CDM/MLA 675: Tokyo: Collective Identity, Mediated Selves, and the Built Environment
January 14, 2020
Thanks to a busy day, today’s entry might be just a touch shorter as I am looking forward to some sleep! We started our day off in Shibuya. This area is easily one of the most touristy, with many a tourist trap to become ensnared. Thankfully, all were able to avoid and we continued on our journey. We met Hichako the faithful dog’s statue. When Hichako’s owner passed away, he continued to wait for his owner daily at the station. His statue is a common icon for many tourists, as rubbing the statue is reputed to give good luck. The area was perfect for a quick photo or two, as the area had not yet become inundated with tourists seeking photos.
However we spent little time outside of the statue in this neighborhood. Instead we crossed over into a different community called Daikan-yama. It was chock full of small boutiques and Instagram-able restaurants. In particular, my group and I had our first encounter with fluffy pancakes. Throughout the trip, it has been remarkable to see the quality of dining. No matter the price range, it seems as though they provide the highest quality of food. The pancakes and accompanying fruit were phenomenal. They complemented each other perfectly.
After exploring this wonderful neighborhood, we began a class trip to Makimaki Café. As part of an initiative to reintroduce human-managed forests to the Japanese landscapes to improve the quality of life, this cafe supports an initiative to maintain forests. The presentation was very informative and touching. It was quite possibly my favorite excursion on this trip so far!
After that important presentation, a few of my classmates and I did some karaoke. It was life changing. Never before had I believed in the power of song to blow off some steam but it definitely did the trick. There was something amazing about sharing that moment with everyone. It was personal but allowed us to express ourselves in an entirely different format than I am used to. It was one of the most unique experiences I have had on this trip.
Tomorrow we begin another busy day of sightseeing with the Tokyo Tower. See you then!
About the Japan Study Tour
THE TRAVEL DATES
Jan. 10-25, 2020
Modern Languages Prof. Darwin Tsen
Students will get to explore and experience Tokyo, Japan, through several activities. As they are guided through the city, students will be examining the several works of art there and the multicultural and multimedia products they offer, such as literature, cinema, television, and digital design. With an emphasis on historical contexts, students will come to understand the social and cultural fundamentals that lead to modern ideas of Tokyo, the environment, and the people.