Today was our first activity day! We spent the morning meeting with the Mayor of Omura, followed by an intense dodgeball game with junior high students. For lunch we ate traditional Omura Sushi and Japanese Somen. In the afternoon we were getting muddy planting rice with junior high students and finally wrapped the day up by spending time with very young children at a pre-school. Whew! It seems like everyone is very tired but had an amazing day.
In more detail, our morning with Takashi Matsumoto (Mayor of Omura) was spent at the City Hall. In contrast to our sweaty dance gear from the day before, staff and participants dressed ‘to the nines’ with semi-formal attire-suits for the men and business wear for the ladies. Formally greeted with bows by his staff, we filed in to the Mayor’s conference room for the morning meeting.
Takashi Matsumoto has been in office since April of 1987. Because of his 25 years of experience, he has great insight into what being a Mayor is like and how Omura has progressed through the years. Standing up as a sign of respect, Matsumoto entered the room and introduced himself. The Mayor briefly described his position in office and each World Campus Japan participant gave a brief self-introduction. Matsumoto expressed his love for Omura. He commented on the city’s natural beauty and his hopes for the future. He also discussed his passion for leading and creating continuous improvement. Quite inspiring! We then were allowed to ask questions about Matsumoto, Omura, Japan or life in general. It was wonderful for him to take time to meet with us and I am pretty sure he appreciated our interest in Omura!