"KAKEHASHI Project" Miyagigakuin Women's University (Miyagi)

Dispatch in November 2013

Group 2 (Junior and Senior High School Students and University Students)
Miyagigakuin Women's University (Miyagi)

Period: November 1 - 14, 2013
Local Visit Destination: Riverside Community College District (California)
Number of Participants: 25

Tour Photo Album

Photo taken at Chicago Cultural Center (Learning about US culture)
Chicago Cultural Center
(Learning about US culture)

Photo of Orientation in the U.S. (Presentation practice)
Orientation in the U.S.
(Presentation practice)

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

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

Photo taken at DIRTT Green Learning Center (Learning about local industry)
DIRTT Green Learning Center
(Learning about local industry)

Photo taken at Masuda Funai Law Firm (Understanding US society)
Masuda Funai Law Firm
(Understanding US society)

Photo of School exchange at Riverside Community College District (Presentation) 1
School exchange at Riverside Community College District
(Presentation)

Photo of School exchange at Riverside Community College District (Presentation) 2
School exchange at Riverside Community College District
(Presentation)

Photo of School exchange at Riverside Community College District (Exchange meeting)
School exchange at Riverside Community College District
(Exchange meeting)

Photo of School exchange at Riverside Community College District
School exchange at Riverside Community College District

Photo taken at Arlanza Community Center (Presentation)
Arlanza Community Center
(Presentation)

Photo of School exchange at Stanford University (Participating in class activities)
School exchange at Stanford University
(Participating in class activities)

Voices from Participants

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

  • When one of our groups gave a presentation about the earthquake, a boy in the audience asked if there was anything they could do for us, and I was most impressed with his comment. I was happy to see that these people whose nationality and language are both different from ours listened to our short presentations, showed a great interest in the issue and tried to think a lot about it with us. We encouraged them to visit Miyagi and asked them to tell their friends and family about the charms of Japan that they had learned from our presentations.
  • I believe most of the Japanese have the heartwarming experience that singing nursery songs brings back the memories of the hometown and childhood. The reason why we recall such memories is that we have sung nursery songs since our childhood, and our grandmothers used to sing for us. I wanted to communicate to American people a Japanese culture that cannot be expressed in words like this, so I decided to use the five senses to let it be known. The song we chose was "Hamabe no uta (the song of the beach)." In order to express the images that the song brings to mind, we created the sound of waves with adzuki beans and the sound of the breeze with wind chimes. We also translated the lyrics into English so that the audience could sing with us. I was not sure if they understood our feelings for the song, but I saw a student singing along with a hand on his chest and looking moved, so I think we did manage to convey just a little bit of what we felt.

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

  • In Riverside ? a sister city of our hometown Sendai ? we saw school marching bands. Students of one school were holding up signs that said "We will never forget," offering their thoughts and prayers for the people affected by sad events around the world, including the victims of the tsunami in Japan. When I saw them I wanted to tell Japanese people that there are many in the world trying to support us even in places we don't know.
  • I want to encourage Japanese people to be proud of Japan and talk about its attractiveness to people in the world. In order to do so, we have to learn more about our own country. In my presentation I used stationery products to show how amazing and interesting Japanese technology is. The response from the audience was better than I had expected. Many of them said, "Japanese stationery goods are great, and the technology is impressive". I think that Japanese advanced technology is even found in our daily products, which is part of our culture we should be proud of.

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

  • I am extremely grateful to have been given the opportunity for such a great experience. I feel I have grown in many ways thanks to the project. We talked about the charms of Japan even though we were sometimes frustrated with ourselves struggling to express what we wanted to say due to the language barrier. At the same time, through interactions with the local people, I realized how enjoyable and interesting cross-border communications are. Due to this frustration and enjoyment that I felt during my stay, I am now motivated to go back to the United States one day and find a job that will let me contribute to Japan's further development. I would like to work hard to realize my dream. Thank you very much for giving me this wonderful opportunity.
  • Before visiting the United States, I set four goals: to introduce Japan, to know American culture while letting Americans know Japanese culture, to develop personal connections and to have fun during my stay. And I have accomplished all of them! Having participated in this project, I set another goal that is to help other people develop connections. I knew the importance and sense of fun to create bonds, or KAKEHASHI, between people. At the same time, I felt a strong desire to take part in activities that develop human networks as I talked with the staff who organized this project. For me, this project was not only for introducing Japan to the American, but for building a bridge to the future. Therefore, this visit turned out to be important in many ways.

[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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