I was one of the fortunate few chosen to participate in the 2016 Summer Course under the Japanese-Language Programme for Outstanding Students of JF Japanese-Language, which was held at The Japan Foundation Japanese-Language Institute in Osaka.
I was part of a group of 24 specially-selected JF students from 23 countries. We spent a period of two weeks travelling across Osaka, Tokyo and Kyoto, where we explored the diversity of Japanese culture, joined various cultural experience workshops and conducted countless interactions with locals in their native language.
Among the highlights of my trip were:
- Trying my hand at Aiki-jjutsu | A martial art that emphasises dynamic body movement and balance, allowing exponents to defend themselves while protecting their attacker from grievous harm.
- Visiting Sona Area Tokyo (disaster prevention centre) | We took part in an interactive disaster survival simulation using a portable device, which was both fun and educational. We walked through different disaster situations while taking the quiz and learned the correct steps for coming out a disaster alive.
- Visiting a Japanese junior high school | We had a ball of a time talking with students and teachers, who were kind enough to also show us around the school and its facilities.
- Participating in home visits | This gave me brief insight into the daily life of a Japanese family. I enjoyed hanging out with my hosts, singing out hearts out in karaoke sessions and preparing home-cooked dishes together.
- Witnessing the Gion Matsuri | Kansai?fs biggest summer festival boasted a parade of colourful and decorative floats (yamaboko), which were gracefully maneuvered around the main streets of Kyoto.
There is no doubt that this summer programme is one of the most wonderful Japanese language learning experiences any student could receive. Thank you to The Japan Foundation for offering me such a memorable experience! Minna mata aimasho (Everyone, let?fs meet again)!
by Ong Zhi Guang