Japan: Technocrats, Techno-beats and the 2020 Olympics - Dynasty and Dynamism in Tokyo

people crossing a busy intersection




SUMMER 2020 ONLINE - June 1 - 15, 2020

Program Description 

This exciting new FLP takes students on a whirlwind two week ethnographic adventure through Tokyo and its dynamic environs, unmasking Japan old and new, including: an in-depth look at the behind the scenes organizing of the much anticipated 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics; the cultural politics of the newly launched Toyosu Fish Market; Japan’s Imperial history, past and present, in the recently unveiled Reiwa Era; pulsating student beats at the prestigious Tokyo University; cutting edge technology and J-pop from Akihibara to Shibuya; LGBTQ realities and highlights in Shinjuku; and of course a personalized taste of the iconic, globalized foods of Japan—from Michelin Starred Ramen Chefs to subway kiosk delights!

Through this two week FLP, students will also be able to experience:

  • Tokyo 2020 Olympic Stadium with Guest Lecture by Olympic Organizing Committee Official.
  • Visit and meeting with 2020 Paralympics athletes, organizers, and facilities.
  • Eating and meeting with owner-chefs to learn the history and cultural politics of Yokohama Chinatown and Shin-Okubo Koreatown.
  • Student and academic life at world renowned Tokyo University.
  • Beauty, splendor, and living legacy of the historic Imperial Garden and Palace.
  • Government and community agencies tackling the socio-cultural and economic challenges of a rapidly greying population.
  • Community activism in LGBTQ Japan through cultural, sports and political events.
  • Bullet train trip to Karuizawa, holiday hometown to John Lennon, Yoko Ono, and the Emperor of Japan.
  • Food, food and more food—Michelin starred to street kiosk delights.


GLST 188 Special Topics in International Experiences (3 units) (Area V)

Study of modern history, government, immigration and impacts on development of diverse communities. Study of effects of immigration, economics, biases, and other factors on community development, as well as comparing and contrasting US and other cultural perspectives. Course offered as FLP in countries outside the U.S.  

Prerequisites: Passage of the Writing Skills Test (WST) or ENGL/LLD 100A with a C or better (C- not accepted), completion of Core General Education and upper division standing are prerequisites to all SJSU studies courses. Completion of, or co-registration in, 100W is strongly recommended. Note: All SJSU Studies courses require completion of the WST and upper division standing.


sung jay ou

Program Leader: Sung Jay Ou, PhD

Being raised with family roots in Japan, Hawaii, Korea and Kenya instilled in Dr. Sung Jay Ou a lifelong interest in culture, politics—and food.  Since his formative years, Jay has lived and worked in over 21 countries, in cities and villages large and small, on coast, mountain and savannah.  Dr. Ou is very excited to share his academic and entrepreneurial experiences through this FLP program, and, more importantly, to allow students to immerse themselves fully into intensive, firsthand experiences provided by the diverse perspectives and offerings of local artisans and scholars, as well as practitioners of sports, music, and gastronomy.  An itinerant educator, entrepreneur, and sportsman in equal measure, Dr. Sung Jay Ou looks forward to working together with participants to learn and develop newer, more interesting and fruitful ways of conversing with the world.


Email: sungjay.ou@sjsu.edu 


It is important to note that each program's total cost will vary depending on the location and the package it offers.  

$750 SJSU Special Session Tuition ($250 per unit)
$200 Administrative Fee 
$1,845 Program fees, lodging, class materials and class related tours approximately*
$2,795 Total Program Cost


* Airfare is not included. Students will need approximately $20-$30 per day for meals.




Check out these additional resources for your program.

  • Itinerary
  • Info sessions