Going back to Europe

I’ve got accepted from Global Entrepreneurship Summer School 2017, which is organized by the Social Entrepreneurship Akademie in cooperation with four major universities in Munich. There’ll be 105 students selected throughout the world and the challenge of this year is the food crisis.

I’m so glad to be back in Europe this year although after participating the program I might be going to bankrupt because of the expenses I have to spend. However, this summer school will provide accommodation, food, and transportation fees in Munich. All I need to prepare is the travel budget! One way flight costs around 600euro at cheapest and I’m thinking to visit Copenhagen first to see one business school there before coming down to Munich.

That school where I’m planning to apply for a master degree next year is Copenhagen Business School. I can’t describe how nervous I am when imagining the worse case scenario in which I would be declined to enter the school. This time will be the best opportunity for me as a non-EU student to get to know the school life there.

Hopefully, I’ll see some of my friends in Europe during my stay! This gets me so excited about going back there and there’s nothing more I could ask for since I came back to Japan. I strongly hope to get a job and live in Europe where people choose to live their own life for the sake of themselves rather than live for their work, unlike my country.

I hope this short visit will be the next step to get closer to my future plans!

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The very perfect Sunday with the traditional Japanese festival

“Suzume Odori” – a type of local traditional dance which is annually performed in Aoba Matsuri festival in Sendai, Japan. Today I went to see my friend marching for the festival, which I haven’t gone for ages. I’m not the person who is interested in traditions, culture staff, and festivals? no way, too crowded! It was rare for me to hang out for such a huge event in the downtown because Japanese people are always fascinated with festive moods and I’m tired of it.

Speaking of Japanese festivals, there are hundreds of festivals and events happing all year around. In Spring, people love seeing cherry blossoms drinking outside, which is called Hanami party. Cherry blossoms start blooming from the middle of March so that we can tell the coming of spring when we’ve got fully bloomed ones in own regions. We also have fireworks festivals literally every city and small towns in Summer, Imoni festivals are held everywhere in my region, which is Northern Japan, to eat local traditional soup together.

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Actually, the left picture of Imoni festival is the biggest one in Yamagata prefecture having the huge pot and the diggers to mix the soup.

 

This time, Aoba matsuri was taken place to celebrate the 450th birth of the regional load, who was one of the most famous Daimyo during the Sengoku period. You can see what Japanese Daimyo are and how they developed → Samurai, Daimyo, Matthew Perry, and Nationalism it’s one of my favorite videos of John Green and watch from 4:55.

 

Anyway, what made my perfect Sunday was the free beer I’ve got! I bumped into one of my friends who was selling beer at the festival and he gave it to us. A sunny Sunday couldn’t have been better without a beer, right?

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Some similarities I’ve found between Finland and Japan

Finns and Japanese people are both said that they are shy, honest, polite… sure! They wouldn’t become friends instantly with strangers unless they are drunk. Well, there’re many differences among both which apply to other countries so I’d only like to note what I’ve found some similarities between both countries during my student life in Finland.

They are both experts at finding beauty in silence. Throughout Japanese history, artworks which are pretty much simple and aesthetic especially in a form of painting, ceramics, tea cult, flower arrangement, and gardening.

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There has been the idea of being entertained in simplicity and cultivating own cultural perspectives, which is called “Wabi-Sabi” rooted from Zen Buddhism. It offers an inspiration in your life by embracing imperfection as a worldview. I actually experienced this feeling in Finland when seeing everlasting ripples on a lake. My Finnish family also loved escaping to their summer cottage in nature doing nothing rather than going out and spending money when they had time. It was absolutely amazing to just soak in the silence moments while being comfortable and fostering own senses to smell, feel, hear, and enjoy every small thing surrounding us.

We take relatively a long time to get along. Yup, we’re like onions. Those who might think of Japanese people being kind to other people, that kind of situation only happens when they see people in need on the ground of having enough time in their schedule. Two of my Japanese best friends told me before that they don’t usually open their mind to people unless spending 1 or 2 years. Similarly, it was difficult for me to become a close friend with Finnish people compared to other Europeans.

Finnish and Japanese languages have many common words. Let me explain some of them for instance. A basic one is Kissa meaning a cat in Finnish but it’s a cafe in Japanese. And if you say “mitä?” in Finnish, (means what) Japanese people will understand you said: “Did you look?” Lastly, the funniest one to me is Ahonen, which might be the most common Finnish surname, however,  in Japanese “Aho” literally means stupid and “nen” can be “I am” in the southern dialect. So it actually sounds “Hey, I’m stupid” when a random Mr./Ms. Ahonen introduces to Japanese people. Additionally, both pronunciations are easy and similar to each other in terms of the structure of vowels and consonants.

So here’re some similarities about two countries I’ve found interesting most. I hope you’ve got a sneak peek into Finnish and Japanese culture even a little.

Thoughts on my great-grandmother’s death

My great grandmother almost reached 100 years old, however, she’s been in serious condition since I got back from Tokyo a few days ago. Whenever I receive a message that someone died, this regret always comes to my mind.

– Why didn’t I make an effort to see her/him more often?

This time, I visited the hospital twice during her stay and I was genuinely sorry for how she was straining under the respirator. She looked so much different from how I remember about her and I tried to think back what kind of moment we’ve been through together. When I was much younger, my grandmother took me to her place several times but sadly, it’s been a long while since the last time I talked to her as I grew up. I might be such an unmemorable great-grandchild of her. Surprisingly, at the moment I got to see her in the ICU, she replied a few words. I truly hoped that she understood who I was and I could have got to know her more deeply.

What a scary feeling it is that you can do nothing anymore for someone who’s going far away.

Death is just around the corner. This is such a cliche, but there’s no guarantee someone you care about won’t die tomorrow and I felt it in my core. I’d love to tell thank you to my great-grandmother that she let me be aware of the great pleasure in my life. I have my family and friends that love me back and the future path to dream up.