When I boarded the Lufthansa airplane to Tokyo on the 19th of September 2015, I only then really realized that dreams do come true:
At last I was starting this adventurous three months internship to Japan. As the 10th scholarship holder of Grünwald foundation, I felt so eager to experience everything what I already heard about Japan. As a fascinating country I was grateful to get enchanted of Japan.
I am 21 years old and completed my Bachelor in Economics at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland five weeks ago.
After my landing in Osaka, I was already warmly expected and greeted from Mr. Okamoto on this sunny and wonderful day. Already while driving to Suita-City, I was very impressed of the skyline and beautiful township of Osaka. After my arrival in my new home, a very comfortable and little apartment in Suita-City, leaving out no wishes for a scholarship holder to feel happy and home I was already taken out for a welcome meal with Mr. and Mrs. Okamoto. It was my first evening experiencing Japanese food and tasting, for example the famous Okonomyaki, a Japanese specialty. It is like a pancake, but cooked in Japanese style. During the first days of my stay I was introduced in the lifestyle of the Japanese and the specialties of their habits and food.
I learned about the public transport and all about the necessary facilities to plan my stay as easy as possible. I understood, that learning all about this from Mr. and Mrs. Okamoto is the special way of Japanese ‘’Omotenashi’’, one of the most important way of living together and showing that this friendly and kind hospitality is always given to anyone in need of help. Anytime I felt welcome to come with any problem and question to Mr. and Mrs. Okamoto to feel absolutely comfortable and home.
Up to now, I cannot really remember that I had a Jetlag, because I never had the time to think about it. From the beginning of my stay every day and evening was filled with appointments, invitations and meetings, for example with the mayor of Suita-City, organized by Mr. Okamoto. I also was invited to a lunch with the Rotary Club from Suita-City and to a lot of other special evenings, like the one of the 3rd of October, to celebrate the anniversary of German unification.
I would like to highlight my Welcome-Party in a wonderful Japanese restaurant where many pleasant and interesting people, like the German Consul General of Osaka Mr. Dr. Ingo Karsten together with his lovely wife were invited to share a fancy dinner. We had one of the longest meals I’ve ever had with 13 dishes served one after another. I also was inspired by many very interesting conversations on this special evening.
With Mrs. Okamoto I also spend two wonderful day trips. One of those days we went to Kyoto, where we visited an art museum with treasures of the Shokoku-ji temple, Kinkaku-ji temple and other famous temples. Afterwards we strolled down through the roads of Kyoto, where I decided definitely to come again. The other day we were in company by a friend of Mr. and Mrs. Okamoto Mrs. Nobuko Ikawa. Together with her we visited the harbour town Kobe. We saw an exhibition of special jewellery, the town hall as also many viewpoints overlooking Kobe. At the end of our day trip we went on a boat and had very nice excursion in and around the harbour of Kobe, viewing also Kobe from the waterfront.
Many people told me, that Kyoto was one of the most beautiful towns in Japan, full of historical sightseeing and beautiful little townships. Nobody can ever state, that he has seen everything in Kyoto. Of course I went there to see, if this statement was true. Yes, and it was. Kyoto is just amazingly loaded with impressing temples and shrines. Walking downtown with all this little roads and many typical restaurants in Japanese style, it is so easy to get lost. Surely I have to go again because I was not able to see all.
I am very eager to experience Kyoto again with the beautiful autumn colors of the trees
It was my wish to taste the very famous matcha tea. Mr. and Mrs. Okamoto were so kind to fulfill this wish and invited me to a matcha tea ceremony on a Sunday morning. Cooking this tea is not that complicated as I thought it to be. The green matcha powder it filled up with hot boiled water. Afterwards you mix it with an egg beater from a bamboo tree. During the ceremony the tea is poured into the tea cups and guests are praising the color and the special taste of this tea. Because matcha tea tastes a little bitter, sweats are served together with it. I personally loved it and I am sure, that it is very healthy.
Already now after my three weeks, I have met so many nice Japanese and German people and I am looking forward to make many more relationship, which I will make during my stay in the future. I am also looking forward to all the adventures and events, which will come up and wait for me in the next weeks of my stay.
There is one thing definitely to say: It is not at all boring and lonely here.
It is challenge for my life and I am grateful to have this opportunity to make this magic experience as part of my life. I say thank you to the Rotary Club of Grünwald and the Grünwald foundation for choosing me for this scholarship.