The members of the International School Network wrote reflection statements about their experiences interviewing embassies, institutions, and individuals, and participating in events.
European Union Interview by Anna Okada
After we were met by Mr. Richard Kelner, the Academic Cooperation Officer Press, Public and Cultural Affairs Selection, and led to the meeting room, we were welcomed warmly by the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the European Union to Japan, His Excellency,Mr. Viroel Isticioaia-Budura, from Romania. He openly shook our hands and each of us exchanged business cards. When we sat down, he presented us with souvenirs of cookies and G7 water, featuring the European Union flag. He then gave us a brief, descriptive explanation of the European Union, before letting us express our thank yous towards Europe on behalf of the Japanese. Afterwards, his excellency turned to us, where we each asked a single question. He answered each question with much detail. We asked a total of six questions, and we got a lot of information from each answer. Mr. Isticioaia-Budura explained to us that the European Union is “complex and special, because it is collective”, that it is “not a family, but a community of people, 28 countries with many common” things. He emphasized a lot on “strategic agreements”, which he feels are extremely important, such as the Framework Agreement. He described to us that the European Nation work together to reach various goals, such as education development, maintaining healthy environments and agriculture. His Excellency gave us a deeper understanding of the G7 Summit. It is “not important only for seven”, and is “discussed together to help everyone”. Some examples he gave which are discussed in meetings are economic development, trade, crisis, refugees, and climate change. He feels that the role of G7 is to bring voices in on how everyone feels, and to address major problems.
His message towards Japanese students is that encounters are just as important as expanding and understanding friends, for a fairly long time. He encourages everyone to travel the world if you have the chance to, that there are plenty of beautiful things to learn from, including the diversity of cultures, and to enjoy it when you can.
The International School Network, this time, went to visit the European Union’s “Europa House”. After being led into His Excellency, Mr. Viroel Isticioaia-Budura’s office, by Mr. Richard Kelner, the Academic Cooperation Officer Press, we started our interview. Mr. Isticioaia-Budura started off by explaining to us generally about the European Union, emphasizing a lot on the word “strategic”, and explaining the importance of “strategic agreements”, as well as other topics briefly. We then each were able to give a short speech expressing our thanks towards Europe on behalf of Japanese students. We went as a group of six students, so we each got the chance to ask the Ambassador a question. For each question, he explained and expanded on with great detail, which led us to a deeper understanding of the European Union. Mr. Isticioaia-Budura’s message towards Japanese students is that encounters are just as important as expanding and understanding friends. He encourages everyone to travel the world if you have the chance to, that there are plenty of beautiful things to learn from, including the diversity of cultures, and to enjoy it.
Thank you for inviting me to the Samoan and the Ethiopian Ambassador's place!!!!
First I was scared about it but then when I went in and started the interview, I got used to it!
I really liked the part when I got to get a lot of information and I got to learn a lot! (More then I thought!)
After the interview, I was thinking about the volunteering and donating for the people that are homeless(Not like real homeless...). I think it's a great idea to do that because we get to learn more about them and get to get closer to them!! I really want to support them so that they could live easier and happier!(Like Japan!)
Next time I would want to talk more about that country!!!!
Thank you for inviting me!
I participated in this activity for the first time.
I feared that I asked questions in English, because I’m not good at speaking English, but I was glad that I could ask questions by grace of Madoka and Yukika.
The Chilean ambassador instructed us in differences between Chile and Japan, and so on, and so I want to know still more Chile, and go to Chile.
Thank you very much.
Myanmar Embassy Interview
The experience of visiting the Embassy of Republic of the Union of Myanmar was a pleasant one. The Ambassador, Mr. U Khin Maung Tin, kindly discussed to us about the country’s origin, result of its diverse culture, educational system, festivals and ceremonies, and how they have been maintaining a well-preserved environment. He also explained to us about the British influence on its nation.
Despite the fact that it was my first time that I had joined an interview with the International School Network, the overall flow of the talk went fairly smoothly and the kind welcome by the Ambassador created a relaxing atmosphere. It was interesting to know how British rule affected the nation and parts of its trail still continue to remain in forms such as education. Moreover, he described to us about some of the festivals celebrated, including the water pouring festival. He had mentioned how initially water were poured from tree leaves, however the festival became so popular that it escalated to the point where people would use pipe to pour water on each other. This sounded extremely fun that it made me want to visit the country! It was also nice seeing how enthusiastic Mr. Maung Tin was in explaining his own country, as he presented to us images of some tourist attractions and how the local people dressed like. We also received a calendar containing some of the most beautiful sites in Myanmar and a photo book with his specially written message and autograph. Lastly, when asked about the Myanmar-Japan relationship, he had commented that the relationship had always been very good and that he is certain that it will continue that way. It was nice to know how Japan has been maintaining a positive relationship with such a beautiful country. It was also very enjoyable to see the enthusiasm Mr. Maung Tin had when answering each question. It really showed how much he loved Myanmar.
