One of GCE’s goals is to develop an awareness of what is Global Citizen. We are encouraging our students to think Global by enhancing each learning unit and creating a bridge between classroom and real-world learning.This Friday, we have the honor to visit the Japanese Information Center in Chicago.

These are students thoughts:

How did this experience today organize and activate ideas from your entire course work from this term?


Categories: Fall 2011

17 Responses so far.

  1. HP says:

    Today we visited the Japanese consulate of Chicago for our weekly field experience. It connected to many of my classes like Economic Fundamentals, Crimes Against Humanity, and even Spanish. Economic Fundamentals connected through their money system the Yen, which we learned about. It is very bad compared to the dollar but since they are so isolated from most other western countries such as western Europe and the U.S, they cannot adopt a currency like the Euro or dollar as it would not make sense. Japanese culture also effects this, as American society tends to focus on the individual, while the Japanese focus on the family, and definitely effects their spending of money and how they go about getting it. Secondly, my Crimes Against Humanities class focuses on social injustices. One such injustice exists in Japan where they still are a totally male dominant society. The Prime Minister only had one child, who was a girl, this presented Japan with a great chance to step through these boundaries. Yet they chose to go the more conservative route and his the prime minister’s brother’s son. Lastly and unexpectedly, my Spanish class actually connected to Japan. Although their history is really lacking in the immigration department (due to the law from the 1600′s to the 1800′s that didn’t allow people to enter or leave. Yet recently this has changed a bit, slowly but surely Korean and Chinese immigrants are coming in, as are South Americans looking for work. I was really surprised to see this connection and it was very interesting. Overall learning about the Japanese culture at the consulate was very fun and we also could connect it to all of our classes.

  2. RJ says:

    I learned a lot of things today in the Japanese Information Center.In pueblos class it that why people immigrant from their countries and is because of jobs,Education for Japan people.In population class there are 128 million in Japan. over 30 million of Japan are resident.No limit for the birth rate.Vitalogies class the culture is almost the same, different is how people dress but in Japan the work together as a group.It was fun to know others people culture.

  3. EP says:

    This experience organized and activated ideas from my entire course work this term because Japan connected to several of my focuses. At the Consulate of Japan, I learned about Japan’s economy. They had the second largest economy in 2007 but was bumped down after when China moved to second place. Japan now has the third largest economy. I think it’s interesting that the change happened at the time that the U.S began to have it’s financial crisis. The natural disasters, the tsunami and the earthquake, that happened in more recent years have also affected the economy and houses in Japan. I also thought that some customs in Japan, such as hanging clothes to dry instead of using a washing machine, was a very economical and eco-friendly practice. When I learned about Kabuki in Global RAP, I learned a lot about the dynamics of the music. Today, I learned more about another theater practice – butoh. The inspiration for butoh came after World War II, and the dancers use their shadows to dance to symbolize the way shadows burned on surfaces when the atomic bombs fell. I connected what I learned about the Golden Temple to Crimes Against Humanity. The Golden Temple was burned by a novice monk in 1950. He was sentenced to 7 years in prison but was released because of mental illnesses. Yukio Mishima wrote a book on the event that I think I should check out because the event interests me – why would a man want to burn down a historical landmark and a religious temple? I think that Japanese art connects to Mass Producing Images also. I think that Japanese art is very identifiable because it has a unique aesthetic, and we learned that over the centuries it has remained very traditional because the country tries so hard to protect traditions. In the past 100 years, Japan has been forced out of isolation and so the culture has modernized a lot. The pop-art movement in America connects to this modernization in Japan because pop-art has purposefully turned away from traditional art like the younger generation in Japan is. With new technology, fashion, anime and manga popularizing Japan, it would be, as the Consulate also says, interesting to see how Japan will look in the next 100 years.

  4. MML says:

    This connects to Vitalogies because I learned that I have to open my mind when I not only write stories but also when I read stories. For example, when we went to JIC ( Japan Information Center) researchers told us about the difference between our homes and theirs, they did not go into the physical elements they told us about the emotional elements. Which gave me a prouder range into japan.

    This connects to Pueblos because, I learned that it is not that easy to go into a different country, and the researches at JIC told us how difficult it was. For example when Japan was isolated from the rest of the world in the 1800’s. So now we know the Japanese only migrate because of job transfer. It made me think about, what are the emotional differences between being forced to leave the country or having to choose to go for a job.

    This connects to Population because I learned that not every country is over populated. For example, when we are in class talking about how populated the world is, we never thought about those that are under populated like Japan. Since Japan is under populated, there is not a policy that tells women that they can’t have more than one child. This study makes me want to go to class ready to learn more about Japans Population.

