Ma-ku-do-na-ru-do! That's How McDonald's Is Pronounced In Japan!

Written by Sean Foo Yong Don (08S26).

Excitement and joy were clearly visible as I hung up the phone call from Ms Angela Quek (of the GP department) that day. A trip organized to Japan had sprung out of the blue and had given the applicants very little time to consider about it. It was a tough decision to make since there weren’t any familiar faces signing up but I still went ahead with the trip.

Meetings and briefings were plentiful before the trip began. Our group, which was made up of 26 students, were divided into a presentation team and five other research paper teams. Most of us still did not know each other well even at the final stages of the briefings itself. A sense of awkwardness still lingered as students sat silently in their seats and were very quiet. However, this changed rapidly during the course of the trip.

We went on with what seemed to be an activity-packed journey complete with a very detailed itinerary that ranged from museum visits, cultural experiences and even a bit of shopping. We covered places such as Nagoya, Takayama, Hamamatsu, Hakone and of course the capital of Nippon itself, Tokyo. Being in the land of the rising sun during winter was simply beautiful as it was the time when the leaves were falling and the temperature turned nippy. Imagine how fast the temperature dropped from 15 degrees Celsius to a negative 10 degrees in just a matter of days? We were blessed to be able to enjoy the snowfall as well as a nice cold sunny day.

Being in Japan, naturally the culture there and Singapore would be very different. For example, Mcdonalds is not pronounced as how we would in Singapore; instead it is pronounced as Ma-ku-do-na-ru-do! They wouldn’t know what are you referring to if you pronounced the restaurant as it is in English. It was instances like this that made us discover the unique yet intriguing Japanese culture. The meals we had in Japan were fantastic. Over the course of the whole trip, we had probably tried almost every type of Japanese cuisine that you could name, from shabu shabu to chicken sashimi to Japanese soft serve ice cream and many more. It was indeed an eye opener to how wondrous Japanese cuisine can truly be beyond the well-known sashimi and sushi.

Accommodation was quite fun as there were times when we bunked in rooms of four, rooms of two and there were even a couple of nights when each of us had our own hotel room and bathroom! We were able to experience both western and Japanese accommodation as well throughout the entire trip. Onsens are also an essential part of any ryokan (Japanese inn). They are hot springs that simply relaxes the body and remove any tension that builds up in it. And oh, we had to go in naked - that was why it was divided into different gender baths.

Twenty-six students came together for a nine-day trip and we have all become good friends with one another as we shared our inside jokes and had great fun together. Even though we were strangers to one another at first, we managed to undergo a truly enriching experience both culturally and in terms of friendships as a team. The late nights and snow fights might be great, but the greatest things that we took away from the trip were the photos, souvenirs, fond memories and of course friendships. The latter two made the whole experience priceless.


HouYi said...

ahh... nice report on wad we did in japan..

Dzul said...

yeah,nice report. Summarised nicely. Still missing Japan though. Haha. ;-)

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