Jessela’s Japan Journey

Jessela’s Japan Journey

October 15, 2018 Uncategorized 0

Before this adventure began, I did not have a profound knowledge of Japanese culture. My knowledge was based mostly on the pop culture centered around social media and bits and pieces of information I acquired through the internet. I was pleasantly surprised by a great deal of information that was bestowed upon us within our short 9-day trip. Experiencing everything first-hand allowed me to really absorb the culture around us. Each day was jam-packed with exciting events and locations that we were able to explore.

Figure 1: Welcome Sign

During our stay, we spent a few days in Tokyo, and a few days in Hokkaido. During the first few days in Tokyo, we went to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and were given a presentation and keynote lecture about the history and Japan’s goals for the future. We then explored the Edo-Tokyo Museum and the Sensoji Temple to experience the rich history behind it all.

Figure 2: Edo-Tokyo Museum

Figure 3: Senso-ji Asakusa Temple

From Tokyo’s uber hot weather, we were pretty lucky to be able to go to Sapporo, Hokkaido which was noticeably cooler. Known for their beer brewing and snow festival during the winter time, we got to learn how to zen meditate and learn Japanese calligraphy in Hokoji Temple.

Figure 4: Calligraphy at Hokoji Temple

The next day, we toured around the Historical Village of Hokkaido. We learned about the Ainu culture, the town, the farm village, and the fisherman cabins. In the afternoon, we were greeted with the English club from Hokusei University High School. They taught us about Japanese student life, and we showed them what student life was like in America. We played games like the chopstick bean game, paper sumo wrestler(kamizumo), and even telephone for Japanese and English phrases. We also got a tour of the whole school. By the end of the night, we were met with our host families who would take care of us for the next few days.

Figure 5: Historical Village of Hokkaido
Figure 6: Team Favorite Hot Prodigies

We spent two nights with our host families and we all had very unique experiences. We stayed in their homes, shared meals together, and explored the city of Sapporo. We bonded over such a short period of time, and it was just an amazing traditional experience that we all cherished. At the end, we had a Goodbye party for all of us with our host families, and sang September by Earth, Wind & Fire to bid them farewell.

Figure 7: Host Parents
Figure 8: Farewell Host Family!

Before we left, we gave a presentation and report of our action plans to be carried out within three months of the trip to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and program staff.

Figure 9: Post-presentation

On the day we were leaving, we got to observe and reflect on the amazing culture we were introduced to these several days. We went to Meiji shrine in Shibuya, and went around Harajuku and its shopping centers.

Figure 10: Meiji Shrine
Figure 11: Line Friends Store in Harajuku

There were additional amazing places we all got to see and appreciate that deserves mentioning. I personally enjoyed the awesome convenience stores, vending machines, super toilets, and arcade. Travelling Japan taught me the importance of punctuality and tradition. I had so much fun and learned a ton of fascinating history of art, practicing the Japanese language(and written in Kanji, Hiragana, Katakana), and even the history and strategy behind ads in Tokyo’s Ad Museum. I’m so grateful for this unforgettable trip that we all got to thoroughly enjoy and document.

Thank you for reading!

Jessela Budiman

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