(1st-year, Rajshahi University of Engineering & Technology)
Just some days before the registration closes, I applied to be a part of the Bangladesh Japan Exchange Project 2021; I never thought it would turn into one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. After being selected, I felt sad as it’s happening online, so I’m missing out on the chance to visit Japan. However, the whole program changed my sadness into a basket of happiness and warm memories.
The night before our first pre-program day, I was a bit scared; would I adjust to all of them? Will the Japanese accept me gladly into their conversations? Or what is going to happen if I say something wrong that will make them upset? All the doubts got cleared after our first session. I was warmly accepted into this peer group and felt perfectly comfortable; the sky of self-doubt just vanished like magic!
We had three pre-programs days where we discussed our surface culture such as, languages ( I loved all those Japanese words! ), food habits, clothes, festivals, songs, and many things more. The most exciting day was day 02 where we all were in our traditional clothes and brought food online! As Bangladeshis and Japanese have different food habits and eating rituals, we ate in front of our camera and showed traditional foods to each other.
For me, the topic seemed pretty hard, but a big thanks to our professor and organizers. They divided the entire session into different modules that make all of us understand the topic deeply. Our main program was hosted from August 22 to August 27, following the closing ceremony on August 28. On our first day, we discussed a general introduction. Day by day, we entered into social pros and cons, our family structure and the differences, our country facilities and educational interests, and so many things. These things led us to the core part of this program, the “Deep Culture”.
We all searched our memories of childhood to find out what influences we had as a child. And then the most beautiful thing about this program happened. We started to know ourselves. We dug down and talked about our fears, values, and norms, some unforgettable incidents that many had locked down in our hearts. We shared all of these beautiful life stories with each other. The person I was talking to at that moment had to endure a long journey to come into this position. The human we became were based on our life lessons and thoughts of life. Some of us were religious, and some weren’t, but we learned to respect each other’s values and perspectives of seeing life. Some had problems like inferiority complex, some had a fear of mixing with people or going to school, but none of this stopped us from being good humans or helping each other grow.
The support I got from these people is life-saving. Their warm words and caring gestures made me so comfortable that I felt I could talk to them continuously all day. Not for a second, I felt that I know these people online and have just met them for 3 days. I felt they are my long-lost friends whom I’ve reconnected with through the internet. We all felt sad, realizing that this program is going to end on August 28.
After that, we won’t meet these fantastic people regularly.
The organizers kindly arranged a big closing ceremony for us. And we became too glad to see our honorable chief guest, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Dhaka, Professor Akhtaruzzaman, inaugurating the ceremony. We also had renowned professors from universities as guests on our closing day, which gave us the joy of hearing from wise minds. And the reflection wouldn’t end if I don’t share the tales of Professor Akinori Seki. This one-man-army monitored every single thing of this program along with helping participants to flourish themselves more. My heartfelt respect to Sir for guiding us throughout the sessions, and I’m blessed to meet him and taking his guidelines.
Before I joined this program, I was a person who just used to exist for her life, not living it—like every day following the same routine, joining my zoom classes, completing my assignments and exams, doing some work online, and then sleeping again. But, after joining this program and hearing the word “ Deep Culture” for the first time in my life, I get to know about myself; I got introduced to the Rehnuma Taskin living inside me for so long. This program gave me a new perspective of my life; I learned to believe in myself from the participants. When we had all our discussions in breakout rooms, it may not be essential to outsiders, but all those brainstorming help understand our lives and how we have evolved as humans. The deep culture seemed far more profound than we thought before. In search of new friends from Japan, I also get new dimensions of my life. Bangladesh and Japan may have the language barrier, cultural barrier but our thoughts as a human helped each of us to recheck our deep culture.