Japan: Where Tradition Meets Innovation | Teachers’ Corner
Whether your school offers a Japanese language course or not, a trip to Japan is a unique opportunity to broaden your students’ horizons. Japanese civilisation dates back thousands of years and the country’s rich history is evident in its arts, architecture and traditions. Japanese people are fiercely proud of their cultural heritage and strive to protect their ancient customs – many of which we try to incorporate into our fun and educational itineraries. And while traditions are observed and respected, Japan is also a country that champions cutting-edge technology and pioneering modern design. Here we bring you some of the main reasons why you should choose Japan for your next school trip…
A centre of technology
In the 1980s, Japan’s meteoric growth resulted in the country becoming the world’s second largest economy. This period also saw it established as a leader in the fields of business, science and technology. 30 years on, and while other nations are catching up, the Japanese remain ambitious innovators. They are, for example, leaders in the field of robotics – an area that is becoming increasingly relevant as more and more services become automated. Our Business and Technology trip gives students a great introduction to some of Japan’s best-known tech-companies and provides a real-world context for those studying Business, Economics or ICT.
Questions for Students
- Which factors contributed to the ‘economic miracle’ which took place in Japan in the 20th Century?
- As technology continues to advance, why is the robotics industry increasingly important?
There are few countries more closely linked with traditional arts than Japan and practices such as ikebana (flower arranging), sadō (tea ceremony), geisha and origami have become integral to the country’s identity. Our Cultural Highlights and Adventure Island: Hokkaido trips give students the opportunity to engage closely with elements of traditional Japanese culture, from watching a sumo training session in Tokyo, to making soba noodles in Sapporo.
Questions for students
- Can you name three traditional cultural practices that originated in Japan?
- How long does it take to become a geisha?
For students of Japanese there is of course no better place to put their language skills into practice. At your request, we are able to incorporate language classes and/or trips to partner schools into our existing itineraries. We are also able to tailor bespoke itineraries to meet your desired learning outcomes. All of our trips in Japan our led by Japanese speakers who are happy to take part in conversation practice with students.
Suggested challenges for students
- Order food in Japanese
- Ask a passer-by for directions
- Make a list of 10 unfamiliar kanji that you see and find out what they mean
Modern(ist) design at its best
Architecturally, you couldn’t hope for a more fascinating or diverse city than Tokyo. While it is most closely associated with hyper-modern skyscrapers, the vast metropolis is also home to buildings spawned from the avant-garde Metabolism movement, which emerged in Japan in the mid-20th century. Seminal buildings such as Kenzō Tange’s St. Mary’s Cathedral or Kisho Kurokawa’s Nakagin Capsule Tower (below) make excellent excursions for students studying Art and Design. In terms of product design, Japan’s influence is unparalleled, and students will notice the characteristically minimalistic style of Japanese designers as they travel through the country.
Questions for students
- How has Japanese design influenced designers working in the West?
- Does the architecture in Tokyo differ to that in your home town/city?
- How are modern Japanese aesthetics influenced by Japan’s traditional past?
A pop culture paradise
Japan’s popular culture is one of its most significant exports, with Japanese animation (anime), manga (comic books), street style and video games proving hugely popular internationally. Our Cultural Highlights and Business and Technology trips take students to the youth-oriented entertainment centres of Akihabara, Odaiba, Harajuku and Shibuya and allow students to experience this vibrant and sociologically fascinating side of Japanese culture first-hand.
Questions for students
- Why do you think manga (comic books) are so much more popular in Japan than they are in other countries?
- What is the significance of kawaii (cuteness) in Japanese culture?
Ready to plan your school trip? We are experts in designing bespoke itineraries that meet your learning objectives. Get in touch today by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org to start planning your school itinerary.