"KAKEHASHI Project" Public University Corporation The University of Kitakyushu (Fukuoka)

Dispatch in November 2013

Group 2 (Junior and Senior High School Students and University Students)
Public University Corporation The University of Kitakyushu (Fukuoka)

Period: November 1 - 14, 2013
Local Visit Destination: Kent State University (Ohio)
Number of Participants: 25

Tour Photo Album

Photo of Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education (CAPE) (Understanding U.S. society)
Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education (CAPE)
(Understanding U.S. society)

Photo of School exchange at University of Chicago (Presentation)
School exchange at University of Chicago
(Presentation)

Photo of School exchange at University of Chicago (Exchange meeting)
School exchange at University of Chicago
(Exchange meeting)

Photo of DIRTT Green Learning Center (Learning about local industry)
DIRTT Green Learning Center
(Learning about local industry)

Photo of Kent Historical Society Museum (Learning about local history)
Kent Historical Society Museum
(Learning about local history)

Photo of School exchange at Kent State University (Presentation)
School exchange at Kent State University
(Presentation)

Photo of School exchange at Kent State University (Exchange meeting)
School exchange at Kent State University
(Exchange meeting)

Photo of Davey Tree Service (Learning about local industry)
Davey Tree Service
(Learning about local industry)

Photo of May 4 Visitors Center, Kent State University (Learning about local history)
May 4 Visitors Center, Kent State University
(Learning about local history)

Photo of Community event at Kent State University (Presentation, panel discussion)
Community event at Kent State University
(Presentation, panel discussion)

Photo of School exchange at Kent State University (Halloween event experience)
School exchange at Kent State University
(Halloween event experience)

Photo of School exchange at Stanford University (Presentation)
School exchange at Stanford University
(Presentation)

Voices from Participants

1. What impressed you most in this experience of promoting the charms of Japan in the U.S.?

  • When I interacted with American students, I was struck by their positive attitude toward their studies. They were willing to challenge various things without sticking to their own fields. I became friendly with one American student whose major is economics. He also studies architecture and learns Japanese because he needs to read many Japanese documents to study architecture. He told me that he came to be interested in many things as he tried to do various things, which made his life more enjoyable. I was most impressed with his word because it reminded me of the important things that I had forgotten.
  • What impressed me most during my stay is that I could find many charms of Japan. I knew that things which I thought could be recognized as attractive only by the Japanese could fascinate Americans too. This fact made me realize that I did not thoroughly understand my own country. It was a great experience to visit universities and companies where I could discuss with American people and discover the attractiveness of each other's country. If I have another opportunity to talk about Japan's attractiveness, I think I will be more confident in presenting it.

2. What would you like to pass on to people in your community and school after you return to Japan?

  • English proficiency helps make conversation go smoothly and makes it easier to express what you want to say. But I believe it is important that you have something to say. First, you have to pay your attention to your country, culture and people's lives to know your perspective and surroundings. By doing so, when you are in other countries and have a chance to know their cultures, you can deepen your understanding of and have more interest in them. Therefore, I would like to talk to people in my community about the importance of developing such ability to deliver information. I also learned through this project that it is essential to continue striving to build confidence in myself and the things I'm working on, so this is another thing I would like to tell people in my community.
  • During the conversations with American university students, we often talked about Japanese subculture such as anime and manga. Someone pointed out that many young Japanese know a lot about Japan's subculture, while being unable to explain their traditional culture such as tea ceremony or ikebana, and told me that they should be more proud of their own tradition. I thought he was absolutely right and felt that I had to take an interest in Japan's traditional heritage and deepen my understanding of it. I would like to share this with people in my community.

3. Please freely describe your experience in the KAKEHASHI Project.

  • I realized that I did know less about Japan than I had thought I did. I had been concerned mainly about my English skills, but once being in the United States, I realized how little I knew about my own country and got embarrassed several times. During my two-week visit, I felt that it would be necessary to be able to introduce Japan's attractiveness since we would have more opportunities to go overseas in the future. Before joining this project, I couldn't have a clear image of the meaning of the" KAKEHASHI", but now I understand it. Also, I knew why the local coordinators and other staff members worked so hard on this project. In the future, I hope to become a person who deserves this great word "KAKEHASHI" meaning "the bridge for tomorrow".
  • The KAKEHASHI project helped me learn the importance of promoting Japan's attractiveness and many other things, but at the same time it became clear that my English ability was not good enough. Before the visit, I thought I would be able to manage to communicate in English as far as keeping my enthusiasm, but things did not work as I had expected. Driven by my desire to express myself, I could somehow communicate with American people using gestures, but was quite often frustrated with myself being unable to express my thought completely due to subtle differences in expression between Japanese and English. This experience motivated me to study English harder. I hope to work as a bridge between countries.

[Contact Us]

The Japan Foundation Youth Exchange Bureau
TEL : +81-(0)3-5369-6022 FAX : +81-(0)3-5369-6042
infokakehashi@jpf.go.jp
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