The benefits of experiential learning are well-documented, and research supported. This summer, Morgan students are traveling the world enriching themselves with study, research and invaluable firsthand experiences.
Included among Morgan’s academic globetrotters taking full advantage of studying abroad were a modish group of students from the Family & Consumer Sciences (FACS) department. The group traveled to Tokyo, Japan for a personal introduction to Japanese culture and an immersive exchange steeped in tradition and beaming with innovation.
Fashion Merchandising students from the School of Education and Urban Studies (SEUS) relished a week-long educational excursion to the ‘land of the rising sun’ and have documented their study abroad with a daily journal of their most memorable experiences.
Join Fashion Merchandising majors, Naomi Royster, Anaya McGhee and Crystal Washington along with Strategic Communication major Markia Jones from the School of Global Journalism and Communication on their Tokyo travels and adventures in Japan. Dr. LaPorchia Davis, assistant professor from the School of Education and Urban Studies, accompanied the group and was instrumental in planning the weeklong international excursion to Tokyo. Arigatō, tanoshī!
Days 1 and 2 were vlogged by Naomi Royster (FACS)
DAY 1: Long Travel Day
Bound for Japan, we began our journey from Baltimore, Maryland around 9:30am traveling through Canada and arriving in Japan the next day at 3:45pm.
DAY 2: Explore Japan
Come along and watch us make the most of our first two days exploring the “Far East.”
Days 3 and 4 were blogged by Anaya McGhee (FACS)
DAY 3: Cultural Exchange
Today, we ventured out using the public transit system, Tokyo Metro. We used the jam-packed Metro to Ueno Park. It was a very different experience, Japan’s metro stations were exceptionally clean and featured barriers separating from the tracks for safety. We don’t have that in Maryland.
Since arriving in Japan, everyday had been a busy day and this day was no different! Dr. Davis definitely had us going, but we loved it. After our experience on the Tokyo Metro, we visited the Tokyo National Museum where we learned about Japanese culture, particularly the history of kimono textiles for children and adults.
Following the museum visit, we went to a traditional Japanese Tea ceremony. The tea ceremony is intended to be shared between you and your peers, making the moment intimate and very special. It was introduced in the 15th century by the Zen monks as a Buddhist ritual. At one time, ladies were not allowed to attend the ceremony, just men. Now it’s open to everyone. The tea ceremony also became a time-honored tradition among the Samurai community. Tea is a precious commodity in Japanese culture. At the ceremony you’re required to be modest, calm, and limit talking to a bare minimum.
The ceremony begins with eating sweets made of potato and rice powder. The top of each sweet is carefully decorated with ornate designs reflecting each season. The tea served during the ceremony is matcha tea, a type of green tea that is good for health, beauty and aging. Our Tea ceremony hosts expected us to drink all of the tea that was served. Matcha has a very unexpected and strong taste reminiscent of blended vegetables.
DAY 4: Natural Wonders
We explored the scenic landscapes in Tokyo on our fourth day, visiting Mount Fuji, Lake Ashi (Ashinoko), and Motohakone. This was my favorite part of the trip. It was breathtaking to be able to see all of this in real life! We were able to take in the mountain from various looking points. A fun fact our tour guide shared was that most of the time when people visit Mount Fuji, they aren’t able to see it because of the amount of fog that typically covers the area. We were very lucky and were able to see all of the entire mountain. After visiting Mount Fuji, we took a boat ride on Lake Ashi to Motohakone where we traveled up the mountainside by cable car. After visiting a few of Japan’s natural wonders, everyone was so exhausted that we decided to get food and go back to our rooms for the night.
Days 5 and 6 were blogged by Markia Jones (SGJC)
DAY 5: Scenic Landmarks
On day 5, we set out to visit Tokyo Skytree, Japan’s tallest structure and the tallest tower in the world. The top of the tower also delivered the best view of Japan. As we walked to Skytree, we spotted a small group of street performers dressed as local cartoon characters giving a concert that I really enjoyed. From Skytree, we journeyed to Haneda Chronogate, a prime logistics building that serves as a major hub for packaging and distribution services in Japan. We found our tour to be very educational as we learned how the shipping and fulfillment works down to smallest detail. We saw firsthand how they use robots to analyze and sort packages. Chronogate has mastered the flow of shipping domestic goods directly to consumers or retail shops all over Japan, including cosmetics, clothing, food and much more.
DAY 6: Local Fare & Retail Therapy
Today, we learned to make sushi. The finished product came out perfectly and it was paired with a traditional Japanese drink. After lunch, we visited a popular shopping area called Harajuku to indulge in more sightseeing and shopping. The weather was really warm which made our Harajuku outing somewhat challenging, but we still had a great trip.
Day 7 was blogged by Crystal Washington (FACS)
DAY 7: Homeward Bound
Before we knew it, the time had come for us to leave the Pearl Hotel in Tokyo, Japan. Our checkout time was at 10 a.m., and since we didn’t have to depart for the airport until 2:30 p.m. for our 5:40 p.m. flight to Canada, we were given the option to either go to Sea World or stay at the hotel. Luckily, we all felt the same way and decided to stay at hotel (sigh of relief, LOL). I sat and reflected on the awesome experience that we had over the last seven days. It will definitely be a time to remember.
REPEAT DAY 7: Welcome Home!
That Monday, we were back home, or should I say…welcomed back to yesterday. Due to the changes in time zones, we had two Mondays back-to-back, one in Japan and one in United States.
We all thanked Dr. Davis for providing us with an opportunity of a lifetime to see another side of this world. Our trip to Japan would not have ever happened without her.
This has been one of the best trips that I’ve ever experienced at Morgan State University and with the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences. As a fashion student, I cannot express enough, my sincere gratitude to Dr. Davis for creating this experience for all of us to enjoy. Next up, Italy! Ciao! If you’re interested, be sure to contact Dr. LaPorchia Davis for more information about that trip.