One Week in Japan

I just recently returned from a trip to Japan with a student-Alumni from my former university in Miami, Florida that I used to Chair the graphic design department. My students and I have been doing these “art & design” trips since 2009; we’ve traveled to New York City (twice), San Francisco, Amsterdam & Paris, Spain (Madrid, Toldeo, Zaragoza, Girona, Barcelona, Figueras), Italy (Florence, Venice, Rome) and this year was Japan (Tokyo, Hakone, Takayama, Kyoto). Even though my then-students are now Alumni who are professionals in their field, we still really like to travel together to this day … many years after their respective graduation ceremonies. Through the years, I’ve opened up the trip to students outside of the graphic design and advertising majors, to visual arts, web & interactive media and interior design students … which really allows for more cross-platform collegial networking and dialouge. It’s always so amazing to see creative people get together and share ideas and common energy.
The idea of going to Japan came from one of my most esteemed Alums, Angel Acevedo, who is the founder of ACVDO & Co., a design firm, along with his wife (and another Alum), Karielys. After two years of planning and departures from 8 different airports, the entire group of 40, converged in Narita Airport in Tokyo this October 2018.

Village locals getting ready for a store opening good luck parade in Shirakawa-Go, in Gifu Prefecture, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995.

Village locals getting ready for a store opening good luck parade in Shirakawa-Go, in Gifu Prefecture, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995.

The majority of us have never traveled so far and certainly never been to Asia - with the exception of one of my Alums brother, who was stationed in Okinawa many years ago as a Navy officer. The experience was mind-blowing, because all we have known is the Western way to life. Now, I could go on and on about all that I saw in Japan, but what I wanted to post are a FEW my photos of this journey, focusing on the design aspect, as per usual, and how incredibly varied Japan’s graphic culture really is. It can be as understated and elegant as possible and then be schlocky and ridiculous. However, even when the design is obnoxious, it is done very well … their ‘bad’ design beats US good design on any day, it seems. Well, anyway, please check out my pictures.