Sunday, March 21, 2010

Introducing Toru Omiya!

Hello All! I hope everyone is enjoying the arrival of lovely spring these days. I am currently making a sweet escape to California for my spring break, and the weather is awesome as expected☺ !

Today, I would like to introduce my Japanese counterpart, Toru Omiya, to you all. We will be leading the roundtable of Sustainable Regionalism: How can urban cities and rural communities coexist?. To give you his brief background, Toru is a junior at Tokyo University, majoring in City planning, and he has a great sense of music. (he used to be a leading singer in his band!) Here are some answers I got from him about himself. Enjoy!

1. Why did you apply to JASC last year?

There were two main reasons why I decided to apply to JASC.

The first one is simply because JASC seemed to me interesting and attractive.
Before applying, I had joined another international exchange activity as well, which made me find myself loving to exchange my idea with people from different background and eager to know different culture and language.

The second is because I wanted to understand what is “real” America.
To be honest, although I didn't have any friends from the U.S nor any experience of visiting the U.S, I felt like that I didn't like this country at that time, which I think is because I was working on some project as volunteer staff at a NGO which dealt with environmental issues in the developing countries. They always strongly insisted the sins of the U.S government policy for global warming. Then, this kind of way of thinking might affected me.

On the other hand, I felt I should have more communication with people from the U.S, because I am a person who doesn’t like to say something without precise understanding.
At that very moment, I happened to know JASC from one of my best friends, who was engaged in this conference as one of JECs. She proudly explained me about JASC, and said, “Toru, you should apply! I 'm sure that JASC must be a life changing experience for you.”
With her words, I finally made up my mind to apply to JASC last year.

2. What were the most memorable, meaningful experiences you got out of JASC?

It is really difficult for me to choose only one experience out of JASC....
Although so many memorable experiences come upon my mind, I think visiting Japanese local city with Amedeles was one of the most interesting experiences for me.
As third site of 61st JASC, we visited one small rural city, Obuse in Nagano prefecture, where about only 10,000 people live.( This is smallest population in Nagano )

As for me, the scenery in Obuse was normal. Of course, people there welcomed us warmly and there were interesting effort and projects to survive as an autonomous community. Except of that, there was nothing particular that stood out for me in this Japanese rural city.
As for most Amedeles,on the other hand, this experiences in Obuse seemed really moving.
This made me surprised and gave me a chance to rethink the question, “What is the uniqueness of Japan?”

Even now, majoring in Japanese city planning at my university, I still have this question in my mind.

3. What are your favorite things to do?

I love listening to music, watching movies, reading books, taking pictures, talking with friends ....etc...
maybe I like to do.....EVERYTHING! haha

4. What is your vision for the 62nd JASC?

There are two vision for the 62nd JASC.

The first is to make this program like a cafeteria.
JASC is such place that we can talk everything we want, so I'm happy if I could be a kind of bond for each person and make JASC kind of a place where delegates feel at ease to talk with each other.

The second is to make a particular conclusion in my Sustainable Regionalism roundtable.
Our RT topic is really vague and there will be some gaps among members towards the discussion.
So it will be hard to decide on one direction, therefore it must be meaningful if we could do that.
With my greatest buddy Marie, I want to make my RT the best ever.

5. Please give your special message to potential JASCers!:)

Even though there is a quite close relationship between our two countries, it seems most people don' t have any occasion to communicate with each other in person.
JASC must be a really great opportunity for you to know “what Japan is”, “what the U.S is” and “who you are”. I want to persuade you strongly to apply to 62nd JASC!

Hurry up if you want to change yourself :)

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