Japan travel report, 1-11 November 2006. Chris, Yasuhiro, 2nd generation JIN

The Japan-Netherlands Peace Exchange Report..

First of all I want to thank the Japanese embassy, the Japanese government, the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the JIN association, the guide Mrs. Shiga, the hotels, restaurants, all people who have cooperated with this Japan-Netherlands Peace Exchange group of 2006, for an unforgettable experience. And of course I am thankful to be chosen to be on this exchange.

What was the reason for you to enroll for the Japan-Netherlands Peace Exchange?
The reason for me was to experience and see the country of my father’s father, whom we have never seen before. To talk to people and organizations who could find my grandfather and who also talked to my father during his visit to Japan.

What were your first impressions when you arrived in Japan?
My first impressions when I arrived in Japan were actually the next day. When I woke up in my hotel room in Kitakyushu, I thought: “unbelievable, I’m really here. “
The first things I saw were the mountains, the sun rise and the quietness of that moment. And for the first time I saw Japan in daylight, I was feeling quite at home.

What were your impressions of the Japanese people?
I always thought that Japanese people were “closed” people, but on the contrary the Japanese people were very friendly, nice and to be frank also quite open. Also the people and especially young people were dressed in a way quite different than the European/western style.

How much has the exchange expected your expectations?
Before I went to Japan, I’ve only heard and seen things about Japan and out of that I formed an image of how it is to live in Japan or at least to be in Japan.
And so far it was what I expected, but on the other hand I haven’t seen it all … … So may be it can be beyond my expectations…?

How much has the exchange meant to you in reference to your Japanese background?
This trip meant a lot to me, not as much as my father, but to be in the country of a man and a family (my grandfather’s) who I have never met and never known and somehow you feel connected…
It is a feeling I cannot explain, but I always had it. Finally I was in a country which I have never seen before with my own eyes, but I have always carried it in my heart.

What are your future plans with regard to Japan?
I am trying to study in Japan, to learn Japanese and if it is possible to work there. But one thing is certain I will go back there for business, pleasure or both.

The trip was extraordinary. It was a pity we didn’t visit any school, but on the other hand we have seen a lot of schoolchildren during the trip. I think it is great that Japan has a connection with the Netherlands. I wouldn’t have known it, if I didn’t experience it for myself. The journey was very good, interesting and smooth. It was very good and quite tight organized and planned. It was a pity that we didn’t have the time to mingle into the normal pace of the Japanese life and people

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