On our last day we visited the most famous historical site in Hikone- Hikone Castle. Hikone Castle is an original castle, meaning that it survived the post feudal era without undergoing destruction and reconstruction. Most of the castle's inner moats, walls, guard houses and gates also remain intact, giving visitors a good impression of a relatively complete castle. Hikone Castle's three storied castle tower was uniquely constructed, using various architecture styles. This is one reason why Hikone Castle has been designated a national treasure. Out tour guide told us that the steps leading up to the castle were uneven and of different heights to help stop the enemy from making it all the way up to the castle; and if the enemy actually made it there, they were surrounded by walls from which they were attacked. After our visit to the castle we went to downtown Hikone for lunch where we received the certificate about completing the program at JCMU. We also shared our most memorable moments from the trip. Of course, I had to share my water rafting experience…beautiful sites and painful, ugly sunburn…I will remember that for the rest of my life…
In the evening Monzer, Mee, Suyash, Bob, and I were taken to the sushi place by 2 current JCMU students (our new friends). I totally forgot to mention that Mee and I spent a lot of money for taxi because of my inability to ride a bike and her “inwantability” to ride a bike :) That sushi place was amazing! I eat sushi every week in the US, but this was different. It was a Conveyor belt sushi and the fish was very fresh despite the fact that the place is far from the ocean. Then we went bowling and it was soooo much fun!
Going home is always upsetting, but for some reason I was glad that we were going back. It was sad to say good bye to your new friends, but everything else in Japan seemed very boring to me. I really wanted to go back to Taipei or to a big city in Japan. Unfortunately, due to H1Na virus outbreak, we couldn’t go to Osaka. Instead, we went to the Hikone Chamber where we were able to learn more about the industries in the Shiga Prefecture. Hikone developed a marketing campaign with this little Hello kitty Samurai. Every shop sells things that have this Kitty picture on it and even stuffed toys. That was funny to me because I’m not a big fan of these characters and it didn’t seem very attractive to me. I’m glad it worked for the marketing purpose though.
I will always remember every moment of this wonderful trip. I am glad I had an opportunity to meet all of the participants on this study abroad course. It was one of the best experiences of my life.