14 students to study in Japan for 6 months

Suzanna Pillay

KUALA LUMPUR: Fourteen secondary school students have been chosen to study in Japan for six months under the Kakehashi Asia Project 2018.

They will be leaving for Japan tomorrow. Kakehashi is Japanese for “building bridges”.

The announcement was made at the Japanese ambassador’s residence today.

They will be living with host families or in dorms at several locations in Japan so that they can experience the country’s culture and education system.

Yong Jun Hao, 16, from Pahang will live with a host family in Hokkaido. He is excited to experience a culture with different do’s and dont’s, but is nervous about problems communicating in Japanese.

”We had to prepare ourselves to be able to explain to them about our country and culture. I am planning to take some batik and mooncakes to Japan to show them.“

Putri Mohamed Shain, 16, from Johor, said she was looking forward to sharing her Malay heritage with her Japanese classmates in Osaka and learning about theirs. She plans to explain about Malay traditional attire and their significance in daily life and traditions, as well as introduce traditional games to her Japanese peers.

Indrah Thelaganathan, 16, who will be heading to Fukushima, is excited that she is going to live in a dorm. She believes that it will help her to become more independent.

”I am planning to bring some frozen roti canai because I am going to miss it so much. They tastes so good. Everybody in the world should try them.

“I am also bringing some Malaysian classic books with me, like the stories of Sang Kancil which I will share with them. I also wanted to pack a congkak set but I couldn’t fit it into my suitcase.”

Japanese Ambassador Dr Makio Miyagawa said 100 students from 18 countries were taking part in the project this year.

He said the Japanese Government was targeting the involvement of up to 1,000 students from 20 Asian countries within five years.

“Many Malaysian youth who were educated in Japan have returned home and are serving in the country in business, government agencies and academia,” he said,

“I see the potential of a bright future between Malaysia and Japan through this programme and hope investment, security cooperation and friendship of both countries will remain intact.”

In a video message to the 14 Malaysian students, which was screened at the event, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the aim was to expose them to the culture and way of life of the Japanese.

He said the bigger goal was to build relationships between students from different countries, with the hope of lasting cooperation in adulthood and avoid tensions that often exist between countries.

“The programme aims to send students from various countries, including Malaysia, to Japan, where they will stay with host families and go to Japanese school to experience and learn the Japanese lifestyle.” © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd