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Experiencing Traditions of Japan

January 13, 2020

MLA/MUS 675X: Music and Culture: Japan Wind Orchestra

January 13, 2020 

Today was a travel day for the band. We woke up bright and early then loaded the bus. We traveled 3.5 hours stopping at a rest stop along the way. It was the nicest rest stop I’ve ever been to! After the long drive, we arrived in Kurashiki. We stopped at the Aeon mall for shopping and lunch, I had tempura, miso soup, and hot sopa. It was delicious! After a few hours we moved on to the Washu Blue Resort located high up in the mountains.

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We immediately took pictures of the breathtaking view of the sun setting over the village below. When my friends and I entered our room we immediately could tell the difference between a Ryokan (traditional style hotel) and a modern hotel. The walls were all paper screens and the floors were bamboo mats, in the center of the room was a low table with pillow chairs on the floor around it. We were provided with an elegant tea set to enjoy later on in the evening. 

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We changed into the provided kimonos and explored until dinner.For dinner the band had a big traditional Japanese banquet, where everyone sat on the floor and had a personal floor table. We ate traditional food such as sashimi, fried rice, beef and veggies (which we cooked ourselves on our tables), tea, fish, pickled fish skin and veggies, clear soup, and conch. I was surprised by how good the food tasted, considering fish is not my favorite.

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Once dinner was complete my friend and I decided to set aside our fears and try the traditional Japanese Onsen (hot spring). Why were we nervous? Because, in a traditional Onsen, you have to be completely naked! Once I faced my fears and stepped in, I realized there was nothing to be nervous about; nobody cared. I went to two hot springs, one overlooking the mountains and one inside filled with honey and pearl extract. After thoroughly soaking in the springs I was provided with luxury lotions and hair oils. I am so happy I decided to try the Onsen. It truly was an amazing and insanely relaxing experience. Tomorrow I plan on waking up early and soaking while watching the sun rise over the mountains; I can’t wait. Being able to explore the traditional side of Japanese culture was both an amazing and rewarding experience; I highly recommend it to anyone who is on the fence about trying an Onsen.

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J-Trip Tip: Don’t let your fears or preconceived notions hold you back from trying something new, you may end up finding out you really like it and have a wonderful time. If worst comes to worst and you don’t like it, then you know for next time!

 


About the Japan Study Tour

THE TRAVEL DATES

Jan. 10-24, 2020

THE INSTRUCTORS

Music Prof. James Ripley

Modern Languages and Asian Studies Prof. Yan Wang

AN INTRO

In this study tour, students will be exposed to Japan’s rich culture, heritage, and what their musical performances and traditions. This new context will help them to explore the relationships between music and culture. Students are also invited to reflect on the cultural differences they encounter during their time abroad.

Writer

Maile Riedel ’23