Time for a Fulbright style welcome. Mimi and I took a highway bus to Tokyo to attend a reception for the current Fulbright grantees at the house of the deputy minister to the US embassy. Buses are a cheap way to travel around big cities in Japan instead of the Shinkansen. The bus system is not quite as developed as in Mexico but it works very well. Some buses even travel at night with large reclining seats for the passengers to sleep in. Because the reception stared at 6 pm I didn’t want to take a night bus and arrive in the morning exhausted, so I took a day bus and arrived at Tokyo station at 3:30 pm.
Tokyo Station is under construction, so it was difficult to find the subway. We eventually did and made our way for the Roppongi Hills where a lot of international embassies are located. To keep our dress clothes clean we didn’t fully dress until arriving in Tokyo and changed in a department store restroom. Then we walked about 10 minutes to the reception. At the same time we arrived many of the Fulbright Fellows arrived together by taxi. The house holding the reception may not look magnificent in pictures but one has to remember that it is in the middle of Tokyo and is sizable for the neighborhood.
The reception itself overwhelmed me a bit. I am confident in my field, but at the reception I seemed to be surrounded by ivy league graduates and established professionals. I felt a little intimidated at first but then fell into the rhythm just like the many art gallery receptions I attended in the past.
As in all great receptions much attention must be paid to the buffet table. This time I kept myself occupied so I did not have a chance to sample all the wares, but those I did were quite delicious. Among the people I met were an architect from Tokyo, a representative from Toyota, a fellow studying the effects of Denny’s in Japan, a gentleman studying Japanese Cinema, a woman studying moder Japanese manga and a nice man from Yale.