journal 4

I can’t believe I’m heading home!

This last week was very relaxing, though I did go to Nagoya Castle and Meijimura with the class. I was really impressed by Nagoya Castle, it was so interesting to see a newly built castle with fresh wood and newly painted screens. Meijimura was also beautiful. It was interesting to be able to interact with an architectural museum. Usually, everything is roped off.

I revisited Sakae, Oasis 21, and Osu. I think Osu was my favorite part of the city. I loved seeing all the shops and strange animals and energy on the streets.

I also went to a few more old fashioned cafes, which remain some of my favorite places to eat. Who knew toast could be so good?

I’ve done a lot of reflecting on the trip and am so happy to have seen everything I did. From the quiet industrial streets of Nagoya to the mountains, everything has been incredible! I was going to list my favorite parts, but I’ve really enjoyed all of it. I can’t wait to come back to Japan and explore even more.

For now, though, I’m excited to get some really good vegetarian food.

Thank you all so much for everything! Hope the rest of your summers are amazing!

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Week 4 Journal

Words cannot describe how much I enjoyed this month. I appreciate visiting various amazing sites at Japan and being with the perfect people. Although I spent most of my last week writing the final paper, I did enjoy it.

First of all, the trip to the Meijimura was impressive. My favorite place was the house of Natsume Soseiki. The small cat statue made the house seem alive. The style of most of the houses built in the Meiji era is very different from those built in the Edo era as a result of the Meiji Restoration. Since we have been talking about Tokugawa and Edo era for the whole month, looking at the western style houses is interesting.

Looking back at the past month, my favorite places are Magome and Fushimi Inari Taisha. I would definitely visit these two places again if I ever come back to Japan.

Thank you all for this unbelievably month and hope to see you next year on campus.

   

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Week 4 Diary

I can’t believe that our time in Japan is over! It went by extremely quickly and I am definitely going to miss being here.

A lot of this week was spent working on my paper and presentation, and the couple of times that we had excursions, I was too preoccupied to really take pictures. I wish that I had been in a better mindset when we went to the Inari shrine and to Meijimura so that I could have appreciated them more. Even still, they were amazing and I enjoyed visiting them.

I also really enjoyed listening to everyones presentations due to the fact that everyone chose different and interesting topics. I thought it was a nice end to learning about Tokugawa era Japan and I appreciated being able to delve deeper into a specific topic that I was interested in.

I am extremely grateful to have been able to have this experience. I learned a lot from this trip, not only about the history of Japan and it’s culture (both modern day and historical), but also about myself as well. I want to thank everyone who made this trip possible and unique, especially Professor Bates. It was a truly unforgettable experience.

   

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Analytical Question of Child’s Play

Why is Midori bothered by Nobu’s disrespectful behaviors and how does her consideration reflect her characteristic?

Midori is bothered by Nobu’s disrespectful reaction because she is used to being treated respectfully by males. As the sister of Omaki, she is able to live with certain privileges in the pleasure quarter. Being such a spoiled girl, she inevitably starts to forget her real identity as a prostitute and develops a mild degree of arrogance. In such case, when she is mistreated by Nobu, who flings a flower on her, she can hardly understand the reason. Even though Nobu does not behave rudely because of hatred toward Midori but rather the fear of rumor, his behavior is very unusual comparing to how other people might treat Midori. The extent to which Midori is hurt by Nobu ‘s reaction reflects her detachment from the reality because of her privileged life.

 

 

 

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week 3

Our third week was once again packed with morning and afternoon activities in Kyoto. We visited multiple temples which were both beautiful and elegant. Here are some of my top highlights from the week.

On Thursday, our group visited Hikone Castle before arriving in Kyoto. The castle is one of twelve remaining original Japanese castles and is fairly high up for defensive purposes. We later visited the castle’s garden, which was very beautiful even though it was pouring rain. In the background, you can see the castle high up on the mountain.

Our group also had the chance to go to an onsen, which was by far a top highlight for me on the trip. From the water you could look at the mountains, which I found to be very peaceful and relaxing.

