Thursday, June 13, 2013

Japan Summer Immersion Program : What I have Learned From the Trip

Wazzup Pilipinas!

DepEd and Japan Foundation Manila did not send us to this trip just to have fun, although we surely did. We had tasks to complete, assignments to finish, reports to write and present, and reflections to think about. In summary, I have learned and realized the following from my ten-day immersion in Japan:

1. Always be a good ambassador of your country. Do this by acting professionally, speaking well about your country and its people, and doing the very best that you can in everything you do. The Japanese people are known for being hardworking, and for excelling in whatever they lay their hands on. So because they give their best, they expect the same from us.

2. Always look at the time. Never be late. But don’t be too early either. We got lost in Osaka not because we were tardy but because we rode the train too early. In Japan, every second counts. You have to ride the train at the exact time stated in the schedule. Or else like us, you will end up elsewhere.

3. Learn as much as you can. Do not waste time. Be productive with free time. We didn’t have any problems because we worked first, then had fun after. Even if we stayed up late at night, we didn’t have anything to worry about because we finished our tasks before dinner time so we could enjoy and relax thereafter.

4. Learn to appreciate Japan, but without demeaning or belittling the Philippines. It is easy to fall into the trap of noticing everything nice about Japan, and complaining about what we have back home and whining away about all our faults and shortcomings. We cannot compare apples to oranges. Japan is a first-world country while we are a third-world nation. Surely, a great difference lies between the two. I love Japan, but I also love the Philippines. My heart has room for both, and I wouldn’t speak ill of my own country in order to praise the other, or vice versa.

5. Bring what’s good in Japan and apply it here in the Philippines. Things like being serious with their craft, constantly seeking excellence and perfection, being punctual, and more --- these are some things we take for granted. In Japan, they study the art of wearing and producing kimono for four years! For some people it might be a waste of time. But for the Japanese, it is not. They can tell if the one wearing the kimono was dressed up by someone who is a novice or by someone who has had years of experience and expertise to do it. They treat even the simple as something serious and sacred. They put so much value to everything, and do not take things lightly. I would like my students to do the same and adapt this very wonderful trait I learned from my interaction with the Japanese people.

What I can do in Nihongo

The E3 course is primarily a language program, though we study about culture to harness our language skills. At this point in the program, here are some of the things I can do in Nihongo:

1. Write and read Hiragana and Katakana at a much faster pace; Answer reflection questions in Hiragana and Katakana;

2. Clarify questions from airport officials who could only speak Nihongo; Seek their permission for specific requests (ie, take a bottle of water in the hand carry, etc.)

3. Introduce my country, my school and my family to my host family, students in Kitamoto High School and to our volunteers;

4. Engage in longer discourses with my host family, students in Kitamoto High School and our volunteers, instead of simply answering a question from them, or just asking them a question and obtaining a response;

5. Explain the purpose and tasks involved in our field work to our volunteers and host family, and communicate what we want to do at Kitamoto High School;

6. Give our presents (pasalubong) to our host family, volunteers and students assigned to our group, and explain what they are;

7. Give our personal impressions and appropriate reactions in particular situations (ie, when eating a delicious meal, when seeing something interesting); Describe certain emotions felt (ie, happy, surprised)

8. Seek assistance and help from train station employees and even from strangers in going to our destinations, especially when we were lost in Osaka and Tokyo;

9. Ask people how many minutes or hours it takes to get to a particular venue or place, and whether it is near or far;

10. Asking for the price of a particular item, and if there are other models or versions or colors available;

11. Communicate to our host family and volunteers which Japanese foods we can and cannot eat;

12. Ask for an extra serving of rice, or order a particular food; clarify my ordered food from the cafeteria;

13. Seek permission if I could take photos or videos of a particular product, and if I could upload them or use them for my classes;

14. Request a stranger to take our group picture;

15. Ask our host family, volunteers, or students assigned to us if we could have our pictures taken with them;

16. Borrow LAN cable from the receptionists of the Kansai Kokusai Center and tell them when we are going to return them;

We sincerely thank all DepEd officials (Dr. Lolita Andrada, Ms. Rose Domingo, and Ms. Ana Sol Reyes) and all Japan Foundation officials (Mr. Shuji Takatori, Ms. Yukie Mitomi, Ms. Cecile Aquino, Ofune Sensei, Flori Sensei, Suma Sensei, and all our other teachers) for this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Our trip to Japan was postponed twice, but it came at the right time, and it was really worth the wait.

