Asa’s KAKEHASHI Reflection

By Asa Forte (Japan in DC)

Traveling to Japan has been an extremely informative experience. While in Japan, I learned many interesting aspects of the culture that I never would have even imagined. My group even got to visit Tokyo. We went to Akihabara, which is also known as Anime City for its display of anime and manga. This was personally one of the most meaningful moments during the trip. I also really enjoyed participating in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Before visiting Japan, I knew there were many vending machines in the public. However, I underestimated just how many vending machines I would actually see in person. I counted over one hundred vending machines in the first two days of the trip. I also noticed something rather peculiar about the majority of these vending machines. They all have drinks and cigarettes, but there aren’t any snacks, though it’s understandable, seeing how some snacks may melt or go bad, thus being incompatible with those vending machines.

I also noticed how power-conservative Japanese people are. While staying in my host home, I was politely instructed to turn off any lights and heaters that weren’t in use.

Later in the week, my group visited a high school in Gifu. This school had a list of after school programs. The students were very dedicated to the programs in which they were involved. Since then, I’ve decided to assert more effort in the arts of my interest, and be more successful as an individual Duke Ellington high school student. I’m an instrumental major, but I’m also multi-talented. It’s very difficult to maintain my interest in my talents and artistic interests attending this school, because it requires the majority of my attention. However, seeing those Japanese students and their dedication to the arts has reminded me of my passion, and the responsibilities that I’m entitled to. I will, however, keep my attention balanced between my responsibilities and my talents to ensure success, not only in school, but in life.