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  • Writer's pictureEdmund Hoff

2020 Reflections

What a tumultuous year it has been. Lots of new experiences and, more than ever, an opportunity to reevaluate. Year end is usually the time where we take stock and consider changes for the next year. It seemed like the entire year of 2020 was a continuous re-evaluation of everything we are doing. A very important exercise.

At first glance, the two topics may seem to have little overlap however we quickly came together on the fact that popular culture is quite compatible, if not nurtured by, democratic ideals. I was very interested to hear the students perspectives on Japan and they were not short on ideas. Doing the discussion over Zoom made the whole thing possible considering our geographic handicap.

The students questions were very informative in showing where their interests lay. We spent a good amount of time discussing social equality, youth culture in Japan and abroad. As time went on fielded a couple questions on women's rights and liberties in society which clearly is a matter of concern for many in the audience.

In these hard times being able to hear the thoughts on everyone's minds was uplifting.

I left the digital discussion with reconfirmed conviction that before pop culture there is the question of social freedom. In that sense pop culture is a symbol of how we can celebrate as long as we are not suffering unsurmountable social strife. During these days where we don't know what to do at times, to be able to do something at all was an even greater blessing. It was a moment I cherish and I hope the students enjoyed it as well.

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