Field Trip: First Day in Tokyo

28.11.2011, 15:13
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The land of the rising sun. The country of many contrasts. The city that never sleeps.  So technologically advanced that even the toilet has a variety of functions to suit your needs.  How does a nation so resilient and in control deals with earthquakes, tsunamis, nuclear power stations and nature cataclysms, and at the same time remains so expressive and diversified in its culture – is up to the students to find out on their 10 day trip to Tokyo as they will get immersed in this fascinating city.

Starting Sunday, the students will be engaged in a quite intense program featuring visits to Yokohama city, which is the second largest city after Tokyo and a major commercial hub. The programme includes many meetings with Japan’s most distinguished architects — from young up-and-coming Junya Ishigami, who some of you might know as the winner of the Polytechnical Museum reconstruction competition, to such distinguished masters as Toyo Ito.

On Saturday, before diving into discovering Tokyo’s transport, communications, urbanism and architecture from a researcher’s point of view, the students decided to go on their own exploration walks around the city’s districts, observing culture and estimating the easiness of navigation.

What was first feared to be an obstacle turned out to be as easy as 1-2-3 — Tokyo’s metro system. By simply choosing your destination and using the ticket machine (which has a working English menu), one can go anywhere without missing the station as they are all announced in English as well. In a city where a foreigner cannot easily read the language, this is a big plus adding up to a comfortable experience.

What strikes the eye at any district you styep in is Tokyo’s street fashion: elaborate hairstyles, bright colors and make up, stylishly fitted clothes. We will see more of this on Monday, as the students visit Harajuku fashion areas, where a particular Japanese trend among young people to dress up in a mesh of many clothing styles has been nurtured.

During the week the students will also be writing essays about their Tokyo experience and taking interviews with architects, artists, and prominent people. Be sure to follow our blog in the next 10 days and uncover the city together with us.