First time meeting for the 2023 fellows (April gathering)
On a sunny Saturday, April 1st, the 2023 fellows gathered at the foundation hall and the April gathering took place. As I had participated in the previous year's presentation session at the end of March it wasn't my first time meeting other fellows, but it was our first time officially speaking to each other and introducing ourselves face-to-face. I arrived at the foundation hall with a sense of nervous anticipation.
Before the event started, I spoke with the other fellows who had arrived early. We are all in the final year of our doctoral degrees and elites in our various fields, with high aims and, I believe, the ability to achieve those aims. I was comforted and inspired by everyone's experiences.
The event started with opening greetings, followed by an explanation of what was to follow. The Atsumi Foundation is passionate about international exchange and international understanding and holds many events for international cultural exchange. It not only financially supports fellows, but through the one-on-one sessions also provides mental as well as career support. I'm proud to be an Atsumi fellow. I was also glad that after getting one's degree, one would join the foundation's alumni network. From now on I would like to contribute to building international cooperation between Japan and other countries.
Next, the staff, guests and fellows lined up and sat down in order of "how much bread you eat for breakfast," and after stating one's name, university, field of research and hometown, introduced ourselves by talking about either "what I'm concerned about now," "how I would talk about myself to my great grandchildren," or "a popular item I bought recently." The MC, Miyake Aya, lit up the room by talking about a popular sansho (Japanese pepper) she had recently bought. The event's guest, Ide Sonoko, had donated to the foundation, and I thought it was wonderful that she was able to support two scholars.
To end, a commemorative photo was taken - a precious visual reminder of the event. With it being the first year following the winding down of COVID and many events and everyday life returning to what they used to be, I'm looking forward to the activities that lie ahead as an Atsumi scholar. To everyone at the Atsumi International Foundation and to my fellow batchmates - kore kara yoroshiku onegai itashimasu - I look forward to working together with you.
Photos of the day
Text: Xu Zixin(2023)
Translation: Sonja Dale