Mr. Gebauer visits Japan with Ottenstroer Fellowship

Mr. Gebauer visits Japan with Ottenstroer Fellowship
Snippet from Gebauer’s travel journal, where he would write about his day and sketch the places he visited. (Mr. Gebauer)

Over the summer Mr. Gebauer traveled to Japan in search of culture, history, and a solo travel experience. 


“I promote with my students all the time getting out of your comfort zone,” Gebauer says, “That’s the only way to get more comfortable with things that maybe scare you a little bit. And the best things in life are always new to you at some point.”


Story continues below advertisement

In addition to teaching his students about life skills, he also yearns to increase his knowledge of history and religion to use in his classes. “In my ninth grade class we talk about early Japan and the development of Japan. In my sophomore class we talk about feudal Japan and the Tokugawa Shogunate, Imperial Japan during World War Two and then we cover Shinto, the Japanese traditional religion in my World Religions class. As well as there’s tons of Buddhism in Japan as well.”


Hiroshima – A-Bomb Museum (Mr. Gebauer)

“I learned quite a few things about Japanese mannerisms and culture and customs, which I thought was really interesting. I learned a bit about geishas and their understudies maikos. I had the opportunity to go to a ton of different shrines and temples which was pretty amazing.”


One of the important things about his trip is that it was funded by the Ottenstroer Fellowship Program in 2022. According to, “The Ottenstroer Fellowships identify and reward excellence in teaching at Bolles by providing opportunities for professional growth among faculty.” 


Gebauer hopes to utilize his newfound knowledge in each of his classes. For example, “There’s a cup game that we played, which was pretty cool. Two people sit across from one another and you’re tapping this cup to this song as the geisha sings. And you can pick up the cup and if you pick up the cup, the other person then knocks instead of tapping. And whoever messes up first loses.”


Himeji Castle – White Heron Castle – all wood interior (Mr. Gebauer)

Among other experiences, Gebauer was able to enjoy all the types of food that are part of the different regions in Japan. He tasted street food and market goods, but most enjoyed the nonchalant attitude of people.


“I didn’t really feel like I stuck out. I felt like everybody was just kind of living their life,” Gebauer explains when asked if he felt strange being a tourist. And he reflects on how different society functioned there:


“Very quiet society. It was really easy to identify when there was, you know, non Japanese people around because you could hear them. So it was being more discreet, or just more aware of other people’s space, sharing that with them. Very clean. No trash cans in the entire country, which I think is pretty lovely. You do that here and then there would just be trash everywhere. And there’s no trash cans there. And there’s no trash at all. A lot of a lot of just respect being a big thing, I think was one of the things I realized too. And really friendly, friendly people in Japan, that was my encounters.”


With all of his new knowledge under his belt and new experiences, he wants students to know, “It’s really good for anyone to learn about themselves, challenge themselves, put themselves out of their comfort zone, really experience a new culture.”

About the Contributor
Caylee Padgett
Caylee Padgett, Online Editor-In-Chief
Caylee Padgett is a senior and third-year staffer and this year's Online Editor-In-Chief. She is active in track and field (javelin) and enjoys crocheting, drinking tea, and reading in her free time. Her goal in Bugle this year is to improve readers' experience on the Bugle website. The most awe-inspiring place Caylee has visited is Japan and she hopes to visit there again in the future.