Contributed by : Isabelle Sanchez

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  1. Japan is a beautiful country. Japanese always show their respect and their lively culture.

    I want to go to Japan to appreciate more of their culture. And since I like anime.. I want to go their to see anime stuffs and also the historical structures there.

  2. I can say that Japan is a very beautiful country from what I read.
    I want to go to Japan to know more about their culture and meet its people. Also I want to go there to see their manga and their anime merchandise! I want to taste their food. And to see the amazing structures they've made.

  3. Japan is a very beautiful and blessed country and their people are very thoughtful and friendly.
    I want to visit Japan because I want to experience their culture and to know more about their country. I also want to taste Japanese dishes.

  4. I can say that Japan is a beautiful country and the people there are very friendly and good.

    I want to go to Japan because I want to know more about their culture. I also want to taste their delicious Japanese dishes.

  5. Based on the article I read I can say that Japan is a traditional and an amazing country.
    If I would be given an opportunity to visit other countries, I would definitely choose Japan, because of its culture and most of its customs, as well as it's scenery, which is beautiful and most of all because I love anime.

  6. Japan is a very fascinating country! A country inhabited by disciplined people, beautiful scenery, and traditional cultures.

    If given the chance, I would definitely visit Japan!
    There are a lot of things that I want to experience, a lot of food I want to taste, and a lot of places i want to visit. Although at first, anime was the only reason I wanted to visit Japan. Since I started watching animes, I became very interested to know more about Japan and their cultures.
    I love cherry blossoms that are popular in Japan.I like to visit their lively festivals while wearing kimonos.I want to visit temples and shrines. I want to relax in a hot spring. I want to join a tea ceremony. Most of all, I want to visit anime related places.I will enjoy a lot.

  7. From what I have read about Japan in the article, and from what I had imagine, I was right that Japan really is a beautiful country. I really admire them for being so hardworking, disciplined and many more. Japan is a really traditional place and a place to must visit.

    I would like to visit Japan, if I was given the chance because I want to see their place, the beautiful scenery; I want to know more about them; see festivals and have fun. When I started watching anime, I really liked it but didn't know anything about it especially their culture, so I was curious that's why I always watch anime and read manga until I got very addicted to it, like I can't have a wonderful day if I don't watch or read any. So, if I were to really visit Japan I want to participate in their cultural festivals and experience how they live there. And its not like I don't like our culture I really the Philippines and I think it's really fun here, like in the article said I really like both country.

  8. Based from what I have read on this article, Japan is a very enchanting and beautiful country, filled with hardworking, courteous ,polite, friendly, welcoming and well disciplined people. If only everyone in the world are like this, the world would be a much better and brighter place.

    If I was given the chance to travel Japan I would surely take the shot. Not only will it give me a lot of memorable experiences, It would also make me know better about their country and their culture as much as I know some of them now. And as a Japanophile such as myself, I would be delighted to visit the marvelous land of the rising sun. I'd like to visit their shrines, try on their national attires, buy their products, interact with the people, experience the weather they are having, join their festivals, and a whole lot more. As I am an otaku, I will not miss buying a lot of their anime merchandises straight from the country itself. I jaw would surely drop the minute my feet touches the ground of the said country, as I dream on visiting the Japan since I was young.

  9. Based on the article I read, Japan is a lovely country, composed of disciplined, responsible people who treasure time and probably goes with the motto "Time is Gold", which explains their advancement in every matter they pursue. Another thing about their time consciousness is that they keep strict schedules and productive of their free time. Japanese citizens are also punctual, creative, respectful, and hardworking, but the best trait about them, for me, is their nationalism. They preserve their culture for 4 years which is really outstanding for a country, and another key for a successful one.