On Saturday, we visited Kinkaku-ji temple, a place I had been looking forward to going to since the beginning of the trip. The temple is covered in gold leaf and sits on the edge of a beautiful lake. Though it was fairly crowded and hot, I found myself genuinely appreciating the temple’s luxuriousness which is why it has been my favorite temple we have visited so far.
Later in the day, our group was lucky enough to attend a Geiko performance, a truly once in a lifetime opportunity. I was fascinated by her elegant and subtle dance movements and am truly appreciative for the experience.

I also took note of the difference in food between Nagoya and Kyoto. Personally, I have found the food in Nagoya to be more fried, whereas in Kyoto it was more grilled. I have also noticed how the food in Kyoto was not as overloaded with flavor and sauce when compared to Nagoya.

As the third week comes to and end, I am in a little bit of a denial that the program is almost over. Though our last week here in Nagoya is shorter, I am determined to make the most of it and take it all in while I am here.

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Week 3

For some the fun in Japan is almost over, but for me I still have three more weeks here before I leave.  After going to Kyoto I’ve realized how little time three weeks actually is to truly experience everything.  With only three full days, we barely scratched the surface of the city even despite my walking 10+ miles a day.  Despite the fact, I was still exposed to stunning religious institutions and urban landscapes I had only experienced before through photographs and literature.

The romanticization and the calm beauty expressed to me before had been lost in many places like Kiyiomizudera and Kinkakuji due to the mere inundation of tourists.  Also never having seen world heritage sites or famous places, I had expected the initial observation to hit me like a sort of religious experience. Looking at the main hall of Kiyiomizudera should have registered that this is Kiyiomizudera and I should appreciate immediately that this is Kiyiomizudera.  These namesake associations had little affect on me.  At the same time, the name did not stun me as much as just plain grandeur.  The latticed supports of the main hall of Kiyiomizudera struck me almost magical with the extent of their size and ability to lift the building above over the valley.

The same day, later on in the evening I strolled along the Kamogawa.  The wind of the river basin cooled me off and brushed up against the trees to add a relaxing sound affect to eliminate any uncomfortable silence.  Like with Kiyiomizudera, I did not immediately internalize “this is the Kamo river.  Kabuki was started here.  The river would have been lined a hundred years ago with beautiful machiya while paper lanterns would have delicately illuminated the night.”  Instead I thought “what a calm refreshing walk this is.”  Nostalgia did not influence my experience, rather just my presence in the current time and place.

Kyoto has a certain mystique that still does convey some of that nostalgia I did expect to some degree while blending in the contemporary environment.  My dumb phone could not upload my pictures onto computer for some reason, though I highly doubt what I captured could convey the true visual and emotional characteristics of my visit more than any other picture you can find online.

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week 3!

    

I love Kyoto!!!

First of all, I loved the ryokan we stayed in. The owners were so kind, even though I spoke absolutely no Japanese. The little garden was adorable, the baths were nice, and I must have had a million cups of tea.

Hikone Castle was really interesting. My favorite part was the natural wood ceiling beams, and the overlook outside had a nice view.

The shopping area the ryokan in was really bustling and energetic. I really liked the Nishiki food market and surrounding streets. I walked down the river during the day and night and it was interesting to see how the bicyclers and artists turned into huge groups of people drinking and hanging out under the verandas.

The “blood ceiling” was one of the more striking things I saw. I thought it was a brutal way to commemorate the sacrifice of the dead, but very powerful. It was interesting having read the letter before visiting. I also really liked the Ryouanji temple before the crowds got there. The Sugiya was another favorite, I thought the really defined architecture in each of the rooms were beautiful and I could imagine myself in the Edo period walking through the halls.

Walking through the Gion area gave me the same impression. I got to go to an antique shop where I bought a Meiji period print for 3000 yen on the side of the street and looked through pottery and designer handbags stacked on top of each other, and a pottery shop where the potter made work behind a curtain, which were highlights.

Of course, I loved seeing the maiko perform. It’s always been a dream of mine to see a geisha perform, and while she wasn’t a fully certified geisha it was still an incredible experience.

My favorite shrine so far is the Fushimi Inari shrine. I wish I had more time there to climb all the way up to the top. I love how it is built into the mountains and all the smaller shrines in the complex.

