Setsuko Watanabe's World Sketches

Japanese page

Trip to Cyber Space
From April 1, 2002
,this page in moved to .
Thank you.

My love of traveling grew to the point where I decided to make it my profession.
People often ask me, "Of all the places you've been, which was your favorite?" Of course, every place I have visited has been wonderful.
However, recently I have been enjoying a new kind of travel, one in which I can talk with the people of the world in the comfort of my own home, without having to board a plane or boat, and regardless of time and space-- that is, travel into cyber space.

It all began last summer. At that time a representative from NTT Multimedia Business Department suggested I put on the Internet the Japan Guides for Foreigners which my students prepare in English class.

In these guides, students write about the customs and culture of Japan which are common in our everyday life. They do interviews and take photographs and then prepare the articles in both English and Japanese. Not long after we started putting the articles on the Internet, we began receiving responses from overseas, including readers' impressions, additional information and even corrections of our English. In addition, I have heard that some teachers in Japan have started using the articles as materials for their high school and college classes. Although we are still not yet able to include many articles, on our busiest weeks, we have approximately 20,000 accesses.

When visiting a location through cyber space, the experience is of course much different to that of actually going there. The climate of the land, the way of life, etc., is conveyed to me completely through the words of the people living there. While the cherry blossoms are now in full bloom here in Japan, a letter from the eastern United States tells me that they are waiting for the arrival of Spring in the midst of a heavy snow.

That fact that anyone can visit the world from anywhere at any time through cyber space is amazing to me.
On a recent trip to France, I visited the atelier of Cezanne at Aix-en-Provence where the mimosa flowers were in full bloom. I connected to the Internet to show Japan Thru Young Eyes to a young women, the great-granddaughter of Cezanne. When our homepage appeared on the screen, it was very moving.

Among the many letters we receive regarding our homepage, a great many celebrate its opening. Many go beyond common courtesies and praise the contents more specifically, applauding our efforts and encouraging us to develop our project even further.

We could not have imagined beforehand the kinds of questions we would receive. For example, one person asked us if there is a ranking to the Seven Gods of Good Fortune. Another person said he wished to see a Japanese garden, and very casually mentioned that his own garden is about 1.13 acres, a size that is very surprising to us in Japan. I really feel the Internet is a place where many kinds of people from different cultures can come together to communicate and understand each other.

Please take a look at Japan Thru Young Eyes and send us any comments or additional information you may have. They would be very helpful to us.

Welcome to Japan Thru Young Eyes .

Copyright 1998 Setsuko Watanabe