What has piqued my interest of late is my recent observation of nyūgaku shiken, or the standardized university entrance exam for incoming freshmen. In January I received official notification that Tsuda’s exam dates were slated for the first weekend in February. During this period, I was told the college campus was open only to test-takers and faculty. Furthermore, I was asked to remain completely silent while on school grounds. On the first day of exams, women queued up along the administration building to register for their chance to prove their intelligence and strength to Tsuda College. It was a compelling and inspirational site, as the severe weather presented another challenge for these anxious test-takers, who had one opportunity to pass this exam. I wanted to exclaim Gambatte! but held my tongue. Uneventfully, the weekend progressed, and I witnessed women come and go with beautifully wrapped bento boxes in hand (presumably for their lunch break). Then, on the final day of testing, as I ambled across the lawn, I saw parents arranged in a semi-circle near the main entrance to campus. Mothers and fathers smiled cheerfully and took photos as their daughters exited the various buildings. Test-takers, many of whom were crying, received warm embraces at the conclusion of this significant milestone. The whole scene gave me (and still gives me) chills. Had I not been walking at that hour, I would have missed this meaningful exchange, which captured years of hard work, commitment, and dedication on the part of students and their families.
|Tsuda College Undergraduates|
In this post I would like to express my deep gratitude for the exceptional Tsuda College chefs, who work faithfully to please students, faculty, staff, and guests. Tanaka-san and Takiino-san lovingly prepare and present dozens of four-course meals daily. My sincerest thanks to these culinary experts who make life a little easier for those of us who enjoy dining on campus.
|Celebrating Daruma, a Buddhist tradition bringing good luck to the Japanese|