Even though I spent a lot of my last week in Japan working on my paper and presentation, I still had such a memorable time. After the Kyoto trip, we headed back and started working on our papers. While I was nervous that it would keep me inside, I was able to go out to the local cafes to work on my paper. I had been to the red one at the end of the street several times, so the two kind women who owned it immediately recognized me. I got a yummy apple cake and some tea and ended up finishing the second rough draft of the paper in several hours.
I had some packing to do and was too exhausted to head to the Fushimi castle on the Friday, but the highlight of my week was definitely Mejimura. My group and I got the chance to visit lots of the buildings, and it was extremely interesting to see the mix of time periods as well as architecture. We would go into an old teahouse and then turn around and there would be a cathedral that looked like it was out of Europe. The grounds were massive and we almost ran out of time after going through only one area, but I felt that it was an amazing way to wrap up the trip.
Our last night, we went out to a karaoke bar for my birthday. It was so much fun and we ended up having a night of fun songs to sing, drinks and food. I’m so grateful for all the friends I’ve made on this trip and can’t wait to see them back at Dickinson.
Overall, it has been such an great and interesting experience. While I have been to Asia before, Japan reminded me that every country is so unique in itself even if people tend to generalize about areas in particular. I’ve never experienced a culture that is rooted in so much respect and spirituality, and I definitely appreciated the temples, shrines and gardens in the perspective of mental health. I can’t wait for my next opportunity to be able to visit Japan and thank you to all my fellow classmates and above all, Professor Bates, for sharing this experiences and helping me through!!!