Japan 11.08.2012 - 24.08.2012

Challenges of the Japanese Society 現代日本社会における課題と挑戦

The third IFIL trip to Japan in 2012 will focus on Japan’s challenges. The trip starts in Tokyo and while traveling southwards to Kyushu (stopping at Kyoto, Nara, Osaka, Hiroshima), we will explore current cultural, economic and political issues of Japan. We will offer you opportunities to deepen your knowledge about specific aspects of Japan without getting lost in translation. Above all we hope to provide you with tools to understand Japan better and develop intercultural sensibility.

We will not argue that Japan is more unique than other countries (as many book titles suggest), but look at certain aspects of Japan and try to explain them within their cultural, political, historical, societal and economic context. This trip hopes to stimulate critical discussions with like-minded participants while at the same time letting you enjoy the beautiful sides of Japan, such as the marvelous nature, the many delicious dishes, the temples from ancient times or the relaxing hot spas. Combining what has to be done and enjoying oneself is an attitude that is often taken in Japan and the two weeks will be organized accordingly: a lot of interesting information and insights along with a lot of fun, stimulating encounters and time to relax and think.


  • Discover the Japanese arts in a calligraphy event
  • Learn about business etiquette for example the polite and elegant way of handing over your business card
  • Get in contact with university students and ask them all your questions about Japan
  • Discuss Fukushima with people who shape the nuclear energy discourse
  • Hike through the beautiful nature of Japan
  • Interact with a local journalist
  • Experience the pop and subcultures in crazy Akihabara (Tokyo)
  • Visit the largest wooden building in the world housing the Great Buddha
  • Ride through the beautiful ancient capital Kyoto on bicycle and learn about it’s struggle to keep its beauty
  • Learn in a language crash course how to speak Japanese without saying a word

Supported by the Sakae Stünzi Foundation chaired by the Ambassador of Switzerland to Japan.