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"Travel Through Time"

By Evan Kleiman

       The ship docks, Kobe, Japan, here we are. It was almost as if I had raw fish straight from the ocean smeared on my upper lip, the smell was so intense and in my face. A band in the background is playing music and greeting us with a smile. (Which in Japan is rare.) In a matter of hours Japan was flooded by Semester at Sea students. I stepped foot onto Japanese soil and after days at sea, I dropped to my knees in sheer happiness that I was on and touching the ground.  While this very historic and mystical land appeared to have a heavy vernacular influence, because of their very advanced society and technologies it was hard to differentiate between what was transnationally influenced and what was vernacular. In cities such as Nara, and Kyoto, the vernacular was still very much present, however in Tokyo, the city looked as if it had been built yesterday. It all looks so new and so advanced.

      In “The Urban Restructuring Process in Tokyo in the 1980’s: Transforming Tokyo into a World City," Takashi Machimura provides a case study having to do with the urban restructuring by global capitalism of a global city of East Asia. Machimura relates Tokyo to examples of global city formation and emphasizes the preconditions, dynamics and consequences. In addition he outlines the rapid growth of transnational investment. There are so many ways to describe Japan, between Kobe, Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, and Tokyo there is such a rich history and tradition and each city felt like a different world. With respect to the article, Tokyo best illustrates all that Machimura discussed. Visiting Tokyo almost felt as if I went into a time machine and traveled 35 years into the future. The food, the temples, the shrines, and the people were just about all that was present in the case of the vernacular. Tokyo truly defined and reveals what rapid growth and the capabilities of very cutting edge technology, architecture and powerful capitalistic capabilities can manifest. It was fascinating, the Japanese seem to be so far ahead of the rest of the world. Although, everything seemed to be very heavily influenced by Japan, its futuristic qualities were fascinating. (More to be added in the future....)

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