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HOME > Testimonials > saarc > india > invitation > Report by participants after returning home:
Shared the experiences in Fukushima with colleagues, family, friends and school mates
(Participant of India 4th Batch)
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Report by participants after returning home:
Shared the experiences in Fukushima with colleagues, family, friends and school mates
(Participant of India 4th Batch)

Ms. Vedha Narayanasamy, who participated in 4th Batch from India, shared her experiences in Fukushima prefecture with her family, friends, collegues and school mates.

After returning to Chennai (South India), I came back to a huge load of pending work in my office, but despite all the work, the pleasant memories of Japan still remain vivid in my heart.

I had brought back souvenirs for all my colleagues back from Japan. My souvenir was Oki Agari Koboshi, the lucky charm of Fukushima prefecture which is also a symbol of perseverance and resilience. As I gifted the doll to my colleagues, I told them about the spirit of the people in the Fukushima prefecture and how they were fighting against all odds in combating the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake disaster. When I narrated stories of the participants from Tomiyoka city who had shared their Tsunami experiences and their life in the evacuation centres, the situation of all the tourist spots in Minamiaizu town not finding any visitors etc., everyone was much moved. Since 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake had created a huge Tsunami which hit my city Chennai and over 10,000 people had died during that Tsunami in my state alone. Till now, the damage caused by the Tsunami is still not completely recovered and lot of people have lost their livelihood, so all the people here understand the effects that can be caused by a Tsunami and were really appreciative of the fact that the Japanese Government had provided shelters for all the evacuees and built homes for them and helped them in making a living.

I had shared the experiences with my family and friends as well. The kindness of the Japanese people, their thoughtfulness and their readiness to help was really awed at. My parents were very surprised to see that I had got back so many 'omiyage' that I received from my home stay family. I showed them the photos of the dinner spread that was provided to us on our home stay and they were really surprised and my mother wondered how many hours it would have taken them to prepare so much food! The Shinkansen's speed surprised everyone, because to travel in train from Chennai to Delhi (Around 2,000 kms), it takes about 30 hours by Indian trains. When I showed all my relatives the photos taken during the trip and explained to them, they were very interested to know more about my experiences. I had shown them videos of our group experiencing the Earthquake simulations and the escape routes explanation delivered by the staff at the centre and it proved to be very informative.

I also had an opportunity to meet my Japanese friends, the students of the 16th Japan India Students conference and an intern who worked in my Japanese language school, during my visit to Japan. It was great to meet all of them again and they took us around Shinjuku. The politeness and the warmth of the shopkeepers and the sales staff at the shops pleasantly surprised us; it is such a delight to shop in Japan. The shopkeepers in Fukushima were even more kind and were really helpful and cheerful. It was really a very happy experience and when sharing these experiences with all my friends and family, I felt like reliving the whole experience again.

a_india4_narayanasamy1.png Along with four other participants of the KIZUNA project from my Japanese language school, I made a presentation to the students of the school about our experiences in the Kizuna project. The presentation covered all the main topics – Earthquake resistant structures in Japan, the safety of the food products of Fukushima, the radiation levels in Fukushima and the solution oriented approach of the Japanese people to a disaster. All the students, who range from school going children to professionals working in Japanese companies and housewives, were very moved and inspired by the spirit of the Japanese. After the presentation, we had an interactive session where we took questions from the audience. People asked questions such as

• How are children taught about how to respond to a disaster
• What are the various precautionary measures taken by the Japanese government
• What are the kinds of locations which are used as evacuation centres

a_india4_narayanasamy2.png One of the students, Ms. Bhuvana, had lived in Japan for three years with her husband. She explained about the monthly drills done in schools in order to educate the children about evacuation and also about the emergency kits available in every household with essential needs, for speedy evacuation in case of a disaster. The entire session was very informative to all the participants. At the end of the session, I distributed the Kizuna badges that I got made. I asked all the students to pin the badge as a sign of support for all the people in Japan affected by the disaster and use that badge as a starting point to spread the message. Now, we can see that almost all the students who attended that session have pinned those badges in their bags. The resilience spirit of the Japanese people is now etched in all their minds.

Time management and being on time is something that I found difficult in Japan, and as we Indians are in general do not have strict regulations on being punctual, it was a cultural difference for us. After my return from Japan, these days I take more care in being punctual. More than just spreading the message to people in my country, I also wanted to give back something in return to the country that gave me so much in just 2 weeks. Luckily, I got an opportunity almost immediately -- I am coordinating the Chennai visit of the 17th Japan-India Students Conference. I am helping the students by fixing their schedules and coordinating with colleges and companies for their visit and making arrangements locally. I was very inspired by the fantastic organization of the Kizuna project, so I will strive hard to give the Japanese students a similar experience in my city as well.

At this juncture, I would like to thank all the members involved in the Kizuna project, the kind and wonderful people of Minamiaizu town and Aizuwakamatsu city specially my home stay parents, the beautiful children and teachers of Nangou Elementary School and all the staff in Dai-ikura resort for taking very good care of us and providing us with wonderful food. My special thanks go out to coordinators of JICE who were great guides and took care of us like our parents would.

I would like to end with this quote of Lao Tzu.
"Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love."

I think this kindness and consideration is what drives the lives of the people of Japan and this kindness is what I have brought back home from Japan.