Saturday, July 14, 2012

Japan Diaries

I consider myself very lucky to be among the few people who got chosen to be the goodwill ambassador for India in Japan. Especially, since this year marks the 60th anniversary of India-Japan friendship and also the final year of JENESYS program for India. It was an eleven day program where we visited Japan as young ambassadors of India to further boost the wonderful relationship that exists between India and Japan. After assembling from all parts of the country at Delhi's Suryaa hotel on 9th June, we were given a detailed orientation about our program by the officials of JICE who were also be our coordinators during our stay in Japan.

[At Suryaa Hotel conference hall.]

[Pre-Departure orientation program.]

We left for Narita Airport, Tokyo on 10th June in the eve and we were all beaming with excitement, overwhelmed by the fact that our dream of visiting Japan was really going to be fulfilled!!
 We reached Tokyo early morning next day and from the aircraft we got to see Fujisan(Mt Fuji) which was a sight to behold.

[Mt. Fuji from JAL flight window.]

We had been divided into five different groups viz “Aichi/Gifu”, “Hokkaido”, “Ishikawa”,”Nagasaki” and “Tottori”. I was in the Aichi/Group and was delighted since we were the only group travelling by the Shinkansen.

[Our Aichi/Gifu group.]

The five different groups left for their respective destinations and we were very excited about taking a ride on the famous Shinkansen (Bullet train) from Shinagawa Station. It was an amazing experience and we took lots of pictures!!

[Inside the shinkansen (Bullet train)] 

After reaching Nagoya, we were taken to the Tie and Die Museum and got a first hand experience at “Arimatsu Shibori” – an experience to remember and we were mesmerized by the skill of the old ladies who were the masters at it. Next day we visited the Toyota Motomachi Plant and the ECO-T plant. Being an engineer, these were extremely interesting to me especially seeing the robots do welding in front of my eyes at Toyota Plant and getting to know robotics has been implemented in Japan since 1971-at a time when India didn’t even have a television set!!! It was also an eye-opener to us knowing Japan is so much involved in recycling used items and producing usable electricity from waste energy at the ECO-T plant.

[At the Toyota Plant.]

We visited Aichi University and got another amazing firsthand experience at Kendo, Sado, and Ikebana and also interacted with students of the university and developed great friendship with them. 

[Cultural exchange at Aichi University.(Kendo lessons)]

[Ikebana (Flower arrangement) workshop.]

We left for homestay which was an experience- never to be forgotten. Throughout the next two days we got an amazing experience of Japanese culture and our host families were very kind and polite and took good care of us. On the 17th we had a big farewell party to honour our homestay families and in the end we were all in tears to part with them. They had become our family too!

[My home stay family]

[Farewell Party]

After that we had a very interesting workshop about the characteristics of Japanese culture which appealed to us the most!
The next day was our last day in Japan. We went to Tokyo University(Todai) and got a general tour of the university campus following which there was a big conference where two members of each of the five groups gave a 4 minute presentation about Japanese culture! It was an honour for Bhuvanesh and me to give a presentation of Aichi/Gifu group at the best university of Asia!

[Tokyo University.]

Overall it was an amazing experience for each and everyone of us, fulfilling our dream of visiting Japan and getting a firsthand experience at Japanese culture. We’d loved our stay in Japan so much that each and every one of us can’t wait to visit Japan again!

[Aichi/Gifu group presentation at the Todai university]

[Certificate distribution]

~Contributed by KAC member Budhaditya Pyne.