choose to begin my impressions about the study trip to
with this quote by Aldous Huxley, as it offers a good perception of what
I feel and think at this moment.
mend to me, before everything, an incredible cultural
experience…from unique spiritual perspectives (in Shinto and
Buddhist temples) to academic insights on economics and
politics; from staying with a Japanese family (in Hiroshima)
to interacting to the people there (students from the Tokyo
University of Foreign Studies, other young Japanese people met
on my journey, the people from Nagisa Taiko).
discovered a Japan enriched by religious sights, but also a
modern Japan full of futuristic plans (Tokyo by night,
Panasonic Centre). I
discovered so many new tastes and flavors of the Japanese
cuisine but also enjoyed the old western way of
cooking…Japan seemed to me full of contradictions and
similarities to Europe, so new and old, so modern and
traditional…my heart just had another pulse there.
felt myself lost while walking through Shibuya and Ginza in
Tokyo, when not being able to read even the signs at the metro
stations, when not being able to communicate with the people
I was happy when I rediscovered myself while taking off the
shoes for entering a Japanese house, when trying to experience
Tea Ceremony and Ikebana.
I found my values and thoughts while accepting that
everything around me has a soul, that hospitality and
politeness are Japanese natural states of spirit and that
saying “thank you” to the people around us has a deeper
meaning than just being formal.
know better who I am and what my believes are, now that I
visited Hiroshima. I
know better what I stand for and where I should put my energy,
when trying to change the world.
am now still wondering how much I took back home from Japan.
My room is full of souvenirs, from small train and
theatre tickets to Origami figures made at
Nagisa Taiko, from
beautiful coloured Kyoto leaves to Yukatas, green tea and
heart is full of other souvenirs: places, traditions and
interaction with Japanese people was for me the most important
component of the program.
Without people there will be nothing else: no culture
to explore, no project to take part into, no challenges around
discovered and understood how the Japanese daily life really
looks like while taking dinner with my host family: three
generations round one table, three ways of thinking, three
perceptions and dreams. Still,
one kind hospitality and warm pleasure to have me there.
spent only two days with the Katagiris but that was enough
time to learn that language barriers and specific cultural
differences can never be large enough to divide people.
stay in Hiroshima represented for me the centerepiece of the
study trip. Meeting
the history in the Peace Memorial Museum was overwhelming and
very complex for me. It
was the first time during the study trip where I found time to
think about the things that I experienced in Japan.
home, I want to read more about the atomic bomb, to understand
deeper what happened in Hiroshima and in the world afterwards.
I knew before how horrible it was (I learnt about it in
school), but I have never taken it as a personal experience.
I knew the story of Anne Frank, but I had never heard
before the one of Sadako and her Paper Cranes. Hiroshima
became part of my thoughts and of my heart.
I hope to carry this spirit to all the places I will
visit in the future.
from the peaceful stay with my house family and back to the
city chaos of Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, I have learned that
plans are good, but the ability to reshape them is better.
I was fascinated by the way our guides (and all the
organizational staff who was behind them) managed to
coordinate a groups of 30 Europeans, one more stubborn and
individualistic than another.
We definitely enjoyed Kaneko San and Tada San, the
professional way they provided us with information about the
sights and the peaceful and friendly way they reacted when
after explaining something more than once very clearly there
was still a voice to ask for it again…or when being late
(again) although they explained us the importance of
I also had some unexpected
discoveries. I thought I know my country better than anybody
else. I thought I am able to respond every question and
nothing could surprise me.
Well, I discovered that I have many more things to see
or learn about Romania. It
was astounding to find out what Japanese people know about
Romania: usually about gymnasts, soccer players, the
“Numa-Numa” Song and Dracula;
but imagine the thrill when a student told me at the
end of our university visit: “I heard it is a beautiful
country. I want to go there someday”.
Then, she asked me for my email address: “I would
like to know more about Romania. Could you send me some
pictures from your country?”
I kept on thinking what I should send her…what is
she have the same perception of my country, as other many
In Japan it was amazing for
me to see how many Japanese people visit the sights of their
country. It was amazing to see how they cherish their culture
and how respectful they talk about it…to my shame, I
haven’t yet visited the monasteries in the north of my
country, which are UNESCO world heritage…
I am very grateful to have
had the change to go to Japan.
I would like to sincerely thank the organizers and all
the people who put their passion and energy in this program,
so that we can discover the beauty of their country.
Japan allowed each of us to choose the way we wanted to
be: Europeans or Asians, modern or traditional, meditative or
funny. I simply
chose to let myself taken by the mystery of an ancient
civilization, to try to step into another culture and to open
my heart to an unknown experience.
This study trip represented for me a mind-opening
experience, a source of new energies and fresh perspectives.
I lived every moment like a
child who keeps his lolly-pop with both hands.
I enjoyed every moment, every colour, every
gesture…Japan found a special place into my heart.