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Japan: Through the Lens of Toy Photography and Anime

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Program Overview

Join Sir Dork, and influencer Sweetheart Harley on an extraordinary journey of learning and exploring.

During the program you will participate in five hands-on toy photography lessons, both in class and on location. You will also learn about and experience anime and pop culture style.

Experience both traditional and pop culture in Japan by visiting Akihabara and Harajuku on this tour.

Akihabara is the home of Tokyo’s ‘Otaku’ culture. Translated into English, ‘Otaku’ means 'obsession,' but it really describes the hardcore fans of manga, anime and video games.

Once an area of subculture hidden from the rest of Japan, more recent times have dedicated the area as a popular place for people to go, shop, and soak up the unique and quirky atmosphere.

With maid cafes, fashion trends and shops catering to enthusiastic hobbyists of all types, you’ll discover a fascinating and perplexing side of Tokyo that most people never get to see.

In Tokyo, spend the day with a family learning about traditions and customs.

Then it’s off to Mt. Fuji for a nature study and eco forest walk with a nature guide.

Visit Kyoto to learn about traditional culture, visit a manga museum to learn about drawing and experience a class in Kimono dressing.

Program Type

Adventure Learning
Ancient Traditions
Birding and Wildlife
Bucket List Learning
Theater Arts
Unplugged Learning
Wellness and Spirituality
Wine and Spirits
Woman's Focused
Writing and Literature

Learning Level

Explore an Interest
Pursue a Passion
Change My Life!

Activity Level


What You Will Learn/Do

Five hands-on toy photography workshops

On-site photography lessons

Introduction to Anime and Pop Culture workshop

Kyoto International Manga Museum to learn about Manga drawing skills.

Japanese kimono dressing experience to learn about Japanese traditional fashion.

Why This Program Is Unique

Learn from the pros, expand your skills, or try your hand at a career in toy photography or anime.

You will experience hands-on workshops with Jared Middleton, better known as Sir Dork.

Sir Dork is a toy photographer who specializes in bringing toys to life with his explosive photographs. He creates lands inspired by Star Wars, Pokemon, DC Comics, and more, as he tells a story through his creative take on photography, using action figures as his models.

His portfolio includes work with Keak Toys “Bikku” U.S.A. product launch, Mountain Dew, and he was also part of Disney’s “My Star Wars Story” Triple Force Friday celebration.

Learn the art of Anime and pop culture with Harleen Dimopoulos (Sweetheart Harley) - a cosplayer who specializes in Harley Quinn costumes and props.

She not only cosplays as the Maiden of Mischief, but also has an extensive collection of comics, collectables, and knowledge about the history and development of the character.

After first visiting Japan in 2007, she has developed a deep love for Japanese culture and has studied both the traditions of it and the technology movement of the past 10 years.

How This Program Benefits The Local Community

Programs give back to organizations which create awareness of domestic violence issues.

Program Itinerary

Start/Finish City:

Open All Days

Program Registration Fees

Services Included

• All transfers as outlined • 5 workshops with Toy Photographer expert Sir Dork and Anime style expert Sweetheart Harley • 4 nights in Tokyo - SUNSHINE CITY PRINCE or similar • 1 night in Hakone - NANPUSO, HAKONE or similar • 2 nights in Kyoto - RIHGA ROYAL HOTEL, KYOTO or similar • Daily Breakfast • Two Dinners • Learning Journeys Certificate • All explorations as outlined • All learning experiences as outlined

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