    If I ever had the opportunity in Japan, I would definitely accept that opportunity. Why? Because I would love to travel the beautiful tourist spots, especially hot springs and the famous Mt. Fuji, and taste the exotic food they offer there. Also, I heard that in Tokyo, Japan technological devices are advance from gaming console to A.I. robots. You know the techie stuffs that I would really love to see and learn someday. But the most prioritize fact that motivates me to go to Japan is Anime merchandises and shops which I would go without hesitation. I bet you would love to go there to if you’re an otaku or probably a collector person, I don’t know, but if you ever plan to travel the world chose Japan first.

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  11. Based from what I have read, Japan is a really beautiful country. Japan has very polite, courteous, and very disciplined people. I admire the Japanese people for these traits (but I'm not saying that I don't admire the Filipinos, of course I still admire them).

    If I were given the chance to go to Japan, I would surely love to! I like the Japanese people, I would like to taste their dishes, and I want to go to their beautiful places. I would like to learn more about their culture. I also would like to meet and interact with the Japanese people. I would surely enjoy my stay in Japan if I had the opportunity to go there.

  12. Japan, for me, is the best country to live on on this world. And this article serves to prove my point.

    From its culture, scenery, cuisine, people, unique architecture style, technological advancements, traditional values and principles, I love anything and everything about Japan.

    If I were to be given the chance to go to Japan right here, right now, I would IMMEDIATELY jump on it. Be it one day or one whole year,I will never hesitate to back down on the offer.

    Fortunately, I'm not the only one in family who feels the same way. My dad is also an avid fan of Japan. I love the times when me and Dad would talk about how amazing Japan was. We would talk about how disciplined Japanese people were; how the country has made a considerable difference in promoting eco-friendly transportation; how Japan, despite its area size, is the third most economically and technologically advanced in the world; how Japan, despite experiencing earthquakes and other natural disasters more often than not, would always be quick to recover and takes care of its citizens' safety well; everything.

    I want to try all new experiences in Japan. I want to try all their traditions for every holiday they have there. I want to wear a kimono and attend a tea ceremony, but not before learning properly the art of the ceremony. I want to sleep under cherry blossom trees and wake up to the sight of the beautiful rising sun. I want to try all their food; from the streets up to high-class restaurants. i want to try everything.

    Also, being a proud and open oatku, I want to visit the place where anime and manga began. I want to attend all kinds of anime conventions where I can make new friends and fangirl with them all day long. i want to but dakimakuras, figurines, mugs, keychains, t-shirts, pillows, nendroids, fanbooks. artbooks, doujinshis, shonen jumps, and all kinds of stuff that'll make a huge otaku like me happy.

    Seriously, if you told me I was going to Japan tomorrow, I WOULD FREAK OUT AND PROBABLY DIE FROM SHEER HAPPINESS ahahah.
    That's how much I love this beautiful, amazing country known as Japan.

    ~ Ruth Raganit, III - Kelvin

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  14. Based on the article, Japan for me is the most disciplined and organized country. And also, the people there are so independent even the elders. You know what, I agreed in the article saying that we should be like them because you can already see their future holds due to the attitudes of the citizens there. And I said they are really organized because based on what I read under the 10 days immersion, the Japanese people really is respecting the policies of their surroundings.

    If given a chance, I WOULD really like to visit Japan, because first of all I'm one of the endangered species of boys who loves anime. But just certain animes like Bleach, Naruto, and One Piece, in general, I really love action animes. But I think we boys really love shows with this genre. One more thing, I like to go to Japan because I want to visit their beautiful spots, especially Mount Fuji. That's all.

    ~Rafael John A. Balayo II III-Kelvin

  15. Japan is a beautiful country. Japanese people are very kind,polite and disciplined. Japanese people are punctual because in Japan every second counts.

    If I would be given a chance to go to Japan, I would be so happy because I like anime. I would go to Japanese restaurants and visit the beautiful places there.

  16. Just by reading this article, you can say that indeed, Japan is a wonderful country.

    The beauty of this country reflects the personality of their people. The Japanese people are kind, helpful, punctual and organized. Just like their country that has beautiful and breathtaking landscapes and scenery. Maybe us, Filipinos, are also kind and helpful. And we are also generous. Even though some of us, or most of us are not organized, disciplined, and punctual, I'm still proud to say that our personality also reflects our country, the Philippines.

