Experience in a Study Program in Osaka, Japan – an Open Speech
I was one of the 30 Indonesian participants who were selected to participate in a three-week study program in Osaka. Japan. The selection criteria were stringent. In fact, I had to sit for an oral test. Luckily, I was coached by my teachers to prepare for it. The questions basically tested our general knowledge.
The program was organized and funded by Mombusho, the Japanese Ministry of education. the ministry sponsored our return airfare, food and provided us with a generous living allowance. we were grateful for their generosity as Japan is among the most expensive countries in the world.
This was my first ever trip to Japan. I have read about Japan in books and heard about their amazing culture from relatives who had visited the country. But nothing prepared me for the fabulous experience I had there.
Each of the participants stayed with a Japanese family throughout the duration of the program. The family I had stayed with was very kind, generous and humble. I was treated like a prince literally! Their son was studying at the same school that I was attached to for three weeks ad we took the train daily to our school. The public transportation is very efficient though rather expensive. I did not experience any traffic jams or congestions on the road.
It was a splendid learning experience for me at the school. I picked up basic Japanese language skills which allowed me to converse with the pupils without much difficulty. The students there were ever ready to help me with studies especially with complicated mathematical problems. The average Japanese student is well rounded. He or she is also good at sports and able to think and write creatively and critically. Many of them also work part-time for pocket money. they are well mannered, well dressed, always polite and humble even though many of them hail from rich families. they treated me very well and of course, whenever we go to the restaurants, they always treated me!
One very interesting and peculiar habit of them which I have acquired is bending the upper body to acknowledge the other. I think it is a good custom that shows respect for the other.
The food is another experience. Japanese like seafood and that explains why the majority of them are slim and healthy. They also eat lots of vegetables and I actually picked up the habit of eating more vegetables from them. the tempura and other seafood dishes ere heavenly! But their peculiar liking for raw fish and prawns is something I do not share! However, I noticed there is an increasing number of western fast food restaurants which are gaining popularity among the younger Japanese. I guess it would not be long before they too battle obesity problems like us!
I had experienced lots of memorable events there. There was once I was lost in a shopping complex. My Japanese hosts were in a boutique nearby and I could not find them. A kind elderly old man actually helped me to find them. In fact, he even treated me lunch despite my refusal!
My experience in Japan had been invaluable. My only hope is more Indonesian students would be given the opportunity to experience the culture and school environment there.
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