June 1, 2012
By Raul Alcantar
After visiting the Nagoya port, we went to the Osu Kannon shopping district, a location full of a variety of stores selling products ranging from leather clothing to electronics. This place is very different from the rest of Japan, especially Kyoto. For some reason, the district reminded me of callejones (alleys) back in Los Angeles with its vendors advertising back and forth. Everyone tries to make you come into their stores full of unique clothing or products. I also noticed many foreign businesses such as Italian, Brazilian, and Armenian restaurants. There was even a store called The Hood, which sold “hip-hop” products. The shopping district exemplifies the introduction of foreign cultures into Japan.
Nagoya’s port looked very different from Long Beach
Following the shopping district, we came back to Tokyo, and I realized that our trip is coming to an end. Even though we are back in the same hotel, the city itself doesn’t seem the same to me. During the past week we really got to experience all of Japan, including its traditional places and industrial cities. I’m slowly getting it into my head that we’re coming back to the US in less than two days. The last two weeks have been some of the most intellectually stimulating and culturally enriching. I love Tokyo, but it reminds me too much that we’re going back to the US.
By Kim Vu
This morning we made one last stop in Nagoya before we headed off back for Tokyo. We went for the Nagoya Port and this was the first time our 3 group pod system got one group separated from the other two. We had left during rush hour in the morning and one group had gone on the first subway we saw while the other two stopped and waited for the next subway. Because there was no reception underground, we waited a while longer and decided to meet the other group at the port. We met up with them again and went up to the observation deck. We were able to oversee the entire area from there and could spot things such as the ferris wheel, aquarium, gardens, and a huge ship below. Although Nagoya is the sister city to Los Angeles, we could see that the Port of Los Angeles is filled with many more ships and cargo for things shipped into the US from overseas whereas the Nagoya Port where we visited was a very tourist-friendly area. This area is very clean and seemed opposite of the industrial area the Port of Los Angeles is.
This day marks our last traveling together as a huge group before we head back to Los Angeles. It is crazy to at look at the 2-week trip with everything we were scheduled to do on our itinerary. Looking back now, it seems like we have done and learned countless things and although the days seemed sometimes long with activities, it has also gone by fast. I myself have taken almost 2,000 photos on this trip and although I am excited to explore and do my own research by traveling on my own tomorrow, I can already find myself missing everyone and the experiences we’ve shared. This will only be the beginning to opening our minds by comparing and traveling the world for our studies!