A report on a study program in Osaka, Japan
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.
I 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 pat
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 sea food
and that explains why majority of them are slim and health. They also eat lots
of vegetables and I actually picked up the habit of eating more vegetables from
them. the tempura and other sea food 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
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.