SWU Summer Program–Day9 [2013年07月31日(水)]

2013.7.30—Tuesday morning opened with a lecture from Showa’s own President Bando on “Japanese Women”

Her talk began with an account of her life and how she got to where she is today. After yesterday’s lecture on gender roles in Japan, students were far more able to appreciate the obstacles President Bando faced as she pursued a career in government at a time when women were by and large limited to being teachers and office ladies.

After discussing her own story, including how she used her position as a bureaucrat to direct attention towards gender inequality, President Bando discussed the history of Japanese women, starting from the semi-matriarchal societies of pre-Heian Japan and charting the gradual decline to the rigid and oppressive gender roles of the Tokugawa period. In discussing the position of women in society today, President Bando highlighted how centuries-old ways of thinking, such as Confucianism, still play an important part in how women are perceived. Then students shared their opinion on women roles, and how they differ from their home countries.

In the afternoon, students were joined by several Showa alumnae. These guests ranged from housewives to career women. Breaking into groups, students interviewed the women about their careers, families, and other topics. Students said that they greatly appreciated the fact that these women took days off from work in order to come talk to them. They were also impressed by the strength and determination of the women they talked to.

SWU Summer Program–Day8 [2013年07月31日(水)]

2013.7.29—The topic for today’s lecture was education, and it was delivered by Showa’s own Professor Sim.

The lecture first began by detailing the structure of the Japanese education system. Then the focus switched to gender — charts illustrated Japan’s drastic gender equality gap compared with other countries, particularly when it comes to leadership positions. For example, schools with female principals are very rare, as are PTAs run by women in spite of the fact that the members are mostly female. In light of this, students were then asked to break into groups and discuss what the role of women’s universities is, as well as whether they solve or contribute to gender disparity. Students appreciated the great level of detail and evidence in Professor Sim’s presentation, which included many graphs and statistics to illustrate his points.

The afternoon activity was a school visit to Showa Junior and Senior High School, which is located on campus. Students were given a tour of the school by students, participated in calligraphy, and watched a video that students made about their school.
Afterwards, students relaxed and ate snacks together, teaching each other games, origami, and other fun things.

SWU Summer Program–Day6 [2013年07月31日(水)]

2013.7.27—Today, we had our first session for the Cross-Cultural Collaborative Project on gender roles in Japan!

Students were re-introduced to Nico, who will be leading this part of the program.
First, participants were asked to split into five groups and brainstorm lists of words that are gender-ed, that is, that are usually used for a specific gender, such as male or female. These words reflected the various backgrounds of the participants, coming from many languages, including Japanese, English, Polish, Khmer, and more.
Then, the groups shared the meanings and uses of three of the words from their lists with the class. This was followed by a discussion of some of the general themes that linked the words collected and what they say about gender roles and relationships.

Afterwards, Nico gave a short lecture about important gender terms to know for the purposes of the Cross-Cultural Collaborative Project. For example, he highlighted the difference between the words ‘sex’ and ‘gender’. Finally, students were presented eighteen statements that were mainly related to gender. For each sentence, they chose either ‘Strongly Agree’, ‘Agree’, ‘Neutral’, ‘Disagree’, or ‘Strongly Disagree’, based on their personal reactions to the statement. At the end, the five categories were placed on the board, and the response sheets were anonymously redistributed among the participants.

Students were then shown the statements again and stood in front of the category that matched the answer on their given sheet. In this way, they were able to see the distribution of the class’s reactions to each statement and to think about what each says about gender in their own countries and abroad.

After the morning session, students had lunch with students from the International Studies Department.
Participants then secretly signed a birthday card for Shayna Jackson, who turned 20 on Friday.
At 1:30 PM, everyone sang happy birthday to Shayna, in multiple languages, when she was presented with the card, as well as a cake of her choosing. Students enjoyed taking pictures of the festivities, including Shayna blowing out the candles on her cake. Everyone ate cake before being introduced to their homestay families and leaving Showa for the day.

SWU Summer Program–Day5 [2013年07月30日(火)]

2013.7.26—The theme of this day was kabuki, a form of Japanese theater that dates back centuries and still enjoys wide popularity today.

Professor Oyachi, an expert on traditional Japanese theater gave the students a lecture in the morning. This talk helped explain the history of kabuki and the origin of many of its most distinctive features, such as all-male casts. The lecture touched on all parts of kabuki: acting, lighting, stage design, and even the relationship between the actors and the audience.

In the afternoon, students went on a chartered bus trip to Ginza, site of the Kabuki-za theater.
On the way, the bus drove around the Imperial Palace and many important government offices.
Upon arrival in Ginza, students were treated to a full kabuki play, using both the knowledge they learned from the morning’s lecture and explanatory earphone guides to help them understand the play.
One student said that her favorite part of the play was the scene changes (kabuki theaters are equipped with rotating stages that allow more than one set at a time). Another student said that she found the speedy costume changes, with one actor playing multiple parts and switching quickly between them, to be very interesting.

SWU Summer Program–Day4 [2013年07月29日(月)]

2013.7.25—Today’s theme was the history of Tokyo.
The day began with a lecture tracing Tokyo’s roots from when it was a collection of fishing villages called Edo to the sprawling metropolis it is today. The lecture went through the Tokugawa Shogunate, the Meiji Period, and the Post-war Period. The lecture also included media from the times — ukiyo-e prints, early film, advertisements, etc.
After a break, students discussed the preconceptions they had had about Tokyo before arriving, whether they held true, and where these notions had come from.

