Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ashikagans in Springfield

Some time ago I was bragging about one of my students winning a speech contest in Ashikaga. Well the prize for that contest was a free trip to Springfield and a bit of Chicago to see the sights. It was very cool to see both sides of the circle, plus I got to see my student and several other people I know from Japan. It was fun to speak some Japanese after what feels like a long time as well.

I actually saw everyone on three different days. There was an informal little reception at Floyd's, a downtown bar, and there was a fancy(and long) gala at the Illinois State Library.

This was at the third little event I attended held inside the Old State Capitol. There were again lots of speeches, including remarks from Springfield Mayor Tim Davlin, Ashikaga Mayor Minoru Omamiuda(seen here singing some Elvis at an earlier welcome party in Japan), and Illinois State Senator Larry Bomke. Each one of the winning students then stood up at the podium and recited the Gettysburg Address. While this is not the place where Lincoln gave his famous speech, this is where he gave his "House Divided" speech that is also very well known.

Gettysburg Speech Dream Team

We all had Subway at the nearby but not-yet-open National Museum of Surveying(website). While they didn't have a ton of exhibits in place yet, they did have something pretty awesome called Science On a Sphere(website). It was developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and it's pretty much a big ball with several projectors playing on it to create the illusion of an animated sphere. It's a pretty cool way to see global weather patterns, earthquakes, and even sea turtle migrations take place on a round earth.

I took a couple of little videos of the thing in action. The whole setup was controlled with a Wiimote, which just made it that much snappier.

The whole thing made it into the State Journal-Register here.

1 comment:

  1. sweet u got to meet Ashikagans in ur homesville.
    also Osaka yeah they don't really like natto here. A few people do but they weren't born in Osaka haha. Also there's no school lunch here, thanks the heavens.
    There are TONS of takoyaki stands. Okonomiyaki is different here. Some really nice restaurants.

    Cool sphere thing, and nice commentary.