College Day

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Sayaka, Kimie, and Hanako pose in front of the idyllic campus pond. Is this really Tokyo?

My friend Yanagi Kimie was visiting from Matsudai, so I joined her and Hanako's art crew for lunch. We ate at the University of Tokyo (Todai) "Metro" cafeteria. The food was typical (Japanese) college fare served on bright orange trays in a large room with scuffed walls, mismatched wall sconces, and vinyl tablecloths. The primary decor in the room are the large signs pointing hungry students to the correct counters for noodles, set meals, rice bowls and drinks. After eating, we scraped and dumped our dishes into a giant dishtray. Todai may be the most prestigious university in Japan, but it's campus meals are the same as every other uni in the world.

After lunch we had a stroll around campus. The leaves are starting to change color and it was quite lovely. We couldn't resist picking up a few red maple leaves and bright yellow sakura leaves. We stopped into one of the empty lecture halls and I found it a very odd mix of old and new. There was a modern computer-based lectern for the prof with wood and iron seating for the students.

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The lecture hall from the professorial point of view.

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Velvet seats! The desks were marked Showa 30-something or about 1960.

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