Doshisha University – June 22

25 06 2010

by Professor George Sanchez

Meeting Japanese college students has consistently been one of the highlights of our trip in Japan. After an early morning bullet train ride from Hiroshima, we had this opportunity at Doshisha University in the historic city of Kyoto. Unlike the students we met with at the University of Tokyo, who were primarily international students from outside Japan, the students at Doshisha we met with were all born in Japan and enrolled in Professor Masumi Izumi’s class in American Studies. They had a number of questions for us about Los Angeles because they had recently seen the Academy Award-winning film Crash, and they especially wanted to know about violence and guns in the U.S. We had questions about racial homogeneity in Japan, and we all engaged in a discussion regarding the fate of the U.S. military bases in Okinawa. Once again, small group discussions with individual students were the highlight of this class.

Doshisha then treated us to a wonderful lunch reception at their Amherst house, where we meet another professor, Fanon Wilkins, originally from Los Angeles and teaching in Kyoto the past three years. He led our group on a walking tour of downtown Kyoto, through their central shopping district and treated us to his favorite ice cream in the city.

For many of us, a highlight of our time in Kyoto was our final destination, the oldest Zen Buddhist temple and gardens in Kyoto in the Gion District. There we relaxed, and some slept or meditated, after the long walk in the hot sun. After checking into our traditional Japanese inn (the students all slept on mats on the floor), we gathered together near the river before splitting up to various restaurants to partake of different Kyoto specialties. It was an eventful and spirited first day in Kyoto.




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