Honduras is located on the bridge between North and South America. In Japan, not so many people would know where Honduras is.
Today, we saw Ms. Marlene Villela-Talbott, Ambassador of Honduras. She is one of the 14 women ambassador in Japan. Her personality was very bright and she encouraged us to ask many questions about Honduras.
According to her, the most enchanting points about Honduras are, the variety of cultures and the richness of nature. Located on the important place for transportation between two continents, Honduras holds various cultures. Spanish culture from the colonial days, traditional local culture for example “Copan”, other cultures from North and South America. Recently, Japanese culture is also popular, like Manga and Animes.
Second, the rich nature in Honduras is admirable. Both beaches and the tropical forests are good places to visit. There exist many rare animals and fruits. People in Honduras really love nature and they are cooperative about conservation activities.
Her response to the question, “Do you have any advise for Japanese women as a woman ambassador?”, was one of the most impressive answers. She said, “of course it’s important for men to respect women,but women are also responsible for positive participation.” She is a great roll model for young women.
She hopes that more and more Japanese know Honduras and visit it. It was very fruitful day to know much about Honduras. Now we feel very familiar to this beautiful country.
早稲田大学 政治経済学部 3年
The International School Network has been visiting a lot of embassies, and this time, we visited the Embassy of Republic Of The Union Myanmar (“Myanmar”).
The Ambassador of Myanmar, Mr. U Khin Maung Tin, kindly taught us the tradition, history and the cultures of Myanmar.
Because Myanmar had a history of being dominated by the British, and was in the British Empire, they have two country names, “Burma,” called by the English speaking people, and “Myanmar,” called by the Asians. “Myan” means quick or fast, and “mar” means strong. So the country means “a quick and strong country.”
Approximately 90% of the population in Myanmar is Buddhists. In the 11th and the 13th century, there were over 10,000 Buddhist temples, but now, the remaining’s are only 2200 temples.
Myanmar became “one” country in January 4th, 1948. To celebrate their independence, they have a celebration party each year on this date. In addition to the celebration party, they have a festival every month. One of the famous festivals is, among others that for celebrating the New Year held in April. On the New Year celebration day, people splash water at each other, where they have lots of fun. Mr. U Khin Maung Tin recommended us to visit Myanmar and enjoy this day. The water splashing is escalating during time. They used to splash people with leaves, but now, they have escalated to the point where people use HOSE PIPE’S.
Plants and forests surround 48% of Myanmar’s soil. Because of their affection for and importance of the wild, the government of Myanmar and its people try their best to keep these wild plants and forests as they are. For example, they plant a lot of trees and plants in the forests.
Myanmar has a lot of great places to visit, and is a very beautiful country. The government of Myanmar and its people keep the old and holy places, and I think that is a very good thing. The Burmese are very kindhearted people, and they take good care of the old. They are very friendly and outgoing people, especially to visitors. I think people in Myanmar are the kind of people who love to have lots of fun.
The relation between Japan and Myanmar is good. Japan supports Myanmar for their growth of economics and constructions.
I am hoping that Japan and Myanmar will have a great relationship as we go on into the future.
On December 24th, 2014, we, the international school network had a chance to visit the Embassy of the Republic of Tunisia in Tokyo. It was my first time interviewing, but it was a wonderful opportunity and it was really fun. Because Mr. Farhad Khlif, the ambassador and Mr. Boughanmi, the first Secretary kindly taught us the details about Tunisia as follows, it was easy to understand Tunisia.
First, the meaning of name of the country. The country Tunisia, means a “hosting city,” or “the city of happiness.”
Second, the people of Tunisia. Tunisia is a country with 98% Muslims, 1% Christians, and 1% Jews and other religion. Tunisia has many celebrations, including their religious celebrations, but the Independence Day, is one of the most important days for them in Tunisia, which is March 20th 1956.
The Tunisian people’s official language is Arabic. French is the second language which they learn from the age of 8. But in private schools, you learn from the age of 5. English is their third language. They learn English from secondary school. The Tunisian people are intensively focusing on education of children which is combined with the western and religion.
Third, their attitudes to animals and nature.
Tunisian people consider that animals need to be free, and they treat the animals with high care, like treating them like humans. Tunisian people preserve nature.
Forth, the sports. Tunisian people really love sports. They are very connected to sports. Soccer is the most popular sport, next coming handball, and finally volleyball, swimming, Judo, and boxing. Many Japanese volunteers went to Tunisia to teach Judo.
Finally, the relationship. The relationship between Japan and Tunisia are VERY EXCELLENT. Japan supported Tunisia for their development after their independence. After the revolution, Japan was one of the first countries to support the Tunisians. The Tunisians are the only Arabs who can visit Japan with no VISA, and Japanese people can also visit Tunisia with no VISA.
After the visit, I find myself having more interest in Tunisia than before. I had a wonderful time with them and thank them very much for giving us such a great chance to learn about Tunisia. I hope that Tunisia and Japan will keep up the greater relationship than ever.