Day 9 (social branch) – MIYAJI

November 7, 2008

7 November, 2008

We have been very happy to visit the kindergarten, because to work with kids is mostly diversified and full of surprises. We have just arrived at the kindergarten the kids surrounded us. A welcome concert has shown us with how much discipline and joy the work is done in there. Afterwards we did handicrafts and created a Sumarai-hat. So we have trained our ability in working with paper. Luckily our little helpers have assisted us actively and we got over the language barrier easily with hands and feet.
After some dances it was time for lunch. We have been sitting on undersized chairs and tables, while the kids have served us a delicious meal. Together we took lunch and the little ones have had quite a lot of fun watching us eating with chopsticks. The following afternoon nap we would like to take as well. Unfortunately there wasn’t enough space for us on the mattresses. Therefore we have used the free time to talk with the employees and noticed that they really love their job.

In the afternoon we have played with the kids again. At the end of the day each of us had a new little friend. Then the kids said good bye to us in the European way shaking our hands. Some of them gave us a lovely hug too.
This day has been unforgettable for me and one of the best in the program. As you know: Children’s laugher has a global meaning: I am happy.

Day 8 (processers) – Suntory Brewery

November 6, 2008

November 6, 2008

It was the 8th day in Japan for us. The second day in Kumamoto-Prefecture and we had maybe about 7 days before to taste the refreshing Japanese beer.

After eight overwhelming days in Japan, the next six where up to follow. Seven young Germans, that built up the occupational group of processing, where on their way, on their mission to discover the secrets and miracles of the refreshing Japanese beer they had a chance to taste in the whole last week. What makes Japanese beer so complete, absolute so.. pure? This and further questions shall be answered to in their visit to the Suntory Brewery Kyushu-Kumamoto.

The bus arrived with those beer-specialists inside, synchronous as they left it they have been greeted by a Suntory co-worker in her yellow-grey suit. Full of expectation and after a short speech of greeting by the “Braumeister”, who worn a nearly completely white suite of purity, we started our walk through the factory, leaded by the “Suntory-Women” in her two-coloured suite.
A video of introduction has given some first answers to those brave Germans, that astonished until the video was over. One accentuation actually was given to the brew water flowing through volcanic minerals placed pretty close to the Suntory-Brewery in Kumamoto. This pure and controlled mineral water is fundamental for the whole (following) process.
Machinery, finest ingredients like hop and malt, a lot of also-filled-drinks like coffee or juice have been introduced to those “beer specialists”, that actually could learn a lot about the Suntory Brewery and about brewery itself.

Finally the processing group could convince themselves by tasting fresh brewed Suntory beer. And yes, they really could taste those food awards, the fresh water and the lovely selected ingredients.
Besides the very great taste of the Japanese beer those “specialists” have been a little bit suprised about how that beer was draught. The delegation leader didn’t hesitate to show them the nice German way, which is not always the cleanest. However the “Braumeister” seemed very impressed and commented that there actually are some nuances in the taste of the differently draught beer.
After such a fullfilling visit at the brewery the group was so happy that they spontaneously composed a song in the bus driving back to the Aso Youth Center.

“Sun-Sun-Suntory! Hey biru, Hoh jusu, Hey kohi – oishii!”

Thanks to Suntory Brewery Kyushu-Kumamoto!


Day 8 (administrativ branch) – JA ASO

November 6, 2008

6 November, 2008

At our first day in Aso the business branch of the administrative visited the Japanese Agricultural Association. During the day we spent with the staff of the JA ASO in Ichinomiya, a board member and the manager of the branch of finance of JA ASO gave lectures regarding their business fields, company structure and working philosophy . After that we visited the bank of the Association and talked to young employees about their working experiences.

Afterwards we went to a JA ASO supermarket where organic products and food like fruits, vegetables, lunchboxes etc. were offered. For lunchtime some of the Japanese employees joined us in the little restaurant of the market. While the communication between the Germans and the Japanese were quite little because of the language skills we agreed with our hosts in the delicious taste of the typical regional beef we had for lunch. For dessert we enjoyed Japanese pears called nashi.

In the afternoon we participated in a guided tour through a manufacturing plant with some harvesters of JA ASO. The main products of the Association are rice and soybeans. We wondered particularly about the cultivation of strawberries in big greenhouses and asparagus though many Japanese do not know about asparagus. By the way, in the prefecture Kumamoto the farmers usually harvest asparagus during the year from April to October.

