Unfltrd Feature: A Young Artist’s Perspective on Japan
Traveling to Japan this summer was an interesting experience. Being a student, African-American, and a first time traveler, excitement was definitely not the only emotion I was feeling. But being there, I quickly realized how history and culture impact daily living.
Being a New Yorker, I quickly noticed differences and “weird” shit. Drinking openly in public is almost celebrated, bathroom stall doors go down to the floor, most if not all toilets had a bidet, puppy cafes, and awkward stares. This was my first time traveling abroad. So it took me a whole to adjust to the 14 hour time difference as well as conforming to a tourist lifestyle. The Japanese people are very different from New Yorkers. Most workers are very polite but only up to a certain extent.
The hardest part to adjusting to life abroad are the language barriers, and the food customs. Food and communication are basic necessities for survival, and once that is gone everything is up in the air. I was surprised that things in America that we take for granted, like WiFi, were very scarce in Japan especially. With all these things considered however, I would definitely go back and even try to find a residency program for teaching English abroad, which seems very popular.
While living in Japan for a short period of time, I was very curious about the post-war western influence. One of my favorite contemporary artists, Takashi Murakami explore this idea constantly in his work. He talks about the “child like” approach that Japan has, caused by the Americanization of cities such as Tokyo and Shibuya. In my body of work that I created in Japan, I was visiting both urban areas and traditional sites, and I noticed a huge difference. I felt that the westernization of Japan serves as both an intrusion and invasion onto the traditional cultures.
– Craig White
To learn more about this young budding artist and to view more of his artwork, check out his website. Also be sure to check back to Unfltrd for more from this artist as we will be doing some big things with him.