On June 29th, 2019, the ninth Okurayama International Student Forum was successfully held at Okurayama Memorial Hall in Yokohama. About 30 Japanese students from Yokohama City University, Tokyo Institute of Technology and Keio University had a cordial and friendly communication with students from Harvard University.
The forum was mainly divided into six parts. At the beginning, Japanese students serving as hosts welcomed the students of Harvard University at Okurayama Memorial Hall. Everyone was divided into ten groups. As the proverb “the first time I saw you felt like an old friend” says, as soon as we met, we had a pleasant chat. We talked about our courses, our favorite movies, what activities we would take part in on weekends, and so on. A girl from Harvard University smiled and said to me, “I’m going to challenge some of the more difficult courses next year.” Another boy, who is now a junior in college, is considering the choice of major for his PhD in the future. I was shocked by the high degree of self-discipline and seriousness of the Harvard students, and strengthened my determination to become better. Although it was drizzling outside on the day of the forum, everyone still did not lose the enthusiasm. When we took the commemorative photo, everyone showed a bright smile.
The first lecture was given by Satoshi Yabuuchi, a professor from the Tokyo University of the Arts. The title of lecture was “The Origins of Japanese Buddhism”. That was the first time I had heard such a systematic introduction of Japanese Buddhism, and the first feeling was “shock”. The lecture was lively and interesting. Not only were there a lot of pictures to help us understand, but two Harvard students were invited to experience it for themselves. I guess even Japanese students can not understand it in such detail. The lecture gave Harvard students a good introduction about a part of Japanese culture.
The first class ended in a lively atmosphere, followed by a video of a karate match on the big screen. The teacher in the video was so valiant, showing the Japanese karate culture incisively and vividly. The second lecture was given by Masayoshi Takaku, a famous karate. The title of lecture was “Japanese martial arts”. Karate is not just a simple martial arts. It requires not only speed and strength, but also wisdom. The teacher gave some action shows on the stage, and the students applauded one after another. All people, including Japanese students, were fascinated by karate culture.
At the end of the lecture, there was a melodious sound behind the door. The third part is to enjoy the performance by matsuribayashi. Several teachers slowly appeared on the stage wearing clothes and masks with the characteristics of Japanese culture. During the ten minutes of the performance, everyone was attracted by the gorgeous performance. The performance finished to thunderous applause. This kind of performance full of Japanese culture was really interesting. It ended in a flash, but everyone was still lost in the music.
After the performance, everyone was divided into several groups to paint the white fans. Although we came from different universities and countries, the atmosphere was very warm. We designed our own paintings as we discussed them. Everyone draws differently. Finally, as a souvenir, we exchanged our fans. In the fifth part of the forum, we did some simple karate exercises in pairs. Several groups of students took part in a very interesting game. This kind of practice was very useful, not only brought the atmosphere to the climax, but also made everyone feel the karate culture.
The last part was dinner and communication. We shared our experiences while enjoying delicious food, and so on. We ate traditional Japanese food like sushi and sashimi. The hall was filled with laughter. Many people took commemorative photos together and exchanged contact details with each other. I believe that the friendly relationship will last even though the forum is over.
On the whole, we are all very happy to participate in the forum. I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to the organizers and teachers for providing us with such an opportunity for international communication. The forum let me see that there are so many excellent people in the world, and I believe that those who take part in the forum will also work harder and be better themselves in the future. If there are similar international activities, I think I will also actively participate.
Reported by Rong Yuhan,
1st year graduate student, Department of Cancer, YCU Graduate School of Medicine.