南山大学

 

International student's Japan experience report Tour of Seto city

Luis Carlos Vargas

Kansas, United States of Amarica

My friends and I, in total four international students, set out on our trip to Seto, a city adjacent to Nagoya, on a Sunday morning. Our first visit was to the Aichi Prefectural Ceramic Museum. There we learned about the historical role Seto had in Japanese ceramics as one of the main centers of pottery in the country. During our visit, two museum volunteers helped us with explanations of the history of pottery in Seto and the ceramics we were looking at. From the pottery I saw, the types I enjoyed the most were those in the shape of animals, which had a really good look because of the ash glaze, and the bowls with a variety of bright colors and plant designs. There was no time to see the entire museum collections, but at the end of the visit we even found some pottery from my own country, Peru and some others.

Our second stop was at a small pottery museum which also sold various ceramics. On the way to it we walked on a few narrow streets which had been nicely decorated with ceramic tiles of different shapes. The tiles were placed on the walls of the houses and shops, and in a way they were like the signature of each shop. Being there one could imagine one was really in the past, where locations like this must have been more common all over Japan.

We stopped for lunch at an udon restaurant. I had a great udon and tempura meal. I think all four of us thought the meal was delicious, I know for sure I did.

After lunch we arrived at a pottery center where we got to make pottery ourselves! The sensei made the use of a potter’s wheel seem extremely easy, but of course this was just an illusion. I had originally tried to make a cup, but ended up settling for a bowl, after destroying my half-made cup a few times. After that, since we were allowed to make three pieces of pottery, I was able to finally make a cup, but with help from the sensei. As of the day I write this, I am waiting for my cup and bowls which will soon be returned to us after firing so I can start using my own hand-made pottery!

This was my first year in Japan, and therefore I had not seen the kouyou, or fall foliage which is so beautiful here. Our last stop at a park in Seto was my first experience seeing the extent to which trees really offer such a variety of colors at the same time. Because of the time of the day and the lighting, looking at the momiji from different places, such as from far away or from under the tree, would make the colors of the leaves appear slightly different!

I had a great time getting to know Seto together with my friends! Thanks to CJS for organizing this trip!