Life in Seika, Japan

Howdy there! My name is Kai and I am the Coordinator for International Relations in Seika Town, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan. Hopefully by reading this blog you all will get a good picture of what life is like in Seika town, and all the great things that happen down here.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

光陰矢のごとし Time Flies

Time sure does fly by quickly! This month marks two years of me living and working here in Seika Town as the Coordinator for International Relations. This is also my final entry into this blog as two years is the length of my job contract. When I think back over my time in Seika it is hard to believe that two years could fly by so fast, but at the same time I have experienced so much, and met so many people that its hard to believe that its only been two years.

One of my favorite parts of my job here has been going out into the community and interacting with people of all walks of life. For example, I think that from my visits to all five elementary schools in Seika I know every single young child living in Seika. Also, my visits to the Kashinokien Day Service Center gave me a great chance to meet and talk with some of Seika’s more experienced citizens. Then of course all of the people I was able to meet at all of the international exchange events and festivals that I have taken part in. Everyone in Seika has been so kind to me in my time here and because of the warmth of the people here I have been able to have many amazing experiences.

My only other experience living in Japan was during a year of university in Tokyo. Tokyo is a fun and exciting place, but I am very happy to be able to have had the opportunity to live in a more traditional town like Seika where the people are friendly, the air and water are clean, and I was able to experience things like rice planting/harvesting, the Igomori Festival, and my favorite of all; eating school lunches with the kids at elementary schools.

I honestly had no idea what to expect before I came to Seika, but my time here has allowed me to meet interesting people, and take part in experiences I would not have been able to imagine before coming here. But of course my job wasn’t all about what I could learn, rather what I was able to contribute to Seika. So I truly hope that in my time writing the newsletter column, teaching at schools, giving presentations in the community, and helping out at various festivals that I was able to have an effect on the lives of Seika’s residents. I would be happy if something I did or said changed people’s impressions of Americans and foreigners for the better, broke down a long held stereotype, or helped to aid international understanding. My biggest hope is that I was able to encourage the younger children to think of the world beyond Japan, and hopefully to inspire some of them to learn more about foreign cultures, peoples and languages.

I want to thank all the people who have been reading this blog and for helping to make my time here a wonderful and rewarding experience. I know that no matter where I end up in life I will always consider Seika as a second home.