2013 Visiting Kofu Higashi High School Report 2March 19, 2013


During my 6-month stay in Japan I had the opportunity to meet wonderful people and experience a culture that is miles apart from what I’ve seen so far in my life. One such opportunity was kindly given to me by Yamazaki sensei and that was the visit to Kofu high school on March 19, 2013. Following a preparation meeting at Todai, three other international students (Anna-Maria, Ola-Kenji, Camille) and I were informed about the program and our tasks: we had to make an English presentation about our countries, interests, background and how we chose to come to Japan –simple in theory, but tricky to get teenagers’ attention in practice. At least I knew I was not going to talk about any scientific or historical matters, except for the Olympic games.
We left Tokyo very early in the morning and we had our breakfast on the train. When we entered the school the staff took care of us in the best possible manner and explained the schedule in detail. By the time the students entered the classroom and I had to start my presentation, I couldn’t really tell who felt the most uncomfortable: it was a first-time encounter and none of us knew what to expect.
(Example: they called me “sensei” and I am certainly Not)

I asked them to introduce themselves: some could barely make their voices heard, some were more courageous to even blow a kiss, but all of them were exceptionally kind and adorable. During the class I talked about my hometown, my studies, my hobbies; we read the Greek alphabet together and a few basic phrases out loud; and I showed pictures with landscapes of Greece, traditions and typical Greek food despite my video betrayed me. Towards the end, I explained my connection to Sweden as well as my Japanese experiences and in turn, the students held a short presentation on Japanese traditions and customs, which was truly enjoyable.

The only thing I could add for this day is that I wish we had spent more time outside the classroom, eaten lunch together and taken more pictures. Language is always a barrier but perhaps it is still more important that people from very different backgrounds get to meet: it surely opens up a new world and makes good memories for both sides.

Mariangelina Evliati
M.Sc Sustainable Urban Planning & Design