your meal. It is not encouraged that we bring in any outside food or beverages, and coffee should be at home only.
Overall the day was very informative. We got to meet a lot of exceptional people. I am really excited to get started.
Trains are the blood stream of this country. Cultural epicenters are based around stations, directions are based on distances from the stations, and transportation is generally by trains. The culture about the trains is very different than any metro I have been on, the most noticeable thing being that they are very quiet. It is forbidden to talk on your phones on the trains, people talk in quieter voices to each other on the trains, and even the trains themselves are much quieter than anywhere I have ever been. They are also one of the few places with heat control. This creates a perfect place to fall asleep. I would say about one out of four people sitting on a train are asleep. Ben and I have also been very impressed by people standing up, but asleep. It is not a taboo thing here at all, all types of people are asleep on the trains. I'm not sure how Japanese people are ever on time, I have no idea how they don't miss their stops.