The emotions you experience through the activities in WCI are very broad. Some days are all about having fun, but other days you have to open your mind to more serious issues, like the day we visited the Jikei hospital.
The hospital is special because it is the only place in Japan where you can anonymously leave unwanted babies. This is called “Stork’s Cradle”.
In the morning of that day we had a discussion about ethical questions relating to teenage pregnancies, parental responsibility and science vs. religion. It was very interesting because we were in groups with people from all around the world. We learned about the rules and how things work in each country, but also about the similarities, which I think is much greater.
In the afternoon we went to the hospital and had a guided tour and a Q&A session with the founder of Stork’s Cradle. It was very interesting to hear his story and intentions with Stork’s Cradle, since there are a lot of opinions around whether this is a good thing or not.
He felt so heartbroken every time he saw news of a baby being abandoned alone somewhere, and so he established the Stock’s Cradle in 2007 after a similar system in Germany. It is meant to be a last resort when parents just have no other options. He strongly encourages them to raise the child on their own, and offers many consultations both before and after the baby has been delivered to the hospital. In the end I think that Stork’s Cradle is there to save lives and do good for both parents and children.
Amanda Roland (Norway)
Greetings from Omura! Imagine blue skies, palm trees, native flowers … the definition of utsukushii (beautiful). Omura was not only beautiful from the outside, but also on the inside. Its inner beauty was revealed by the smiles, kindness, and my wonderful host family!
During this WCI – Japan tour I have been blessed with great host families. I find that as we share our respective cultures, we discover how similar we really are. My (Yamamoto) family in Omura was awesome! They were so welcoming and natural, I was surprised that it was their first experience as a host family. From the first day I was encouraged to call my Okaasan and Otoosan ‘Mama’ and ‘Papa’ and was welcomed as one of their own. The first night I remember leaving my toothbrush in a case to the side, and finding it in our family toothbrush holder in the morning – what a nice surprise! I remember enjoying each day as we shared stories, jokes, conversations, drawings … we had so much fun as a family!
The day before last was Arigato Evento and ours was extra special because it was my Mama’s birthday! During our show, my family went on stage for a family interview. Then, it was my turn to give my thank-you speech. Despite my efforts to maintain composure, I was overcome by emotion and tears smoothed my cheeks. After our show, Mama was invited on stage and we sang ‘happy birthday.’ We got emotional again and it was so perfect. Our hearts were melting with joy and our eyes showed it. I gave my Okaasan orange Gabelas (her favourite!), lilies, and carnations (my favourite!) … I am so thankful that I got to become part of such a wonderful family. I will always remember our fun memories. Thank you Yamamoto family! See you again soon.
Grace Cornejo (Canada)
There is always something new and interesting from joining the World Campus – Japan program. And I had one day so special and memorable in Omura, Nagasaki. It was called the “Fureai” event.
The “Fureai” event is held annually here in Omura city, Nagasaki. Basically, it is held for handicapped people. People who are physically or emotionally handicapped or have mental disorders. So nearly 650 handicapped people attended this event.
All the participants of the WCJ program participated. We performed our show like we usually do in the “Arigato Evento” hoping to entertain and share our happiness with them. We believe that through music, there is no barrier. Music unites people. Everyone can enjoy all the melody and rhythm together.
Then we played some simple games, exchanged our name cards, and sang and danced together. We were accompanied by the magnificent Omura Jazz Orchestra. Wow…such an incredible experience.
One thing we can learn is that doing something simple can be extraordinary for other people. I felt so happy when seeing all the handicapped people smile…
Yohanes Siem (Indonesia)
This is Burcu and I’m supposed to tell you about our “kyudo” experience in Omura city. Maybe you are curious about what “kyudo” is, so I’m not making you wait anymore. “Kyudo” is a Japanese sport which you’re trying to shoot a target with an arrow by using a special – and very cool – Japanese bow. You also need to wear these special clothes with the lovely gloves. Actually I fell in love with the gloves. I asked the masters to give me one but they said, “No.” 🙁
The key point of “kyudo” is the moment when you take your perfect (!) position and hold for a while before you release the arrow. Traditionally you have to wait until you feel that you are perfect and ready to release.
So at the end of the day, we were all so relaxed and most of us including me hit the targets! It feels wonderful when you it hits the mark. And Nozomi beat Jake in a match.
Guess what, we also got these beautiful money pouches as presents. They were handmade and so cute! But as the final and most important issue, we had lots of fun as usual. Lots and lots of thanks to our “kyudo” masters who were so nice to us, the Up with Omura members, and our wonderful team.
Burcu Tepik (Turkey)
The Nagasaki trip was for all of us very interesting, shocking, and touching at the same time. Our survivor, Mr. Katsuji Yoshida was 13 years old when the atomic bomb exploded 850 meters away on August 9th, 1945.
He was on his way to school when he was thrown through the air and landed in a rice field some 40 meters away. After four months of unconsciousness and hospital treatment, he could go home but there was only his mother left. His father and grandfather died after they went searching for him because of the radioactivity. Only a few victims who were within 1 km are alive today.
Mr. Yosida did not want to live any longer because of his horrific appearance. The right side of his face and arm were totally burnt and his muscles were visible. Because of many operations and a different face color, people stared and laughed at him.
Even today, he still receives treatment regularly at Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Hospital and Nagasaki University Hospital. His goal is now to tell his story and to spread his message: “The basis of peace is for people to understand the pain of others.”
Rachel Anderegg (Switzerland)