May 14, 2012
By Rubi Garcia
The countdown to Japan starts now! I cannot believe that in 5 days, I will finally be on my way to Japan! I’ve been looking forward to this trip since last year, but it still hasn’t hit me that I’ll be leaving pretty soon. I won’t deny that by this point in time, I feel both nostalgia and excitement about leaving the country. After today’s introductory course, however, my excitement increased much more—making me forget about some of the fears I have. What excited me the most from today’s lesson was speaking in Japanese. I never thought I would be talking in a language other than Spanish or English, and hearing myself speaking in an unfamiliar language, was extremely exciting. As the lessons continued, I thought that Dr. Sanchez’s presentation on Disneyland was quite interesting. I consider myself to be a huge Disneyland fan, which is why I was pretty surprised when Dr. Sanchez pointed out some of the things I had never noticed before about the theme park. When he broke down each of the “towns” from Disneyland and told us about their racial implications, it all made sense! I could not believe that I had not been fully observant to come up with some of these conclusions myself. (But at least now I know that I have to be extremely observant for my own research!) I can definitely say that my perspective about Disneyland changed from the discussion that we had. I cannot wait to go to Tokyo’s Disneyland to compare the two theme parks from one another.
SIP Advisor Nadia Kanagawa teaches students some basic phrases in Japanese.
Students listen to Dr. Sanchez discuss the internment of Japanese Americans.
By Jasmine Torres
Wow. Today was a big shocker with all the information I received about our trip. Literally it was a breakdown of every day (including exact times) for the whole entire trip. I see NTSAF is leaving nothing to chance. Haha. All the information being thrown at me made me take in a HUGE breath. I can already tell I am going to be doing a lot of walking. However, I am most interested in what Dr. Sanchez said about the place called “Americanland” in Japan. I think it is important to understand how the Japanese see our country. Although I am of Salvadoran descent through my family’s birthplace and their culture, I do not culturally consider myself Salvadoran. I have never been to El Salvador and do not participate in any Salvadoran traditions. I cannot cook Salvadoran food and I learned Spanish when I was 9. Even now my Spanish is broken because there is no one I speak Spanish to. So although I am “brown,” and appreciate being from an immigrant family, I was raised here in the U.S and think differently from the people who are my immediate relatives. So I am excited to see what (if at all) the Japanese people think about diversity in the United States both as far as different phenotypes, ethnicities, religion, nationalities, and culture. In Japan, when people ask me, “What are you? Where are you from?” I will have more of an inclination to honestly answer where I am from and not where my mother was born and immigrated from. I can say, “I am American. I am from America.” And I would feel rooted to that answer of being American; specifically tell them I am from Los Angeles because it is the place I call home.
Jessica Guevara and Eric Ochoa listen to Dr. Sanchez discuss Disney and difference.
SIP Advisor Mike Mazon discusses Japanese architecture.
By Jessica Guevara
The first day of the Summer Immersion Program brought the students and staff together for the first time in the Los Angeles intensive week. We had the opportunity to learn more about the research and work that Nadia Kanagawa, Priscilla Leiva and Mike Mazon are involved with. Dr. Sanchez and the speakers above lectured about Japanese history, introduction to the Japanese language, and even the history of Disneyland Corporation. I learned many new facts in Japanese history that strike me. Dr. Sanchez revealed that United States occupied Japan during World War II and influenced Japanese history. To start off the Japanese Post War Constitution written in 1947 was a written surrender from Japan to the Allied Powers. It was the first time the Japanese people had heard the emperor’s voice and it was to communicate the surrender. America had once again change the course of history of another country and even shaped the language of the Japanese constitution in order to maintain control over the Japan. For example, the language in the constitution includes a strict policy, which constrained Japan from ever having there own military. Much of the day was about learning knew things about Japan that the class did not know. It was one of the few formal classroom meetings in the upcoming weeks, but set the tone for what we all can expect from the trip. I am extremely excited to participate in this week’s programs and I am only expecting to gain a wealth of knowledge through each experience.