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  3. ☆☆☆Second report of Philipp von Uslar, 22nd scholarship holder of the GRÜNWALD foundation☆☆☆

☆☆☆Second report of Philipp von Uslar, 22nd scholarship holder of the GRÜNWALD foundation☆☆☆

I’ve been in Japan for a month now. A third of my stay is already over. The last two weeks have passed even faster than the first two. It’s finally getting a little colder, the real autumn hasn’t started yet.

I noticed that I am missing being outdoors in nature in this city of millions. There are few green spaces and the opportunity to get into nature rarely arises. That’s why I was particularly happy about the trip to Tambasasayama. This is a small town in Hyogo Prefecture about 1.5 hours from Osaka by bus. On the way there I was able to see the Japanese landscape for the first time. Unfortunately, I was too busy looking out the window that I didn’t take any pictures. Once there we visited the fortress and a very beautiful ceramics exhibition. Of course, there was also a delicious lunch here.

(Lunch at Tambasasayama)

(At Sasayama Castle)

Another highlight of the last two weeks was the visit to a high school in Kobe and the city tour afterwards with Ms. Ikawa. After Ms. Ikawa picked me up at the train station, we arrived at the school about 10 minutes later. The class, which consists of around 25 students (24 girls and one boy), all aged 16/17, welcomed me into the classroom screaming with joy. The lesson consisted of the students having prepared questions and being able to ask them in German when I called them. Afterwards, I took turns reading conversations with them from the German book.

After we took a group picture and a selfie with each student, I was sent on my way with a friendly “I love you.”

Afterwards, Ms. Ikawa showed me the city of Kobe and an impressive botanical garden. Kobe is a very beautiful port city, bordered by the sea to the south and small mountains to the north. I will definitely go back there again when the trees are in their autumn colors.

Another nice experience was the German wine evening. Around 36 people came together to taste different wines from Germany, always matching the respective course. Each wine was introduced, and there was even a little quiz at the end. I was very thankful to have had a personal interpreter throughout.

German wine evening

After this great evening, two nice people, who I had met that evening, invited me to karaoke, which is very popular here in Japan. Unlike in Germany, you book your own small room and can sing and drink there undisturbed. Unfortunately, there was only one song in German (99 Luftballons)

Karaoke with friends

Every week on Fridays I go to downtown Osaka to the “German Language Lounge” at DZGO (a German school) where groups of Japanese people who are learning German talk about various topics. Here I learned that the topic of politics is rarely discussed in Japan. Especially with the younger generations, as this can apparently lead to arguments more often and any kind of conflict is avoided. It is also considered impolite as a young person to argue about certain topics with the older generation. Japanese youth are very apolitical because they mainly have the feeling that nothing will change anyways, and their voter doesn’t matter.

The first month flew by. I feel even more comfortable and in good hands here. I always enjoy meeting new people and of course seeing familiar faces. I’m already looking forward to the coming weeks when autumn finally starts.

“German Language Lounge” at DZGO