Asia #1: Tokyo

I just checked into my hotel in Seoul after two days in Tokyo where Sophia Thich (former Hyde faculty member and our excellent Hyde-Asia tour manager) and I met with educators and consultants as the start of a 2-week tour where we will seek to spread the Hyde word to prospective students and families. After three days in Seoul, our travels will take us to 3 China cities (Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen), and Hong Kong….. My first impressions (I’ve never been to Asia) perhaps stand as lasting ones. As I tweeted on Twitter: “No litter, No jay-walking, major politeness, and lot of surgical masks.” The cleanliness causes me to reconsider my assumptions about the limits of group human capability. Specifically, Sophia and I negotiated the subways at the beginning of afternoon rush hour and did not see a single piece of litter anywhere. What a contrast between that and the subways of New York City! I ventured into a subway public restroom and was amazed. Absolutely spotless. (Are there any American urban subway systems that have not just plain given up on even having public rest rooms?)….. Memorable moment: In an attempt to make some small talk with one consultant, I asked how the economic downturn was affecting her business. She replied, “Oh, you mean the downturn that you started?” I suddenly felt tense, unsure of how to respond while cursing the etiquette quidebooks I’d been reading for excluding this circumstance. Then I saw her grin and was relieved to discover that she was simply having some fun tweaking my sensibilities. Yup, she got me.

Onward, Malcolm Gauld