JapanVisit 2013 report
Our friendship will continue
I was very impressed with everything in this trip. It was one of my greatest journeys in life, which gave me lots of experiences, and it widened my world. I had a chance to know more about the developed country in Asia named Japan. Traveling in Japan made me love this country. It was a very nice country and Japanese people are very responsible, especially for the environment. Everything is in order and Japanese people have very good discipline. It inspired me and I want to do something for my country to make it a better place for living, like Japan.
From this program, I have also learned more about Japanese culture, tradition, some of Japanese history and lots of Japanese words. I fell in love with Japanese language and I would love to learn more about it when I have time. I had also tried many kinds of Japanese food and snacks. The thing I recognized when I was in Japan was that Japanese people are very creative, especially on food and snacks. I have also been to many famous places in Tokyo and I had experienced of how complicated it was riding on Japanese train.
First day when we arrived in Japan, we had a very warm welcome from Japanese friends and I was happy to see some of Vietnamese friends as well. Most of the story of the trip I remembered was all about friends. I was very appreciated with all of my Japanese friends that came to take care of us during the trip. They did a very great job. I knew they put a lot of efforts in planning and making this trip to be a great experience for us. They woke up before us and slept later than us. They took such a good care of us and we were all extremely appreciated everything they have done. This Japan Visit program was a very good program, which strengthened our friendship. I thought we had become much closer than we were at the last SOA trip in Vietnam.
Another thing that was very impressive for me was home staying. It was a very good chance staying with Japanese family once in a lifetime. I stayed at Kana’s house and I did love her family. I remembered the first day I went to stay at Kana’s. It was quite late at night because we were back from Tokyo Disneyland but her mom and dad just stayed up and waited to meet us. When I first met them, they just gave me a big hug and tried to speak English with me although they could speak much. It was very cute and I just loved them. I also tried ‘natto’ for the first time. The taste was quite unforgettable though.
The time went fast. Ten days seemed so short. I realized that it was about time to say good-‐bye. I have been through so many times of saying good-‐bye but I think this one was one of the hardest in my life. It was a very touching moment at the farewell party when everyone came up and spoke about how they feel. I saw tear ran down from many eyes. I think that was a good sign that at least everybody felt something and must have learned something as well.
The thing that I always learn from participating in SOA programs is how to get along with people. I have a chance to practice my skill of being with people who are so different from me; different country, different language, different bringing-‐up, different society, different lifestyle or different view of life. It is not about how different we are but it’s all about how big our heart are and how much we can open up for others. People can be together no matter how much different they are if they just have an open mind and listen more about others. Mr.Hatano always say that friendship is very important and maybe the most important and I agree with him. Friendship is not something we can learn from books and it is hard to explain, we just only have to experience it. I think that people who haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, they really haven't learned anything in life yet.
The trip was over and now we are back to our normal life. Although we now live in different country and far away from each other, I believe that our friendship will continue. We might have known each other not that long but I believed that we are already good friends. I think a good friend is not about the one you have known the longest, but it is about the one you know and always feel comfortable and happy to be with. And I am looking forward for my friends from Japan to come and visit us here in Thailand. I believe that it will always be a good time getting together again.
Many thanks to Sing Out Asia that has brought me so many good friends in my life.
I felt so lucky
My name is Hathai Sukmoung but you can also call me Annie. I am a Thai student who joined this program last year in Vietnam for the first time. The SOA trip in Vietnam was an amazing experience for me, I have never been to Vietnam before so I was so excited to explore my neighbor country and I was impressed not only by the country but also by the people. People I have met on that trip became my new friends and we have shared our good experience together. And by the time we have to say good bye, I felt like I can’t wait till the next time I get to see these new friends.
Japan visit 2013 gave me the opportunity to reunion with Japanese friends and some Vietnamese friends and also meets new friends along the trip. My first impression start from day one as Japanese friends pick Thai girls up at the airport and help carried our heavy luggage on to the bus and train and they never let us feels like we are on our own because they always help us and accompany us to everywhere we want to go. I felt so lucky from the start to have the chance to be in this program again.
On our second day we divided in to three groups to travel around so everyone get to go wherever they want. I think it is a great idea because it is a good way to travel in big city and be able to catch up with Japanese and Vietnamese friends. In the evening we had a lovely welcome party at Mr. Hatano’s house and that evening everything from food to conversation was warm and welcoming and at the end of the party I got a surprised birthday cake, I have never been so far from home and felt like home before. The trip continued to amaze me in so many ways , I got a lot of good experiences and new experiences like fishing and eating horse meat, from the trip.
