2012 Tokyo Program

2012 Tokyo Program

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sunday, June 17: Reflection

Today we concluded our time with the students at Daito Bunka in USD’s second Cross-Cultural Tokyo Workshop.  The morning started out excited for me as Dr. Inoue assigned me Captain of our group to get the group from the hotel to the university…and I must admit I prevailed!  I was able to get us from Keio Plaza Hotel to Shinjuku Station to Ikebukuro Station to Tobu-Nerima our exit for Daito Bunka University! J The time spent today at Daito Bunka was truly one of the most eye-opening experiences of my educational career…
The workshop began with small group discussions regarding the Kizuki, awareness, that the members of the small groups took away from the previous days discussions on our rich picture exercise.  What I found most remarkable from my small group discussion was the groups’ ability to take a small opinion and turn it in to a completely developed and in depth analysis of one aspect of the entire large groups similar Kizuki; the notion that we may all be in completely different aspects of life but we share the same fear of uncertainty in this journey of life. 
Masami-San brought forth a powerful thought that captured my attention and has continued to be in the forefront of my thoughts since the original conversation; most American ideas can be answered/discussed before the sentences have been completed, however, Japanese ideas are not complete until the entire thought has been presented because of the context of grammar.  These two differences create two very different conversational environments; one in which Americans do not give themselves time to truly think about the entire context of the idea and the second in which the Japanese create an environment that enables more thought because of the time frame required to present the entire grammatical idea.  The major notion that has resided within me is that as Americans we are always trying to have/do the quickest solution possible and in that I believe we are not living in the “now.”  We are so focused on the end point that we may be losing the entire meaning of the journey and the true ability to be present in our current situations.  The connection I made to this and to the Cross-Cultural Workshop is that until the latter portion of today I was unsure about the meaning of this workshop until I allowed myself to step back and analyze all the aspects of the rich picture discussions that had gotten us to the conclusion of the workshop.  The ability that drawings have to bring together two groups of students from two completely different cultures with a language barrier and create in depth meaningful useful discussions and future relationships is truly indescribable.  For one of the first times I was living and learning in the “now” and reflecting and learning about my Omoi and Kizuki, and the most beautiful aspect was I was able to do/share this with strangers who are now friends.
Inoue-San told us many times that Japanese drinking parties are used to truly communicate with others and tonight that was definitely evident.  The Daito students invited us out to dinner/drinks after the workshop had been completed and during this time we shared some of the most amazing conversations.  This group event was one of the most talkative experiences that we all were able to share.  One of the most beautiful mental snapshots that I took away from this evening was the sound of cross-cultural conversations in which Daito students were helping the USD students with Japanese and the USD students were helping the Daito students with English, and we were all able to learn and cherish this time together!

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