SWU Summer Program–Day4

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.