I have gained more than just great experiences from this trip. I have learned about culture and get to participated in tea ceremony and also get to wear yukata which is a traditional costume and I feel so privilege from this experience because anyone could go to Japan and travel around but not everyone could have this kind of cultural experience like I did. Friendship is also one of the most privilege things that anyone could have. I started a friendship in Vietnam with these people but I bound more closely in Japan. This time in Japan we spend all of our day together, we talked more than the last time and we learn more about each other as the trip went on. We have time to talks about our life and share our experience and we made a connection through our story.
I enjoy everyday in Japan visit 2013. The trip reminds me of summer vacation with best friends. I feel closer to everyone on the trip and I appreciated what they have scarified their time for us also every teacher on the trip who take good care of us all the way to last day. I didn’t want to go home because I enjoy every moment so much and I will miss my friends and I hope this is not the last time I get to be in program like this. If I have a chance I will definitely join this program again.
I will never forget
After this program “Japan Visit 2013” finished. I love to say that I have gained a lot of wonderful experiences as well as many precious moments more than I have ever though. First of all, I am grateful that I could be a part of this program. This program gave me a chance to learn many authentic Japanese cultures such as Tea ceremony, Yugata wearing, Onsen time, The original Japanese food, Japanese Beach ,Japanese game like “Takenoko Takenoko Nyokiki”, Japanese customs like it is polite to eat noodle loudly and it is impolite to hand to food with chopstick to chopstick. It all made me feel like I will never have a chance like this in my life if I didn’t join this program. I do want to say thank you so much to whom who support behind this trip. Thank you for your support, thank you for creating such an awesome trip and thank you for your kindness. I do appreciate and I will never forget what I have learned from this program.
Another important thing in this trip is “a truly Friendship” from the beginning to the end of this trip this friendship means so much to me. I was so happy to meet my old Japanese friends also Vietnamese friends again since we all went back home when SOA trip in Vietnam ended. Also I am so glad to know my new Japanese friends and my new friend from Indonesia as well. All of my friends in this trip have good hearts. I felt warm fun and happy every moment I spent with them. Even if, our English is not so good but it is not the obstacle for us at all. I appreciated every time my Japanese and Vietnamese friends tried to explain something to me in English even though sometimes I didn’t understand 100 percent but I still feel impressed that at least they tried and we tried our best. I do appreciated my lovely girl friends for being such a best friend to me and I miss you
girls already also my gentleman guy friends thank you so much for taking care of us perfectly with all little details. It means a lot.
For my host family, it was great staying in your beautiful house. It is the first time in my life that I had a warm and lovely host family. It was a very happy time. I felt I am so lucky. You guys are warm like my second family. I miss you guys. Thank you so much for those warm moment and take care. I wish I have more time to spend with all of you guys. And I wish I will have a chance to take care of you guys in return. I can’t wait for the next trip in Thailand. I am looking forward to see you guys. I also willing to help anything I could just let me know. I wish this excellent program will be continued and we all still stay in touch.
Mai Thị Khánh Huyền
Unforgettable memories in my life:
For me, learning Japanese and Japanese culture is a fate. When I was in high school, I fall in love with Korean band named DBSK (Tohoshinki in Japanese) and love story movies like other young people in Vietnam, so I thought that in the future, certain I will learn Korean to understand lyric in their song or dialogue in the film. But, I also do not understand why, when I was in college, I chose Japanese studies. Gradually, I realized that my choice is right, I love what I was learning, especially Japanese traditional culture. And, compared to my friends, I am fortunate because this is my second time I’ve been to Japan, a lovely country.
When SOA’s Cross-Culture Activities in Vietnam finished last March, I head about the program: Japan Visit 2013. A month later, my teacher said that I am chosen as one of Vietnamese representatives to take part in this program. I’m very happy because I’m going to see my teachers and friends, who I really close when we joined SOA in Vietnam.
There’s some trouble because when we went to Japan embassy to get visa, we need more document so I have to contact to Hatano-sensei to ask him to send the documents. We have to waiting for visa one week and the last day, we got visa in afternoon and flight at that night. It took 15 hours because we had to transit in Korea. It was scary, but we arrived Japan on time. I remember the moment I came out of plane. I knew that Koki and Kana will go to pick up us before and I thought that, when I see them, I will hug them and cry in happiness but everything beyond my imagination, they call us loudly in Vietnamese: “anh oi”, “chi oi” (they mean “hey guys”). That’s why I laugh a lot J We waited bus outside, the fresh air, cool and clean, feels like the first time I’ve been to Japan.
