Lives of the Nikkei scholarship 'Dream Come True Project' students ～ Yutaka Matsubara
Why did you decide to study in Japan?
I have always wanted to study at a university in Japan. In addition, I have been playing table tennis for about10 years and Japan is one of the best places in the world to practice table tennis.
How is your life in Japan?
I just started my second year in the university after spending one year at a Japanese language school and one year at the university. The NFSA offers us various training opportunities, one of which is a conference called Nikkei Kaigi, where young Nikkeis from around the world meet and exchange opinions. Also, we visit different prefectures each year to learn about their culture and meet with local Nikkeis. There are 4 training programs of this kind a year, giving me opportunities to interact with other scholarship students throughout Japan on a regular basis. At the university I became a member of the table tennis team. In the past year, I practiced more than 3 hours per day after classes. Members of the team participate in competitions that are held throughout Japan as well as join volunteer activities. There was a time when I found it difficult to continue with studies and training but thanks to my colleagues from the scholarship program and the table tennis team, I managed to overcome that time and I am still motivated with my studies and sports.
Tell us about your present study or research.
niversity School of International Liberal Studies (SILS). Classes are given in English. I practice table tennis more than 3 hours a day along with day-to-day muscle training. I participate in more than 15 national and international competitions per year.
Did your consciousness as a Nikkei change in any way through studying in Japan?
Even before coming to Japan, I think I was already clear about my identity as a Nikkei. But through the trainings I got to know the reality of Nikkeis who live in Japan. Students from Brazilian schools are having difficulty going to higher education and the NFSA is helping to solve this problem. Since I did not know about this issue at all, now I feel very grateful to be in the NFSA because I can be a part of the activities for Brazilian schools.
What is your dream for the future?
My dream is to contribute to Nikkei society in Chile through sports someday. To that end, I am practicing table tennis seriously with an aim to become a member of the national table tennis team again. In the studies I am trying to increase my GPA so that I can be a good role model as an athlete and as a student.
Please give a message to students who are considering studying in Japan.
My thinking changed a lot since I started my study in Japan. At first, I thought that since I was in Japan, I would naturally study in Japanese. But after meeting other exchange students at a language school as well as at training programs and had discussions with them in English, I came to realize the importance of English. Although you have a great idea, if you do not manage to transmit your idea in English, it is like having no idea. This is why I take classes from foreign professors as well as Japanese professors at university. My ideas changed a lot here, so I hope you can expand your thoughts here in Japan as well.