Just three weeks before departure, I got the amazing news that I can travel as the eighth trainee of the Grünwald Foundation to Japan for three months. I am 23 years old, student of Food- and Biotechnology at the Technical University of Munich and I have never been even in Asia or Japan.
The reason for the spontaneous scholarship was an unfortunate circumstance. Lukas, the trainee, who had to go to Japan instead of me, had unfortunately shortly before his departure an accident and I wish him all the best and a speedy recovery.
Now I’m two weeks in Suita near by Osaka, and I still cannot believe that I am in the land of the rising sun. Cause I feel almost like home, because I was warmly welcomed by my host family Okamoto-san, the CEO of the Grünwald Foundation, and I live in a really beautiful apartment.
Mr. and Mrs. Okamoto-san do everything to make my stay in this foreign country and in the metropolis of Osaka as confortable as possible and ensure at all times that I always feel at ease. We went, for example, immediately after my arrival on a wine festival. There I was able to make first contacts with very friendly Japanese, while drinking German wines and of course we said “ Kampai” to an unforgettable, rich in experience in Japan.
Until now, this has been absolutely confirmed: With a busy schedule we went from one event to the next and the time has flown by and the initial jetlag was only incidental.
At these events I was able to make further new friends, including very good German speaking Japanese, for example at the German-Japanese Gesellschaft or the Deutsche Meetz Stammtisch. Also the mayor and the city council of Suita and the German General Consul Dr. Ingo Karsten took their limited time just for me and gave me valuable tips for my stay, too.
So I could admire the beautiful foliage (jap. Kohyou) in the EXPO Park Suita or with Yukari, a good friend of all alumni, doing sightseeing in Osaka and enjoying the evening in an Izakaya with snacks and drinks,
In the TOP organized week plan course Japanese tradition and culture program is not missing. Mrs. Okamoto-san introduced me to a porcelain / ceramic museum in Osaka and told me a lot about the history of porcelainproduction. The whole thing was topped off by a private exhibition in a Japanese Villa in Kyoto and followed by a stroll through the Nishiki Food Street and Gion district.
A language course at the SIFA is also an assistance service for me to get an easy entry into Japanese life, but due to the high level it is a real challenge to understand everything or even to write, as I have made a few slips of the tongue, the whole course laughs heartily together. Making mistakes is also popular for my shopping experience, for example, I have mixed up a “milk” with a sweet, white fruit juice or “normal” Paprika chips can sometimes taste hellish hot.
The next exciting experiences and impressions are expecting me and I am very grateful that I now have this unique opportunity to be able to learn a lot about Japan in this charming way. My special thanks goes especially to the incredible hospitable family Okamoto-san, to the Rotary Club of Grünwald and the Grünwald Foundation through their financial and social support, these experiences are possible in the first place.