Photo Courtesy Madalyn Johnson

Zoe Tuttle, Editor

On Jan. 5, six Sierra Nevada College students flew to Japan for a 10-day immersion into the country’s art and culture. This was a one-credit fine arts class. Trip facilitator and SNC faculty member Sheri Leigh O’Connor lead the trip.

The adventure started in Tokyo where the group visited Ueno Park, an area with museums, temples, shrines, and gardens.

The group traveled north to the town of Yudanaka in the Shiga Kogen area, known as the Japanese Alps. These students took full advantage of the snow, as they rode the nearby ski resorts.

Students stayed in a traditional Japanese ryokan, the oldest style of hotel in the world, featuring tatami mats, futons, and incredible meals. After getting their feet wet on the mountain, the students took day trips to see the Zenjo Ji Temple in Nagano, as well as the Matsumoto Castle.
Students also visited the Hokusai Museum, that hosts the iconic “Wave” print. They also saw the snow monkeys that reside nearby.

Students participated in a Shado, a Japanese calligraphy lesson with a master, and wrote their names in Kanji, with brush and ink.

They made their way back to Tokyo, and stayed in Akihabara, known in English as “Electric Town.” It’s neon-lit streets with feature manga and anime.

On the final leg of the trip, students visited with Asakusa, saw the Senso ji temple, and made their way through the very crowded tourist area.

“Everyone had a fantastic experience,” O’Connor said. “I wasn’t going to offer it, then students asked me to, so I added it late in the semester.”

Freshman Madalyn Johnson took the trip just to ski the “jaPOW,” reminding students that you don’t need to be a fine arts student to take the course.

Sophomore Kyra Kliman said the best part of the trip was the skiing, snow monkeys, and all the people she met. “Japanese people are super lively and friendly, and love to have a good time and were awesome to be around,” she said.

There is an additional SNC class trip to Japan in May, however it has reached capacity at 18 students.

SNC Tahoe students at a shrine in JapanPhoto Courtesy Sheri Leigh O’Connor
Photo Courtesy Madalyn Johnson
SNC students take part in a Shado calligraphy class in JapanPhoto Courtesy Sheri Leigh O’Connor
SNC Tahoe students exploring Electric Town in JapanPhoto Courtesy Madalyn Johnson