Phone Khant Kyaw is a student of the B.E. (Hons.) programme in Computer Science & Engineering.
My name is Phone Khant Kyaw and my major is computer science and engineering (CSE). I was chosen to take part in JENESYS 2018 Youth Sports Exchange Programme, which was conducted by the Japanese Government. I wish to share my experiences from my visit to Japan and the knowledge that I accumulated during the trip.
About the Programme
JENESYS (Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Student and Youths) is a programme which has been ongoing since 2007. It is conducted by the Japanese Government to promote mutual understanding and friendly relations within Asia. Only students from ASEAN countries, Timor-Leste, and Japan are allowed to take part in this programme.
The programme has projects in three broad categories: acceptance, dispatch, and exchange. As for the programme I took part in, it would fall into the acceptance category. It mainly focuses on creating awareness about the sport of Tag Rugby among the participants. Sight-seeing trips for students are also organised as part of the programme so that they get to experience Japanese culture.
After finishing the administration processes, I met up with the remaining fourteen participants from Myanmar, inclusive of three teachers. Since we were told that we would have to provide some type of entertainment at the farewell party, we practiced some dances beforehand. On September 18th, we left for Tokyo with a lot of excitement and expectations. When we reached Narita International Airport, we were welcomed by the coordinators of the JENESYS programme. Having grouped up and retrieved our luggage, we headed straight for Gotemba in Shizuoka Prefecture by bus.
During our time in Shizuoka Prefecture, we stayed at Toki no Sumika Resort. When we arrived, we were given a lecture on what to expect during our stay and the safety measures in case of natural disasters. Other talks on ASEAN, Tag Rugby, and Shizuoka prefecture were also organised during the course of our stay. Following the end of the talks, we spent the next two days visiting the Asahi Soft Drinks Factory at the foot of Mt.Fuji, Mishima Taisha, and Susono High School – a local high school – where we got to bond with Japanese students.
There was some time for exploring and shopping too. We learnt and played Tag Rugby for the next three days – Day 1 was reserved for learning and drills, Day 2 for practice, and Day 3 for a competition to finish things off with a bang! We learnt a lot from the coaches and Japanese student mentors, such as how to play Tag Rugby, rules of the game, sportsmanship, and the core values of the sport (which were summarised in the slogan “ALL FOR ONE. ONE FOR ALL”).
After all the action settled down, there was a farewell party where we were awarded prizes for various activities. We were also given a goody bag with rugby balls, tags, and stickers. It was then that we had to perform our dances. Although we were very nervous, we performed quite well. It felt quite pleasant to hear the crowd cheer for us. After the event was over, we spent the next few hours preparing our Action Plan, and headed for Tokyo the next morning.
In Tokyo, we visited the Miraikan, the National Museum of Science and Innovation, which is a well-known science and technology museum. Visiting the museum, I was amazed at how technologically advanced Japan is. We ended the day with a shopping spree at Aqua City and returned back to our hotel, Emion Tokyo Bay.
Finally, the next morning, we had to present our Action Plan, a presentation on how we would be spreading the knowledge we had acquired during the programme among the people back home. Although the presence of higher-ups was making us nervous, we managed to wrap up our Action Plan, which was about making Tag Rugby popular among children and teens in schools and universities, quite well.
Our final hours before the journey to the airport were spent shopping and sightseeing at Asakusa, a famous temple, and the local stalls around it. We spent the night at Narita Airport Hotel before departing for Myanmar the next day, on September 26th. With heavy hearts, we said good bye to the land of cherry blossoms, hoping to reunite with it once again in the future.
Thanks to this trip, I got the chance to meet people from different countries and strike friendships with them, drown myself in loads of delicious food, and experience Japanese culture and the sport of Tag Rugby. It also made me realise how big a gap exists between our countries, especially in the field of science and technology. In the future, I hope to narrow it down as much as possible with the help of other youths.