Photo Essay 2016

Skyler Urban

self portrait

Essay

All Around Japan

Throughout my study abroad in Japan, I observed the culture of the country, meet amazing people and tried things that I would never have been able to try otherwise. I had the opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and expand my worldview. I experienced the daily life of the Japanese, the religion of the people, and the nature of the county.

Arriving in Tokyo one of the first sights I observed, shown in the first photo was the district of Ueno. This shopping and food market. During the night, the lights of this district light up the streets and one can hear the bustle of the busy shops and restaurants lining the streets. Following Ueno, Tokyo, I visited Kyoto seeing my first Japanese temple and the nature of the country.

The Kiyomizu-dera temple is one of the most well known Buddhist temples of Japan. After walking up a winding road and several hillside stairs, one is greeted with a large and beautiful temple, shown in picture 2. After entering the temple, ascending up more hills, and more stairs, one is finally greeted by a fantastic view showing skyline of Kyoto silhouetted in front of the vast greenery and hills of the Japan countryside, shown in picture 3.

After the temples of Kyoto, I traveled to southern Japan to Fukuoka. While in Fukuoka, I stayed a weekend with a family who took me to visit one of their favorite and one of Japan’s most notable shrines, The Lying Buddha. This is shown in picture 4. This holy site is very sacred to the Buddhist religion. I was brought to the shrine and taught how they practice their faith and why this location was so important to the religion.

I learned many things in Japan. The sights and sounds of the country will be memories that I will never forget. Navigating a country I knew almost nothing about and didn’t speak the language gave me confidence in myself and is an experience I will never forget.

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