Stepping into Fantasy

Over the course of my winter break I had the opportunity to visit both Japan and China. Oh boy, it is a distinct experience being a foreigner in each country, let me tell you. In Japan you’re seen as a tourist, I believe. There wasn’t any more interaction than that unless initiated by myself. It felt like I was a tourist in Orlando, Florida (the one US vacation spot I am most familiar). This may be due to having a friend assist me who spoke fluent Japanese but in general everyone stuck to their business during my stay in Japan.

China was a completely different story though. Let me form a scenario for you, imagine you are transported to a fantasy realm where you are the only one of your kind. If you’ve read or seen any TV shows with this plotline, the main character is constantly stared at in disbelief and wonder, sometimes touched by curious villagers (this is fantasy after all, it’s usually medieval). This was my experience in China.

Many times when visiting markets or just walking around shrines, if you stopped for more than a minute you would gather a crowd that stared or took pictures or both. This happened everywhere for our African-American classmates; everyone wanted to touch Keith’s dreadlocks. Everything was foreign to me as well so just as they stared at me, I stared at most of Shanghai and Xiamen. It really was a fantasy-like experience, just a little more industrial.

Jason Durkis, Master of Management Class of 2015

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