Okurayama International Students Forum in Yokohama 2013

Posted on Posted in Global News, Harvard

Article from July 6th, 2013

On July 6th, we had an exchange forum at the Okurayama Memorial Hall. The participating universities were Harvard University, Yokohama City University, Tokyo Institute of Technology, and Keio University. Harvard University students came to Japan on summer internships (research). Before we go into detail about the forum, we have to thank Mrs. Yoko Okura. She is the person who supported this exchange forum. Without her help, we would not be able to have this kind of opportunity. Also, we thank all the speakers who gave us delightful messages, and Mr. Toshio Ohi who presented the unknown Japanese traditional culture to us.



The main concept of this exchange forum was to understand our traditional cultures as in pottery ceramic art and tea cultures. Actually, most YCU students had never experienced these cultures, so that was a great opportunity to sense our traditional cultures. And as we know, Harvard University is one of the best universities in the world. That fact made us really nervous because we did not know what to talk about. However, these concerns disappeared when we saw Harvard students. They were really friendly, and they were taking to us really nicely. We made pairs with Harvard students, and we were able to communicate with them.



After the opening speech, Mr. Ohi gave us a lecture about his modern art works. His main art work is ceramic arts. In his speech, he was trying to make distinct the difference between Chinese, Korean and Japanese’s culture. In his opinion, every culture had some similarities, but concepts of arts were completely different. He was trying to reduce our bias toward foreign cultures. After the delightful lecture form Mr. Ohi, we had a demonstration about how to drink tea in Japanese traditional way. We never knew how to drink tea in the proper way, so we learnt an important lesson from them. Next, we had a mini concert. Their music made us very calm, and it was an interesting experience.



At this point, we were getting along well with each other. Therefore, we had some fun doing some art works with Harvard Students. The students of Tokyo University of Arts came, and they showed us some art works. It was very fun, and it gave us a marvelous time. Besides we enjoyed the welcome reception.


In conclusion, we were very glad to meet and talk to Harvard Students. We are proud that we participated in this exchange forum, and these memories are unforgettable. These memories will stay in our hearts for eternity.


Written by Yamato Kitagawa,
Sophomore, International College of Arts and Sciences