Inadequate Reports or Confession of the Karuizawa Trip

I feel sorry for reporting on the Karuizawa Trip of this year no matter how I think of it. My report seems to be too inadequate. First of all, I have to confess the reasons for that. My Karuizawa trip began with hurrying to the venue belatedly on the second day of the schedule which started on July 20th. Furthermore, I missed my stop, Karuizawa station and created a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the landscape of Nagano, making AISF people worry. That was why I think that my report on this trip is obviously inadequate. However, those who let me report on this trip, including Imanishi-san, thank you very much! (This is the second confession.)

Now, Karuizawa, where I hurried to reach from Nagano station, was colored with mysterious light green, which was completely different from the strong green in Tokyo. The Training Center, which was around five minutes away from Karuizawa station by taxi, was a completely another world. Shimazu-san and Tanihara-san welcomed me with smiles. My AISF colleagues gathering at lunch, talked about activities such as Karuizawa tour and an orientation of the previous day, looking accustomed to the atmosphere of Karuizawa. As I ate a Kamameshi (rice boiled with meat and vegetables in a small pot), being packed in the friendly atmosphere, I also became gradually used to Karuizawa and the AISF trip of this year.

After a leisurely lunch break, the 28th SGRA forum ' The Dignity of Life and the Role of Religions' was held at a meeting room of the Training Center from 2:00 p.m.. The forum questioned the issue of life which we tend to overlook in our everyday life. The discussion stimulated my brain which had become sleepy after lunch. The discussions which approached the human life and death, made by people from different kinds of research areas and fields of work, livened up the forum.

This vigor continued up to a dinner time and the cafeteria was filled with the comfortable rhythm of various voices. In the meantime, as Shimazu-san called us to get out to the parking lot, I found that they played with fireworks which were put off because of the rain on the previous day and that was like a festival. I saw children running around the garden, grownups laughing loudly, and splattering fireworks. Incidentally, my favorite is 'ultra- modest' sparkler called "Senko-hanabi" and I enjoyed them many times competing with the others.

Basking in the afterglow of the fireworks, the panel discussion restarted and ended in one and a half hours. After that, people flew into the cafeteria and started to talk around each table, drinking cold beer. The night of Karuizawa passed quickly talking with considerable heat as if we crossed various borders many times. As I noticed that dawn was coming from a distance, I went back to my room, but I do not know whether I slept well or not. Being awakened to the sound of people's footsteps going to have breakfast, I hurried to eat breakfast. After that I went out to Karuizawa tour with Chan Chai-fong, Lee Eungyong and Kim Minsuk.

As we took a relaxing walk beside the Lake Shiozawa on the south part of Karuizawa, we took photos. Then we went to the Musee Peynet where we were excited at the cuteness of his works. After that, we headed toward the Sezon Museum of Modern Art which is proud of its collection 20th century art. It is located at the bottom of a grand portal and a sculpture garden. I encountered many works that are normally hard to see, so I was excited and ran about in the exhibition room. After that we headed to Rijicho's villa, building up our expectations on the BBQ party which is the 3rd day event of our Karuizawa trip.

Being surrounded by sickly and beautiful greenery of Karuizawa, the BBQ party had already started. Uighur-style barbecue and Carrot rice by Abudushukur Mejit; Japanese Oden by Mr Yoshio Hara; grilled meat prepared by Korean seniors; various salads and Korean kimchi, and so on: these dishes must have made everyone happy. Moreover, there was watermelon splitting game and lovely songs by Mr. Inoue Vimala. Of course, at last we took a commemorative photo in front of Tanihara-san's camera.

This is my inadequate report on the trip. At the end, I would like to make another confession. I never expected this trip could be so much fun. Also, I was able to have a dynamic and productive time which made me reflect on myself by contacting with different world of diverse people. I would like to thank you to all in Atsumi-zaidan, including Rijicho-sama, and to everyone enjoyed such a precious trip together.

by Park Sohyun (2007 Raccoon)

Translated by Fusae Ito

The photos of Karuizawa Trip in five folders can be found in the following URL.