Global Studies Program

Travel Seminars

SOC 385 Exploring Japanese Society and Culture (Dr. Akiko Yasuike)

This course introduces students to Japanese society and culture. Japan has been one of the most economically advanced countries since the rise of globalization, yet unlike Europe and the U.S., it is a country of no Western origin. While globalization has accelerated the process of Americanization, Japan still retains uniquely Japanese customs, values/beliefs and social institutions. The course will examine Japanese society/culture and the impact of globalization on it through documentary films, academic articles, popular magazines and internet sources. Right after this semester, students will visit Japan for approximately two weeks to directly observe interactions of Japanese people and experience Japanese life style. Students are expected to stay in Japan as a college student ethnographer and share their observations and thoughts during evening meetings. Class assignments of gathering information on Japanese society and culture and a trip to Japan will promote an understanding of cultural and global diversity and appreciation of diversity.

Communication Major
Class of 2011

"Japan was such an experience, and I will never forget anything that I saw and did. As crazy as things may seem, Japan has done a phenomenal job at balancing the newest of technology, but still being able to hang tight to their cultural roots. I have never been to a country that is able to handle so much at once."

Global Studies Major
Class 2010

"Every day was full of new aspects of the Japanese culture, which brought shock, amazement, and even laughs to us foreigners. Japan is a world which is connected globally with the United States and other western powers, yet it is so different from any country I have seen. Japan has the ability to live in a global western world while also keeping their traditional way of life, which is very foreign to the West. Most countries cannot do this and usually give up tradition in order to enter the global world, or they keep their long time traditions and do not enter the global world. Japan is so unique to be able to do this and I grew a huge appreciation for the Japanese people and the way they are able to live their lives in this global society."

Sociology Major
Class 2010

"Japan was a breathtaking experience with a rush of so many different cultures mixing into one place. The honor in the past is kept in the temples and the palaces preserved as the new fashions of Harajyuku overtake the world in a rush of style uniquely different from American retro-active chic. It was an overwhelming mesh of people and new experiences and culture-shock to make one really appreciate the intensity of what this country had to offer. As I leave Japan, I will always remember just how much I must still learn from foreign cultures and remember the balance of all aspects that Japan upholds and the calming harmony of seeking something higher than earthly gratification."

Itinerary for a Japan Travel Seminar in May and June in 2012

Day 1 L.A. Leave LAX
Day 2 Tokyo Arrive at Narita Airport
Day 3 Tokyo Tsukiji Fish Market, Kabuki, Tokyo Tocho Building, & Shinjyuku
Day 4 Tokyo Edo Tokyo Museum & Free Time (Asakusa/Akihabara, Odaiba, Roppongi/Akasaka or Giburi Museum)
Day 5 Tokyo Tokyo National Museum & Multicultural Center Tokyo
Day 6 Tokyo Imperial Palace, Meiji Jingu & Free Time (Harajuku, Aoyama & Shibuya)
Day 7 Takayama Takayama
Day 8 Takayama Gokayama & Shirakawago
Day 9 Gifu Ukai
Day 10 Kyoto Nijyo Castle
Day 11 Kyoto Nara (Todaiji Temple, Nara Park, Kasuga Taisha Shrine) & Home Visit
Day 12 Kyoto Kyoto Imperical Palace, Shimogamo Shrine, Kimono Wearing & Tea Ceremony & Free Time
Day 13 Kyoto Zen Meditation & Free Time
Day 14 Kyoto Eastern Kyoto (Kiyomizu, Sanjusangendo Hall, Yasaka Shrine, Chionin, Heian Shrine, Museum of Traditional Crafts & Gion)
Day 15 Osaka Leave Itami International Airport