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  • Thumbnail for Making it and breaking it : Japanese and American cultural perspectives on friendship
    Making it and breaking it : Japanese and American cultural perspectives on friendship by Moore, Kiyomi L.

    This thesis compared the nature of friendship among American and Japanese college students of both sexes. The process of making and keeping friends, the characteristics of friendship, and the potential causes of the break-up of friendship were explored with a 75-item, paper-and-pencil questionnaire. The respondents were fellow college students at Waseda University in Tokyo while I was studying there during 2012-13, numbering 32 Japanese (18 women and 14 men) and 32 Americans (17 women and 15 men). The research questions were: (1) Within a given culture, either American or Japanese, are there differences between men and women in their friendship dynamics? (2) Are there any cultural contrasts in the nature of friendship between Americans and Japanese? and (3) If there are indeed some differences of either variety, what is the nature of the disparities? In total, 14 statistically significant results were discovered: six divergences between the two sexes (three each for the two groups, Americans and Japanese) and eight cultural contrasts. Attentiveness, placidity, and attractiveness were at issue between the American men and women, while togetherness, serious conversation, and the scope of social connections were dividing factors for the Japanese. The cultural contrasts consisted of the ways of finding a friend, the qualities sought for in friends, and the experience of friendship dissolution.

  • Thumbnail for The Commodification of Kimonos: a Reflection on Cultural Appropriation
    The Commodification of Kimonos: a Reflection on Cultural Appropriation by Li, Boxin

    The growing tourist industry in Japan has brought up people's attention to the country's traditional culture. Kimono, the national costume of Japan, is one of the most attractive cultural symbols. As more foreigners get interested in trying on kimonos, there are questions about cultural appropriation--a term that should be understood within context but not negative stereotypes. In Japan, cultural appropriation of traditional cultures is a way of saving them in the current commercial era.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Monks walking  up  stairs
    Hasedera - Monks walking up stairs

    Hasedera is an active training ground for Shingon Buddhist priests, who can be seen moving about the complex. Their prayers can often be heard resounding within many of the temple buildings, in which groups will chant in a hauntingly beautiful traditional manner.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Shrine at foot of main temple hall
    Hasedera - Shrine at foot of main temple hall

    Approaching the main hall from the stairs one can see this small shrine to the left. Behind it is the massive main hall.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Top of the stairs
    Hasedera - Top of the stairs

    Upon almost reaching the end of the covered stairways, there is a small landing where one is greeted by a small red Shinto shrine dedicated to a local deity.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - View of main hall
    Hasedera - View of main hall

    This is the view of the main hall from the sub-temple shown in cocrejpn0024.

  • Thumbnail for Ikuta Jinja - Fortunes tied onto branches
    Ikuta Jinja - Fortunes tied onto branches

    Just outside the main entrance gate is a makeshift tree (constructed because the natural tree was full!) of long, thin hanging wooden dowels, on which many white paper fortune strips (mikuji) are folded.

  • Thumbnail for Kashima Miya - Main hall and left "wing" at Kashima Shrine
    Kashima Miya - Main hall and left "wing" at Kashima Shrine

    The main hall is flanked on both the left and right by smaller shrines. Even in this newly constructed shrine in a contemporary suburban neighborhood the attention to traditional detail is noticeable.

  • Thumbnail for Reconstruction of a wall in the forest
    Reconstruction of a wall in the forest

    Many of the centuries-old structures in the forest enroute to Okunoin are crumbling. Some of the more prominent ones close to the pathway are being restored.

  • Thumbnail for Kashima Miya - Entrance to Kashima Shrine
    Kashima Miya - Entrance to Kashima Shrine

    This small shrine is located in the middle of a relatively new (1970's and 80's) suburban neighborhood in Nabari City.

  • Thumbnail for Jizo among the trees
    Jizo among the trees

    A standing statue of Jizo, who may not be as tall as the trees but he is ever so graceful.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Kannon statue
    Hasedera - Kannon statue

    Infrared photo of Kannon image in main hall.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Plaza beside main hall
    Hasedera - Plaza beside main hall

    This plaza connects the bell tower, main hall, and temple shop.

  • Thumbnail for Jizo with children
    Jizo with children

    The same Jizo as in cocrejpn0159.

  • Thumbnail for Kashima Miya - Right "wing" at Kashima Shrine
  • Thumbnail for Classical grave stone
    Classical grave stone

    This shape is common to the Shingon school of Japanese Buddhism and reflects its doctrines. The five geometric shapes of this stupa-like grave stone signify the five elements shared by all living things (from bottom to top, cube, sphere, pyramid, hemisphere, drop): earth, water, fire, air and space. Each of these elements has its own "seed" syllable or mantra, that is carved into the stone here in its Sanskrit form.

  • Thumbnail for Minatogawa Jinja - Portal marking grove where Kusunoki Masanari died
    Minatogawa Jinja - Portal marking grove where Kusunoki Masanari died

    This structure marks a large grove within the Minatogawa shrine compound in which Kusunoki Masanari died in 1336.

  • Thumbnail for Grave marker of mother
    Grave marker of mother

    Some of the grave stones surrounding Okunoin seem to depict either actual people or at least their idealized forms as ordinary social beings. Here we see a mother with children.

  • Thumbnail for Plaque describing shrine for soldiers who died in World War Two.
    Plaque describing shrine for soldiers who died in World War Two.

    This plaque describes the full shrine visible in cocrejpn0143.

  • Thumbnail for Ikuta Jinja - Main gate of Ikuta Jinja from within
    Ikuta Jinja - Main gate of Ikuta Jinja from within

    This photo was taken from the right of the main hall.

  • Thumbnail for Stairs in the forest
    Stairs in the forest

    The path to Okunoin is not always level. The shifting topography makes for a more pleasurable walk.

  • Thumbnail for Visitors enroute to Okunoin
    Visitors enroute to Okunoin

    The long path through the forest to Okunoin.

  • Thumbnail for Stairs and trees
    Stairs and trees

    Another view enroute to Okunoin.

  • Thumbnail for View along path to Okunoin
  • Thumbnail for Pilgrims in front of the Great Pagoda
    Pilgrims in front of the Great Pagoda

    The Great Pagoda (Daito) is the most striking structure within the Garan complex in the western central part of Koyasan. The pagoda stands over 150 feet tall (48.5 meters). These pilgrims, who travel as a group in their white garb and are accompanied by priests in black robes, pray before the entrance of the pagoda toward the huge Buddha images inside.