Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Japan (AFS JENESYS Program 2009)

I would like to start off by thanking and praising God for such a wonderful opportunity to be able to visit Japan. In October last year I was awarded the “JENESYS Program Scholarship” to Japan for two weeks, from 2 December to 17 December 2009.

JENESYS program is not only a once in a lifetime experience but it is also a learning process for me. Besides learning the Japanese culture for example, saying ‘Itadakimas’ before having a meal to moral values such as tolerance, forgiveness and endurance, JENESYS has given me something more valuable and that is friendship.

Throughout the program, I have made friends from all the seven participating countries namely, the
Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Australia and New Zealand, not to mention the host country, Japan. Although it was a short duration of time, the bonds that we established are so strong to the point where friendships of two weeks seem like a lifetime. Below are some brief write-ups on the various study tours.

Tokyo - Did not see much of Tokyo because the group I was in headed to Hiroshima. However, I was thrilled with the ride on the Shinkansen, also known as the bullet train. The people are friendly and the food was scrumptious.

Kyoto - Visited the famous temple named Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion). The place was so breathtaking that I found my hands glued to the camera as I could not stop taking pictures of the picturesque sceneries. Kinkakuji is indeed one of the most beautiful temples I have ever seen. The other places we visited were Arashiyama and Kiyomizu-dera. I’ve learned much about the history of Kyoto which definitely got me more interested in the development of Japan from past to present.

Hiroshima - Visited the Peace Memorial Park and Hiroshima city Naka incineration plant but I missed out Miyajima as I had to attend the cultural dance rehearsal for the JENESYS Festival. The Peace Memorial Park has left an indelible impression on me. It was the only point in JENESYS program where I felt a huge sense of sorrow and grief. I have learned much about peace and will strive to maintain that in our world today.

The JENESYS Festival was a memorable event. I was among the ten students who were chosen to represent Malaysia for the cultural dance performance . It was indeed a proud moment as I was able to share our culture with the other countries as well. At the same time we were able to observe the different cultural dances of other countries. This has certainly increased the enthusiasm to learn more about other countries and their traditions.

Osaka (Host Family) - The home stay was the best time during my entire trip. I had so much fun and experienced so many new things with my host family. I’ll be doing a separate post on my stay with them.

Kanagawa - Visited the Yamashita Park, Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line where we were given the opportunity to board a display ship which was one of the first ships to be manufactured in Japan. Then we headed to a hill-like open air complex. There were shops selling clothes and restaurants. Next we proceeded to the Mitsubishi Minatomirai Industrial Museum where we were introduced to the present and future scientific technologies.

Understanding Other countries - Indeed JENESYS has taught me a lot about all the other countries involved in this program. I’ve learned to respect the traditions of other countries and I am happy to say that I had the chance to make friends from all the different participating countries, including my own country. This trip has also shown me the truth in the saying... ‘There is no right or wrong… only difference.’

In a nutshell, the JENESYS program has been and will always be one of the peaks in my life. Much has been learned through study tours, tears and laughter. JENESYS has not only taught me values but also a lifelong lesson. Heartfelt thanks to AFS Japan and AFS Antarabudaya Malaysia for making this trip possible for me.


wangster said...

omg! i'm really jealous!! I'm applying for this year's one :))

Natasha said...

Wow this looks amazing. Happy to say I'm am heading off in December this year.

Anonymous said...

how are you?

Looking forward to your next post

Anonymous said...

Great post, I am almost 100% in agreement with you

Anonymous said...

awesome blog, do you have twitter or facebook? i will bookmark this page thanks. jasmin holzbauer

Anonymous said...

cool... you actually posted a journal for it... i didn't see you there, though coz i'm in CM8... ^____^

Anonymous said...

I'll be going this year...! it looks to be really awesome!