This past month in Japan flew by and has truly been an amazing experience for me. Before the trip started, I was a little intimidated to live by myself in an unfamiliar culture and society so far away from home for a month. However, Professor Bates was really encouraging by having us travel to different places in Nagoya and Kyoto and try new things. By the end of the trip, I definitely found myself much more familiar and comfortable around Japan.
While our final week in Nagoya was a little shorter than usual, it was still filled with fun afternoon trips and activities. To start, our group went to visit Nagoya Castle, which had just re-opened a week earlier. Inside, I was blown away by the elegant woodwork carvings as well as the paintings. Below, I added two pictures that I found to be very beautiful.
The rest of the week was primarily focused on finishing the final paper and presentation, in which I chose to talk about the history and promotion of pleasure quarters throughout the Tokugawa and Meiji period.
As I reflect on my time and Japan, I think one of the biggest things I learned from Professor Bates was how to break down stereotypes. For example, we talked about how there are many interpretations of what a Geisha performer actually is, and how the American image of a samurai is not necessary correctly. I look forward to bringing this new knowledge and way of thinking back to the U.S and hopefully influence other people to think similarly.