Curious Minds // Discovering Japan: An Insider’s Guide to the Land of the Rising Sun



Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema Tue, May 14, 2019 10:00 AM
Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema Tue, May 21, 2019 10:00 AM
Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema Tue, May 28, 2019 10:00 AM
Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema Tue, Jun 4, 2019 10:00 AM
Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema Tue, Jun 11, 2019 10:00 AM
Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema Tue, Jun 18, 2019 10:00 AM


**Series registration is sold-out. A limited number of same-day single course tickets will be available one hour before the start of the lecture.**

To the outside eye, Japan can appear to be a land of paradoxes: a place of deeply ingrained tradition with hyper-modern technology; a society renowned for its hospitality and politeness that spent much of its history cut off from the outside world. In this six-part series, Japanese sociologist Momo Kano Podolsky will take us on a lively journey through her ancestral land, introducing us to the traditions and folkways of one of the world’s most fascinating countries. As she offers clues to the way things work in Japan, and brings in special guests to shed light on its food, art and cultural rituals, she’ll guide us towards a deeper understanding of what makes the country so unique.

This course is led by Dr. Momo Kano Podolsky, who holds a PhD in sociology from the University of Toronto. Momo has served as an Associate Professor of Sociology at Kyoto Women’s University and is currently a Program Administrator at U of T’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. She gives lectures on Japan at Glendon College and many other institutions and programs.

May 14: A Crash Course in Japanese History and Geography
From the snow-capped mountains of Nagano to the neon streetscapes of bustling Tokyo, Japan is a nation of breathtaking contrasts. This introductory session will give an overview of the country's human and physical geography, and explore its historical relationship with the outside world.

May 21: Family Matters
One of the simplest and most useful pathways to understanding any society is to focus on the family. As we explore the traditional Japanese family system, we’ll look at how it continues to shape many aspects of Japanese life in the 21st Century.

May 28: Food, Glorious Food
Japan has one of the most innovative and sophisticated gastronomic cultures in the world. In this celebration of the country’s culinary traditions, Momo will bring in Kei Hashimoto, of Toronto’s world-renowned Kaiseki Yu-zen Hashimoto restaurant, to impart his knowledge and expertise. Bring a bib—your mouth will be watering!
Further Viewing | Jiro Dreams of Sushi - 1:00 PM

June 4: Japan Through the Lens
From the swashbuckling epics of Akira Kurosawa to the family dramas of Yasujiro Ozu and recent Academy Award nominee Kore-eda Hirokazu, Japan has produced some of the world’s greatest movies. Sandra Annett, associate professor in Film Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University, will join Momo to explore this rich artistic tradition and use famous Japanese films to illustrate key aspects of Japanese society.

June 11: Knowing Your Place: An Introduction to Japanese Etiquette
From slurping noodles loudly in restaurants to taking your shoes off in the home to the layout and amenities of one’s bathroom, there are many fascinating contrasts between Japanese and Western customs. Understanding these distinctions, and the concept of “boundaries” that often underpins them, will help the Western visitor to make sense of Japan and avoid embarrassing pitfalls.

June 18: Tea and Tradition: Traditional Japanese Rituals
We’ll close our whirlwind tour of Japanese society with some interactive learning, as Momo brings in Momo Yoshida, founder and owner of the online tea store Momo Tea, to explore two of the country’s most famous cultural rituals. As they host a traditional tea ceremony and kimono dressing demonstration, we’ll contemplate the cultural traditions that endure in 21st Century Japan—and the exquisite attention to detail that they require.

Additional Information

Tuesdays, May 14 - June 18
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Single class: $21 (Members: $17, $14, Free)

See all Curious Minds courses for Spring/Summer 2019

Sponsored by

Promotional Partners: Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre and The Japan Foundation Toronto