Peace & Justice Study Abroad in Japan #JUSFC
It’s been a few days since I’ve returned from Japan. I’ve been slowly unpacking and playing back all that has happened during our jam-packed two-week trip, and to put it lightly – I had an amazing trip. This was my second time in Japan, so while some things were familiar, I encountered plenty of new and interesting experiences. I recall last year being a little bit nervous before our departure for Japan, but this year on the 16th I knew what to expect and I was just ready to go!
I was so excited to get back to Japan, interact with the Osaka Ohtani students, and just learn more about Japanese culture. One of the things that really strikes me about the Japanese students at Osaka Ohtani is that they are normal kids just like me, but they just speak a different language. I was talking with my fraternity brother, Quinn, who was also on the trip about Kohei, and we both saw Kohei as someone who we would probably be friends with at home. He’s just a normal kid, with normal interests just like us. To me it is quite interesting how someone who grew up thousands and thousands of miles away from you could be so similar. I believe that globalization and the power of social media and the internet have brought people from all stretches of the world closer, and that was quite evident in our trip to Osaka-Ohtani.
Another aspect of the trip that struck me were our discussions about Nuclear weapons, and with the Nagasaki University students about nuclear weapons. Nagasaki University has a program called RECNA which deals with the topic of nuclear weapons abolition. It is very refreshing to hear the perspective of someone who comes from the only country that has had a nuclear weapon used against them during wartime.
Plenty of their viewpoints are unique and are not generally discussed in the U.S.A. One of the most interesting view points I heard was that some of the Japanese students thought it was Japan’s fault for the atomic bombing, and many Japanese people feel immense guilt for the bombings. I had a very hard time coming to terms with this idea. I, as someone who is from the country that dropped atomic weaponry on Japan, feel guilty that my country essentially decimated two cities and killed hundreds of thousands of people. However, there are people from the country that were bombed that do not blame the United States, and instead feel guilt and place blame on Japan. I find this incredibly interesting and is one of the most interesting aspects of the trip that I did not quite face on my previous trip to Nagasaki.