  5. MY says:

    This FE today was important for us because we learned a lot of things that we can connect with our classes. For example, we learned about the birth rate in Japan and how they don’t have any birth policy. This is similar to our population class: we are learning about world population and birth rate (last week we talked about birth polices around the world). In my Global Rap class we are studying different rhythms, and one of the rhythms we had was kabuki–so we learned a little about Japaneses culture. In my Vitalogies class we read short stories from a book called, THE ART OF THE STORY. In this book, there was a story, “The Elephant Vanishes” by a Japanese writer, Haruki Murakami. The main character in the story holds onto his secret, because it is basically putting others before himself. That was basically it for connecting classes and the presentation for today.

  6. DC says:

    Today for field experience, we went to Japan. We went to the Japan territory in Chicago, called the Japan Consulate. When Bianca, the outreach coordinator for the Japan Information Center, talked to us, she mentioned a few things that relate to my courses at GCE: the simplicity of the houses, currency, and Japan’s Immigration issue.
    Global Rap- Bianca showed us the traditional Japanese houses and told us a little about them. She talked about the simplicity of the home but also how it was well structured. Bianca also talked to us about how the homes didn’t need a lot of excess furniture. This reminded me of the Japanese originated poems (Haiku) we learned about in Global Rap… The way Haikus are simple but at the same time well structured.
    Economics Fundamentals-I asked Bianca what would she thought about Japan adopting the same currency as China. She told me about the big differences in economy, beliefs, and ideas between Japan and China. Since they are so different it would be hard for them to have the same currency. This relates to what we are learning in our Econ class about the importance of culture and ideas that are a part of that countries currency. Also we heard about how the natural disaster that recently happen in Japan made a huge decrease in economy because houses where smashed and a lot of people were killed.
    Crimes Against Humanities -Bianca also taught us about Japan’s Immigration issue. In Japan they need more people to help boost the economy. We learned that last year the economy was the 2nd largest Economy but this year it has dropped to 3rd due to lack of population and production. One of the reasons behind the lack of population was that the government didn’t want other people coming and living there. She told us that between the 1600′s and mid 1800′s the Japan’s council even went as far as to cut off Japan from the rest of the world. During that time period no one could come in and no one could leave. This remind it me of the villain, hero, and victim scenarios we were learning about in Crimes against Humanities. In a way the Japanese government were villains because they were standing in the way of the economy growing. At the same time they are heroes trying to preserve their culture and beliefs.
    First, learning about our trip to the Japan Consulate I had no idea how this field experience connected to anything I’m learning in school. Now, after being there and writing this reflection I learned a lot of ways that Japan and the things the coordinators talked about can easily be connected to my GCE courses. The last and most important thing I learned was that Japanese culture is all about the group. You have to sacrifice for the whole group; you have to make others happy in order to obtain your own happiness. This is I believe connects to GCE, because at GCE we sometimes have to make sacrifices for the whole and put other people’s feelings before our own.

  7. LT says:

    Visiting the Japanese Consulate put many aspects of cultural influences on the economy into perspective. I was exposed to seeing how their ancient-traditional lifestyles impact their modern culture. The ways in which their lifestyles connect to how they live in unity with one another is very differently contained in comparison to the cultures in America. Japan reveals a system where the population has a very strict universal respect for their cultural influences on decision making, behaviors, ceremony, and more. It focuses on how the lack of cultural differences in Japan can make a large impact on affecting the way individual people think. This connects to my Global Rap Redux class where I am exposed to many different cultural impacts on music, literature, and the arts in many countries. This interests me to see that there is a very respectful way of life that ties to personify human characteristics into their language and culture. It makes me reflect on how the language system is based on pictures and ideas that depict a radical within a character for their language system. Therefore I ponder the possibilities of impact toward the way they view life and respect for the natural world. In most countries in contrast to the United States, much of the culture ideals is continuing to thrive within modern culture and is incorporated in daily lifestyles. Whereas America has lost that connection and has people who aspire individually rather than based on the influences of the group of different ethics. For my studies in my Economics Fundamentals I learned that Japan has the 3rd largest economy and recently dropped down due to the effects of a major impact from natural disasters. This cause a higher debt ceiling in order to finance solutions for rebuilding, and it paused business progress. This reminds me of the issues we are facing in the United States, which can affect mortgage rates. And I can see what I learn about the American economy to understand similar systems in Japan when an economic crisis occurs. I understood a lot more by seeing the Japanese culture in a comparative perspective because it highlights unique details that cannot be seen in my own culture.

