Introduction of the new intern

Cecile

Hello, my name is Cécile. I’m from Switzerland and 20 years old. At the moment I’m studying Japanese Studies and Popular Cultures at University of Zurich. I’d like to graduate next summer. Until the end of August I’ll do an internship at Groundwork Fukuoka.

My hobbies are travelling, languages, cooking, music, sports, meeting people and many more.

I’m interested in Asia since I was a child; in the food, the languages, the letters, the people and basically anything different. In primary school a friend showed me some Manga and I started to be especially interested in Japan. Because the different culture and language captivated me, I finally decided to study Japanese studies.

This is my third time visiting Japan. In 2013 I went to a language school in Fukuoka for one month and last summer I spent a month in Tokyo and joined an intercultural project. This time I decided to do an internship so I have more contact with the japanese people and culture and can improve my Japanese. Besides, I’d like see what working here is like, because I intend to work in Japan after my graduation.

I’m looking forward to a great internship!

Joyo report

Joyo is a beautiful town in the Fukuoka prefecture with pure nature and lushly green. However even this city suffers from depopulation and the amount of vacant houses is increasing year by year. Since also the unused agricultural fields are becoming more and more, Groundwork Fukuoka started to plant vegetables, such as sweet potatoes. In order to help the city and stop it from its decomposition, the “Sweet Potato Shochu distilled liquor” Project” started in 2010.

To prepare the ground for the planting of the potatoes, four people of Groundwork and two local people met in Joyo yesterday. We left the office at around 8am and arrived an hour later. After picking up some more utensils, we started working on the field from around 9.30am. While two were cutting the grass, the others were collecting it with rakes. It was sunny almost all the time and around 26 degrees, so working there was very exhausting and tiring. Luckily we brought cold Japanese tea with which we were able to refresh ourselves in the breaks.

Afterwards the soil got aerated and we put new soil with fertilizer on top. After working for almost 4 hours in the burning sun, everyone was exhausted and hungry, so four of us decided to have lunch together.

But afterwards we had to prepare another field as well. The ground was very dry but full of weeds we had to get out by the roots. After doing that for a while and having another break, it looked like it was about to rain soon. So we shared the soil over the ground we removed the weeds from here as well and got ready to go back to Fukuoka.

For me this trip was an interesting experience. I was willing to try anything in the internship, but for physical work on a farm you should be physically fit. It is still good that I tried, although it was hard for me, because the nature of this city is very pretty and I loved the houses in this area that had this traditionally Japanese style.

After all everyone was mostly still in a good mood and we of course have some pictures to show you:

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Saturday’s event in Asakura

On Saturday Groundwork Fukuoka held a spring event where local and people from the urban area were gathering to cook and eat together in Asakura, a small town that is approximately a one hour car ride away from Fukuoka.

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We met at 7:30 am and arrived an hour later at the event’s place to prepare everything before the first people arrived. We were looking forward to the event and even the forecast let us hope for sunshine and nice weather, after it had rained all day on Friday. It was quite cold in the morning, but during the day we had around 20゜C and the sun was shining.

For this event we were expecting around 50 people which was quite a lot, compared to the previous years. The first were arriving at around 9:00 am and at 9:45 am we were all meeting in the community center to welcome the people. Ai, our cooking pro for the day, introduced herself and motivated the people to have fun, harvest a lot of plants and enjoy the day.

At around 10am the people separated in two groups. Group A was leaving to look for wild edible plants, such as bambooP1080758 shoots, fuki (giant butterbur),udo, acanthopanax sciadophylloides, also called koshiabura in Japan, and more.

Course B was helping under the coordination of Ai in the community center to prepare Italian dishes, the meat of the wild boar and deer and pasta with the wild edible plants the other group P1080763harvested.

I was helping in the kitchen, although I couldn’t do that much, because following cooking instructions in Japanese was harder than I thought. So I did what I could and for the rest of the time enjoyed talking to people and the nice weather.

At around 2pm the food was mostly ready and everyone enjoyed it.

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Since the weather was so nice, eating outside was possible as well. I told myself to try most of the food and surprisingly the edible plants tasted really nicely.

Around two hours later, 3pm, we started cleaning up the place. Many people stayed to help us and so we were done two hours later and arrived in Fukuoka at 6:30 pm.

Altogether it was a nice, but exhausting day. The atmosphere was really great and everyone was in the good mood. Coming from Berlin, I rarely see the countryside and this was my first time seeing it in Japan. The air was different and fresher for sure and it was beautiful and all green, but I still prefer the city. After all it was an awesome experience I was able to make with Groundwork Fukuoka.

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Intern’s self-introduction: Sherilyn

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Hello, my name is Sherilyn. I am from Germany, Berlin and I am 23 years old. I am currently studying Sociology and Japanese studies, but I will graduate this summer. Starting from April on, I will do an internship at Groundwork Fukuoka for eight weeks.

I have become interested in Japan back in 2008 through music. When I visited Japan for the ­first time in 2009, I fell in love with this country. I started learning Japanese by myself, but decided to go to a language school in 2009 here in Fukuoka.

Although this is already my 7th time visiting Japan, it is the first time I am going to do an internship. Furthermore I started studying, as already been said, Japanese Studies and Sociology from 2012 on. During my studies, I have put the focus of my interest into the Japanese society. Besides that, I love the language and the culture. I am planning to write my bachelor thesis about the integration of socially disadvantaged people and marginal groups in Japan, that is why I thought Groundwork Fukuoka, which’s aim it is to work for a barrier-free society in which people can live happily, would be very interesting for me and I could learn a lot.

For my hobbies, I like drawing portraits, mostly of my favorite artists and listening to music.

I am looking forward to this internship!

Umi Fureai Farm Project introduction

In this project we aim to make effective use of the fallow land of Umi town. Everyone can participate – including adults, children, elderly people, disabled people, locals, or people from other regions. People from various living conditions and generations can take part and enjoy communication while growing vegetables together. We hold this project every first sunday of the month. In the spring we harvested potatoes, in the summer green peppers, eggplants and cucumbers and in fall taro. The purpose of this project is bringing together people from different generations and becoming active while having a good time together.

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