It was great pleasure to be part of the Pratt Institute's travel workshop in late Feb. A group of 21 academics and creative professionals, along with Master of Design Management students from New York came to Tokyo in search of meaning and shape of things, through the lens of J-cool and J-pop. That gave me the excuse to revisit quite a few iconic places in Tokyo: Akiba, Asakusa, Shibuya Crossing, Gundam...
So that's what makes Tokyo so Tokyo. People and network create culture, culture builds value, and value becomes significant and iconic. We human beings give things and places their meaning. This study group touched on "ikigai" (meaning of existence) and the role of designers and creative leaders in creating and shaping meaning of things in the 21st century. It is also about evaluating what is needed and what is un-necessary in the forever-more chaotic world. (Marie Kondo will agree with me on this.. )
One thing I have really enjoyed (and missed) is the energy and fearlessness to challenge, to question and to spark new thinking. Japan is a society of norms and systems, I am curious how this group of western-trained creative thinkers have created ripples through their dialogs with Japan innovators and creative leaders during the 8 days of tour and discussions.
Be blessed that Creative Thinkers will become the hottest talents for centuries to come! Because we create meanings and meaningful things.
FINALLY, great thanks to Professor Mary McBride (Pratt) for the opportunity to be part of this tour. And it was great fun working with Jon and Lala from Unsettled. Let's reconnect soon!
On personal note: go for Sartre and Nietzsche when you get bored reading about ikigai. (and, do not assume all Japanese have ikigai)