SGRA Kawaraban (Essay) in English
LAI Sihyu “Drifting Raccoon”
Raccoon, logo of Atsumi International Foundation, has been drawn by the late ATSUMI Takeo, Chairman of Kajima Corporation.
When I first saw the raccoon logo first, it reminded me of the Ghibli Movie “Battle of HEISEI PON-POKO Tanuki (raccoon)”. The movie is pure and naïve. But it had a marvelous reality too. In this movie, raccoons exerted themselves to live in a city having taken the shape of human beings at the final phase. When I came to Japan as an international student, it was the time I had finished my visit to France and America. When I put myself in a position of nonnative speaker, it makes me feel that I cannot keep myself as it is, despite I adapt to keep going my daily life. Even a raccoon which can take the shape of human being struggled in intercultural society. So, this movie made me determine that I, as an ordinary human being, have no choice to do my best to adapt myself to circumstances gradually.
When I came to Japan from Taiwan, one of my friends in Taipei told me “I am envious of you. People in Tokyo are modest and polite”. When I went to Paris, a friend of mine in Tokyo told me “You are lucky to go to Paris because Paris is romantic and poetic.” In America, each one told me “You are lucky to go to Boston. Students in Boston are bright and confident.” All of them are interested in whether the acquaintances whom I meet are reported in news or on the internet. May be, that they asked me based on articles on SNS.
Everything in my daily life was different from what I came to know by news or internet. Actual conversation with my friends were based on an event at hand or hometown and common contents of our study rather than political issues. I felt disagreeable in current trend that people like to know or understand outer world through social networking. Tokyo in internet is not the one which I know even Paris and Boston is also the same. Recently, I felt firmly that we need to discuss the topic not solely but in large area and look what people worry and think about.
We are forming our ego based on our experiences and as a result, we are living as a multifaced individual. I think difference in experiences of each person is more important than differences of nations and languages. If people have any prejudice based on social networking, they cannot develop real friendship in the external world. I like to express my interest visiting to foreign countries and study for years as “understanding “friendship” and knowing each other, rather than just visiting “countries”. Because charity and warmth of people is apprehensive, rather than their economic and political development, and has influenced my memory deeply and devised present myself.
I trod many lands and studied various cultures there. Reason why I did not loose sight of myself is I was blessed with lot of friends who helped me kindly.
Since I had such state of minds, I had special affinity for the logo of raccoon of Atsumi International Foundation. Thanks to simultaneous scholarship students and staff members of the Foundation, I could spend this year of my life calmly and safely staring at myself.
During such days, I could sort out my knowledge of study for the few years and wisdom of my life. Now ending my scholarship in Japan, I will remain thankful and came to Tokyo through destiny and all the people who believed in me when I was depressed. Every experience in my life heighten a little seedling, training my heart strongly, absorbing all the nutrition, changing and trying experience into “Better Destiny”.
Scholarship students used to experience partings either long or short successively and I had a feeling of heartrending in the past. However, I think it should be congratulated willingly nowadays because every parting means taking a step forward. In this modern society, everybody (every raccoon), who is trying to live, is like walking on a lonely planet.
When you captivate yourself in walking single-mindedly, you realize advertently anybody, who live far apart and remembers you. Warmth which you feel in your mind in such occasion is a loneliness which is a relief.
LAI Sihyu / Researcher of Academia Sinica (Taiwan)
Translated by Kazuo Kawamura
English checked by Sabina Koirala