Outing to Kikuchi Valley and Mount Aso!

Mount Aso

Kikuchi Valley

For me, although I have been studying in Kyusyu for a while, this was my first time to go to Kikuchi Valley to see the waterfall in Kumamoto Prefecture. It was amazing! There are many waterfalls in my country, but Kikuchi Valley was really special. I felt that especially in the summer, it was very cool and it was a peaceful environment. After Kikuchi, the World Campus International group went to Aso Mountain, which provided us with spectacular 360 degree views! On our way up Mount Aso on a gondola, I was able to see a long line of mountains, almost resembling the Great Wall of China. It was a fantastic day!!!

(Cherilyn Than Than, Myanmar)

Visit to Manda Mine in Arao

Manda Mine Museum

In front of Arao Manda Mine Site

During 124 years, Manda Mine contributed to a modernization of Japan, so this mine has a historic value. According to Mr. Horiuchi, who used to work in Manda Mine, this mine was accepting of all people. In other words, everyone who had a strong body could work for this mine no matter what your background was. Mr. Horiuchi was full of passion while talking about the Manda mine. I was impressed with his speech and thought about its potential registration as a World Heritage Site. When we discussed a registration to the World Heritage Site, someone pointed out a negative viewpoint about the Manda Mine, such as its lack of popularity in Arao city. It is important for us to think about both the positive and negative viewpoints of the mine. I got a wonderful opportunity to think about some history of Japan, which is my own country.

(Risa Taniwaki, Japan)

Just to Make a Difference

Arao City Kids Interaction Day

Yesterday, the Arao Local Organizing Committee arranged for the World Campus International members to play with local community children. When we went to interact with the Japanese kids, I thought that we are making some kind of difference. We are changing lives and even if they are not aware, they are also changing our lives as well. What made it bearable to play all those games cheerfully in all that heat were their beautiful shy smiles and their hopeful and searching eyes. I believe, even one minute, even a second or just one word, one look or one smile can change a life. Hopefully, with what we did today, we were lucky enough to touch those children’s bright futures a little bit…

(Burcu Tepik, Turkey)

Visit to Kumamoto Castle and Stork’s Cradle

Visit to Kumamoto Castle

Lecture by Taiji Hasuda

The start of this summer’s third program in Arao provided World Campus International members the opportunity to visit Kumamoto Castle! It is considered one of the strongest castles in Japan. Under the intense heat of the Japanese summer, we walked inside the fortress’ walls, which have withstood a 52-days siege. A guide explained the history of the castle to us and we were later able to explore the premises by ourselves through a scavenger hunt.

After a quick picnic lunch, we headed towards Jikei Hospital, a baby drop-off center that opened in May 2006. The ‘Cradle of Stork’ offers a safe environment for desperate parents to abandon their baby. The Cradle was founded as a ‘last resort system’ to save the lives of babies who would otherwise be left in unsafe environments. Taiji Hasuda, the chief director of the hospital and founder of hospital wishes such places did not exist. The hospital offers 24/7 counseling services to dispel mothers from leaving their children.

Since the establishment of the Cradle, 500 consultations have taken place, which is more than a 1000% increase. Despite its successes, the “Cradle” in Japan remains the only baby post in Japan and represents a controversial issue. In my opinion, the Cradle of Stork is an instrument in saving the lives of unwanted babies who might have been abandoned to perish. Such places are necessary in order to prevent dangerous situations. I think education on contraception and pregnancies, as well as support for expecting mothers and lifting some restrictions on abortions are important steps to resolve this complicated and controversial issue.

(Liz Cullen, Canada)