My Japan Experience, 2017

My first trip to Japan was an incredible experience that I got to share with fellow 2017 Tomodachi Daniel Inouye Scholars from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Here are some of the experiences I’ve captured and would like to share!

| WAKING UP IN JAPAN |

20170325_054820It was worth waking up early in Japan when you could wake up to beautiful sites like this! This image was taken in the hotel room of Prince Hotel in Shin Yokohama before we started the first day in Japan.

| CULTURAL PRESERVATION/ NIKKEI |

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Front of Japanese Overseas Migration Museum.
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At the Japan Open-Air Folk House Museum.
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Reconstructing Folk House brought from another Province.

At the Japanese Migration Museum we were able to learn about Nikkei. This term does not just coin “Japanese emigrants,” there are many interpretations to this word. There are people that consider themselves Japanese-Americans rather than Nikkei, there are people who are not Japanese but are immersed into the culture that consider themselves Japanese. Nikkei shows the strong ties to the culture and pride of the Japan country. I learned how there were many families that left Japan in hopes to make money to return to their families and there were many who left to start anew. It made me think about my ancestors, what brought them to Hawaiʻi? How did they feel leaving their home country? I also thought about myself, am I Japanese-American, Nikkei, where do I stand when it comes to representing my ethnicities?

Japan has also taught me about cultural preservation. The nation as a whole understands the importance of preserving the culture, and they do so with their countless of museums that upkeep the artifacts as well as educate the viewers. You can see some preservation being made where workers are rebuilding the Fold Houses that they transferred from another province.

While we were preparing for our group presentations, we asked Ichikawa-san, our travel guide/translator, why they preserve their culture and history, and he responded with “It is a part of who we are.” This was definitely an eye-opener for me. It was astounding how the Japanese people understand and respect their culture and this was because they understood this was a part of their identity.

| INNOVATION, TOWARDS THE FUTURE |

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Robot at Yaskawa Electric Corporation.
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Robot at Yaskawa Electric Corporation.
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Technology made to help someone in a wheelchair stand.

Our Yaskawa Electric Corporation visit was one of my favorite places to go to. The innovation, the advances they’ve made were astounding! It was a very fun, interactive place that we could see what the industrial robots could do, including robots building robots! I especially liked the robots used in science. There were robots used to work with toxic chemically that would be too dangerous for humans to do. There was technically made to allow people in wheelchairs to stand. How far technology has come was exciting to learn about. It aspired me to make a difference in the world.

| FOOD |

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Japanese-styled dinner, sashimi melted in my mouth!
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Japanese-styled lunch,
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Shabu shabu dinner, all you can eat!
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Japanese-styled lunch in Fukuoka.
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First lunch in Fukuoka, loved the aesthetic effort put in to prepare the meal and atmosphere.
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Some desserts we enjoyed on the trip.
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Japanese-style hamburger steak lunch.
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Experiencing Hakata ramen with Kyushu University students.

Food is one of the best ways to discover and appreciate culture. Before I came to Japan, I was a bit worried since I don’t typically like Japanese food. I am pleased to say that I had a wonderful experience with food in Japan. It was delicious, aesthetically pleasing, and exciting to see the different types of food this country had to offer!

| FRIENDSHIP, BUILDING A BRIDGE |

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Meeting Kyushu University students.
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Amy and I before we eat lunch.
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Chelsea and I tasting our umegae mochi.
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Enjoying spring at Maizuru Park.

Close ties were built during this trip with fellow scholars and with students from Kyushu University. The trip would not have been the same without them. Through this trip we were able to build bridges, bringing America and Japan closer together. We were able relate with the people and enjoy each other’s company. Hopefully we’ll have a reunion!

| UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCES |

Here are also some other memorable experiences that I’ve had in Japan. From drinking tea while viewing a tea garden, to going to a shrine, learning how to pray and getting my fortune in the hail and rain, to making umegai mochi, I laughed and enjoyed every experience I had on my first trip to Japan.

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Catching a ride at the Edo Tokyo Museum.
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People bustling around at the Daizaifu Tenmangu Shrine. It is immensely popular to come pray and get your fortune.
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Matcha Tea and delicious desert tasted at Yusentei Tea House.
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Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine is beautiful even through rain and hail.
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Quick view of Tokyo Skytree.
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Checking my fortune at Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine.
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Making Umegae Mochi.
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Cleansing before entering Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine.

THANK YOU for the wonderful experience! I hope to visit Japan again!

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