Sunday, July 31, 2011

We're In Japan

Hi eveyone!

This is Courtney, posting an update from the beautiful Niigata, Japan! Sorry that it took a few days to get a post rolling, but while we have the ability to access internet at any time, we don't often use it, so this is the first chance we got.

Travelling to Japan was crazy! We woke up at 3:00am to leave fore the airport, where we took a flight to Chicago. In Chicago we connected to Japan, and when we arrived we hopped on a bus to take us to our first sight, Niigata. The bus ride was estimated to be about 5 or 6 hours, but an historic amount of rain hit Niigata prefecture the day of our arrival, and as a result all of the roads were closed. So we ended up stranded at a truck stop for six hours (in the middle of the night!), and eventually arrived at our hotel after a 12 hour ride! We left for Japan on the 27th, and arrived at 3:30am on the 29th after 34 hours of non-stop travel. Then we got about 3-4 hours of sleep to wake up for the opening ceremonies. It was quite a trip, but we're here and we're safe!

Kuni and I stranded at a truck stop somewhere in Niigata. Around 1:00am, maybe?

So far we've been spending a lot of time in our round table study groups and getting to know each other, but today we had a really amazing experience discussing disaster relief. As a group we travelled to the village of Yamakoshi, an absolutely stunning mountanous region that has been struck by a multitude of natural disasters such as earthquakes, landslides, and flooding. Even though the earthquakes that struck Yamakoshi village happened in 2004, the event still affects the community today, and we were fortunate enough to be able to travel through and witness the beautiful resilience of the community. Afterwards we had a forum discussing disaster relief with many distinguished guests who are active in disaster relief efforts, as well as students who shared their personal experiences and volunteer testimonies. With the recent devastation of the Tohoku Earthquake that hit Japan in March, discussing what we can do as students to address natural disasters provide relief, and it was a really beautiful experience. Looking forward to sharing more as we move forward!


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

American Orientation

Hi everyone!

This is Courtney updating from the beautiful Carleton College, and we're just wrapping up with American Orientation here! Tomorrow at 3:15 AM we will be waking up to leave for the airport where we will fly first to Chicago, then 14 hours to Tokyo, Japan. From there we will take a bus to our first destination, Niigata, where we will begin the conference and meet the Japan Delegation.

So far here at orientation we have been spending a lot of time bonding with each other and working in our round table groups. I'm learning so much already and we've barely begun, so looking forward to what's ahead!

At the beautiful Carleton campus.

Barbeque on the island.

Kuni grilling us some food.

We won't arrive in Niigata until late in the evening on the 28th, but we'll update you as soon as we can. Thanks!

- Courtney

Friday, July 22, 2011

Pre-American Orientation

Hi everyone,

Eight of us, JASC Eexecutive Comittees, came to Carlton College yesterday to prepare for the JASC America Orientation.
Next few days untill the AO starts, we will be really crazy BUT fun!!!!
Almost a year of our hard work and planning come down to the next 30 days!!!!
I am very excited.
I just want to do my best to make the most of my JASC experience.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

63rd Japan-America Student Conference

Hi there! This is Courtney and Kuni, thanks for joining us as we travel through Japan as delegates of the 63rd Japan-America Student Conference!
The Japan-America Student Conference (JASC) is a time-honored tradition for young leaders, initiated in 1934 by Tokyo University students concerned by pre-war relations with the U.S. These Japanese students invited a delegation of U.S. students to Japan to openly discuss pressing issues of the day. The following year, American students reciprocated the invitation by hosting a delegation of Japanese students in the U.S. Through the years, this unique cultural interchange has grown in purpose and scope and now includes more than 4,000 alumni on both sides of the Pacific.

This year the 63rd JASC will be held in Japan from July 28th to August 21st, where a group of 36 students from America and 36 students from Japan will meet in Japan to discuss world issues, work together as global citizens to impact the global community, and form relationships that will guide us into the future!

About Kuni and Courtney:         
Last year, Kuni was one of 70 students (35 from each country) selected for the 62nd Japan-America Student Conference that took place in the United States. At the conference, Kuni quickly set himself apart as a leader and was elected to the Executive Board of 16 students in charge of organizing this summer's conference in the Japanese cities of Niigata, Kyoto, Tokyo, and the prefecture of Okinawa. Kuni will also lead a roundtable at the conference on strengthening the ties between nations through comprehensive security, where he hopes to analyze the long-term strategic possibilities for both nations to promote the peace and prosperity of East Asia and the international community. Kuni was born and raised in Okinawa, Japan, and is currently a sophomore at Saint John’s University where he is pursuing a major in Political Science with a focus in International Relations. Here at CSB/SJU Kunii is a resident assistant in Mary Hall, an active member of the International Affairs Club, and will be a part of the Extending the Link team this upcoming school year.
This year, Courtney applied to take part in the 63rd JASC and was accepted from a competitive nationwide pool of applicants. The application process required Kimball to write four essays and submit a transcript, resume, and writing sample. Professors Martin Connell and Richard Bohr also supported her through letters of reference. Courtney is from Apple Valley, Minnesota, and is currently a sophomore at the College of Saint Benedict, where she is pursuing majors in both Theology and Asian Studies, as well as a minor in Japanese. Here at CSB/SJU Courtney is involved with Magis Ministries, intramural sports, and the Student Ambassador program. At the conference she will be a member of the roundtable on globalization, where she will be discussing the insight offered by the theories and paradigms of the past, while at the same time asking what we need to rethink, or what new ideas and theories we must consider, as we attempt to understand the globalizing world.

We would like to extend a special thanks to the following:
The CSB Senate
The SJU Senate
The CSB Office of the President
The SJU Office of the President
The CSB/SJU Asian Studies Department

Thank you so much for all of your support; it is because of you that this has been made possible! Overall we are looking forward to making a difference, and we cannot wait to share our experiences with you when we return!