The OISCA Nishi Nippon Training Center’s graduation ceremony for Asian trainees is held at this time of the year, and I have been attending the ceremony almost every year. The OISCA stands for the Organization for Industrial Spiritual and Cultural Advancement-International, and it is a public interest incorporated foundation. All the trainees representing various countries talked about their own experiences in front of the attendees. They looked back on how they studied the theories and practices of the Japanese agricultural production under the OISCA’s agricultural training program in Japan, far away from home. They studied Japanese, which was entirely a different language from their own languages. They told us about how they gradually got used to the weather and customs in Japan, and that they received so much support from Japanese people who were kind and polite. They said that they found lessons that would affect their lives after returning to their countries.
I have had a close relationship with the OISCA for many years, and have occasionally assisted the organization in several projects. I have often realized that the international volunteer activities in Japan largely depend on the grassroots organizations like the OISCA which has a long history of its volunteer activities overseas. Due to the spread of the new coronavirus infections, the OISCA has experienced severe hardships in implementing its activities throughout the year of 2020. At the end of the ceremony, ‘Song for the Close of School’, a famous song sung at graduation ceremonies in Japan, was sung by all the people attending the ceremony, which was very moving.
Mr. Hidetoshi Shiokawa, a member of the Fukuoka Prefectural Assembly, was invited to the ceremony as a guest and he delivered a speech: “After you return to your respective countries, you may come across unexpected difficulties in the future. In such a case, look up at the sky. All your friends who studied with you here will also be looking up at the same sky. Even though we live far away from each other, we are all under the same sky.”