[ STE Relay Column : Narratives 129]
Alex JEN “The self-reflection of vising Kamakura and the SLAM DUNK scene at the crossroad”

Alex JEN / MBA student at Waseda Business School

[Profile] My name is Alex JEN, Yu-Hsi. I majored in Mathematical Economics at U. of Wisconsin-Madison and a current 2nd-year IMBA student in Maki zemi at Waseda Business School in Tokyo, Japan.
Certifications/ Working Experiences
Oracle Certified Java Programmer, CFA Level I passed.
2-years experiences in insurance industry as a SAP BPM workflow designer/ Java programmer
2-years experiences in financial industry as a business analyst.


Under the coronavirus situation, I have found myself immersed in the social media platforms talking to friends and starred at my phone screen, binge-watching all the videos Facebook and YouTube recommended to me through their pin-point algorithms under the auto-play setting. At a certain point in time, I felt my productivity dropped gradually, and my perception of time seemed to be distorted after high dosage of video content, including those advertisements that the hair removal businesses put on YouTube in Japan. This behavior came to a turning point after vising Kamakura with people from the Waseda Business School. This trip had been under discussion for more than half a year due to covid-19 situations worsened in Japan, but with the great help from Maki sensei, Ishii-san, and one of the organizer Morita-san, I learned to cope with the uncertainties and finalized the trip plan with the help from many great people.
On December 20th, 2020, I hopped on the train towards Kamakura in the morning. Meeting the people after arriving was an interesting situation as I found myself able to focus more on the conversations’ contents since everyone was wearing a mask. After short greetings and catching up with some friends sharing some life incidents, the group slowly walked towards 報国寺 (Houkokuji), our first stop. Houkokuji is a zen Buddhist temple known for its varieties of bamboo implants. As the group entered the temple, I was immediately surrounded by the solemn air, and my restless mind felt calm. Afterward, I joined the tea-drinking group and took a seat, looking into the bamboos while holding my matcha in my hands. I thought that I entered the Zen state. At the moment, the feeling of nothing is lacking entered my mind. Following the sense of fulfillment brought a long-lasting joy carried for some time even after the trip.

However, this joy was cut temporarily after recognizing long stairways was waiting for me going up to 鶴岡八幡宮 (Tsurugaoka Hachimangū), which was notorious for being the spiritual center of the birth of a samurai society more than 800 years ago. I was thrilled after climbing up picturing how community and the street views were like comparing to nowadays. Many things have changed from 800 years ago, but the Bushido (the spirit of the Samurai) mindset was preserved. The mental toughness and perseverance were maintained and deeply rooted to some up till now.

Approaching noon, we found the opportunities to appreciate the spiritual culture and the fine dining in Kamakura. After stuffing ourselves up and exchanging some words about our feelings toward this tour thus far, we moved our feet towards the Kamakura Daibutsu (The Great Buddha of Kamakura). The Amida Buddha was a bronze statue built 750 years ago, standing at 13.35 meters tall and located in Kotokuin temple. Realizing the engineering wonders of the Daibutsu, I have gained a newfound appreciation and was impressed by the craftsmanship and spiritual minds of the people back then. Unfortunately, visitors were prohibited from entering “inside” the statue due to safety measures under the pandemics, but this led to another chapter of the adventure in Kamakura.

Since many of the tourists’ areas were restricted from entering and as a result, we were a bit ahead of our schedule and reached a consensus to take 江ノ島電鉄 (Enoshima Electric Railway) to visit the SLAM DUNK scene at 鎌倉高校駅前 (Kamakura Kokomae), which had been on my bucket list for more than 20 years. In the Enoden train cart heading to the SLAM DUNK crossing, we were accompanied by the roof of blue sky and the vast sea view curtain spreading in front of our eyes. That was one of a kind train ride, and the SLAM DUNK theme song (君が好きだと叫びたい) auto-played along the way in my brain until we arrived at the railroad crossing late afternoon. Time stopped when everyone from the group offered to take a photo for me and encouraged me to stand in front of the intersection waiting for the train to come so I could mimic one of the scenes from the SLAM DUNK animation.

During the 15 seconds wait for a train to come, deep inside my heart, I felt someone pressed a button that triggered my passion for exploring life in the real world. My tears almost fell off in front of a group of people, and I realized that sharing these moments with the people around me makes authentic connections and bonds. I learned to appreciate this neurofeedback from the simplest things in life through human interactions.

Under the coronavirus situations, virtual interactions took place through digital innovations, and people can build relationships with online events. However, some of the human interactions in real life should not be overlooked as that’s what makes relationships long-lasting, in my opinion. During the trip, I met many great people who have shared their knowledge and insights, and my drought soul was nourished from sharing the joy of life with friends that I met. This almost felt like the world sent an invitation to me, and I am eager to seek the next opportunity to experience such an emotional trigger and find the next adventure. From my perspective, having a memorable and adventurous trip like this is probably the best way to build and maintain relationships with people, connect the past, persevere to the present, and embrace the future.