    In some places here in the Philippines, some are beautiful, and some are not. Just like the Filipinos, some may be like the people of Japan who are punctual, clean, and organized. While some Filipinos are irresponsible and reckless. This article made me realize that Japan is a perfect country, maybe not that perfect, but that doesn't mean that it's better than the Philippines. We can also be good in our own way.

    The author of this article shows appreciation for Japan, and so the readers learned how to appreciate it, too. And that is because there are many things that the author learned in that once-in-a-lifetime trip to Japan. Just by going to Japan, things like the Japanese language, culture, and how they live their daily lives can be easily acquired or learned.

    It makes me wonder, if the Japanese people will visit the Philippines, how much knowledge will they gain? I think Japan is as beautiful as the Philippines. If we know how to appreciate Japan, why can't we look around and appreciate our own country? Think about it.

  17. Basing from the article that I have read, I can agree that Japan is indeed a wonderful country. Two thumbs for the Japanese and their government for having such country. In Japan, punctuality and discipline are must. Japan is an ideal place to live in. There are less pollution since their people gives importance to nature. I appreciate how things work in Japan. Their systems are very organized. Japan is truly worthy to be called a first-world country.

    If I would be given the chance to visit Japan, I would be very happy to accept it. I can imagine that it will be a memorable experience. I like to watch anime and read manga, so it would be nice if I can visit Japan. But it's not the only reason, I'm also drawn to their tourist spots and I am savoring for their cuisine.

  18. What I can say in Japan is that the country itself is interesting and posses many aspects that awakens my curiosity. It encourages me more to study hard on it.

    If I would be ask whether to go or not to go in Japan, the answer is clear. I will, without a doubt, definitely go. Reasons are my hunger to know their culture and to speak fluently using their language. And thus is a just a bit bit reason why I want to go, I want to watch anime without any English subs.

  19. This is indeed a very wonderful article. I've learned a lot about Japan like how they act and such. To be honest, I really really admire that country and the people living there ever since and I'm wishing that I could live there too. I know that's very unpatriotic of me but I just can't help it. They are way better than our country right? but because of this article I realized that I should love my own country because I think one of the reasons why Japan is very successful is because of their people who are very united, respectful and disciplined.

  20. According to what I read, Japan is really a wonderful country. I've learned a lot about Japan. This country is one of the progressed country, because of the kind of the people that is disciplined enough to make this country successful.

    If I were be given a chance to visit this country, there is no reason to reject it. Even though its hard to accept that Japan is more improved than our country, still we should be patriotic and united enough so that we could help our country.

  21. Japan is a country that you would wish to travel.It because Japan is one of the beautiful countries. Japan is a beautiful country because of Japanese people is very discipline,kind,polite, and courteous.

    If I were given a chance,of course I will visit Japan.It will be exciting and memorable experience.There are also beautiful views that can visit.My another reason why I like to visit Japan because in Japan can buy a lot of different Hello Kitty items.I'm a big fan of sanrio that makes me want to visit Japan

  22. I'm to describe Japan basing from the article, Japan is truly worthy to be called as a first-world country. Its people are responsible, disciplined and responsible enough. Japanese people give big importance and care to their nature.

    If given the chance, I would definitely go to Japan. Simply because I admire their place, nature, culture, and their system.

  23. Resourceful, disciplined, organized system, advanced in technology, and has a wonderful nature, that is how I describe Japan. They excel in many things because of their organized system. Not only its system but also the citizens. They are people with discipline, gives importance to time even if it is just a second, and has love for nature.

    I would not hesitate to go to Japan if such chance was given to me. I want to see the actual blooming of Sakura trees. I'll also enjoy touring to different tourist spots in Japan.

  24. Based on what I read, Japan is a great place to live in. The passage kind of convincing me that Japan is a perfect country, but even though there are many nice things in Japan, there are still some that we can consider as 'not good'. Japanese people are resourceful, productive, dedicated, and nationalistic, I think that makes their country productive. Great article.


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