Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Akita International University Festival

In the afternoon of 12th of October, hubby and me went to see the festival of Akita International University (AIU). It was the first day of the two day festival organized by the students of the university, and was open to everyone. AIU is a public university located in Akita city of Japan. Established in 2004 and modeled on American liberal arts college, AIU is one of the few universities in Japan that offers all of its courses in English. The aim of the university is to contribute to world peace by educating young people through a unique, liberal arts education, and a heavy international focus.
As soon as hubby and me entered the university, we saw that there were many international students from various countries studying in the campus. It was really nice to see the energy and enthusiasm of the students in organizing various events in the festival and trying to make it successful, which they did perfectly. The students put in a lot of effort to decorate the university campus, corridors, and the classrooms that were used for the purpose of the festival. There was a festive mood all around.

A reception and information booth (white colored) was set up at the main entrance of AIU. The lady under the blue and white shade was selling icecreams.

Me standing in a decorated corridor

Hubby posing in a decorated corridor

An exhibition was held about the information and culture of several countries. There were also exhibitions about authentic Japanese sweets, calligraphy, tea ceremony, ikebaba (Japanese flower arrangement), French cafe and many more. We liked the exhibition about Mongolian culture very much. There were traditional hats and musical instruments on display. Hubby and me wore the hats and tried to play the musical instruments.

Display of traditional musical instruments in the Mongolian stall

Display of Mongolian hats

Hubby and me wearing Mongolian hats

We also liked the exhibition of Tonga, where several young kids were busy trying their hands at paper art and stone art.

Exhibition of Tonga

In yet another exhibition room there was a beautiful tree made by the students, where the entire roof of the room seemed like branches and leaves of the tree. The artistic imagination and the concept of the tree was really commendable. Surrounding this tree, there were six stalls exhibiting the cultural, geographical, and historical aspects of USA, Thailand, Zambia, Philippines, Cambodia, and India. A mini workshop and a quiz progam was held about these countries. We got five out of the six questions correct! According to the organizer of the workshop, it was the highest score among the visitors until that time. We were happy to know that our general knowledge about the world is not that bad!

The beautiful tree

Hubby in front of the stall of America

Hubby thinking about the quiz question in front of the stall of Zambia

Me in front of the stall of India

Hubby in front of the stall of Thailand

After seeing most the exhibitions, hubby and me went to the cafeteria to have a cup of coffee. At that time, one of the organizing committee student volunteer approached us and requested us to give a speech in front of the potential newcomer students about the campus life, studies, the internationality of the university, and how we met (and eventually married) during our studentship in the university! We had fun explaining to her that we did not study in that university and we were there just to enjoy the festival. Seeing me, a foreigner, the student volunteer probably assumed that we were former students of AIU.
When we came out of the cafeteria building, we saw that an open air live music concert was going on at the ground just next to the main entrance of the university. It was nice to listen to electric guitar music and many songs.

Open air live music concert

Many food stalls were set up in a small street on the right side of the road just after the main entrance gate. These food stalls offered food items from various countries. However, by the time we reached there almost all the food items were over. I guess all the stalls had favorite food items of the students as well as the visitors.
We were inside the university campus until 5.30 pm. After that we had dinner at an Indian restaurant named Peacock in Akita city. We ordered a very mild snack called 'samosa' (a fried triangular pastry stuffed with potatoes and onion), mild seafood curry, very hot and spicy 'palak paneer' (spinach and cheese), naan, and saffron rice. My hubby is not used to eating spicy Indian food. So it was very amusing to observe the changes in his facial expressions while eating. His face is a good indicator of the level of hotness and spiciness of Indian food.

Indian food

Expressions on hubby's face: indicator of spiciness of Indian food

It was a nice way to spend the day and reminded hubby and me of our own university days.

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