Bus Tour with International Students
On Friday, June 25th, an event called "Bus Tour with International Students" was held, organized by the International Relations Center. 29 international students and 24 Japanese students participated in the event. For around two years since 2020, international students have been unable to come to Japan due to the coronavirus pandemic, but since March this year, international students have begun enter Japan once again, so the tour saw large numbers in participation this time. Participants were split into 6 groups with the goal of fostering new meetings and interactions by putting people who don't normally have the chance to meet in the same groups.
Unfortunately, the group were met with the last of the rain from the rainy season, meaning they couldn't go for the planned walk by Nakatsu Gorge, but they did visit Ino Town Paper Museum and The Yokogurayama Natural Forest Museum in Ochi Town. Lastly, they stopped by Mura no Eki Hidaka (lit. village station Hidaka) and got a taste of the mid-west culture of Kochi Prefecture.
At the Paper Museum, they learned about the history of Tosa washi paper and had a hands-on experience of paper making. During the hands-on experience, they were especially impressed with the live demonstration by one of the washi paper craftsmen, with the Japanese students doing their best to provide the international students with support. Also, at the shop, international students bought some washi paper products in commemoration of the occasion with a grant from the KUT Alumni Association. Many of the international students found it hard to choose a favorite from the many washi paper products, but with the help of the Japanese students, they managed to pick out some quintessentially Japanese and elegantly patterned washi paper. The international students looked very satisfied and took great care of what they bought as they made their way home.
When they arrived at the Yokogurayama Natural Forest Museum, they were greeted by a typical heavy downpour in Kochi, with everyone having to hurry to the entrance. Some of the international students were surprised by just how heavy the rain was and the fact the road to the museum was deep in the mountains also left an impression. Inside the museum, there were exhibitions of animals, insects, plants, and fossils, which saw groups gather in front of many them and enjoy conversation. Some people saw dinosaur fossils for the first time, others were awestruck by the beauty of the butterfly specimen in front of them. Regardless of where they were from or their age, the topics of conversation spread because the exhibit was based on the theme of "nature," the animals and plants that are common throughout the earth.
As this was the first exchange in large numbers for some time, the Japanese students also proactively talked to the international students, with conversation flowing uninterrupted, making for a lively atmosphere.
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