My name is Daniel Bannert. I am a 20 year old german from Erwitte, a small town near Düsseldorf, and a former geography student.
After finishing high school I went to study geography at Bonn University, where I studied for half a year until I realized that I want something different. Not yet knowing what exactly I wanted to do in germany, I fulfilled my childhood dream and planned to visit Japan for a whole year. Being interested in japanese culture and language since I was 14 years old, I put high efforts into planning my journey to the probably greatest islands in the world.
Mentally supported by many friends and family members I searched for a fitting organisation, helping me to find a language school, since I did not learn much Japanese in Germany, as well as an internship and furthermore being a contact when it comes to the time after the internship, and finally found a good one. Still having time until my journey began, I worked as much as possible to be able to finance most of the exsisting and upcomming costs. Since I got me a Working Holiday Visa, I planned to afford the upcomming living costs in Japan mostly by working there part-time while traveling throughout the country, from Fukuoka in northern Kyushu to Sapporo in Hokkaido.
When the organisation submitted two possible corporations for the internship, it did not take much time for me to decide that Groundwork Fukuoka is the by far better alternative. Environmental protection, social life without barriers and helping people with mental and physical deseases are topics which always had a great impact on me, especially in school where my geography teacher took the class to several excursions, including a village nearly completely provided by wind energy and a trip to a coal mine, learning how exactly coal affects our everyday life and the environment. As my teacher always told us: “Never criticise without knowing exactly what and why you criticise.”
Arriving in Japan I was surprised by how hot it can be in Fukuoka (July-August) and how surprisingly fast one gets used to it. Being the first weeks of my stay in Fukuoka at a language school, I met many really nice people and were able to comply with many of my hobbies, including visiting a second league football match between Avispa Fukuoka and a team from Tokyo or listening to all kind of music in nearly every café or bar.
Even after two months in Japan I find new exsiting and interesting things nearly every day. Because of that and of the fact that I did not meet a single unfriendly person yet I was really looking forward to the internship at Groundwork Fukuoka, where I will be working at for the next 2 weeks. I hope I will learn a lot about the japanese culture and language here and am looking forward to participate in big projects like restoring the Herb Garden or organising a Flower Joint Concert. If possible I would like to know everything about every project the NPO is planning. I wont be able to achieve this in two weeks, but learning as much as possible will be a great experience. Maybe I will even be able to help Groundwork Fukuoka with bringing some fresh ideas or helping them with their projects as a volunteer in the future since I will definetly come back to Fukuoka several times in my life.
So here I am now, living in one of my favourite countries being already able to tell many stories to my family and friends back in Germany while my journey has just begun.
Written by Daniel Bannert