Week two came and went fairly quick. Last Tuesday we opened signed up for an alien registration card and health insurance… the process was fairly quick in comparison to CA DMV. Then we signed up for a bank account. This was much harder than the papers we filled-up. I found that there is a different way of writing the year I was born… I was born in 1986 but I believe I had to write down “61” which didn’t make sense to me but I will ask to find out… then English names must be written in all caps and the katakana name above it… then I must write my address in kanji because I can’t write it down in English… Then I had troubles because I have 2 first names, then my substitute tutor wrote down her address instead of mines… and then the year confusions again… then the stamp vs. signature dilemma… so basically the 15-20min process of opening a bank account became an hour ordeal between the teller and my substitute tutor and I, plus 6 bank forms with minor mistakes on it. But everything got resolved eventually… but pretty much the same thing happen when we were getting our mobile.
The next day I met up with my tutor at his office/ house in Sakurazaka. He showed me his and his wife’s work. He is an architect and his wife is a lighting designer. We had tea and got to know each other’s background then had lunch in a Chinese restaurant. Then I explored Tenjin area, specifically ACROS Fukuoka and went to my new favorite store Muji were I got reasonably priced house hold items that are well crafted. Then I came back to their office/home and had dinner while watching the trees sway and listening to the howling winds of the typhoon that passed Kyushu.
Thursday, I turned in my project and signed up for another class in industrial design. This class is quite interesting because I really want to know more about the thought process that comes in designing a certain product. Plus I really liked that I am the only foreign student in the class so the experience of going to school in Japan is much more pure in a sense… and since I am the only one who speaks English, so my sensei hand wrote my syllabus… which basically said project 1: design for play. Due on November 6, and then November 7 to February 2010 design for a museum…
Friday, is the day that we presented our proposal for our urban planning town project. I personally think I bombed the presentation because I was one of the first ones that presented and I got a little nervous and confused because I didn’t know whether I should speak in my broken Japanese or English… but anyways this is my proposal and please critique it… [ps. Its just a proposal no drawings or diagrams just brain storming ideas]
My proposal is to design a children’s park that employs the architectural language that the town has. Since the town has a problem of people leaving the area, I thought that the program that I will add to this town should cater to the community rather than the tourism. I thought that there were a lot of places that are geared towards the tourists first then locals second. Then another observation that I had in this town is that I hear children playing, I hear them laugh, I hear them watching tv but you don’t see them… So in order to solve these issues, I thought of targeting the children with a public space that is for them because I thought that if they make a personal connection [fond memories… random stories.. a couple of scars from playing] with this town they will have less inclination to leave the place and if they do, this personal connection will draw them back in. Architecturally speaking I am going to employ the idea of these little streets/arteries in the park that I am going to design. I would like the children to feel this sense of discovery as they occupy and play in the space. So the entire park would seem like a maze which leads to different destinations within the park. By the way the site that I chose is on the other side of town where the residences are located. A kindergarten is also nearby plus this area seemed to be the loudest one in terms of children playing indoors.
Saturday is the day I got lost… in a good way, I woke up early to run or should I say walk errands. I needed a bicycle, kitchen tools i.e. pot, pan, knife.. and grocery. So I thought instead of taking the train to where I’m going, I should just walk it… to see the neighborhood and what not.. but I ended up in these residential area with little streets that threw my sense of direction, so I just continued on walking. Two hours passed then I got to somewhere familiar, the Hakata JR Station. Then I decided to blow off the errands that I need to do and just explore the city. So I walked until something catches my attention (which is not very hard I may add). I had lunch in a local “hole in the wall” ramen shop for Y500, walked into 3 temples and the Fukuoka Museum of Asian Art. In the museum I saw students from my laboratory managing a project called the “Fukuoka Really… Really Free Market” which is basically a store that you can take anything you want for free and in return you leave something back. Unfortunately I didn’t have something to give back so I didn’t participate, but I will comeback especially when I know that it is only a couple of hours of walking (hahaha)..
[Koen = Park nearby my dormitory]
[Temple 1... near Hakata Eki = Train Station]
[Temple 2... a couple of blocks away from temple 1]
[A monk painting names/prayers on roof tiles because Temple 3's roof is under renovation]
[temple 4... its in the midst of commercial district in Hakata]
[Fukuoka Really... Really Free Market!!!]