We had dinner and spent our first night at Yoyogi Olympic Youth Center. We arrived earlier than Thailand and Indonesia guys so in the next day, we were free. We met Japanese friends and went around sight-seeing Tokyo. We visited Tokyo Dome, Tokyo Tower, Akihabara, etc. At that night, we met everyone to had dinner together.
The next day of Japan Visit 2013, we divided into three groups and visited somewhere in Tokyo such as Tokyo sky tree, Asakusa, Mejijingu, etc. Then, we had welcome party at Hatano-sensei’s house. I was very impressed with delicious foods that Mrs. Hatano made. Everyone enjoyed the party.
The rest of the trip was spent by going to Gifu. It was raining so the weather becomes cooler. That was the first time in Onsen and I think it’s good experience I never forget J After dinner, our journey continues to the Butai-toge cottage. It was raining, the road was difficult to drive but drivers tried their best to take us arrive safety. After that, we gathered to play funny games as “yes” “what” or “takenoko taenoko”, etc. We had a sweet night in Gifu.
The next day, we went to Yatsugatake and stayed at Hirakawa Villa. Our fireworks, listening to everyone play the piano, talking together, playing games. We had a cozy night in lovely house in the woods. In the next day morning, I woke up early and went for a walk around the villa. I took a deep breath and thought: I’m in woods, great feeling when I standing between natural, so, this is Japan! At the same day, we went to fishing. I really enjoyed because of my first time and good partner. After that, we came back to Yoyogi Olympic Youth Center.
Three days later, we spent our time with host family-“Kana Hirose’s house” J. When I met her parents, I felt so close and I love them already. I cannot forget that moment when I and Pim trying Natto and Japanese pickles. In Vietnam, I have heard my friends said that Natto is Japanese food that few foreigners cannot eat and finally, I also understand. That’s why, we were laughing so much. Kana’s mother made breakfast for us as onigiri and miso soup, something that I love. Then, “Papa” and “Mama” have to go to travel with their friends, so they went out of the house while we were sleeping. Luckily, I opened my eyes and just spoke only one word: “hontouni arigatougozaimasu!”
When I came back to Tokyo, we wore Yukata and went for a walk, took some pictures and had dinner. The next day, I met everyone at Takadanobaba to enjoy Tea ceremony.
Sing Out Asia is the first cross-culture program I joined. I was very nervous because of some troubles but thus I grew up, I realized that language and cultural differences are not all, the most important thing is friendship between different countries. From there, I love and respect my friends more.
During Japan Visit 2013, experiencing and seeing Japan first-hand, I learn lot of things I never ever thought before. I got to see old friends who participated in SOA Vietnam, besides, I met new friends from Japan and Indonesia. I know that there is a difference between us, but I was trying to understand each other. And we had happy and beautiful moments together.
Japan visit 2013 will be the most unforgettable memories in my life. No words are enough to express how grateful I am to be given this chance.
Thank you so much, Mr.Hatano, SOA’s father! I also want to say thank you to all of people. Thank you Mr. Hirakawa, Mrs. Hatano and Ms Yoshie because their sentiments towards us are precious. Thank you Kana and Koki, who picked up us, take care us careful during Japan Visit until we boarded the plane to Vietnam. Thank you Kota, Gon, Mari, Haruna, Azusa, Shoko, my old friends and I felt warm and close when I was on their side. Thank you Sayaka, Shoma, Yuuki, Yuki, Ruriko, Masaki,…who took care us and took us go to visit somewhere and eat a lot of thing. Thank you Pim, Annie, Ply because they always try to understand what I say, laugh at me, and I love their smile, so cute and radiant. Thank you Fikri, my close friend after Japan Visit 2013. And of course, I should thank my teacher who introduces me to Sing Out Asia, Linh-sensei.
Thank you Sing Out Asia! I hope to see you all again, someday, somewhere!
