Bachelor of Arts | Geography (Human Geography)
Mar 13, 2016
The Kakehashi Project is a program operated by the Japanese government that seeks to establish “friendship ties” between Japan and foreign cultures. It does this by bringing groups of students to Japan for a week-long tour involving a specific region of the country. On these trips students will not only learn about Japanese culture and society but get to experience it first hand through direct interaction with local students, professors, officials, and regular people.
I was fortunate to be chosen as part of the 2016 UBC delegation for the Kakehashi project which visited Sapporo, Hokkaido as well as Tokyo in February. I have long had an interest in Japan and currently make Japan a significant part of my studies as I take courses in both Japanese history and language. Additionally, as Geography major with a focus on urban and regional planning as well as transportation, the study of Japan has much to offer my academic research.
The Kakehashi project allowed me to experience some of the areas of my study first hand and inquire directly with Japanese academics on a range of topics including disaster recovery, drivers of tourism, and international affairs. Additionally, as we were visiting Hokkaido I learned about the indigenous Ainu people of the island, their history, and their current status from experts on the subject at Hokkaido University as well as having the opportunity to hear from and meet with an Ainu employee of the university who shared some of his personal experiences, adding unique insight to the topic that would not have been possible if not for the Kakehashi project.
I believe that it is the responsibility of UBC students, especially those in Arts, to engage in a global perspective on their studies and participation in the Kakehashi project is a great opportunity to learn about Japan, a country with a very rich culture and history as well as a significant international political partner for Canada.