"KAKEHASHI Project" Invitation: The George Washington University / Professor Williams

Invitation in May 2014

Short-term stay in Japan: U.S. Young Researchers Invitation
Group 6
The George Washington University / Professor Williams

Period: May 19 – 29, 2014
Local Visit Destination: Kyoto Prefecture
Number of Participants: 13

Tour Photo Album

photo of Orientation
Orientation

photo of Visit to Senso-ji Temple
Visit to Senso-ji Temple
(Learning about Japanese history and culture)

photo of Visit to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Visit to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

photo of Discussion with MOFA staff
Discussion with MOFA staff

photo of Visit to Tokyo National Museum
Visit to Tokyo National Museum
(Studying Japanese history and culture)

photo of Visit to Akihabara
Visit to Akihabara
(Learning about ‘Cool Japan’)

photo of Kyoto University
Kyoto University

photo of Visit to Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum
Visit to Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum
(Learning about Japanese local industries)

photo of Visit to Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine
Visit to Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine
(Learning about Japanese traditional culture and history)

photo of Visit to Kiyomizu-dera Temple
Visit to Kiyomizu-dera Temple
(Learning about Japanese traditional culture and history)

photo of Visit to Shourin-ji Temple
Visit to Shourin-ji Temple
(Zen Meditation Experience)

photo of Visit to Gion
Visit to Gion
(Learning about Japanese traditional culture and history)

photo of Visit to Kinkaku-ji Temple
Visit to Kinkaku-ji Temple
(Learning about Japanese traditional culture and history)

photo of Visit to Kodai Yuzen-en, Kyoto
Visit to Kodai Yuzen-en, Kyoto
(Experiencing Japanese local traditional craftsmanship)

photo of Visit to Koko-an
Visit to Koko-an
(Experience of Tea Ceremony)

photo of Visit to National Institute for Educational Policy Research
Visit to National Institute for Educational Policy Research

photo of Visit to Kanagawa Sohgoh High School
Visit to Kanagawa Sohgoh High School

photo of Visit to Waseda University Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies
Visit to Waseda University Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies

photo of Visit to Japan Center for Conflict Prevention
Independent Research
(Tokyo Gakugei University Koganei Elementary School)

photo of Independent Researchn
Independent Research
(Tokyo University)

photo of Visit to Miraikan, The National Museum  of Emerging Science and Innovation
Visit to Miraikan, The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation
(Learning about cutting-edge technologies of Japan)

photo of Nonprofit Organization Teach For Japan
Nonprofit Organization
Teach For Japan

photo of Debriefing Session
Debriefing Session

Voices from Participants

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

  • I think Japan’s strengths are its people, infrastructure and culture. People are polite, so helpful and peaceful. Many people are quiet and speak English like Americans. So I felt very happy being here. As for infrastructure, it was very easy for travelers. There are public reliable fast transportation systems, plenty of restaurants and nightlife and Technology in bathrooms! Culture is Japan’s strength, too. Great food and fun nightlife are affordable for travelers. Japan has rich tradition and history and cooperative, open and accepting.
  • One thing that has really impressed me about Japan is how collaborative everyone is. On the metro, I saw an old man fell on the escalator and immediately 4 people swarmed around him to help carry him off the escalator before he got hurt. In the US people would never be so coordinated or conscious of others to be able to help so quickly. I was also very impressed with how safe society is and how you do not need to worry about crime. Another strength that I have noticed is how everyone is very honest in their self-criticism and thinking about what they need to improve.

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

  • I thought that Japanese people would be more closed, which turned out not to be true. I was expecting it to be difficult to get around because not many people speak English and because Japanese people are not as used to foreigners. I found out that this was not the case. People were friendly, hospitable and always willing to help even if there was a language barrier. This was a pleasant surprise and made the trip more enjoyable.
  • I really had no background in Japan before participating in this project. What I found to be very interesting were the many contrasts- old Shinto temples located near modern buildings, women and men in Kimonos walking next to people in cutting-edge fashion. The elements of cuteness were also new to me. The cute culture is huge and so interesting. I really see Japan as a complex and diverse place, whereas before I viewed it as a very homogenous culture.

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

  • I would like to continue leaning about education in Japan, its strengths and challenges, and how the country aims to move forward. I would also like to learn more about Japanese history, culture, and cuisine. This trip to Japan has most definitely increased my awareness of such a rich culture.
  • I want to learn more about how Japan, Japanese companies, and Japanese universities and schools are working to address gender gaps in school achievement and the labor market. I hope if I one day return to Japan, I will see more women in leadership positions. I did not see a comprehensive gender equity structure/plan being set in motion and I would like to learn more about that.

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?

  • As a teacher, I will share what I have learned about the Japanese education system with my colleagues. I will also find ways to share this experience with my students in order to peek their interest in Japan. (i.e. through PowerPoint presentation, arts and crafts, and hopefully a visit to JICC to participate in activities there).
  • In my professional career working in educational exchange, I now have the experience and observations to promote study in Japan with more clarity. I will absolutely be encouraging students to come to Japan based on this trip, something I was not as inclined to do before. (most of my knowledge is of western European culture and I usually promote those programs based on personal experience).

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

  • I very much appreciate the opportunity I was given. I think that, logistically, the program and the country are very well prepared, thoughtful, and efficient. My only concern is about the continuation of this exchange after I return. I would have loved to meet with KAKEHASHI participants from Japan and connect, and oppositely I would love to help welcome or speak with participants when they arrive in D.C. I think this will greatly increase the lasting impact of the exchange and grow efficiency immeasurably.
  • The KAKEHASHI project was a wonderful experience for me. I appreciate seeing Japan as both a tourist and a participant of a cross-cultural exchange. I learned much more about the culture of Japan by participating in KAKEHASHI than I would have by visiting on my own accord. In this case, I would not have had the ability to meet with university/ministry officials, visit schools, and experience traditional cultural activities (Zen meditation, tea ceremony, etc.). I felt that I have learned so much in the past 9 days, yet I feel this is just the tip of the iceberg (a saying in the US). I cannot wait to meet more Japanese people and talk about Japan, learn more about the culture and current situation in Japan, and visit again.

[Contact Us]

The Japan Foundation Youth Exchange Bureau
TEL : +81-(0)3-5369-6022 FAX : +81-(0)3-5369-6042
infokakehashi@jpf.go.jp
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