Following the sightseeing of the past few days, our schedule focused more on the academic part for the rest of our stay. We continued to discuss our papers in our little group, discovering a vast range of topics. We discussed everything from the concept of humanitarian intervention to the subculture of boy love in Japan (young girls who fantasize about male homosexual love). These discussions were paired with lectures from Magnus Ericson and Catherine Kevin. Catherine’s account of comfort women in Japan was new for most of us, sparking a discussion on the aspects of war that aren’t strictly geopolitical.
Alongside the lectures and paper presentations, there were constant preparations taking place for the UN role-play, which would take place on the last day of the course. Assigned with two influential actors, the USA and Saudi Arabia, the master students were in constant negotiation with both each other and the rest of the seminar participants. Dragging our tired selves home one night, we went in to a Sushi place next to Saijo station. Even though the chef smiled approximately two times during our entire visit, he sure made some excellent sushi! Coupled with Japan’s delicious plum wine (served in tiny, tiny wine glasses), we could not have been happier.
The UN role-play took place on what (I heard) was the hottest day in Japan for the past 100 years! No wonder we were short of breath after a quick stop at the campus’ kiosk. After all countries presented their interests, we started debating and voting for amendments to the draft on Sustainable Development Goals. It was interesting to see just how important lobbying is in this type of situation; the final arguments for the amendments didn’t seem to matter as much as the deals made behind closed doors.
After the handout of diplomas and an excellent good-bye party (Hiroshima Uni staff deserve praise!), we headed off to celebrate our ‘graduation’. The mood was bittersweet, as we knew we had to say good-bye pretty soon. Nevertheless, we managed to scream our way through a long session of karaoke, murdering Clapton’s Leila and Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart.