Tokai University, Part II
On Friday, we went to a debate event at Tokai University in Kanagawa. The subway/train ride to Kanagawa took about an hour, but we had great conversations with the ESS members who came to pick us up. When we arrived at the campus, one of the first thing we saw was a huge poster announcing the debate. The poster featured a giant picture of Kevin's head, so we made sure to take some pictures of him standing next to it. As we made our way to the building, we saw many smaller flyers with all of our pictures plastered around campus.
We ate a lunch of veggie and egg sandwiches and talked about arguments with the Tokai students. We were scheduled to do a parliamentary debate on the internet topic, with mixed teams of Tokai debaters. Leah worked with Natasha, a Tokai student who speaks French fluently and will study abroad in the UK soon, on the government arguments. I worked with Takeyuki (please forgive me if I am misspelling), a Tokai student who used to live in Detroit as a child and wants to pursue graduate school in intercultural communication, on the opposition arguments.
The debate was held in a giant auditorium filled with students and faculty members. The event went extremely well, and each side managed to incorporate examples from both the Japanese context and the American context. Leah and I gave the inside speeches, while our partners gave the first constructives and final rebuttals. The format actually worked out quite well. After the debate, Kevin gave his lecture on Civic/Civil Society. Everyone seemed to really enjoy the lecture, and the audience members were eager to engage in the audience participation questions. After the event, we all went back to Mr. Ayabe's office for refreshments.
Several of the debaters and ESS members took us around the campus for a tour. We were able to see the Tokai University solar-powered car, which has competed in international competitions. We also went to a gym area where students were practicing various martial arts. After watching for a while, we were able to take a picture with the judo students. The teacher had actually competed in the 1984 Olympics! After Kevin talked with him for a while, he actually had one of the students go change out of the uniform and gave it to Kevin to take home as a souvenir. He explained that after they are done with the uniforms, they usually send them to developing countries. Apparently, we qualified in this case! It was an incredibly generous gesture.
Later on, we walked to dinner with Mr. Ayabe and a group of ESS members. We had an excellent meal and excellent conversations with our hosts. I learned a lot of trivia about Japan from my conversations, which ranged from beauty pageants to the documentary film Supersize me. All in all, it was a great day and we all had a wonderful time.