I wish I could stay in Kyoto for longer. There was so much I didn’t get to see. It seemed like there was a temple, shrine, or shopping street everywhere. However, it was nice to go back to Nagoya which has become much more familiar, and the restaurant we went to for the last group dinner was incredibleeeee.

On a side note, I also got to see the Japanese ER, which was an interesting cultural experience which I hopefully don’t have to repeat.

 

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Weekly Blog #3

The saying: “Time flies when you’re having fun” aptly describes this third week. It has been so busy this week from the festival at Atsuta shrine to the trip to Kyoto and all we did there.

The festival at Atsuta shire was definitely a part of this trip that I will never forget. It was really fun wearing a yukata (although tying the bow on the back was a struggle). It made the experience at the shrine all the more authentic to me. The food was definitely the best part of the festival though. The lines were really long, but it was worth it to get a potato on a stick, some yakisoba, and weird jellyfish looking mochi (I don’t remember the name). I have not seen anything like this festival anywhere else I have been. It was planned out so well and everyone seemed to be having a great time! The fireworks were amazing. It’s sad that the only time you can really see fireworks in America is on the 4th of July; I wish it was more like Japan where there are fireworks the whole summer!

Next is our trip to Kyoto. While the trip was a bit overwhelming, I feel as though it was a great experience. I would have liked to have a 4 week program in Nagoya and then another 4 in Kyoto to really explore everything, but sadly that is just not possible. 🙁 It was really awesome to go to so many temples and shrines and castles while we were there. I personally really enjoyed walking around Nijo-jo. It was so cool to see all the artwork and how much craftsmanship had to go into every little part of the castle. I also really liked going to the garden early in the morning. While I hated being up so early, it was very calming and a great experience. On that point, I really enjoyed going to all the different gardens from so many time periods. It really is inspiring to see all the the research that I’ve done for the paper in real life!

Kyoto shopping was also really great. I was really happy to find a plethora of really cool sock stores, tea stores, and anything I could ever want! I was sad because the wait times for the dog cafe and the hedgehog cafe were so long, so I didn’t get to go, but everything else was great! I also really liked the sticker store and bought a bunch of really cute stickers.

I’m going to leave this post here now even though there is so much more to write! I’m happy to be back in Nagoya where I understand the subway station, and where I won’t go in the opposite direction on the subways……. I hope the last couple of days go really well!

    

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Child’s Play Question

Question:  How did the dynamics and workings of the Yoshiwara district change into the new Meiji era and its shift into a western style regime?

Despite the new era, it seems like superficially that the pleasure quarters did not differ all too much from what they were like during the Edo era.  The same situations for a woman’s conscription into the quarter still lie in her parent’s poverty while men from the lowly common gambler to powerful official frequent the establishments.  Now instead of Daimyo  and samurai, parliament members and bureaucrats take their places.  The children that live within the quarters though, though the story, no longer seemed to be destined to remain in Yoshiwara for their entire lives after the introduction of public education.  It serves as a way out for those who pursue success.  The attitudes of religious figures change, as when we take Chokichi, a younger monk, he acts in deviation to seemingly simple buddhist behaviors.  His brutish behavior to Sangoro and Midori represent a possible deviation of Buddhist piety and hegemony in Japan.

 

 

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child’s play

How does Child’s Play shed light on community in the Edo period?

Throughout reading this story, I was struck by the introduction of so many characters and their complex relationships to eachother. I focused on Midori. Midori worked for the house, but received special favor because her sister was the Omaki of the house. Midori hears about all of her sister’s suitors. Her relationship with Nobu is strained because of her position in the pleasure quarters and his as a preist’s son. Midori is offended that Choshiki hit her with his shoe because of their class difference rather than the actual act, but befriends Shota, the other gang leader.

In general throughout the story, there’s a lot of gossip and knowing about other people’s lives and positions. The characters are very much interconnected, even though it focuses on children. I took this to mean that community played a larger role in the Tokugawa period than the Confucian order may have suggested. People of different class and social positions were aware of these positions, but still interacted with each other.

When Nobu decides to go to the seminary, he leaves the community. The last line, “the color of his robes would never be the same” gives the impression of something irreversible, which I thought was interesting. Ultimately, I thought the pleasure quarters created a community rather than being completely isolated from society. However, the community changed and transformed as people took on different positions.

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