Travel Log 13 – “Connecting Rites of Passage and Digital Storytelling” – by Ryan Flagg, Tokyo, Japan


I agree with most of what Blumenkrantz and Goldstein have to say in their article. “The ages at which youth receive certain adult privileges (e.g., right to drive, right to vote, right to drink, etc.) are rather arbitrary and are not related to any actual competencies or maturity on the part of the individuals who gain those privileges.” (Blumenkrantz, Goldstein. 43). While these life milestones they talk about represent cultural privileges, they don’t necessarily reflect the maturity of the individual. Donald Trump is a 70-year-old man. I know children under the age of 10 who are more respectful and mature than that clown. For a lot of people, and myself included, being a college freshman is a transformative experience, or as the authors describe, a rite of passage. It’s not something like having your first legal drink at a bar, it’s often the first signal for adulthood and the first time many are told by others and internally to “get your *expletive* together.” The rite of passage signals both the opportunity and experience one goes through when physically and mentally separating themselves from what they’re normally used to. This is why study abroad for a lot of people is such an important, transformative part of life because it allows the traveler or individual to step out of their comfort zone to get a better grip of the realities of the world and to become part of the global community. There’s a value to all this, which is what the authors (their names are too huge to write eight times so I will stand my ground and refer to them as “the authors.”) are really trying to get at here. The experience of a rite of passage and transitional periods of life depend person-to-person, culture-to-culture. Is it a problem if this is all absent in American culture or an American’s life? Maybe, again, it depends on someone’s own growth as an individual. Above all else, his or her experiences carry weight and are a healthy, natural step for a person to mature and evolve in the realities of our world.

I think my digital story might be different than a lot of others. Coming from a filmmaking standpoint, I’m going to be using the footage I’ve gathered thus far and used in some of my other videos (these can be found on Facebook, feel free to add me and take a look), and create more of a cinematic experience for those who want to learn more about Japan. The three rites of passage I think I’ll focus on are “silence,” in that having an inner dialogue with oneself while traveling fosters an interesting way of understanding one’s surroundings and culture, “connection with nature” and “community values and ethics.” I have yet to find an “essence,” if you will, to my digital story, but after watching some of the examples, like Michael Colson’s, I can start to get an idea. His essence when studying in Switzerland was definitely that of separating from his home community in Connecticut, to searching for the idea of community itself in another country. The global community in his interpretation changed over the course of his visit, along with a change in him through his experiences and social relationships with friends and locals. As a filmmaker, I think all the story examples could use less Ken Burns and more video, but that’s just my thought and production mindset. I liked how Michael dated his experiences and photos throughout the story, with each being relevant to his overall growth. The Lord of The Rings music was a huge plus for me as well.



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