As a JACAFA alumnus,it was a great honor for me to be a part of the Japan Visit Program 2019. Enthusiasm and strong interest accompanied me throughout the whole visit. The organizers of the Visit Program did amazing job to make this program memorable, interesting, beneficial and insightful. The combination of meetings, tours and Japan Central Asia Exchange Forum made this program more interactive and useful.
With regard to Japanese people, culture and government structure I found a lot of positive things that lack in other corners of the world. I found Japanese people very dedicated, honest and disciplined. Despite reaching the latest technology in all spheres of the life, they could save their language, history, culture and traditions in an undisturbed form. It is worth to mention that I have learnt a lot of interesting and beneficial things that I would apply into practice upon completion the Japan Visit Program.
I arrived to Narita Airport at 9:55 a.m. which is a big airport, 70 km far from Tokyo city. Check-in and passing from passport control took about 25 minutes. I found people in the airport very silent but friendly. Unfortunately most of them did not know English that cause a problem with communication.
Later on, I realized that Japanese people value their native language the most and they do not find necessary to learn foreign languages including English language. I received my luggage and changed some money in exchange office inside the Narita airport. Afterwards following Kyoko-san instructions I bought my bus ticket from Limousine Bus Company to Akasaka city where the hotel was located. Cashier told me I have to wait for 1 hour and 20 minutes. So, I decided to wait for other JVP participants. They arrived 10 minutes later, but Konul-san’s luggage stuck in Moscow airport and she had to wait for the luggage. Fortunately, at the last minute Konul-san, Azamat-san and Ulukman-san reached Akasaka Limousine Bus and we all together continued our travel. I am very grateful to Konul-san, Azamat-san and Ulukman-san for helping me with heavy luggage, especially it was important for me to bring the portrait of Mr. Sasakawa without any damage.
The bus arrived on time as expected and I didn’t notice any delays on public transportation as punctuality and discipline are the important qualities of Japanese people. The bus was very comfortable with free Wi-Fi. After one hour and twenty minutes we arrived to the Hotel Vista Premio, Akasaka city. It was a small, clean and cool hotel. Honestly, Japan is very clean and I appreciate the quality of Japanese people to maintain cleanliness everywhere. The room hotel also was clean and comfortable. For communication purposes there was a mobile phone for using during the stay in Japan. In the evening we had a joint dinner with Kyoko-san. We ate Sushi and discussed our next day plans.
On Saturday, we bought our breakfast from Tokyo Station shop and had breakfast inside the train. I have never seen before such a big station in my life. To me it looked bigger than Paris, Moscow and New York stations. I also thought that all population of Tokyo at that time had gathered in this station. Tokyo station is huge and crowded, thousands of people are walking, running and buying tickets to go to work and it was incredible.
We had our breakfast inside the train during our trip to Kyoto city- old capital of Japan. Immediately after check-in, we paid a visit to Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion). Kinkakuji is a Zen temple in Kyoto in the middle of a lake.
After a long trip on Saturday we all got tired and some participants woke up later. We had our breakfast in hotel and visited Kiyomizu Temple. It was a biggest temple I have ever seen in my life. Everyday thousands of local and foreign tourists come to see Kiyomizu Temple. It is located between mountains with a nice nature and people with national dresses add special beauty to this atmosphere. There are a lot of shops and restaurants nearby temple. It was a nice surprise for me to see a Halal Restaurant in Kiyomizu Temple. We bought some souvenirs, took a lot of photos, ate special traditional Japanese food and came back to Tokyo.
We started our day from the trip to Tsukuba city. It takes more than one hour from Tokyo to Tsukuba. We left our luggage at the hotel and we paid a visit to Tsukuba University. Tsukuba University is a very old and big university with more than 20 thousand students. Out of them around two thousand are foreign students. We had a campus tour and visited Proton Medical Research Center. I was attracted by their fascinating research works. Impressive presentation made by Professor Takeji Sakae-san about Proton Beam Therapy and how they fight against Cancer diseases. He demonstrated machines producing Proton and explained how the accelerating devices work. Once again I was a witness of an incredible job done by Japanese people.
