"KAKEHASHI Project" Invitation: Rice University (Texas)

Invitation in May 2013

Short-term stay in Japan: Group 2 (University Students)
Rice University, Texas

Period:May 14 - 24, 2013
Local Visit Destination:Chiba Prefecture
Number of Participants:25

Tour Photo Album

Photo of Orientation
(The Japan Foundation)

Photo taken at Tokyo National Museum
Studying Japanese history and culture (Tokyo National Museum)

Photo taken at Asakusa Kannon
Visit to Asakusa Kannon

Photo taken at Kikkoman Corporation's soy-sauce factory
Visit to a soy-sauce factory of Kikkoman Corporation

Photo taken at Suigo Sawara Dashi Kaikan
Visit to Suigo Sawara Dashi Kaikan (Museum)

Photo taken at Mizu-no Sato, Sawara
Visit to a farmer's market
(Mizu-no Sato, Sawara)

Photo taken at Kanda University of International Studies
School exchange
(Kanda University of International Studies)

Photo taken at Chiba University 1
School exchange
(Chiba University)

Photo taken at Chiba University 2
School exchange/discussion
(Chiba University)

Photo taken at Makuhari Messe
Visit to Makuhari Messe

Photo taken with Mayor of Chiba City, Toshihito Kumagai 1
Courtesy call on Mayor of Chiba City, Toshihito Kumagai

Photo taken with Mayor of Chiba City, Toshihito Kumagai 2
Courtesy call on Mayor of Chiba City, Toshihito Kumagai

Photo taken at Chiba City Museum of Art
Visit to Chiba City Museum of Art

Photo taken at Chiba City International Association
Learning Bon Festival dance
(Chiba City International Association)

Photo taken at Mihama-en
Visit to Mihama-en

Photo of Nihon Buyo experience
Nihon Buyo experience instructed by Master Minosuke Nishikawa
(The Japan Foundation)

Photo taken in Akihabara
Visit to Akihabara

Photo taken at Kabukiza Gallery
Visit to Kabukiza Gallery
(Shochiku Co., Ltd.)

Photo taken at Meiji Jingu Shrine
Visit to Meiji Shrine

Photo of Okonomiyaki experience
Okonomiyaki experience

Photo taken at Mitsubishi Corporation
Visit to Mitsubishi Corporation

Photo of Debriefing session
Debriefing session
(The Japan Foundation)

Voices from Participants

1.Having participated in the KAKEHASHI Project, what do you think are Japan’s strengths and attractiveness?

  • Polite, orderly, clean society is a cultural value that is actively and near-universally practiced. It is a pleasure to move through Japan and encounter its populace. Consistent and efficient infrastructure.
  • Japan is exceedingly well-organized and full of polite, respectful people. Culturally and linguistically, it is so different from America that it provides a fresh perspective or what a life in a modern country can be like. The food is excellent, too!

2.How do you change your perspective of Japan through the project?

  • Through this project, I learned what Japan is like. I did not have an idea in mind of Japan except that it was technologically savvy and anime/manga are popular. Both proved to be true during this trip. However I learned that each area (i.e. Shinjuku, Akihabara, Sawara etc.) have their own characters and differ greatly from each other.
  • I understand more of the different customs in Japan, how Japanese people live and interpret their lives. My impression of Japanese people is definitely positive - they are so polite and have been more than patient with me. I also able to more throughly comprehend some of the challenges Japanese students may face when considering foreign exchange through talking to students and the presentation at Waseda University.

3.After returning to the U.S., what aspect(s) of Japan do you want to learn more?

  • There are two things I intend to do upon returning: learn how to make Japanese food and sign up for either a Japanese traditional dance class or a shamisen class. The culture aspect is what I enjoyed most.
  • The key aspect of Japan that I hope to learn more about is the language. In fact if my schedule permits, I hope to take one year of Japanese at Rice University and hopefully study abroad at an institution like Tokyo University and Chiba University.

4.It is hoped that you will promote further mutual understanding between our two countries, serving as bridges in the Japan-U.S. relationship. What will you do to deepen understanding of Japan’s strengths and attractiveness?

  • Study Japanese language, continue to keep in touch and communicate with students in Japan from Chiba University and KUIS, as well as develop a deeper understanding of Japanese culture and history through document and books.
  • After our group met the mayor of Chiba, I was interviewed by a Japanese journalist, and we found out that I am also interested in journalism. He gave me his business card, and I want to contact him with questions about journalism and Japanese new media. I also want to attend Japanese cultural events at Rice and the Houston area, and continue talking to the friends I made in Chiba. I would also find it ideal to keep an eye on Japan in the news, and do some research on my own. I also want to host Japanese students.

5.Please freely describe your experience in the KAKEHASHI Project.

  • Kakehashi is a wonderful experience that gave me many opportunities to learn more about Japan. Some places such as the Tokyo National Museum and the Museum of Japanese History. I wish I could have spent more time going through exhibits. I really enjoyed seeing the beautiful architecture and landscape as well as spending an entire day at KUIS and Chiba University and getting to interact with Japanese students. I would have liked to see an actual kabuki or dance or another performance, but aside from that, I really enjoyed my time in Japan!

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