Lets continue the story about my wonderful experience in IATSS Forum 2003. You can read Part 1 here.
Activities with Japanese community
City clean up with boy & girl scouts of Suzuka broadened my insight about their activities in Japan. We cleaned up the city – that already clean – and learnt how to make noodles with many cute Japanese children. However I was amazed how all of us having so much fun although we could not speak the same language.
Play Bowling with volunteers was exciting because this was the first time I touch a bowling ball. Of course I was not only learning how to play bowling from this activity but also made good friends with some volunteers.
Cultural Exchange Day was different than other activities. In other activities I always received some new knowledge from others, but in Cultural Exchange Day I learnt to share something with others. It was fun to teach other participants and Japanese Poco-Poco Dance. Especially when they showed a lot of appreciation. I met many nice people in this day.
Above all, it was a good opportunity to work together with friend from the same country to make a good preparation for the day. Mida and I had to go shopping by bike in the drizzle, cook until 1am, and practice Poco-poco together.
Visiting the mayor of Suzuka and Police Station was such an honor for me. The point was not about met the mayor of city or police chief. I can do that easily in informal meeting in my country. But the important point was that they welcome us as IATSS Forum participants. Some reporters from local TV and newspapers came on the day. It was a good experience to be in Japanese local TV and Newspaper.
We visited many interesting and unique places during our stay in Japan. We went to Kyoto, Nagoya, Nara, Tokyo, Hiroshima and Himeji to visit many shrines, temples, shopping areas, museums and parks. Every place has own characteristic, so that I never feel bored. For example in Ise Shrine I saw a temple that surround by the most beautiful scenery I’ve ever seen in my life, in Miyajima I saw a shrine that float in the sea.
We also went to shopping center areas such as Karawamachi in Kyoto or JR Center Tower in Nagoya. Even I don’t like shopping, but I like to see many Japanese people look so busy in the street. It is very difficult to find many people with suit and tie walking on the street in Indonesia. The sides walk here is very convenient for pedestrian. I can stand walking for more than 2 hour non stop in Japan.
This study trip gave me opportunities to experience many types of public transportation in Japan such as bus, many types of train, shinkansen, monorail, subway, air plane and ferry. The similarity between public transportation in Japan and Indonesia is that both of them use by many people. It was so crowded there. But the difference is public transportation in Indonesia usually related for poor people while in Japan public transportation crowd by neat suit men. I was so impressed to know that Mr. Masako Koshi, the President of IATSS, went to IATSS Forum Dinner Party in Tokyo by train. There is no way we can find something like this in Indonesia.
For me the important thing was more than enriching my vocabulary about architecture but also it was time to spend with others. How we were so excited in new place, make a noise in public and so on.
Informal Activities are activities that don’t have fix schedule such as hang out with other participants, hang out with volunteer and spend more time to explore Japanese Architecture.
Hang out with participants
I was very impressed with other participants. Some of them already have master degree, some of them have been studied in abroad, and some of them have a good position at their office. But all of them are down-hearted, friendly and kind.
Many occasions helped me to build relationship with other participants. In the morning we used to call each other to go breakfast together. During breakfast we chatted about how cute Japanese children that we saw there, how boring the food was or how the seminar on that day will be conducted.
In the morning, I like to hoist up the flag because it was exciting to learn about other country’s flag. From this activity I found some interesting fact. Monette told me that if we put Philippines flag upside down it means we declaring a war. It is different from my flag. If you put Indonesian flag upside down that only mean its not Indonesian flag anymore, it is Poland’s Flag. From Jason, I found that Singapore’s Flag combine red-white from Indonesia’s flag and star-moon from Malaysia’s flag.
Before seminar I usually have 10 or 5 minutes to set where I should sit. I try to sit in different place with different friend everyday, so that I always have new experience everyday. One day I sit in the middle table between Khin and Kyaw. Another day I prefer to sit in left table between Sihn and Mida.
In afternoon we have time to enjoy outdoor activities. One day Huong and I went to the park in front of Suzuka Circuit. Another day I went to Jusco with Kyaw and Vieng. At night most of us spent time in our favorite room, the computer room. For me it was quite difficult to work individually in this room, because I always disturbed to see our digital pictures with other participants and chatting with others.
Our togetherness continued when we went study tour or prepare special occasion. That was why I prefer to go together to Kinkakuji Temple with the rest even I really want to go to Kyoto Studio Park. It was not fun to go alone. I will always remember get lost at 10 pm in Nagoya with Jason, Monette and Wa. Or the time I spend at 245 m JR Central Tower with Thanh and Mida.
I enjoyed our togetherness very much. It was fun to go breakfast with Huong and Vieng, to take onsen with Monette, to cycle with Kyaw or to take walk with Jason. I learn something even from our simple conversation.
After take a break for a moment, you can continue the final story in part 3 here.