Afterwards, we visited International Institute for Integrative Sleep Medicine (IIIS). First the idea of establishment of a Sleep Institute seemed very strange to me, but after presentation and an Institute tour I changed my mind 180 degrees. I agree that sleeping is very important in our life. Every night at least we have to sleep 6-7 hours for rejuvenation. In addition, I learnt a lot of necessary information regarding sleeping from this Institution and appreciate their work much.
Then, we had meetings with Computer Science Department and Empowerment Studio Department. In the Computer Science Department we became acquainted with robots which make the life easier, particularly for the people with disabilities. In the Empowerment Studio Department upon wearing 3D glasses we experienced animated adventures and had fun.
In the evening, I had dinner with Tajik Students of Tsukuba University and they told about their life and study in Tsukuba.
25th of June, Tuesday
On Tuesday, we participated in the “Japan Central Asia Exchange Forum” in the Tsukuba University. After welcoming speech made by Kyoko-san the JVP 2019 participants and Tsukuba University students made presentations. I found all presentations interesting, but most of all I enjoyed the presentation of Ulukman-san about Kyrgyzstan. The variety of subjects including questions and answers made the Forum colorful and interesting. Mori-san wrapped-up the Forum and wished for us successes in our future endeavors. The Forum followed by a special dinner organized by Tsukuba University administration. At the end of the day we departed from Tsukuba to Tokyo.
26th of June, Wednesday
On Wednesday, we started our program with visiting of Nittsuu Travel Company. This is one the biggest travel agencies and logistic companies in Japan. One of the representatives of the Nittsuu Travel Company welcomed us and introduced with their departments and methods of their work.
Afterwards, we had an opportunity to meet with Chairman of the Nippon Foundation Yohei Sasakawa-san. Impressive speech made by Sasakawa-san and very warm conversation between JAFACA alumnus made us more motivated. It was a great honor for all JACAFA alumnus, because with the support of Mr. Sasakawa we got scholarships during our education in Turkey. We are always thankful to Sasakawa-san for his usual support.
At the end of meeting we gave a gift to Mr. Sasakawa. It was his portrait made by special Tajikistan stones. All members of Nippon Foundation and JAFACA were surprised after seeing this portrait. At the end we took a photo for keepsake with Sasakawa-san with his portrait.
After lunch, we met with the Special Advisor to Prime Minister Dr. Taniguchi-san in the Prime Minister Residence. Upon checking our passports we entered the Prime Minister Residence. It was a very nice, simple and calm place. There were a lot of journalists in one corner of the hall and they continuously provide latest information to public. The information was about who met with the Prime Minister, what was the purpose of meeting, what would be future plans etc.
The Special Advisor to Prime Minister introduced us with the work of Residence and gave some useful recommendations to us. Dr. Taniguchi-san has command knowledge of English language. I never met someone who knew English in such professional way. At the end of meeting he advised us to value and save our native language and history.
This day we spent our time in Tokyo sightseeing. Due to the fact Tokyo is very large we could visit only few places.
At 17:00 p.m. we paid visit to the Paralympic Support Center which is located in the Nippon Foundation building. We saw a lot of amazing and interesting things. The Paralympic Organizers told us how organization of the event is taking place. They provided favorable conditions for persons with disabilities. I think Tokyo will conduct this event at the highest level. We took some photos with the mascots of both the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020. Paralympic mascot named Someity and Olympic mascot Miraitowa.
We had our dinner in one of famous restaurants of Tokyo – Century Court with the Nippon Foundation staff. We had very lively discussion during our dinner. Mr. Mori gave us very productive recommendations such as: “You are young now and have many skills. Each of you is able to bring your society to a higher level by using your knowledge and skills. Always try to build a better future and be loyal to your country. ‘’ At the end, we took a collective photo for keepsake.
According to our program it was our last day in Tokyo. We decided to go for sightseeing in Tokyo. We were in the markets and bought gifts and until evening had a nice walk. Of course, to see all sightseeing in Tokyo you need a month, but unfortunately, our time was limited.
In general, it was a nice experience for me and I express my deepest gratitude to organizers of JVP 2019. I encourage other alumnus to try their chance and participate in this amazing program.