Suita City, Osaka

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On Sep. 10 and 11, the class split into groups to visit several local companies. You could feel the spirit of “Think Globally, Act Locally” in Suita. Located in one of the biggest commercial areas in Japan, Suita city hosts a number of corporations whose products are sold internationally.

One group visited Taiko Pharmaceuticals, known nationally for their stomach medicine “Seirogan”, and had the opportunity to have lunch with the president of the company. We were surprised to learn that it is only recently that they have found out the scientific explanation to the effectiveness of the herbal medication, although Seirogan has been used in Japan for more than a century. The company considers their mission is to bring health to people all over the world and is expanding sales internationally.

Each group was able to learn more about company activities for Corporate Social Responsibility. In Yodogawa Hu-tech, a manufacturer of florescent products, the health of employees are considered most seriously. They are strongly encouraged to quit smoking – and when they succeed, they receive bonus money from the company! They told us that they are often thanked by employees’ families for making their family members healthier.

Since the first mass- developed residential district is located in Suita, many local companies understand the connectivity to the local residents. For example, a steel production company we visited offers local residents the free use of their tennis courts as well as volley ball field, and a house-cleaning company organizes park beautification activities.

Uda City, Nara

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Though every day is a precious, September 4th became an especially memorable one for the Class of 2007.

It started with the visit of Muro-ji temple, a national treasure of Japan, where the chief priest of the Buddhist temple offered us a guided tour. We were also given rare permission to enter the “Hondo” (main temple) to admire the magnificent Buddha statues which date back to the 7th century.

After having a lecture from the chief priest, participants had the chance to explore the extensive temple ground. Many of us climbed some 400 steps to pay a visit to the “Oku no in” (the innermost sanctum) on the top of the ancient cedar-covered hill.

Delicious vegetable curry was cooked for us by the citizens of Taguchi district in “Muro Genki Mura” as well. The recently opened art village is hosted in a former elementary school which closed down 6 years ago, where various activities are designed by local initiatives to invigorate the neighborhood. It was there that experienced craftsmen and artists taught us how to make handcrafts. With their help, we enjoyed creating tie-dye scarves, bamboo accessories, origami motives and painting pottery.

Unique Access to Japan!

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