JENESYS 2017 Group 4 participants
Fifty nine (59) students from The University of the South Pacific (USP) and four staff members recently returned from the Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths (JENESYS) programme two week-study tour in Japan which was from 24 January to 02 February 2018.
The JENESYS Programme is a project advanced by the Japanese Government with an overarching goal of providing a foundation for strong solidarity within Asia through large-scale youth exchange from all around the Pacific.
The theme for Group 4A was Tourism, Trade & Investment & Group 4B, Sports.
Group 4B supervisor Nicholas Manuel said both groups involved participants from ten different island countries: Cook Islands (7), Fiji (9), Kiribati (1), Nauru (7), FSM (13), RMI (9), Vanuatu (1), Tonga (6), Palau (5) and Tuvalu (1).
“My role as a supervisor was to ensure the smooth running of the programme and also to assist the Group Coordinator and Translator with the management of the students whilst in Japan,” he relayed.
Some of the places Group 4B visited include: Tokyo 2020 Olympic site visit, new Olympic arena, Japan Sports Council, Fukuoka-Tenmangu shrine, Imperial Palace, Fukuoka Institute of Technology and the famous Sensoji temple.
“Students were divided into small groups and the buddy system was used to ensure that everyone was on the same page. We all went around as a group for site visits and everyone enjoyed learning about Japan and experiencing different things,” Mr Manuel explained.
He said both groups promoted cultural diversity by performing ten (10) different cultural items; a Cook Island Kapa Rima (action song) & Ura Pa’u (drum dance), Palauan chesols (traditional chant), Kiribati Te Mwananga (traditional dance), Tuvaluan fatele, Tongan ula, Fijian meke, Micronesian dance, traditional Vanuatu dance, Marshallese Biit (cultural dance) and finished off with a song about the Pleasant Island, Nauru.
Mr Manuel said Japan is well known for its infrastructural efficiency and captivating culture and traditions but one of the most interesting things they learnt is their organised approach to garbage disposal.
“Although not as eco-friendly as certain countries in Europe, Japan stands as an innovator when it comes to waste management and organisation,” he said.
Another interesting experience during our visit to the Fukuoka Prefecture was the Hakata doll painting experience, he noted.
“Whilst buying Hakata dolls can be a fun experience, getting involved would produce a better souvenir both for myself and whoever I would give the doll to,” he said.
“Painting Hakata Dolls is very calming and relaxing. You can try it out when you’re feeling tired from all the walking and traveling in Fukuoka. It lets you forget about all your worries and frees you from any hindering thoughts, allowing you to exercise your creativity all the way. You will definitely feel better after you’ve painted your own doll. Along with your precious memory, your Hakata Doll will be beautiful and unique, making it one of the coolest souvenirs ever,” he added.
One of the main challenges they faced as a group was time management as Japan takes this very seriously.
“Overall this trip has given me a magnificent, life changing experience and I am deeply indebted and thankful to the Japanese Government for this great opportunity,” he said.
The Group 4A first visited Nagasaki, town synonymous with a key moment during World War II after it suffered an allied attack in August 1945. Students visited the Atomic War Museum and the Peace Park, places which both memorialized the key event in Nagasaki’s history.
Students visited Gotō islands (five-island archipelago) located in Western Coast of Kyushu which also forms part of the Nagasaki prefecture. The island has an important historical element with roots of Christianity in Japan with hidden Christian sites in the island.
Edward Parker from the Cook Islands said “The participants from the Cook Islands thoroughly enjoyed themselves on this JENESYS 2017 exchange programme, the shared views and experience on Japanese culture, value for time and respect for others were just some of the highlights of the trip”
He further added that upon returning to the Cook Islands the pleasing words of “Ohayou gozaimasu”, and ‘Arigato’ were definitely missed.
His personal reflection was the concept of “Omotenashi”, a concept that use to be deeply rooted in Pacific Culture when entertaining guest, these can now only be experienced fully when visiting our Outer Islands.
Students participated in home stays on the visit to Gotō islands where students were placed in homes with guardians to experience Japanese lifestyle, culture, cuisine amongst other things.
Shehanor Ali from Fiji lamented “I learnt alot on the Japanese culture and their way of living. One thing which I admired the most while in Japan is the consideration everyone has for the other person”
‘Thank you Jenesys Team, JOCA, JICA and the Government of Japan for the wonderful opportunity to travel of this people-to-people exchange prgoramme”, she added.
Another highlight of the trip by Group 4A was the visit to the 2 high schools in Gotō islands.
Anushma Sharma relayed her experience as “Goto Island was full of warm welcomes despite the freezing winter. Despite the language barriers and cultural differences, we bonded with the locals over amazing food and fun activities making the visit truly memorable”
She added “Overall, JENESYS was an incredible experience which enhanced my understanding of Japan and it's people, as well as helped me establish strong networks with people across the Pacific”
The students were required to have a report back session of their experience in Japan and this was well attended by the Pacific Diplomatic Corps in Tokyo and Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, JICA officials and ended with a reception in honour of the students hosted by the JICA President, Mr Yoshimasa Tominaga.
This news item was published on 7 Feb 2018 04:25:03 pm. For more information or any High-Res Images, please contact us on email email@example.com