SSIP2017_June28 [2017年07月12日(水)]

This morning Chancellor Bando gave a lecture on women in Japanese Society, informing the students of the continual shifts in and long-fought struggle for gender equality in the family and workplace. Most powerfully, she concluded with anecdotes of her personal difficulties as the first woman to work in the Prime Minister’s office in Japan whilst raising two children. After Chancellor Bando gave her remarks on legislative measures that could be taken to further support women in maintaining a career and having a family, the floor was opened up for questions. Each of the students shared an evaluation of the specific struggles faced by women in their home countries with respect to childcare and career, whilst also sharing their personal aspirations with the Chancellor. We all gathered for a group photograph before departing for a number of different lunchtime discussions.

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SSIP留学生との交流会0628環境Participants who major in Psychology and Design were invited to talks and project presentations by the relevant departments of Showa University to meet a greater number of the student body.








 The other participants were treated to a buffet-style lunch by the Department for Japanese Language and Literature. Food was followed by the writing and tying of wishes to trees as traditional during the upcoming Tanabata festival, as well as making origami. Congenial conversation was to be had with the Showa students from the department, with the international participants continuing discussion of Chancellor Bando’s lecture on women and education.

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For the afternoon, the Cross-Cultural Workshop reconvened to dive deeper into the work of the cultural theorists Barna and Hofstede, with activities focused on ethnocentrism and overcoming the “stumbling blocks” to intercultural communication.

SSIP2017_June27 [2017年07月10日(月)]

Following yesterday’s lecture on Japanese education, SSIP participants were taken on a delightful tour of Showa’s Elementary School. Kindly led by Nagino-sensei, with Harvard intern Amanda Yang acting as translator, we were able to observe the interactions between pupils and teachers in a range of classes. After removing our shoes, as is custom, and a quick orientation, we were warmly welcomed by the enthusiastic and well-behaved children (who were, needless to say, adorably cute). Highlights included being treated to a very impressive choir rehearsal by the music department, before moving on to explore a science laboratory home to a butterfly house and aquarium. One participant was surprised by the young age at which the pupils began studying angles in the mathematics class in comparison to their educational experience in their home country. Before leaving, we were able to admire the care with which pupils in their art class painted were painting their wishes with calligraphy pens on paper to prepare for the annual Tanabata (Star) Festival.

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The long lunch break allowed the students to go out for a bite to eat if they wished, before they returned for a lively lecture by history professor, Shigematsu-sensei, on Japanese Pop Culture. Students were lucky enough to have classic manga works passed around, including some highly sought-after copies that are now out of print, whilst hearing about the development of the art and its importance in Japanese society today. We then learned how manga related to anime and the efforts made by renowned filmmakers such as Hayao Miyazaki to establish the latter as an artform in its own right. Spliced in-between information bites were snippets from early Miyazaki works, an exciting introduction to the Ghibli Museum trip on Friday. The lecture concluded with the rise of JPop. Whether connoisseurs or dilettantes of Japanese Pop Culture, sure enough every participants’ knowledge was deepened by the lecture.


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SSIP2017_June26 [2017年07月10日(月)]

After a weekend exploring Tokyo’s plethora of museums, restaurants and parks, the students gathered together in the Global Lounge to kick-off the second week of the program. Today, we had two engaging professors, Ishii-sensei lecturing on Japanese Design, followed by Sim-sensei on Japanese Education before tomorrow’s visit to the Elementary School.  

 The morning lecture began with an interactive introduction to the language of design, with students comparing the remarkable similarities between the images each of the students have in their minds in response to concepts and emotions. We then launched into a brief history of design in the West and how different styles developed across the Eurasian continent over millennia before feeding the diversity of Japanese design today. The lecture concluded by touching on the defining influence of Shinto concepts, before opening up for a comparative discussion with students drawing on their own cultural experiences.

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With their hunger sated by a brief lunch, the students reconvened in the Global Lounge for an enthralling lecture on Japanese Education delivered by Sim-sensei. With a presentation incorporating statistics on levels of education in the countries of the participants as well as Japan, students were left surprised by the contrasts in education levels, costs and methods. They dived into debate with their own remarks over the educational research on such topics. The second half of the presentation was tailored to exploring the shocking and perplexing gender disparities in Japanese education and around the world. With thoughts buzzing from the day’s lectures, students headed out into the city or back to the National Olympics Youth Memorial Center for a well-earned rest.


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SSIP2017_June24 [2017年07月06日(木)]

The weather forecast promised that today would be one of the last sunny ones before a very rainy week. It was a day devoted entirely to cross-cultural workshops at the Global Lounge.

Audrey Morrell continued to lead the workshops, beginning with a make-up class for those unable to attend the first session. For everyone else, the workshop began at 10:40am with everyone sharing an item of cultural significance that they had brought with them. The session went on to explore in-depth the types of miscommunication that occur between cultures.

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After lunch, the class came together to discuss differences between Western and Eastern culture and how those differences developed.

SSIP2017_June23 [2017年07月05日(水)]

It was a hot and sunny day as the SSIP participants arrived bright and early to attend a lecture on kabuki, followed by a lecture on Japanese art, and finishing up with a visit to the National Theater to view an actual kabuki show!

The first lecture on kabuki, traditional Japanese dance-drama, was skillfully done by Showa’s Oyatsu-sensei (Sanae Oyatsu) and translated by Ash-sensei.
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She informed the students on the long history of kabuki in Japan, and how it developed first from an art performed by women, to young men, to the modern kabuki of today performed by older men (yarou-kabuki). She also explained kabuki makeup and the conventions of the art. After the lecture, everyone was looking forward to attending the kabuki show in the afternoon.
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Immediately following the lecture on kabuki, Tsuruoka-sensei (Akemi Tsuruoka) taught the students about Japanese art, assisted again by Ash-sensei. The lecture began with an exploration of folding screens, each of the students getting to fold their own mini paper version of one. They also explored the presence and influence of religion in Japanese art.
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After a quick break for lunch, the students gathered at the Global Lounge and then head off to the National Theater for a kabuki performance. This was actually the first time any of the international students had viewed a kabuki showing, so everyone was excited for it the start. The performance began with an entertaining explanation of kabuki and the kabuki stage from one of the performers, followed by a short intermission, after which the show began in earnest. It was a skillful performance which incited a lot of laughter, and everyone really liked the show!