二度目の参加となったJapan Visit。自分にとってこの企画は勝手ながら「仲間との再会」・「新しい仲間との出会い」・「英語のbrush up」の場と位置付けて参加させてもらっていますが、今年は昨年以上にそういったものを強く感じさせられたものでした。
そして「英語のbrush up 」という意味では2年前にタイで出会った女の子とカタコトの英語ではありながらも旅の思い出話や旅が終わってからお互い2年間何をしていたのか、そして今後はどんな進路に進むのかについて話せたのはとても有意義でした。タイで会った際にはほとんど英語でコミュニケーションがとれず悔しい思いをしたのですが、それ以来英語を使ってコミュニケーションをとる練習をしていただけに「your English skill is really different from before.」と言われた時は素直に嬉しかったし、改めて英語を頑張ろうと思いました。また今回の企画を通して何気ない会話からちょっと堅い話まで、国境を越えて「英語」というツールを用いて話せたのは自分の中で一歩前進できたのかなと感じられる瞬間でもありました。
今回のJapan Visit実施に際して何回も集まって企画を計画し、準備をしてくれた日本のみんなには本当に感謝の気持ちでいっぱいですが、やはり見えないところに後ろからサポートをしてくれた波多野さんをはじめとするSOAの理事の皆さまや今回の企画に寄附をしてくださった財団の皆さまの存在があり、そうしたサポートなしには今回の「Japan Visit」の実現は難しかったと思います。最後になってしまいましたが、改めてこのような機会を提供してくださったこと感謝いたします。□
Japan visit 2013 を終えて
WE ARE UNITY
Above all, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Mr. Hatano, the representative of Sing Out Asia (SOA), for giving me invaluable and precious opportunities through the cross-cultural communication program Japan Visit in 2013. This, in fact, was the second time (I also joined Japan visit in 2012 and had valuable experience.) for me to join this program as a member of SOA and welcome all of participants from other countries to Japan. I learned innumerable things as well in this year.
Before becoming a member of SOA, I rarely had chances to communicate with foreigners in my daily life (actually I hesitated and avoided to use English because I didn’t have any confidence to speak English.). I thought that it was really important to speak English perfectly to talk with foreigners: I felt that everyone expected me to have perfect command of English in communication. It, however, was one of my misunderstandings.
Surely having good command of English might be one of important elements to understand each other in inter-cultural communication, but it was not everything that I should mainly have focused on. The aptitude of trying to understand and having interest in each other is more important. In SOA’s training, we sometimes played some games to promote mutual friendships. Some games played on without any verbal communication. We SOA members were just permitted to use gestures to tell what we wanted to express in each topics. Through this activity, it let me know that if I did not use verbal languages, it was not impossible to understand each other. And if I did not hesitate to speak English because of anxiety, although I could not express what I wanted to tell, everyone listened to and helped me. I, therefore, learned that even though to acquire good language skills is important, verbal language is just one of tools to understand others, and it is more important not to hesitate to communicate with them and express what you want to tell because communication is the activity expressing opinions and feelings to other people, not just for yourself. When I do something new, I tell myself ”Don’t hesitate. ” and “Don’t be afraid of failure.” thanks to SOA’s program.
In Japan Visit 2013, we Japanese welcomed Thai students, an Indonesian and Vietnamese to Japan from 2nd to 12th August. We Japanese made plans for these 11 days by ourselves with Mr. Hatano’s wit and wisdom. It was too difficult to make plans, manage time and money and keep in close contact to discuss schedules with other members since we were in the different university students or the different occupations. We, however, were taught how difficult and important to make plans is through this program! If SOA didn’t give us the chances to make plans mainly by ourselves, we could never know the difficulty and importance. Thanks to close schedules for 11 days, we spent variable days.
This program taught me that we lived in the different countries whether developing or developed countries: we had different religions, cultures, environments, national characters and so on. It, however, meant that we lived in just different areas of the world. How admirable to communicate with people having different cultures is! We can have close friendship and cooperation. We are in the same world: WE ARE UNITY. Thank you so much all participants in Japan Visit 2013.
Japan Visit 2013所感
Japan VisitをはじめSOAの活動は、波多野さん一人に依存しすぎている。確かに今回のJapan Visit 2013 (以下、JV)では、その活動の多くは学生に任されたのかもしれない。しかし、予算確保や学生招致といった、この企画のいわば心臓部は波多野さんの一手に担われている。今後は、学生が企画・準備をするべきだと思う。その理由は、以下の二点である。
長々と書いてきたが、そろそろ終わりにしようと思う。前半に私なりの提案を載せたが、一方で、SOA独特の「ゆるさ」が、心地よさを生むという側面もあることは見逃せない。つまり、時間やお金にあまり厳しくないところが、学生の自由な活動を可能にするのである。しかしながら、そういった「自由」な行動は効率的ではない。それどころか、予算の制約をオーバーする等活動に支障を与える可能性がある。しかし、だからといって、１分ごとに細かくスケジューリングをして、杓子定規に予定を固めていては、それはそれで面白くない。そのため、ある程度のスケジュールをみんなの手で決めていき（予算獲得のため）、細かいところについては臨機応変にその都度対応するという作業をすれば、より持続的な活動が可能になると思う。実際、次回のSOA Cross-Cultural trainingは、学生の手に任せるという話も出ている。
Open your heart
Do Thi Hien (ahiru)
When I received an invitation letter from Mr. Hatano, “Oh, my third time back to Japan is coming soon”, I thought and I was very eager. First and most importantly, I deeply appreciated to Mr. Hatano and Mr. Hirakawa because of giving me a great opportunity and bringing me back to Japan, my second home.
