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It was a business class like no other. Thirteen students from all four Peralta colleges joined business instructor Simon Chan to take part in the class trip to Tokyo for Principles of Retailing (BUS 72), from May 28 to June 4. In the whirlwind, week-long visit, they not only explored and analyzed retail of every type, from big department stores to outside vendors, but they also experienced the gentle culture of Japan and got to experience the differences between the two countries.
With Professor Chan in the lead, the group saw all they could of Japan in the short time they had. They visited three museums, the biggest fish market in the world, temples and monuments, an artificial island, and enjoyed different Japanese cuisine like ramen, sushi, and hotpot. They also rode the highly efficient Japanese subway system each day, visited the busiest intersection in the world (Shabuya), and went to Ueno Zoo, Japan’s oldest zoo. “We saw so many different things,” says Merritt student Ingyin Cho. “I especially liked the Meji Shrine and all the different foods like the authentic ramen and Japanese ice cream, and all the interesting technology.”
To get to know the people better, Professor Chan encouraged the students to conduct brief interviews with Japanese people on the street. He says they found it both challenging and fun to communicate with individuals who speak a different language and have so many cultural differences. The students also shared Merritt information, gave out souvenirs, and had a great overall experience.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my week in Tokyo,” says Merritt Counselor Rose Allen, who always had Japan on her bucket list of places to visit. “Professor Chan exposed us to a great mixture of places, ideas, food and history. It was full andenriching. I especially enjoyed the three museums we visited. Each was interactive in its own way, which really helped to bring pieces of Japanese history to life.”
Upon return, the group had two day-long class sessions discussing their experiences and preparing their individual and group projects which were presented to the class on the final day. “The trip was a rich learning experience,” says Professor Chan. “Students learned about Japanese retail practices and culture, and they witnessed the growth occurring in Tokyo. New friendships were formed, and the students all enjoyed themselves and wished that the experience could have lasted longer!”
Simon Chan would like to thank the following people for helping to make the trip possible in their own ways: President Marie-Elaine Burns, Division II Dean Jason Holloway, Student Activities Director Herbert Kitchen, Interim Dean Maria Spencer, Department Chairs Guy Forkner and Courtney Brown, and Drew Gephart, International Services Manager at the District