As a goodwill ambassador appointed for JENESYS 2.0 last September 2013, I was tasked to spread Japanese culture in my own country through my very own ways. As soon as I found out that the Japan embassy in the Philippines is looking for candidates for JENESYS 2.0, I immediately sent out my application.
I presented myself well in the interview and I was chosen to be part of the said program. The program called “Japanese Popular Culture Entertainment Category” is so much perfect for me since I am an avid follower of the Japanese entertainment scene. I listen to Japanese pop and rock music. I even watch Japanese dramas and films. So, being chosen as one of the delegates was such a blessing and a dream come true.
On January 18, 2013, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced to have a new youth exchange program between Japan and ASEAN member states called JENESYS 2.0. The Ministry of Japan estimates that 30,000 ASEAN young students will have the opportunity to take part in this enriching program. This aims to increase visitors to Japan and promote global understanding on Japan’s values including Cool Japan as well.
The youth from Asian and Oceanian region has the chance to witness cutting edge high technologies and products made in Japan. They also have the chance to visit provincial areas to understand Japan’s strengths, local cultures, attractions and values. Participants can also visi heritages that features Japan’s finest culture.
The Japanese youth also has the chance to engage with other Asian and Oceanian culture as well. Japanese students have the opportunity to stay in local homes and interact with families. They can also visit provincial areas and local Japanese companies.
The participants can be either junior high school, high school and university students. Each program can take up to 10 days.
Our wits in Japanese culture were tested in a panel interview. As a person who loves Japanese culture so much, the interview was easy for me. However, I was still nervous since all the applicants were also competitive. I expressed in the interview that even though Japan has a negative image here in the Philippines due to World War II, the Japanese society still exhibits important core values. It starts within their families. I jumped with so much joy when I found out I got accepted.
I felt very much excited when we first landed in Japan. I was smiling the whole time. We had an orientation during the first day. We met delegates from other Asian and Oceanian countries.
On the next day, we met Dr. Renato Rivera Rusca, a professor from Meiji University. He gave us a lecture about the roots and the current state of Japanese Popular Culture. We also visited Tokyo Visual Arts University in Tokyo. They specialize in what’s going behind the scenes of every anime, film and drama. I witnessed two students doing a voice acting work and it was very enchanting. We also witnessed a live concert of one of their rising rock bands. Then after, we were given the chance to visit one of Japan’s huge TV networks, NHK. We got to meet the people behind the program “imaginenation”. We also had the chance to explore a news station. This experience was so worthwhile!
From Tokyo, we flew to Fukuoka to meet some female students who were aspiring to become idols someday. We were inspired by their stories since they also idolized AKB48. We witnessed them singing, modelling and dancing. They were all so pretty and cute. I can never forget that wonderful encounter.
After the program, I still continue to be a Japanese popular culture ambassador through my very own way. The internet is a huge help in today’s time. I spread Japanese popular culture information through my social media accounts. As a huge Perfume and Takei Emi fan, I run fan pages for them. I try to be informative as much as possible to spread quality information about them. I am also a huge follower of Japanese dramas and films. Only recently that the Philippines had been given a chance to screen Japanese films locally. I support them as much as possible too. I also attend fan gatherings and anime / J-Pop conventions to support fellow fangirls / boys and other fandoms as well.
If you’re not accepted to JENESYS 2.0, can you still be an advocate for Japanese Culture?
Yes, of course! Definitely. It does not mean that you are not accepted in any delegation program, your love for Japanese culture will abruptly end. Anyone can be an advocate for Japanese culture. The internet is accessible to anyone. Any person can see any data you input. Also, if you love what you do for Japan’s culture then there is nothing wrong.
Aside from spreading valuable information about Japan in the internet, you can advocate their culture through cosplaying, inviting your friends to also watch anime and Japanese dramas/films with you and even J-Pop and J-Rock concerts.
Writer’s Personal Thoughts About JENESYS 2.0
Immersing in Japan’s culture for only 10 days was clearly not enough for someone who loves their culture so much. Scholarships that take one to two years might be a far better option. However, it was still a blessing for me that I have experienced Japan’s culture through JENESYS 2.0. As a fan of Japanese popular culture, it was an enchanting experience to visit all kinds of places that promote Japanese entertainment / pop. I personally enjoyed my visit in NHK. I watch shows in NHK via their mobile app and through cable so experiencing it first hand was so surreal. I also loved the studio visit experience so much! Aside from the studio experience, I also enjoyed the performances of the students of Tokyo Visual Arts College. I especially loved the band performance!
JENESYS 2.0 is still an ongoing Japanese culture immersion between ASEAN and Oceanian states. I greatly suggest to grab your chance and experience Japan’s culture first hand! You will not regret it!