10 August 2023 • Faculty Technos International Week 2023

The longstanding partnership between HWS and the Tanaka Memorial Foundation brought faculty and students to Tokyo.

Professor of Theatre H May, Tucker Budd ’25 and Soleil Randall ’25 traveled to Japan this summer for Technos International Week, a core component of global education at HWS for more than 25 years.

Sponsored by the Tanaka Ikueikai Educational Trust, Technos International Week is an intensive language and cultural exchange program at Technos International College in Tokyo.

In June, HWS participants visited classes at the college, interacted with its students and faculty and enjoyed access to numerous other academic, cultural and social activities.

Soleil Randall ‘25 draws an image of a ghost for a workshop on using the arts to communicate across difference.

After meeting Technos students via Zoom during a Japanese course at HWS, Randall says he was eager to connect with people in person and experience the pace of the city.

“I have been taking Japanese since high school in the hopes of visiting and spending significant time in Japan, and this trip was a perfect first-time intro into the country,” says Randall, who is majoring in studio art with concentrations in biology and philosophy. “I hoped to experience a bit of what the daily commute felt like, especially in Tokyo, as well as some Japanese bonsai gardens, the animation and art culture, and a bit of the gaming industry. I was also ecstatic about the food, as I cook often and usually favor Asian cuisines. Overall, I was just excited to talk to new people, in Japanese or English."

"[the Technos program] gave me the chance to experience [Japanese anthropology] firsthand, and now I can bring that back to school.” Tucker Budd ’25

Similarly for Budd, the program offered “an opportunity for me to practice my language skills that I have been learning for the past year and a half, as well as giving me the opportunity to experience a culture completely different from my own.”

May, a theatre scholar and artist, hoped to broaden their own approaches to theatre to better serve students back on campus. “My goals were really to go in with as few preconceived notions about what I would learn as possible in order to learn based upon what I was experiencing as opposed to what I expected,” they explain.

Between the activities on the Technos campus, a visit to Mt. Fuji and getting to know their hosts, Randall and Budd say it was a rich experience.

“There were really so many great moments from this trip, but I think my favorite moments were the ones when we got to relax with the Technos students. It's important to note that this trip was planned primarily by them, and I think their hard work paid off immensely,” Randall says.

Budd, who is studying Japanese anthropology at HWS, says that the Technos program “gave me the chance to experience it firsthand, and now I can bring that back to school” — not only to support his studies but to share his experiences with the campus community.

Budd, Randall and Professor of Theatre H May await the opening ceremony.

As part of the Technos program, students present a reflection on their time abroad, and later help welcome Japanese students to the Colleges on the other end of the exchange.

Technos International Week began in 1992, thanks to the generosity of the Tanaka family and the Tanaka Memorial Foundation, whose gifts established the Tanaka Asian Studies Endowment and annually support the Asian Studies Program, the Tanaka Lectureship in Japanese, and other programming at HWS. Additionally, 1992 marked the beginning of two initiatives with Technos International College (sponsored by the Tanaka Ikueikai Educational Trust), Technos International Week and the International Prizes for Academic Excellence and International Understanding.

Header photo by Aleksandar Pasaric.
Inset photos by Professor H May.