Ophelia Ding

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Japan's Art Islands

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”
- Edgar Degas

Paying a visit to the Seto Inland Sea “art islands” in Japan was a profoundly moving and creatively rejuvenating experience. I’ve spent the last couple days reflecting on how deeply visiting these art islands has affected me. The perspective I have on my own work (among other things) has been transformed. And for that, I am endlessly grateful. 

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Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route

I can’t quite believe it’s already November. This semester is flying by (as semesters always do) — but this one in Tokyo feels especially fleeting. Senior year, stay a little longer, please?  

My attempts to squeeze every second out of my time here in Tokyo have resulted in a balancing act between getting the most out of the city and making my way out of town. Two weeks ago, my friends and I went for the latter, and spent the weekend away in the mountains. Best. Decision. Ever. It was so rejuvenating, and a welcome break from the monotonous day to day routine that being a student can sometimes become. With Kshitij’s glowing recommendation, we travelled to the famed Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route in northern Japan. This route is a seven part sightseeing trek across the Tateyama Mountain Range (aka the Japan Alps), and takes an average of 6-8 hours to complete. Here’s a quick breakdown of our weekend trip (cleverly hashtagged #imallthewayalp by David).

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Healing in Hiroshima

“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you.”

― Anthony Bourdain, No Reservations: Around the World on an Empty Stomach

Visiting the city where the world’s first atomic bomb was dropped and detonated in 1945 was a powerful, emotional experience. It was by far one of the most important trips I’ve ever taken — and Bourdain’s words above couldn’t be truer: Hiroshima left a “mark on my memory, [and] on my consciousness.” 

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Hello, Tokyo!

Ohayo gozaimasu (good morning) all the way from Tokyo, Japan! As per usual, apologies for the lack of updates — my Evernote is filled with drafts of blog posts that have virtually developed a light coat of dust. So be forewarned: a bunch of #tbt blog posts are coming (is that a thing, blog world?) — from visiting the Glass House in Connecticut to summer adventures in Northern Europe. 

Anyhow, what better way to start my senior year (!) of college than with one last adventure studying abroad in Japan? I feel so lucky to be living in one of the most futuristic, colorful and charming places in the world. From the high-tech conveyor belt sushi restaurants of Tokyo, to the gorgeous Japanese countryside, to the art islands in Southern Japan — I'm hoping to spend the next four months getting to know this beautiful country as best I can.

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