By Brynae Harrod (Japan in DC)
As much as I like to be back home in the United States, I’ve missed Japan. The trip was as I expected. It was a blast while I was there, learning a little bit of the language to get around, talking to the people, having culture shocks almost every day. Surprising myself, since I already had culture awareness. I’m glad I only embarrassed myself once, the memory of accidentally confusing a Japanese woman for one of my friends. I deeply apologized but I’m glad I was just as easily forgiven.
My most famed memory from being over in Japan had to be the way the Gifu prefecture fishes. It’s something I’ve seriously never heard of. Amazing how fishing in such a way was even possible – fishing by using birds as a host to capture the fish; no fishing nets, no rods or even a string. But instead, a rope being tied around the neck of a bird that can swim like a duck. The bird caught fishes themselves. But in order to stop the birds from swallowing the fish, the fishermen yanks the rope so the bird knows to not swallow the fish and instead give it back to the fishermen. I wasn’t able to see the fishing for myself but still just hearing it put to me was a surprise to how it even worked. Even more since our presenter didn’t know a lot of English, watching him explain what he’s saying with movements was very funny to watch. Although he looked silly while he explained, everyone was able to understand perfectly.
Harajuku would also be one of my famed memories while staying in Japan, I’ve never been much of a ‘fashionista’ but with Japan, especially in Harajuku, Tokyo, it was so normal to express yourself with the use of clothing. Goth, Kawaii, pop fashion, they had it all. Fashion is a very creative way I’ve seen people express who they are, and Japan has taken the trophy for it. Yami-kawaii being fairly new, has to be a great way of expressing the sad feelings of depression through their culture. I was told feelings like this have always been never talked about and viewed in such a negative way. With fashion, people are able to cope with those thoughts. I think of it as a beautiful way to express one’s thoughts without the use of traditional arts.