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Asian Spirit: Another Kim Hye-gyong    By Keiko Iwata
Chapter 16: From now on
Asian Spirit Archive

About Asian Spirit

A compilation of nonfiction essays, the book comprises the experiences, both good and bad, that author Keiko Iwata shared with South Korean students living and studying in Japan.

About Keiko Iwata

Keiko Iwata is the representative of the NPO Heart Connections, which provides non-Japanese students with consultation services to help them solve problems related to living and studying in Japan. Iwata authored the book "Asian Spirit" (published in February 2004).

About Larry Greenberg

Larry Greenberg is the founder of Urban Connections Co. Ltd., an enterprising group of professionals that strives to provide innovative solutions to the latest challenges.

Hye-gyong occasionally recalls "the night of the Chofu Fireworks."

They dropped by a sushi restaurant while they were still stirred with excitement. Father had been a regular customer there.

The openhandedness of the restaurant owner was even more appealing than the delicious taste of nibbles and sushi, and Hye-gyong and Mother almost missed the last train.

"Hey, Hye-gyong-san! It was only since the soccer World Cup, co-hosted by Korea and Japan, that the countries reached fever pitch, don't you think?"

The owner's hands that were skillfully making sushi were also rhythmic.

His brisk stories resonated inside the restaurant.

Hye-gyong thought that "Edo-ite composition" was the perfect expression to describe this situation. And as she said, "I wonder what a conversational or psychological analysis would discover," Hye-gyong showed her mischief.

Like the owner said, the gap between Japan and Korea was bridged almost instantaneously. Hye-gyong thought that she probably sat in the middle of the gap.

To Mother's favorite phrase, "there is no waste in life," Hye-gyong could say that this certainly applied to her life.

"It's been three years and a half of living in Japan," Hye-gyong suddenly realized.

"I still can't see what direction my life will take in the future."

Her network has gradually expanded since she started going to the church in Yokohama, and her interactions with "various colors of personalities" have increased.

Half of the Christians are European and American. There is naturally a world of English.

She regrets now that although her ex-boyfriend Q-chan spoke English well, she didn't step up to this challenge.

"I should have used that opportunity to study English. It's definitely a necessity in this generation," She sensed that this regret would serve as a springboard to carry her to a better future.

"When I get closure to this regret," she thought, "I'll go the United States!" Her new dream was thus created.

The season of the cherry blossoms has come again to Japan.

On this planet, while fires from war continue flaming in various parts of the world, Hye-gyong truly realizes how happy she is to be "one human being who is able to lead a peaceful life."

"I hope I can go this year." This year, she is planning on going to Okinawa.

This is because she is one of those who are called in Japan "the generation that has never experienced war." Okinawa is the only place where ground battle occurred in Japan. People tend to forget that there is a harsh history because of the bright sun and rich nature there now.

This is what makes her to want to look back on the "path that Korea traced after the war" from a different angle.

Why do "wars" happen while people call for "peace"?

If we could gather twice as much of our power with four hands rather than two eyes, "we can definitely unite as one." She renews her faith to make this passion lead to peace activities as the biggest focus of "her lifework."

She looks back on the many "encounters" that she had in Japan. She probably had more of these in Japan than in Korea.

The people who worked with her at her part-time job and entered Japan on their working holiday visas that only allowed them to stay in the country for a year. Her teachers and classmates from Japanese language school and Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. Her colleagues at the company she enters this year as a new fulltime employee.

All these people are "assets of her heart." And...

To Brother and Sister who continued feeding her love even more than blood-related relatives usually do.

To the gentle eyes of Mother in Japan and of the group of Father and his four friends.

To Budi who helped draw out a whole new world from Hye-gyong.

To her ex-boyfriend, Q-chan.

From "Kim Hye-gyong," who is about to graduate from Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, "many thanks from the bottom of her heart" will hopefully soon reach their hearts.

Message from the writer

Thanks to everyone who has made this possible!

We have now uploaded the 16th chapter of Asian Spirit, the exciting story of a Korean girl studying in Japan that has been serialized on this website since August 2009. I am so glad that we have seen the number of people accessing the site increase steadily. We have seen so many diverse responses, including people who did not realize that the original book is available in Japanese who wrote in to ask if we could translate this interesting content into Japanese for them!

Given the strong response we have decided that this essay will remain available on this site going forward as well.

We are now making preparations to provide various forms of assistance to support the lives of foreign students studying in Japan and to convey to them messages from Japanese corporations as well as useful information that will help them deal with all kinds of problems such as medical issues and difficulties they may face in part-time jobs.

Moreover, starting in April we are planning to hold during a 12-month period a total of six Silent Classic Japanese Film Screenings with English, Korean and Chinese subtitles.

Please continue to make good use out of the Guide to Studying in Japan. We look forward to seeing you here! I am confident that you will gain an even more profound insight into Japan as you widen your horizons with new information.

And to all of the fans of Asian Spirit, thank you so much for following along these past six months! I am looking forward to providing you with new contents in the future!

Yours sincerely,

Keiko Iwata
Chairperson, NPO Heart Connections

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