Student Reflections – June 18

22 06 2010

Felipe Martinez cleansing his hands in the fountain cascade (left) and a rickshaw at Ginza, right in front of the department store.

A Day around Tokyo, Both Modern and Traditional

by Anthony Grimaldo

Today’s schedule was packed with visits to the Imperial Palace, then the Ginza strip followed by going to Asakusa and seeing the amazing (and huge) Sensoji Temple. Our first stop was the Imperial Palace but unfortunately we weren’t able to go inside because they were closed on Fridays. Instead, we went to Ginza. Ginza seemed to be a shopping center or district with various stores ranging from electronics to European clothing, but also Japanese shops as well. One of the most interesting things about Ginza was that you weren’t necessarily aware that you were in Japan. All the shops are also found back in the states, but here and there you would see Japanese writing and a rickshaw — hints that we were actually in Japan. One of the stores that peaked my interest was Uniqlo which is a store similar to Gap, or H&M, but for a Japanese audience. It seemed to sell clothing that appealed to youth but still professional in appearance.

The Sensoji Temple. It was raining hard, but we didn’t let the weather stop us from experiencing the history and culture here.

After this excursion we went to the Sensoji temple, which was an amazing location because of its architecture and how it seemed to be rich in culture and history. It was a huge temple with a colorful jutting rooftop and accompanied by a large pagoda in front. There were also hundreds of small stores in front of the temple selling clothing, food, souvenirs, and Sensoji paraphernalia. My favorite part was the small fountain cascade where we were able to cleanse ourselves by washing our hands free of sin. Overall the day was packed with excursions allowing us to immerse into Japan society.

The whole group of Trojans!

Alumni Mixer Mix-Up!

by Isabel Duenas

After we got home from Ginza we had to rush to get ready for the USC Alumni Mixer that evening! It was almost 6:30 and we were all rushing to get ready for the Mixer, which was taking place in a very elegant hotel in Tokyo. Tina, Amanda, Paola, and myself were making final touches to our hair and makeup before we met in the hotel lobby to be on our way to the gathering. When we finally made it down, we found out there was a mix-up: there were two hotels of the same name and we had directions to the wrong one! So Christina and all of the staff, faculty, and advisors decided we’d take desperate measures; we’d split up and meet at the Alumni Mixer. We all walked speedily through the complex Tokyo subway system to our destination.

When we finally arrived we were glad to see that no one got lost. It was a difficult journey with a lot of walking in the rain, a train and a bus, but once at the hotel we were immediately received with smiles and warm welcomes. We could tell that our presence had been much anticipated. We immediately got to socializing and networking.

Brian Nelson, president of the Alumni Club in Tokyo, giving an introduction to our group.

Clockwise from top left: USC Alumni in Japan; many students, including Amanda Peralta (right), enjoyed this networking opportunity; after the hectic evening, Henry Franco takes a break with Tina Chuvanjyan; a USC alumnus speaking with Isabel Duenas about his experiences in Japan and at USC.

Everywhere I looked our scholars were interacting with USC alumni who were currently in Tokyo. It was amazing to see and hear their conversations and to know that this opportunity to meet people like the CEO of Value Commerce Ltd. is a once in a lifetime opportunity. So although we started off with a mix-up, we ended up with a clear idea of how important it is to network and to know that the Trojan Network is all over the world! Fight on!

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