May 16, 2012
The Buddhist priests demonstrated a chant for us.
By Ant’Quinette Jackson
Today we visited Little Tokyo to see a Buddhist temple and the Japanese American National History Museum. We also received an etiquette session in Japanese mannerisms and culture and spoke with the Consul General of Japan. But I will speak about the first half our day.
Professor Duncan Williams taught us about Japanese spirituality.
Getting to see a temple where Japanese people worship was interesting. I found it intriguing how the temple was Americanized with pews like a Christian church (which is not typical of a temple). As we listened to one of the monks chant, the sounds were music to my ears and I found it to be very relaxing and calming. I’m not quite sure if this is the effect they wanted their chants to have but I was pleasantly soothed by the chanting. After leaving the temple, we went to the Japanese American National History Museum to get a mini-history lesson packed into a little over an hour. The greatest part of being at the museum was the final exhibit in which Japanese Americans had a wall full of statements that identified Japanese Americans culturally. For example one statement said “Ways to tell if you’re Japanese… If you know Benihana and Yoshinoya are not real Japanese food.” I thought these statements were really funny and that no matter what ethnic group you identify with, there are always characterizations of your culture. Some people may have thought it was racist or stereotypical, but as a group of people, you are bound to have commonalities that help to group you into a particular category.
Bill Shishima spoke of his internment experience while giving us a tour of Little Tokyo.
Altogether, today was very informative and a great learning experience. We were able to learn more in depth about the Japanese interment camps during WWII and the information was far more than what I had learned in US History in high school.
Waiting for the train.
We traveled in pods just like we will in Japan.
By Kim Vu
At the Japanese American National Museum we were able to meet with Ms. Maki Isoyama from the Japan Foundation, who was gracious enough to comfort us in saying that we do not need to be afraid of the different etiquette practices in Japan! She taught us that many of the manners are the same (such as not chewing with your mouth open or talking with your mouth full) while a few others are different (such as it being okay to slurp hot soups and drinks or not sticking your chopsticks straight up into your rice). I learned a lot and got her business card while we all practiced bowing when meeting Japanese people as well as when giving gifts or business cards.
Consul General Niimi, Consul Wajima and Jennifer Usyak are honorary Trojans.
Some are nervous they are going to starve in Japan with smaller portions.
It was my first time when we rode the Angels Flight up the hill to visit the office of the Consul General of Japan in Los Angeles. We were warmly welcomed and the three representatives from the office were eager to get to know us and about what we will be doing in Japan. Apparently, we will be visiting Consul General Niimi’s hometown of Yokohama. We were also told by Consul General that in a survey asking the Japanese about their affinity for other countries, the US typically comes out in first, but last year we were #1 with 82% of the survey participants with affinity for the US. The 2nd and 3rd most-liked countries were at 62% and 61%. I was glad and excited to hear that.
Some had never been on Angel’s Flight even though they lived in LA their whole life.