  8. MFa says:

    Today we went to the Japanese Consulate. The field experience taught me a lot about how the United States and Japan are the same and different in many ways. Japan has so much culture and history so it was interesting to listen to. In our economics class we have been studying money and currency around the world. I had always wondered why Japan had never changed their currency and use the same currency as China. I found out that it has a lot to do with economic diversity and Japan wanting their independence. Also, if Japan was to have the same currency and money system as China, it would be very complicated and difficult to maintain. In our global rap class we are learning about the connection with music and art. My main question to ask the people at the Consulate was how the fine arts have changed over the years. It turned out that they emphasize the preservation of the fine arts. Japan has become very advanced in its study of technology so the arts are sometimes overlooked. The older residents of Japan do most of the preservation of the arts. In our class crimes against humanity we have been studying crime fiction. Japan is very famous for its comic books and animation characters. I think that they tie into crime fiction because they tell stories about heroism through the comics. Overall I really liked this field experience because I learned a lot about a place I might want to potentially visit in the near future.

  9. JKP says:

    We went to the Japanese consulate. I learned that Japan’s population is 128 million people, and 30 million people live in Tokyo alone! I also learned that there are no laws for birth rates in Japan, meaning there are no laws that restricts people having many children. This connects to my Population class. We are studying different populations around the world. Also we are studying countries that have a high population rate. To slow down the population growth, they have birth rate laws.

    I also learned that in Japan they don’t have many people immigrating to Japan. In fact the government discourages long term immigration. Many people don’t emigrate from Japan either. If people do leave Japan it’s because of a job or a student exchange program. Even with those reasons, they are not long term emigration. This information is important to know because, in Spanish class we are learning some reasons why people immigrate or emigrate to or from a place( especially in South America).

    The last thing I learned was Japan’s culture. I learned that their culture is similar to ours, except they believe in helping others more then just helping themselves. Whereas in the U.S. , most people have the attitude to only care about themselves and to do whatever they have to do to get on top–even if it means hurting other people to get there. In Vitalogies we read stories from all over the world, including Japan. In each story they have something that talks about their culture. In the story from Japan called the “Elephant Vanishes” the people in a city in Japan had a elephant as the city’s pet. Also in Japan they have two popular cartoon or comic characters. Their names are Anime and Manga. This relates to Vitalogies because we had to bring in a artifact that had meaning to us, and two student brought in comic books that had meaning to them. In conclusion, I learned many things from the visit to the Japanese consulate that relates to my classes.

  10. LN says:

    Japanese Information Center is a place where people talk about Japanese culture, history, politics, population and many others. We went to Japanese Information Center to experience these awesome things.

    We talked about population in Japan, Japanese culture and Geisha. Japanese culture is connected to the course Gobal RAP Redux, because we make poems that are about who you are and you get to discover who you are, your culture.

    Population in Japan is connected to my course called Population, in which we learn why we study population, birth rates, and how population changes over time. At the Japanese consulate, I learned that they don’t have birth rate policies which means they can have as many children as they want. In 2050, Japanese population will decrease to 108.25 million.

    Geisha is connected to my Vitalogies course, because Geisha have to learn the stories of their generations or ancestors in order to keep the traditions of their culture. In Vitalogies we learn why do stories matters. There wouldn’t be geisha, if Japanese don’t continue the traditions, the history and stories of their ancestors.

  11. HT says:

    Japanese Information Center has many different programs like we have many different courses for this term. They teach the Japanese culture and how important it is. In GCE, we explore different students cultures. Keeping our culture is important, because in the future when you have child/children they will want to know what is your culture. Japanese Information Center provides classes on how to write Japanese words and how to speak. In GCE, we learn how to write, read and speak in different languages. Not to forget your original language is one of the most important things in your life. For example, if you migrate to another country and you are born there: How will you prove what your original language is without knowing one word? One of presenters from Japanese Information Center presented to us KENDO, which is one of the most popular sports in Japanese culture. In GCE, we have a martial art class to train how to defend yourself from other people.

  12. MF says:

    How did this experience today organize and activate ideas from your entire course work from this term?

    Math/ Science- This relates to my Math/ Science class, because we are studying birth rate and also about the economy. We are talking about world population and how there are a lot of people in the world. We are also studying about how many kids we are allowed to have in your home and in different places in the world.

    Global Rap- This relates to my Global Rap course, because we are studying poetry from all over the world and also about different cultures. For example, we studied kabuki theater. So, going there would really help us when we get to the topic of Japan. We can have a lot to talk about and go back to relate to this field experience.

    English/ History- This relates to my English/ History course, because we are reading a book with different stories and the stories are from people all over the world. For example, I was reading this book for class called “The First Day Of School” and this mother wanted her daughter to have the best education because her mother didn’t have a good education. This relates to when they were talking about the schools in Japan, because the parents there want their kids to have the best education. This comes to show that different countries have different views to providing the best schools for there children.

