Ishaan in Japan – post #2

I feel immense pleasure to be with such a wonderful team and faculty of HELIO 2019. While flying to Japan I had been feeling so nervous, but it is my good luck that Georgian college chose me for this expedition and supported me well with their services to go abroad.

During the first four days, we were on the field trip to Fukushima Prefecture and got a chance to understand the culture of the place. Following everyday traditions such as community bath, big family dinners and other social etiquettes, all were a new cultural experience for me.

I learnt that there was a deadly earthquake in March 2011, which gave rise to a massive tsunami and blast in the nuclear power plant. This blast affected all the nearby areas and contaminated them with harmful radiations.

We met local people, social entrepreneurs, business owners, peace activists etc. and experienced a whole new world. Visiting towns of Odaka, Namie, Futaba, Minamisoma in the Fukushima Prefecture and living with the local people over there helped me to understand how they felt after the incident and what measures they have been taking in their lives.

The first sight of the town of Namie made me emotional. Our tour guide Koki told us that most of the houses are empty because of the 3/11 accident. 20% area of Namie town was still under the evacuation order and his house is one of them. People of Namie town were not allowed to go in their houses and were abandoned from them. According to him, before the accident around 20000 people used to live in the town and only 400 people came back in 8 years that includes the majority of the old age people.

Whilst our conversation with the professor at the Fukushima University, he told that the radiation dose of the Fukushima prefecture is very normal and in accordance with the other parts of the world. There are few places that are still under the red zone where the radiation dose is high, but the rest 80%  area is safe to live. We also tested the radiation with the help of measuring gauge and found that most of the area was safe to live. Alas, it is the media whose false showcase of the incident forced people of Japan and other parts of the globe to build the wrong stigma for the same.

Before this unfortunate incident, Fukushima rice was very popular all over Japan. Now, people of outside affected areas have a stigma that the land is still contaminated so they avoid consumption of Fukushima rice. People have stopped buying Fukushima fresh produce including rice and other vegetables. Even there is less support from the government as they had collected all the contaminated topsoil in 16 million black plastic bags. Now, the government is worried about the disposal of those bags as they are slowly decaying and there is no way out to move them away.

 

Ishaan in Japan – post #1

I am super excited to become a part of the HELIO community and feel highly obliged to get this opportunity from the college to represent it at a global level in Japan. A couple of months back, this opportunity came to me as a dream prospect, the golden chance to increase my leadership abilities, to meet, interact and learn from other leaders from all over the world.

Being an international student, one always has a crunch of funds to participate in extra-curricular activities. I was also in the same situation and was thinking of how to break my financial barriers and grab the opportunity to visit a country like JAPAN. I took it as the lifetime chance not to be missed at all. I truly believe that luck was by my side when I decided to approach my college and request the authorities to give me a favor by providing financial assistance for this event.  

I feel so confident because my college sees the hard work of its students and recognize their efforts towards society. It became possible only because of scholarship and recommendation for this project from College Authorities. Project HELIO is going to be my second off-campus project/ leaning after the Enactus National Exposition 2019 in Vancouver.

I will definitely gain exposure to real-time issues prevailing in the society by attending various workshops, sessions and field projects while in JAPAN. I’m fortunate that these learning experiences would make me more confident and independent person and I will be able to think much more creatively and broadly towards society.

I am also thrilled to taste street food in Tokyo. It’s somewhat similar to Indian delicacies. Being on this 12-day project, I will be nearly in the same time zone (just 3 hours’ time difference) with my parents in my home country (India). I am sure HELIO is a big break for me to get global exposure.