Nestor B. Gramata Jr. – a graduate student from the Department of Electronics, Computer and Communications Engineering of the Ateneo de Manila University – went to Japan under the JENESYS 2015 Program from February 3-9, 2016.
The Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths (JENESYS) 2015 Program aims to promote mutual trust and understanding among the people of Japan and ASEAN countries. It does so by immersing students and youths in Japan's society, history, and culture.
Upon arrival in Tokyo, Japan, an overview with regards to the program, culture, and history was given. JENESYS 2015 participants were about 111, which included teacher delegates, graduate, undergraduate, and highschool students. Participants were divided into 4 groups: Aichi, Shizuoka, Fukuoka, and Aomori. Each group was assigned to different parts of Japan. Gramata was part of the Fukuoka group. He and 29 fellow participants – including two other ADMU students from the Physics and the Environmental Science Department – were immersed in the city of Kitakyushu located in Fukuoka Prefecture, Kyushu.
The city of Kitakyushu at one time had a problem with environmental pollution. Through the cooperation of the citizens, businesses and the government, the city transformed from a "Grey City" to a "Green City." This city aims to become the "World Environmental Capital."
For industries, the participants visited two companies: Yaskawa Electric Corporation and Toto. Yaskawa is known for its advanced robotics. Toto is known as the maker of Japan's high-tech toilet. For academe, the participants were welcomed by the Faculty of Environmental Engineering at The University of Kitakyushu – wherein the school's research was presented.
Medical robot arm in Yaskawa designed to perform lab tests and to provide healthcare
The most memorable part of the program for the participants was the "home stay." Here, each Japanese family hosted at least two participants. This allowed the participants to experience the hospitality, kindness, and traditions of a Japanese family. Activities during the home stay would depend on the collaboration between the host family and respective participants. Each home stay experience was unique. Thus, a variety of experiences was imparted among the participants.
Gramata (Rightmost) along with host family and fellow participant Jumel Nicha (2nd to the right – MS-ES student at ADMU). Photo by Masanobu Takashima
The program concluded with a final presentation by each group to the representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of the Republic of Philippines. These presentations were held in Tokyo – together with all the JENESYS 2015 participants. Each presentation containing initial perceptions of Japan, findings in Japan, and an action plan after going home. Key initial perceptions about Japan were cutting-edge technology, concern for the environment, punctuality, and respect. Significant new findings in Japan include their "forward-thinking" attitude, value for agriculture, waste management and good urban-planning. Action plans were mostly focused on information dissemination via social media and school publications.
Expenses – including food, transportation, accomodation, entrance fees, and air fare – were shouldered by the program.