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Report on the Kiin Festival "Ochanomizu University Students' Island Living Experience" (Nov.2022)


Scene of the display.

At the 73rd Kiin Festival (university festival) held on November 12 and 13, 2022, Hinoko MIZUKOSHI, a senior student in the Educational Science Course of the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences in the Faculty of Education, gave a presentation "Ochanomizu University Students' Island Living Experience" both in person and as a video shown on YouTube. The presentation was organized by Ama-Bhutan Project, and also was made as a part of the activities of the Global Cooperation Center's "Living Together" Study Group. She shared her experience of living in Ama Town, a part of the Oki Islands (isolated islands in Japan Sea, Shimane Prefecture) while on leave from the university during the last academic year (2021).

Following are the comments from Ms. Mizukoshi.

A trivial thought, "What would happen if I tried to tell people what I think?” was the motive for the presentation. After visiting Ama Town, I realized that I can choose the environment and society I belong to and that there is no right answer. This realization made it easier for me to breathe. On the other hand, I became even more confused with my life, because I did not know how to make a choice. I had an indescribable sense of discomfort with society, but I struggled with the fact that I kept it to myself.

The best thing about living on the island was the thought that there might be a place where I could be myself. The reason for this is that I have learned through my relationships with many people that I do not have to push aside my own sense of discomfort in order to be accepted. If you don't tell them, they won't get the message, but if you do, something might happen. Then, I thought, why not share my thoughts with someone else, and I decided to present my ideas at the Kiin Festival.

Sitting in the corner of the exhibition room on the day of my presentation at the Festival, I was surprised to see so many people visiting the exhibition. I was very happy to see so many people looking carefully at my handwritten poster with lots of text. I was encouraged by many of the parents who confided in me about their hesitations when they were college students, or college students who are struggling with the same issues as I am. The comments, "Something has become so much easier," and "Life has become a little easier," made me feel grateful that I had the courage to give my talk.

Of course, I have received some harsh comments about my immature way of thinking, the ideas of a young person. My words may have hurt someone unexpectedly. I realize the weight of presenting my own words to an indeterminate number of people, that I embrace the fear of the words I say. But in these two days of my presentation, I have embraced the possibility that we can connect with others through our words. If I can ease someone’s difficulties in life by sending out my thoughts, I want to continue to weave my words to them, being aware of the responsibility for that.

I am sure that what is important is in the soft ambiguity that cannot be easily be judged whether black or white. We tend to chase after correctness, but I want to cherish kindness. Through this talk, I feel that I have taken the first step toward valuing kindness. I thank everyone who attended my talk session very much. I want to continue to live with the encouragement of this experience.

(Hinoko MIZUKOSHI, senior student, Educational Sciences. Department of Human and Social Sciences, Faculty of Letters and Education )

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