We're back from Bonding Camp! (GLFP 6th Cohort)
A GLFP 6th Cohort Bonding Camp took place in Ikaho as a total of 25 members participated, including US students who had just arrived in Japan to study, Waseda students who had returned from studying in the US, faculty and staff. The event was the first time the members met with each other, with the aim of team-building for studying together for the coming year. We left Okuma Auditorium on September 14, the first day of a three-day holiday, and although it was a short trip staying in Ikaho for one night, it was a very fulfilling opportunity as you will read below.
On the first day in the bus, the students introduced themselves to each other, and Waseda students explained what Waseda University is like as Dr. Matsuoka, who is in charge of the GLFP Forum, acted as facilitator. Just one round of self-introduction showed how diverse the backgrounds of the students gathered for the program were. After passing through a somewhat congested highway, we visited places such as Kamitsukeno Haniwa no Sato Park and a restaurant that recreated a traditional Japanese house, which probably made the students from the US feel they had actually come to Japan. During meal time, Waseda students gave explanations of local specialty products, and Kurioka-san’s description of konnyaku imo (devil’s tongue) was easy to understand, prompting a big round of applause. After arriving at Ikaho, we strolled around town, and at night, there was a heated discussion among students about what kind of research they wanted to do in the upcoming classes.
On the second day, after visiting Haruna Jinja Shrine, we experienced making udon noodles for lunch. Everyone was praising each other how good their finished products were, but we heard later on that after they got home, they found the noodles to be stuck together into a large gnocchi-like state. As always, some of the students seemed tired and were nodding off in the return bus, but it was also a sign that they had a great time.
When we came back to the Okuma Auditorium, we realized it was a very short two day one night trip. Rather than just a sightseeing trip, it was a meaningful time to deepen mutual understanding, as each student had a proper role of learning about Ikaho in advance and explained to others about the local area, as well as having thorough discussions with the US students whom the other students had just met.