"KAKEHASHI Project" Invitation: (Japanese American Young Adults Invitation Program Group 2)Group B

Invitation in July 2014 (Japanese American Young Adults Invitation Program Group 2)

Group B

Period:July 14 - 24
Local Visit Destination:Fukushima
Number of Participants:22

Tour Photo Album

Photo of Orientation
Orientation

Photo of Tokyo National Museum (Learning about Japanese history and culture)
Tokyo National Museum
(Learning about Japanese history and culture)

Photo of Saiei Orimono Co., Ltd. (Learning about Japanese local industry)
Saiei Orimono Co., Ltd.
(Learning about Japanese local industry)

Photo of Courtesy call at Fukushima Prefectural Government Office
Courtesy call at Fukushima Prefectural
Government Office

Photo of School exchange at Fukushima Future Center for Regional Revitalization, Fukushima University
School exchange at Fukushima Future Center for Regional
Revitalization, Fukushima University

Photo of Hydroponic lettuce greenhouse visiting (Learning about Japanese local industry)
Hydroponic lettuce greenhouse visiting
(Learning about Japanese local industry)

Photo of Cucumber greenhouse visiting (Learning about Japanese local industry)
Cucumber greenhouse visiting
(Learning about Japanese local industry)

Photo of Photo frame making (Interacting with local people)
Photo frame making
(Interacting with local people)

Photo of Watermelon splitting (Interacting with local people)
Watermelon splitting
(Interacting with local people)

Photo of Bato Kannon Festival (Learning about Japanese history and culture)
Bato Kannon Festival
(Learning about Japanese history and culture)

Photo of Ouchi-juku (Learning about Japanese history and culture)
Ouchi-juku
(Learning about Japanese history and culture)

Photo of Tsuruga-jo (Learning about Japanese history and culture)
Tsuruga-jo
(Learning about Japanese history and culture)

Photo of Japanese Overseas Migration Museum, JICA Yokohama (Learning about Japanese history and culture)
Japanese Overseas Migration Museum, JICA Yokohama
(Learning about Japanese history and culture)

Photo of Shamisen lesson (Learning about Japanese history and culture)
Shamisen lesson
(Learning about Japanese history and culture)

Photo of National Diet Building (Learning about Japanese society)
National Diet Building
(Learning about Japanese society)

Photo of Asakusa (Learning about Japanese history and culture)
Asakusa
(Learning about Japanese history and culture)

Photo of School exchange at Toyo University
School exchange at Toyo University

Photo of National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Learning about Japanese cutting-edge technology)
National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation
(Learning about Japanese cutting-edge technology)

Photo of Debriefing session
Debriefing session

Voices from Participants

1. Having participated in the KAKEHASHI Project, what do you think are Japan’s strengths and attractiveness?

  • During our stay, I have constantly been shown the perseverance and resilience. Just as Okiagari-koboshi never completely fall down when pushed, Japanese people have not fallen after the disasters. The lettuce farmers is now using hydroponics, a process that avoids the use of possibly contaminated soil altogether to ensure their products are safe and their business is thriving. I was so impressed by Saiei Orimono Co., Ltd. as well; despite the company being destroyed by the earthquake, they rebuilt and were operating again within only one week. They know their silk cannot beat China’s price, so they actively work to come up with new, unique products and stay up-to-date with fashion trends. I feel two cases represent how Japanese are able to actively, constructively and quickly bounce back after tragedy.
  • I definitely appreciate the natural beauty and overall cleanliness of Japan. I think one of strengths of Japan is how kind everyone is. I am grateful to everyone we encountered on this trip for being polite to me, despite a huge language barrier.

2. How did you change your perspective of Japan through this project?

  • I was absolutely in awe of the beauty of Fukushima and its people. We were briefed on the disaster, its aftermath and the measures taken to switch to clean energy, and my prior misconception of Fukushima was dispelled. I realized now how fortunate we were to be able to visit Fukushima and witness the humanity and developments. I feel the significance of dispelling myths or stereotypes that can hurt an entire prefecture. I plan to tell others back home about what I witnessed here.
  • This trip made me aware of how advanced and progressing Japan’s infrastructure and urban design are. They are far ahead of what I have seen in the U.S. I realized many aspects of life are accessible. We do not even need a car to live productively in Japanese society: groceries, restaurants, stores, and entertainment venues are easy to access. I also realized how much healthier many Japanese seem to be. I attributed this to their diet of mostly fresh foods and pedestrian oriented communities. I learned the Japanese government is very proactive towards the well-being and quality of life of their citizens by subsidizing health costs and tuition at universities.

3. After returning to the U.S., what aspect(s) of Japan do you want to learn more?

  • I was so enamored with the eve of Bato Kannon Festival. I would like to look up what other festivals exist in smaller towns around Japan. I want to look into where I can purchase products from Fukushima to help support the local community. I became interested in Japanese professional baseball and hope to start, potentially the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. This trip has also prompted me to want to learn more about the Japanese American community, especially in Colorado. I am going to ask my grandfather about his experiences growing up as a Japanese American and will look into Camp Amache.
  • The biggest aspect of Japan that I want to learn more when I go home is the language. Everyone here works very hard to learn English and I want to do the same for Japanese as my ancestor’s language. I also want to learn more about women’s role/opportunities in the medical field, since Japan is still male-dominated society. Before coming to Japan my family always ate what we considered to be Japanese, but there are many more dishes that are traditional or common in everyday life. I want to go home and learn how to make them.

4. It is hoped that you will promote further mutual understanding between our two countries, serving as bridges in the Japan-U.S. relationship. What will you do to deepen understanding of Japan’s strengths and attractiveness?

  • I am excited to share photos, experiences and stories of this trip with my family, friends and future students. I am so appreciative we had the opportunity of visit Fukushima and learn about the recovery efforts because it is important for people in the U.S.to know about how much recovery has been made after the disaster. I learned about physical and mental health, evacuation housing, radiation testing, community rebuilding and reconstruction of infrastructure. Furthermore, I would like to include more Japanese and Japanese American culture and history in the school curriculum that I teach. I think it is important to include the rich traditions, diversity of experiences and examples of innovation in my teaching.
  • Having gone to Fukushima and seeing nothing but absolute natural beauty, I hope to show everyone the photos and tell them the truth of the country. It is one the most beautiful places to ever visit and the absolute safest. I hope to become more involved with Japanese American Programs to help promote a better and more honest understanding of the country to my friends and relatives.

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

  • I have absolutely loved my lifetime experience in the KAKEHASHI project. I experienced the very different culture in Tokyo and Fukushima. These diverse experiences were wonderful. I also really cherished the opportunity to get to know my fellow Japanese Americans, connect and build relationships with them, as well as Japanese people. I was able to forge friendships with Japanese students and plan to see them again. This has been such an honor and privilege to experience Japan through the KAKEHASHI program.
  • I thoroughly enjoyed my experience, especially my time in Fukushima. I would have gone to the area if I had come on my own for the first time. We were able to stay in a ryokan and bathe in an onsen. We also experienced a pre-festival ritual which was enjoyable to see. It was also great to see the different parts of Tokyo because they have a lot of history and personality. I especially loved our interactions with the students in Fukushima and at Toyo University. I think meeting young people is essential to understanding another culture.

[Contact Us]

The Japan Foundation Youth Exchange Bureau
TEL : +81-(0)3-5369-6022 FAX : +81-(0)3-5369-6042
infokakehashi@jpf.go.jp
(When sending e-mail, please enter a half-width character "@" instead of a full-width character "@.")

Page Top