Japan Network Report by Ms. Qian Kun
Contributed in August, 2010

Over the weekend on 19th March, I participated in the JENESYS Weekend Interaction Programme where Japan university students came over to Singapore, and held discussion and lodging programme with us, students in NUS

It was definitely a fun-packed weekend and truly very interactive. We had discussions about the education systems in Singapore and Japan. We expressed and exchanged our concerns and opinions towards the issues. Students from both countries wished for a more flexible education system that can cater to the various interests of all students, though we are aware that it is hard to be achieved. We also had discussions and presentations on topic such as job-hunting, life priorities and what do we wish to achieve if chances are given. This gave us an opportunity to find out more about the similarities and differences between our mindsets.

Other than discussions, we also had the Cultural Exchange session. It was my first time really drinking authentic Japanese green tea that was made with the proper tools! It made me realise that the Japanese tea ceremony was not merely an occasion to meet guests and drink tea, but rather, an art which nurtures the innerself of the participants.

We also had a chance to watch a Soran-Soran dance performance performed by the Japanese students. It was a dance filled with energy and passion for work, which instilled energy into all the participants. We were yelling “Soran!Soran!” in accordance to the music. Thereafter, we also saw a simple demonstration of the Sumo. The Japanese male student really only wore a pair of shorts which was to resemble the Sumo wrestler's dress code! I personally think he made quite a bit of personal sacrifice, but it was really entertaining when his face was filled with anger like the Sumo wrestlers usually are.

Besides the Japanese culture, we, the Singaporean students, also demonstrated our culture by making them into interactive games. The childhood games session was really fun. We had a good time reliving our childhood, as well as watching the Japanese students trying their hands on chapteh, hopscotch and five stones. The boys just could not resist kicking the chapteh as if it was a football!

On Sunday, we finally went Kayaking! Although it was tiring (I believe all of us had sore muscles thereafter), but we had fun trying to overtake each other, or holding onto other people's boats to have them roll for us! One of the Japanese guys actually fell into the water as he lost balance trying to kayak! I would never forget that scene, and I believe none of us could.

Through this short but memorable programme, we not only made new friends who came from different cultural backgrounds, but also gained a better understanding of each others' culture. We could never forget those moments where we shared delicious food, where we helped each other out in activities and had fun altogether. I really wish to see my new Japanese friends again soon. I also hope that there will be such programmes in the future to benefit more Japanese and Singaporean students.