YKRF Forum [Day 5] in TOKYO

Monday, 13 February 2017

Alas, it has come to the final day of the forum. There's something magical about spending so little time (5 days in perspective) yet form such strong bonds with the people here. It's something you get when you see the same people every single day and enjoy your time so much amidst the things you have to do that you wonder how time flew in such a quick fashion. Then you come to a realization that the entire forum was only 5 days. So anyway.. on the fifth day we stayed within the school, having the final seminar by Naotaka Takasugi, of the Takasugi Research Institute (TRI), who gave us a lecture on Change Management. After lunch, we came back to focus on the last bit of discussion and finally presentation of our ideas for 2050.

Every team had many interesting ideas and they presented in such a creative way. There were different products, events and world-changing ideas that would definitely do good if it ever got created. I guess brainstorming ideas may or may not provide a concrete benefit to the year 2050, but forging strong relationships and ties between members of each respective country definitely does help us create networks across borders that would definitely help in the advancement and progress of these three societies. 

We had the senior professor of Keio give us a speech about his thoughts on this forum and thereafter we were presented our certificates of completion. It was definitely an enjoyable time and I am wholeheartedly thankful that I chose to apply for this. I'm grateful for the opportunity given and the friends that I've made. 

So everyone got dressed for the closing ceremony of YKRF. I guess I didn't expect people to be wearing suits on a summer's day, and I was really envious of how the girls were able to be wearing skirts and dresses and still look so formal! But anyhow, it was a great chance for good photographs and that's what I did! The professors in charge of us from respective schools gave their speeches and thereafter our student leaders did. 

After the sumptuous dinner and speeches, everyone got up and started taking photos together with the people they got close with during the forum. Everyone was hugging, saying sweet things to each other and laughing while reminiscing the past 4 days together. It was really heartwarming and there are just some things that you'd never want to forget..

After the closing ceremony was the culture show. Every school put up a different performance that was unique to their culture and all. The Japanese students from Rikkyo University had a short love skit and a dance in their Yukatas and ended up getting everyone up to do it as well. It was really pretty and the dances was actually simple moves repeated in a certain fashion. People who went up learned it quick however I never knew when it was going to end since it was a simple repetition. 

The students from Fudan put up a rendition of famous Chinese songs and danced to it. I found myself singing to a few as well hahaha. They did quite a lot of performances and they had actually practiced so hard. Even on days where we ended late and hung out, they still made it a point to gather to practice after hours and slept really late. (My roommate was one of them and he came in really late almost every night)

The students from Keio University put up a band performance where there was the cajon, guitar, violin and piano. It was a really heartwarming performance and it was really sweet. Everyone performed really well and we all had a great time cheering for each other. 

And of course... I guess you're curious what all of us from Yonsei University did... We did K-pop dances of course. We did dances to songs of 2PM's "Go Crazy" (미친거아냐), Orange Caramel's "Catallena" (까탈레나), Twice's "Cheer Up" (치어업) and then Psy's "Shake It" (흔들어주세요). We were in such a rush that we actually forgot to get people to record it all. (Probably should have brought my GoPro to record it all.. but oh well). But anyway, here's a recording of Twice's "Cheer Up" and please don't laugh hahaha.

With that, YKRF 2016 came to an end and though I was sad to have it end, I'm thankful for all the friendships I've made, the memories I've gotten and all the fun and experience that money could never buy. Even travelling by yourself, you wouldn't be able to meet people like this so easily and spend so much time with them. With that, I'll end my posts regarding the YKRF Forum with some excerpts of my reflection I submitted after the forum. 

               "Getting together with the people from each country did not just serve as a means of understanding each other, but for networking and fostering of better relationships for the future generations to come. Through the seminars, we learned about many different things such as the issue of nationalism in the past and how it will continue to evolve to suit the likes of the society, as well as learning from other countries who has properly adapted the notion of multiculturalism, and not to mention understanding how a team, or a group works as an collective entirety rather than lone wolves.

               On top of that, we were also given an opportunity to mingle with each other and not just stick to our own comfort zones, allowing for personal development through conversations and the exchange of ideas and opinions. Through our group discussions, we grew to understand each individual’s mentality and how it differs from country to country. Despite having different thinking, we ultimately came together for an idea that best represented how we felt and ultimately presented it as our vision for East Asia in 2050. I felt that the theme for this forum was very apt as it provided us with an opportunity to envision what we might want to see in 34 years, when we would undoubtedly be parents or grandparents where it would be a world, not for us, but for our children to live in.

               Understanding a country’s people and mindset is not just about exchanging beliefs and opinions, but it’s also about immersing oneself in the culture. Eating their food, riding their public transport, talking to their people, living and breathing their air; this is all about being a part of each other’s worlds and it would not just stop there.

               I am humbled by the graciousness and effort put in to make this forum a great success and I am extremely proud of how people have come out of their comfort zones to speak up and share their views while at the same time letting themselves be vulnerable to others. I am deeply touched by how we are accepting of one another and willing to learn from each other which is the main idea of a forum exchange between people of different nationalities.

               I look forward to the next forum in hopes that there would be more ideas and more cultural exchanges between the people of Korea, Japan and China for a better and brighter tomorrow."

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