Japan's great first impression will last a lifetime
I had the opportunity to enjoy a wonderful trip to the modern country that is Japan. Even though it was only for a short time I will never forget what I experienced there.
My first time visit was funded by the Japanese government through the JENESYS (Japan East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths) study tour. It was sponsored by the Japan International Cooperation Centre hosting young people from the Asia-Pacific Region from February 28 to March 7.
Our group poses together while visiting Japan recently on the JENESYS study tour.
Some 28 young people from Laos and other nations from the Asia-Pacific region had the opportunity to learn about Japanese lifestyles, economy, culture and history through the programme.
On the first day we arrived in Tokyo I was truly amazed because I could see that it was a very pleasant and modern country.
I witnessed its modern socio-economic and transportation development with Japan noted for its use of technology. One important thing that impressed me was the cleanliness of the cities.
I stayed for just a week but I could see that Japanese people are very punctual, strictly observe rules and are very hardworking. I was very privileged to be able to meet Mr Satomi and his lovely family.
I had an opportunity to learn about the Japanese lifestyle and how to cook the dish maki zushi with Mr Satomi and his family.
Our visit was only four hours but I enjoyed cooking with the family who were so happy and friendly. In fact, having to leave almost brought many in our group to tears such was the pleasant experience.
A highlight for our group was visiting one of Japan's most famous landmarks, Osaka Castle, where we learned about its history.
In 1583, Hideyoshi Toyotomi, a general of the era of civil wars began construction of Osaka Castle. The main tower has gone through several reconstructions due to fire during the Toyotomi Regime, when it was attacked by Tokugawa troops a few years after Hideyoshi's death, as well as being struck by lightning in 1665. Reconstruction with financial contributions from Osaka citizens about 80 years ago ensures the main castle tower is still a symbol of the city.
Kiyomizu Temple was another amazing place to visit located on the top of a 242 metre-high mount. In 1994, it was registered on the UNESCO World Culture Heritage List. Kiyomizu Temple features a large veranda, and the main building enshrines an image of the 11-faced Kannon (Goddess of Mercy).
We all commented on the attractive culture of Japan and the respect that its people have for their temples. However, every place in Japan is very nice and creates a great impression.
This was my first visit to the wonderful and modern country that is Japan and I was very excited to be part of the programme. It was very enjoyable for all of the participating Asean youth, who used the time to build friendships and professional relationships.
Personally, I am very grateful to the Japanese government for providing me with the opportunity to participate in the JENESYS study tour. I saw many new things and gained a new appreciation for all of the tourism wonders there are to be enjoyed in Japan.
By Phomphong Laoin
(Latest Update March 18, 2017)