  13. JH says:

    Today we went to the Japanese Consulate, we learned about the economy, culture, and religion in Japan. A lot of the points I was taught about Japan related to what we are studying in classes. We learned that the birth rate in Japan is so low that they are giving tax breaks to families that have children. In Spanish class we have been learning about immigration, and when we asked about it, they sad that Japan may give away thousands of free airline tickets to get tourists to help stimulate the economy. We then started talking about the difference in culture in the US and Japan. We talk about culture, and stories for life in our English class (Vitologies). Some of the main differences between our culture in America and Japan have to do with behavior. For most houses (and places) people need to take their shoes off at the door. Also the older houses are completely different from ones in America; no central heating, paper doors, fireplaces in the middle of houses. Overall, Japan is a really pleasant, interesting place to live and it was a great experience to get the chance to go to the Japanese Consulate.

  14. Zs says:

    This field experience really helped further my investigations within my courses. In Pueblos (Spanish) we are studying immigration and its effect on other societies. This meeting with the Japanese Consulate informed us on Japanese immigration throughout its history. We learned that initially Japan did not allow anyone in or out of their country until the mid 1800’s when General Matthew Perry convinced them that they needed to allow people to come to Japan. Currently they allow people to go in and out of the country but generally people leaving Japan always return.
    We also learned about Japan’s economy. Japan is currently the third largest economy in the world. They used to be second but they were knocked out of second by China. They also feel that having an international currency would be detrimental to their economy. We then talked about Japanese society and we learned something rather shocking. We learned that they didn’t allow a woman to become empress through inheritance. This is an institution with clear gender inequality.

  15. HD says:


    The experience at the Japanese consulate today helped understand the population of a foreign country for my mat/science class. We are studying the population rates for certain country’s and applying mathematical formulas to them. We learned about the decreasing population of Japans culture and the effect it has on the generations to come. In upcoming years, there will be a drastic change of the population. 40% of the population will be elderly citizens in 50 years. The connection between the two is essential for my learning experience in class. That is why going to the Japanese consulate today improved my learning in this class.


    I can apply my experience in the Japanese consulate to My Spanish class cause we are learning migration to and from South America. Today learned more about migration to and from Japan. The migration from Japan to South America and from South America to Japan is not very substantial compared to other country’s migration rates. But I can still apply the migration of Japan to the migration of South American country’s now in class.


    Something I can take out of my Field Experience today and apply to my vitologies class is the the Japanese cultural rituals and ancient stories that I learned about. In vitologies we learned how to interpret the dreams and stories of people through their ancient lives and cultural rituals. The old Japanese rituals and lives have their own stories and dreams that represent the people of the past. Just like The stories and dreams we learned about in vitologies have their own lives that represent them.

  16. GL says:

    How did this experience today organize and activate ideas from your entire course work from this term?

    Crimes Against Humanity- This experience really organizes ideas about this class and as well helps me understand more about Japan and its differences from the american culture. For example in Japan they believe in helping themselves and getting it perfectly. Where as in America they believe in the “American Dream”, personally I believe that this is a crime against humanity. Every culture should be helping one another and doing what they like and be able to be individual. I believe in Japan you really have limitations to act as an individual and having people accept you for that.

    Econ- Going to this presentation we learned more about the Japanese economy. We learned that Japan is the 3rd largest economy. Due to the fact that they do so much over sea work and receive receive a lot of income, as well as many consumers who use their products. Japan originally was the 2nd largest economy, but soon then due to the rise of China’s population lost, Japan got booted down to the 3rd.

    Rap- In rap we learned about haiku and how these poems were very important to the japanese . These few lines would explain their lives. Many took this seriously and would take almost their whole life to completely get correct. The sounds they have for their words really help to write poems. We as well learned how the language culture is so different from america.

    Over all I believe this was a great experience. It taught me a lot about the Japanese culture which I really wanted to learn more about as well as enjoyed a huge amount.

  17. CO says:

    Japanese Consulate
    I learned more about Japanese’s population that is related to my math and science class. For example, they were more than 312 million population in the U.S.A and there are 128 million population in Japan. I also learned that the Japanese can have more children compared to China.

    When I went to Japanese consulate they were started their presentation when they got to the geisha’s part the first think that came up to my mind was the forgotten dreams geisha made me think about all my old dreams and also what I wrote in my Vitalogies class about the teddy bear my grandpa gave it to me as my dad’s present.

    I learned about Japan Immigration. Japanese people don’t migrate that much but Spanish speaking country migrate more than Japanese.

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