The International Centre provides international students with opportunities to experience Japanese culture firsthand, financially supported by Kasumi Kaikan. On October 21, it arranged a one-day bus trip to Odawara/Hakone with COVID-19 infection control measures in place. It was the first of such trips in three years due to the spread of the disease. Thirty-one international students participated, including two high school students.
★Kamaboko making workshop★
The first destination was Suzuhiro Kamaboko Museum in Odawara. Kamaboko, a local specialty, is a seafood product that is made from white fish, pounded into paste, and mixed with salt, sugar, and other ingredients. Then the paste is formed into a semi-cylindrical shape on a wood board and steamed.
At the museum, the group participated in a workshop of making Kamaboko. A craftsperson told them that the Odawara area has a history of making fish-paste products made from fresh fish and explained what Surimi ground fish meat is.
Under the craftsperson's instructions, the students stretched the soft fish paste, put it on a wood board, and shape it.
Finally, they placed it into a steamer.
The students also tried to make Chikuwa, a grilled fish-paste product, putting fish paste around the stick. They were looking forward to seeing their final products after grilling (Look, the shapes were so different!). They received their products at the end of the trip.
☆Hakone Sekisho and pleasure cruise☆
The participants then visited Hakone Sekisho, one of the inspection facilities installed by the Tokugawa Shogunate on major roads across the nation to defend Edo (current Tokyo). Hakone Sekisho was one of the largest and was thought to be important in terms of transportation history in the Edo period. It was dismantled in early Meiji era.
In 2007, the magnificent Sekisho building was restored 140 years after dismantlement. Once the students went into the site, they felt as if they were straying into the Edo period.
They also enjoyed the view of Lake Ashinoko from the lookout.
After the visit to the Sekisho, the group went on board the pleasure cruiser from the port near the Sekisho and enjoyed a short cruising.
At the end of the trip, they took a group photo and got on their way back home with Kamaboko as a souvenir. Under clear skies, they spent a fulfilling day in Odawara and Hakone.