_When you’re travelling, every night the air is clear and crisp, the mind serene (…) day had turned to night and night was passing in the same way all over the world.

Mikage Sakurai (Kitchen)

 Except on us, night did not pass for us. We woke up in New York on Thursday May 24th and found ourselves in Tokyo on Friday May 25th. Challenging the Earth’s rotation we crossed one day off the calendar without going through darkness and, the bad part about it, without sleeping.
We are eighteen students from Pratt Institute traveling to Japan for eighteen days. This first blog is supposed to narrate the first day of our trip, ironically we don’t know where that day went, we mysteriously lost it somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.

 I could try to make the regular airport experience sound somehow entertaining. Luckily, and I am sure our professor Jonathan Martin is very happy about this, no one was late for the flight, forgot their passport or lost their luggage. Therefore, you can imagine the normal: waking up on Thursday, after our last Pratt Manhattan session (and maybe a beer… or two) and going to JFK to check in. We traveled on two different flights (one on AA and one on JAL). I can account for the AA flight, good movies, not as much turbulence and not as bad food. JAL passengers, you can brag about your good service in the future.
What I want to try to do is go back to the words Banana Yoshimoto put on Mikage’s lips in the novel Kitchen: “when you’re traveling, every night the air is clear and crisp, the mind serene”. I can’t guarantee the serenity of our minds. Among the eighteen of us there are planners, cinematographers, preservationists, fashion designers and architects. We are going to Tokyo with a very specific challenge: document public space. As intense as this task will be I want to join Mikage in this serenity of mind. I want to experience the clear and crisp air of Japanese nights. I want to merge with every Mikage walking the streets of Tokyo. I want to understand both, the physical configuration of the Japanese public space and the magic and strength behind the culture that has built and rebuilt its city after floodings, earthquakes, fires and wars in an unconventional elegant and creative way. 
We will recover our lost day on our way back to New York, time is a dimension we can’t scape from and the motor of our cities. But before that happens, you will hear from each one of us. As days go by, adventures will accumulate, personalities will be revealed and Tokyo will never be the same in our minds (and yours). Follow us and help us turn this blog into the most public of spaces.


06/07/2012 1:00pm

Great article! Have a great time!


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    17 Pratt Institute students of City & Regional Planning along with their professors travel overseas to study in Japan.  

    During our 17 days we will hear from 17 different voices about their experiences in Japan.

    1.  Isabel
    2.  Iwona
    3.  Karen
    4.  William
    5.  Sara
    6.  Graham
    7.  Johane
    8.  Sean
    9.  Ana
    10.  Roxanne
    11.  Alexa
    12.  Alix
    13.  Victoria
    14.  Christopher
    15.  Joseph
    16.  Lacey
    17.  Natalie
    18.  Jia