That was followed by watching a film about the harvest of rice in the prefecture. Although it was very interesting some of us were very tired due to the fact we spent the whole day at JA ASO. At the end of our stay we discussed with some employees of the Association about there working fields and there development during the last years.

Day 8 (social branch) – Aso-Kunwa-no-Sato

November 6, 2008

6 November, 2008

Seize the day and live with a smile

Today the social group has visited the < Aso-Kunwa-no-Sato >.
<Aso-Kunwa-no-Sato> is a home for disabled people. For Arsen, one of our group members, this visit has been a highlight. He is responsible for disability equality duties and disabled people’s rights in everyday life in Germany. During our visit we have learned many differences about working with disabled people. For example in <Aso-Kunwa-no-Sato> people live and work at the same time. But we all share the goal to give these people the opportunity of a happy life.

After an interesting discussion with the head of the house we have visited the house. During lunch with some employees we could also talk about the handcraft made by the sheltered workshop e.g. bags with jewellery and soap.
By the way we have learned to eat boiled eggs with chopsticks also. This is a challenge.

In the afternoon we have worked together with the disabled people. Some of us have had to pack bear food and the others have had to pack small packages of sesame. That was a lot of fun for us. At the end of the day we have got the chance to have a cup of tea and to talk to some young employees and a male nurse. We will never forget the hospitality and the nice way how everybody treated us in <Aso-Kunwa-no-Sato>.

Day 7 – Kumamoto and the mayor of Aso-city

November 5, 2008

5 November, 2008

When waking up there are always the same questions: Where am I and what time is it?
Today we have left Tokyo and travelled to the prefecture of Kumamoto. It’s hard to describe how you feel after one week being in the city of Tokyo. It’s an amazing metropolis and I’d like to come back to Tokyo. At the same time I have been happy to leave the city and to get to know the calm countryside of Japan in the prefecture of Kumamoto.
To pack and transport our bags we are already well proven – we are able to do our luggage blindfold. Although we have also learnt that the explanation for sleep has a broad interpretation during our trip.

After we have arrived in the city of Kumamoto we have taken the bus to the city of Aso. At a traditional Japanese guesthouse ‘Rijokan’ we have had a break for lunch. We’ve got horseflesh and other regional viands to eat. The hospitality and the ambience were overwhelming. Our delegation has visited the house and its Japanese bathrooms ‘Onsen’ and the Japanese backyard. In the city hall of Aso we were welcomed by the mayor of Aso-city.

At the evening we have been invited to a celebration with about 100 guests. We’ve got lots to drink and lots to eat. To underline this wonderful party we have got entertained with traditional Japanese performances e.g. dances and drumming….

What have we done this morning again?

Day 6 (social branch) – Tokyo

November 4, 2008

4 November, 2008

Today was the first day of our visits in Japanese companies to experience the local situation of the young workers. Our group consisted of five participants with a social or health job background. After
breakfast we started in A-clothing and walked to our first stop – the employment office in Shibuya. In particular we were impressed by the large offices with their calm amd pleasent atmosphere in contrast to  such a place in Germany. With many new impressions and gifts we had lunch at a canteen and continued after eating. By public bus we reached the Red Cross Medical Center, where we had same more discussions and as a special highlight for all of us – but very special for Susanne-san – a tour throurgh the birth ward. Punctually about 4 o`clock began our self-study: we went shopping and had a grat time at the famous Starbucks outlet with a view to Shibuya Crossing.

Day 3 – Seminar in Tokyo

November 1, 2008

1 November, 2008

On our third day in Tokyo we were excited to meet the participants of the japanese delegation again to continue the discussions we had already started during their visit in Germany in summer. We split up in several groups each focusing on different subjects. We talked about tradition and culture, work and social background and about family and daily life. Like in Germany the discussions were very interesting and we enjoyed them a lot. At the end of the day we realized again that there are many differences between Japan and Germany but also a lot of similarities between those two countries.

In the evening we went all together to a taditional japanese restaurant called WATAMI in Shibuya to talk and enjoy the first weekend in Japan. After a delicious dinner of typical japanese food like tempura for example we decided to do something very typical for Japan: Karaoke! So after a day full of discussions and great dinner we ended the day singing „99 Luftballons“ in a Karaoke bar in the middle of Tokyo.