Secondly, being SOA’s member and staying in Japan for 10 days has been an enriching experience and I took a lot of good memories in my life. In a unique program, I was so lucky when I got to know and got a chance to stay and talk with other SOA’s members who became my first Thailand and Indonesia’s friends. I guess you won’t be able to imagine my surprise at that time, for sure! Although I was born in Southeast Asia but Pim, Annie, Ply and Fikli (who at the first time I met, I couldn’t call his name and I had to call his nickname – Ikki instead) are my second acquaintances after my first Filipino girlfriend who i met in Japan 2 years ago. Also, it brought me a great relationship with new Japanese teachers and friends as well. I met Kana-san and Koki-san at first who had to wait about 1 hour at Narita Airport to pick up us, 3 Vietnamese members with our heavy luggage. They became the first SOA members I knew, and after that, I realized where Kana-san and Koki-san were, I always felt relieved. Two leaders were so devoted that I think if I were a leader, I could never do anything as they had done. Besides, we also got special care from other Japanese members such as Mari, Shota, Gon, Haruna, Azusa and others. Japanese members prepared for this trip carefully, and a “Team-work” skill you did in this trip created my great admiration.
However, at first time of this trip something difficult happened to me. As I said about my third-time going back to Japan, in fact I started studying 1 year in Japan from 2011 after having a 15-day short trip to Tokyo in 2010. So this means I had ever come to many places in Japan before. “Japan Visit 2013” took me again to some places I had ever gone with all new friends and I saw Japanese’s anxiety after my answer “I’ve been here before”, and me too, I started worrying. To stop this fear, I kept calm and went to these places with my new eyes and I experienced much more than I expected. I had hated Shibuya because of its noise until slowly walking to the corner of street I knew about its silence. Or I had gone to Harajuku only for shopping, but there’re a lot of interesting restaurants and amazing street that I never saw! After that, I was taken to Kashimo village in Gifu Prefecture and Yatsugatake in Yamanashi Prefecture where I had never been before that made me very happy. “It will be so good if I can live in Yatsugatake longer and longer”, I hoped. I like Hot Spring, Homestay Experience in the Hatanos, wearing Yukata walking along the Kanda River, joining in Tea Ceremony in Yoshie-sensei’s house and all games you showed me, trying many delicious Japanese dishes. All moments I can never forget because all activities open my heart with too much effort you made and this trip taught me more and more about Japan country and Japanese culture and lifestyle.
This trip also was the occasion to work on my English and I realized that my English is so bad and I need to practice more and more. I stopped studying English when I entered university, and started learning Japanese for 4 years until now. When taking part in “Japan Visit 2013”, English was the language that we communicated with each other, but my mind was full of Japanese and my tongue seemed to be out of my control so my incorrect English pronunciation made you unable to understand what I said. I’m sorry, I really wanted to talk with you much more but I was ashamed of my bad English and I kept silent and instead of talking, I listened to you carefully, I could understand what you were saying but my problem was reply, so sometimes I only replied with smile. And once again, your warm attitude I received from all of you made me change, I talked in spite of mistakes, talked with my true emotion and used body language as well. I didn’t speak enough, I know but I did more than I had done before and it’s my success which came from your encouragement.
What should you do when you meet strange people? And how to communicate with them in another language, do you know? 10 days in Japan when taking part in a program called “Japan Visit 2013”; finally I found my own answer. When you open your heart, you can do it easy.
Great friendship was made during this trip, and I thank everyone that helped make this trip such a success. Thank you for everything you did for us during our stay in Japan.
This trip broadened my horizon as the meaning of an idiom “Travelling forms a young man” and becomes a small diary in my life. I never want to close it, I want to open it again and again, so please let’s me a chance to meet all of you again, and I will open my heart wide, I promise!
Thanks from Vietnam