FALLING IN LOVE WITH TOKYO
2nd/3rd of August
Before arriving to Hiroshima, I had an occasion to spend two wonderful days in the vibrant and dynamic city of Tokyo, staying in Nezu district with other Swedish representative- Heidi. This surrounding is perceived as the location filled with the atmosphere of the traditional shitamachi neighborhood, informally called “good, old Tokyo”. Our cozy hotel was the first stop in the way of getting to know inexperienced by us so far Japan.
Japanese hospitality in the reception and in the bar, explanation of bathroom manners, experience of tiny, highly functional and compact spaces and some extra help or tips regarding sightseeing- all that we were given for a starter. Being outside, in a heartbeat I felt stunned by the coexistence of the buildings/objects that were enormously huge or contradictory tiny -all that smartly and archly mixed, giving me the fresh perspective on urban tissue. Two days spent in that attractive, oriental city showed me how creative human creatures and how humid the weather can be.
JAPANESE HOSPITALITY AT HIROSHIMA UNIVERSITY
4th of August
After two days of pure sightseeing it came the time for switching into even more international and educational environment of Hiroshima and INU Summer School. With high excitement and expectations of great adventure, we headed to the Hiroshima Prefecture, a city called Saijo, where we arrived recognizing extreme warmness and humidity with our bit tired bodies.
There we found the hotel, which was very well equipped and located close to the main station or the University, as the tour guide indicated. After quick meeting with Vesna (main coordinator in HU), and after receiving keys, we went out for the food and fun hunt! After few hours of adapting to the new surrounding, our Swedish crew joined the rest of the hotel guests and headed to the University, were our facilitators and authorities welcomed us, showing greatest wills of hospitality. The first meeting with all representatives was very exciting! We had best food served on tables and wonderful minds to discuss with. That place will definitely remain in my head as the beginning of all further good 🙂
HOW THE SPIRIT OF PEACE CAN BE SENSED IN HIROSHIMA
5th and 6th of August
These two days were absolutely moving and experiencing. First, we have visited Peace Memorial Museum, focusing on our country groups we were assigned to, making new connections and getting to know people better. What was also better known, was the story of Hiroshima and hard times it went through. And people from this city, who bravely decided to rebuild damaged places, re-creating hope and peace among inhabitants. We’ve heard personal stories from an Atomic Bomb Survivor, Keiko Ogura, who presented her point of view and shared the story of this horrible day civilians were given. From her words grief after losing some friends or family members was evident and presenting very dismal reality of that time.
After this meeting it was rather hard to focus on pleasurable things but all summer school participants made this time peaceful and thoughtful, enjoying rebuilt Hiroshima, all diving in sun. Lunchtime then was the perfect excuse for us for discussing and planning. That’s how we decided to have a short trip to Miyajima- heaven-like island with many deers walking freely on the streets among tourists or local people!
What we did the next day, was also extraordinary and brought us a lot of second-thoughts, as we were participating in the Peace Memorial Ceremony and a
guided tour that delivered us extra thrills as it was enriched by very meaningful stories from local people. We were also given a try of regional cookies and cup of really decent geen tea- matcha. More about green tea you can find for example here: http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2041.html
The evening was magical and very integrative- we were participating in the Lentern Ceremony.
“The experience of watching the warm lights of some 10,000 lanterns as they float tranquilly down the river in the dark of night, each bearing wishes for peace from the gathered attendees, has a powerful, almost other-worldly quality. The participants in this event include not only Hiroshima locals, but also many visitors who come from far and wide.” (http://visithiroshima.net)
GETTING TO KNOW THE SITUATION OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLE
7th-11th of August
Those days were given over the presentations, multiple discussion panels and workshops, which were broadening our horizons in that way that we got to know the stories of Indigenous Peoples from many corners of the world. We had been given the chance to understand the differences in the way of treating Indigenous Peoples by governments of different countries. Diversity among master students participating in the whole event provided deeper insight into the problem, expanding it into areas of more developed and complex issues.
By reading all the papers submitted by our colleges, preparing our own presentation concerning chosen topic and by asking questions directed to others, commenting on the strength, we were supposed to learn as much about the case as possible. Each meeting was conducted by the Master’s programme convenor, who was ensuring that everyone complies with the time limit.
My own paper work had opened the whole panel session and was based on the topic: Sustainable Development Principles as perceived by States and Indigenous Peoples; Juxtaposition or equation?
By presenting my findings and answering questions I hopefully have inspired my young friends to deal with problems of our focus in that way that they get simpler and more likely to be solved when decently discussed at the very beginning with both sides- States and Indigenous Peoples to that extent that the common content is reached and sustainable goal fulfilled along with the sustainable process. To depict the conflict situation I have used the samples from laws of opposite sites: the UN document, the concept of sustainable development, 11 descriptions and Aboriginal the Crane and Crow story containing twelve laws altogether.
After presenting all the papers and analyzing it all together, as the final conclusion of the course in Hiroshima there came the time for the role-play of UN. As the master’s students, me and Sam, we were chosen to different country groups to represent them and take care of their interests, attempting to influence the positions of other students.
SPONTANEOUS ATTENDANCE IN SAKE FESTIVAL
12th of August
Due to my fleeting illness, I had decided to prolong a little my stay in Saijo (just one day), which turned out very well, as me and one of the newly met Japanese friends, we had spent some quality time wandering or using bikes travelling around the Saijo city. That day was topped out by the Sake festival, where the local community used to dance and sing to karaoke and celebrate the tradition of producing Sake out of local rice.
That event was complete surprise for us, as we were just passing by with bikes, but lured by some very tempting, pleasant and kinda hypnotic sounds, we decided to see what’s happening and we ended up sitting among celebrating and letting the memories grow in our heads.
Regards, dear readers!