Traveling to Japan with the Delaware Valley University Places Studies Course

Posted on by Caitlin O’Brien ’19, a Delaware Valley University counseling psychology major
Courtesy: Dr. Michael Stamps The Place Studies students and faculty in Japan.

Originally, visiting Japan was not on my bucket list. Looking back on the experience, I couldn’t be happier that I stepped out of my comfort zone and stepped into a vastly different country.

Dr. Michael Stamps and Dr. Brian Lutz, two faculty members from the Department of English, led the course.

Dr. Stamps said he wants students to have a “before and after experience,” examining their perceptions of a place before and after traveling there.

“Some students have never traveled outside of the States, or even traveled to other states,” said Dr. Stamps. “So, it is a good opportunity for those students.”

Dr. Lutz said Japan seemed like a good place to start with “wider world travel.”

“It was always the goal to visit more and more of the globe, to read, as it were, the world,” said Dr. Lutz of the course.

I never thought I would see a Kabuki show in Ginza. Though I had a revived interest in the theater prior to the trip, Kabuki was one topic that I had little knowledge or understanding of. The near five-hour performance was an incredibly unique experience. Audience members were yelling out the actors’ names while the actors performed in front of beautiful sets, telling extravagant stories.

Courtesy: Dr. Michael Stamps The Digital Art Museum in Tokyo

I also visited the Digital Art Museum in Tokyo. The museum was unlike anything I have seen before. While other museums have artifacts and art pieces throughout, this museum’s artwork was projected throughout many rooms. It felt surreal, becoming a part of the artwork instead of just observing it.

One of the more impactful moments on the trip, for me, was visiting Hiroshima. The class visited the Peace Memorial Museum and Park. Two survivors of the bombing led the tour. After guiding us around the area, the survivors shared their experiences. One woman, who was born five months after the bombing, shared her mother’s experience and memories. The other survivor was only a young teenager at the time. Looking around I could see many of my classmates crying as they heard the survivors’ stories.

One of the survivors said, “We are not mad at the people who bombed us. We are mad at the war.”

DelVal faculty encourage us to travel and experience new places.

“Students should travel, everyone should travel, to see not only new and exciting places in some way estranged from our everyday lives, but also to see our everyday lives from that estranged position,” said Dr. Lutz.

Any time one goes to a new place, we are bound to learn and obtain new experiences. So, why not take advantage of the opportunity?

Want to see more? Check out the hashtag, #delvaljapan2019, on Facebook and Instagram to see pictures and descriptions of the trip from DelVal students!