After having lunch with the eicomi students, students boarded a bus bound for Shitamachi, the “Lower City.”
There, they visited the Edo-Tokyo Museum, which has devoted itself to documenting and recreating how life was in the capital city centuries ago.

The museum boasts numerous elaborate models, as well as replicas of homes, theaters, and other buildings. Many students took small tours with volunteer tour guides, who gave them detailed information about each exhibit.
One student said that the museum was her favorite part of the trip because of how innovative the displays were. Another said that she appreciated being able to study one place in depth because all of her university courses had made generalizations across all of Japan without ever delving into any specific region.

Finally, students were taken to Asakusa for free time to explore.
Asakusa is renowned for Sensouji temple, the oldest in Tokyo. Its red Thunder gate is one of the city’s most iconic structures.
One student said that this was her favorite part of the day because the thick incense that perfumes the temple’s air reminded her of home, where they also burn incense, and brought her peace of mind.

SWU Summer Program–Day3 [2013年07月25日(木)]

2013.7.24—The third day of the SWU Summer Program was focused on fashion.

For our morning lecture, Professor Koga, author of The Empire of Cute, presented students with a lecture on “kawaii,” the Japanese ultra-cute aesthetic that has gained a foothold around the world. The lecture included a history of the term, a list of different types of kawaii, and the results of the professor’s on research into what people perceive to be kawaii and how that differs across demographics.
The lecture also discussed kawaii’s disappearance from the covers of magazines aimed at young people and its adoption by media targeting a slightly older demographic. Some students stated that they were surprised to learn just how pervasive the cute aesthetic was — even old men aspire to be kawaii. Other students appreciated the fact that the lecture looked at many different kinds of kawaii instead of treating it as a single monolithic aesthetic.

After lunch, students participated in a fashion-related activity, learning about the traditional art of furoshiki, or cloth-wrapping.
With a simple square of cloth, it is possible to wrap gifts, carry large bottles securely, and make many different kinds of bags. Though the practice of furoshiki waned in popularity after World War II as consumer culture was on the rise, it has recently enjoyed a resurgence of popularity with the advent of the eco movement, as it is a fashionable, green alternative to paper and plastic bags. At the end of the lesson, students were given their very own furoshiki cloth to keep.

SWU Summer Program–Day2 [2013年07月25日(木)]

2013.7.23—The second day of the SWU Summer Program was focused on Japanese traditional activities.

In the morning, Nishikawa-sensei, a professor in Showa’s department of Japanese Language and Literature, gave the students instruction in the history of the Japanese language.
Her lecture traced the origins of the Japanese writing system, illustrating how the characters borrowed from China gradually changed to become the two syllabary systems used today, the smooth, curved hiragana and the more angular katakana. Nishikawa-sensei’s lecture also illuminated the logic behind some of the Chinese characters (kanji) still used in Japanese today, showing how these seemingly abstract figures actually resemble their meaning.
Finally, Nishikawa-sensei gave students a brief pronunciation lesson and took them through some useful Japanese phrases.

After the Japanese lesson, students were treated to a calligraphy class, led by Itabashi-sensei, a professor from department of Japanese Language and Literature. Students learned about different styles of calligraphy, the proper way to hold a brush, and the handful of basic strokes that make up every character. Each student got to make their own piece of calligraphy artwork, painted on a gold-rimmed board and ready to be framed.

The final event of the day was tea ceremony.
Before the ceremony itself, a member of the CIE staff who had been practicing the art for over two decades gave a lecture on the history and significance of tea ceremony. While it originated in China as a game to try to identify the provenance of different teas, he explained, the Japanese tea ceremony places far less emphasis than its predecessor on the tea itself and far more on the making of the tea, with the goal of capturing a fleeting moment in time. As Japanese tea ceremony has remained largely unchanged since its beginnings almost half a century ago, practicing it provides a window into history.

After this lecture, students watched a tea ceremony demonstration, then were given beautiful traditional sweets. Finally, they got the chance to prepare and drink their own tea.

SWU Summer Program–Day1 [2013年07月25日(木)]

SWU Summer Program 2013(click here for details)

2013.7.22—The day began with self-introductions in the Global Lounge.
The 16 program participants were joined by members of the CIE staff, as well as several Showa Women’s University professors and President Bando.
After opening remarks, the students participated in ice breakers in order to get to know each other in a fun and relaxed way. From there, the students broke into groups and took a tour of campus, led by Showa students.

For lunch, the students regrouped at Showa’s affiliated elementary school, where they ate boxed lunches with elementary students and helped them practice English.

The day’s afternoon activity was a walking tour of Shibuya and Harajuku. Students took pictures at the famous Hachiko statue, then walked through the hustle and bustle of upscale Shibuya. A peaceful walk through the woods in Yoyogi Park provided a nice contrast.
Finally, the students arrived at Harajuku, center of Japan’s youth culture. Everyone was given the freedom to explore on their own — some bought souvenirs, some just looked, and some holed up in an air-conditioned café to take shelter from the summer heat.

The night’s dinner was a lavish catered meal provided by Showa. After their day of adventure, students relaxed and shared stories and a meal together.

BSA Japan 2013 [2013年07月20日(土)]






【アッシュ先生の英文ライティングセミナー】Getting it Write! [2013年07月20日(土)]

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