photo of a geisha

October 26, 2005

Crows and Cranes

Filed under: EAC News — aaron @ 7:43 am

For EAC student, Natalie Stanchfield, taking part in the Tai Chi was nostalgic, bringing back memories of previous experiences in California. She writes:

Assembled in a large circle, grass under bare feet, we stretched out our limbs, elongating to the sky, bending to the ground, loosening our joints. It was an overcast day, not too hot, with trees all around us at Gosho Park near the Imperial Palace in Kyoto. I listened to the alien cries of the Japanese crows and cicadas from the trees, but if I closed my eyes, then everything, every sound seemed strangely familiar—like home, like I was a kid.

There it was. It was the sound of lawnmowers, that ubiquitous suburban noise, the background of all of my Southern California childhood memories. I remembered the same feeling of fluid movements and grass underfoot. I remembered tai chi class on the lawn of the community college with my mom when we took that half a credit course together. I remember it not being as relaxing as I had hoped. I remember being in a rush with my mom. She was always late.

Read the rest of Natalie’s paper.

October 3, 2005

An Unguided Tour of Kyoto

Filed under: EAC News — aaron @ 10:10 pm
Nijo Castle
by LOP3Z

During the first few weeks of the semester, students at the East Asia Center are required to take an unguided tour of Kyoto, where they are expected to learn how to get around and familiarize themselves with the many wonders the city has to offer. Students are then expected to document their explorations by taking photos and writing reflective papers.

One of our students, James recently wrote about his experiences on the unguided tour. Along the way he encountered naked men in the public bath, fire dancers along the riverside, a heavy metal concert, ancient temples, tasty Japanese cuisine, and old castles haunted by ghosts of ninjas. He writes:

The weekend following my debut in Japan flowed through seamless transitions of sightseeing and a taste of Kyoto’s night scene. Upon arrival on Thursday night, Zaak Kersteter and I made our way down to where Imadegawa Dori crosses the Kamo river, and headed south for a while until hitting a giant mall-like market downtown. Most of the stores were closed by the time we got there, but the people were still parading about en mass—or so I thought. At that early point in my Japan adventure, I lacked the knowledge of how massive the crowds can be.

Continue reading James’ entire paper