Sunday, July 10, 2005

ARE YOU MAN ENOUGH TO WEEP?

Talking about job satisfaction...

Had just concluded our maiden two-week Japanese Language program for 17 students from two Korean universities.

Being the primary 'mover', most of the coordination and problem solving efforts throughout the program fell on my shoulders.

Not that I am complaining...

In fact, I am having a ball of a time, despite some continuous sleepless nights in the initial days, worrying if the Korean students could sleep in their 'new' homes...

Thank god, I had the full support of the university staff, in particular the Section chief who is really, really meticulous about his work...

During the final presentations yesterday, conducted in interview format, the student-presenters, the host families, and the general audience... could not hold back their sentiments...

Being the MC, I could not afford to be sobbing... no, no, not in front of the video camera... I am a man, you see...

Besides, I have work to do... but man, it was really hard to hold back, though...

The Korean students major in Japanese Language in their respective universities.

But their communicative skills are somewhat lacking.

With few exceptions, most of them could not really express themselves... coupled with their apprehensions of how they will be treated by their Japanese host families...

But after two weeks with us, they opened their hearts up and albeit some occasional hiccups with the language, they related their personal experiences particularly on the home stays... on getting a taste of the tatemae-honne stance of the Japanese... and of their unfortunate histories...

The emotions erupted in waves and waves...

Emotions of joy... of relief... of having broken not only the language barrier but more crucially the cultural, and the historical communication wall... of making friends despite their prickly political relationships...and of the tribulations of 'finding' a new mother and father...

During the sayonara lunch party that followed, I called upon the host families to relate their experiences as hosts to the Korean students...

Amidst tears, many a parent talked of the pains and joys of having 'found' a new daughter...

All of the families have experiences hosting foreigners before but never, Korean students...

They were weeping openly... and hugging the students...

Man... I never expected a language program to end with such powerful emotions...

It simply gets on to you...

This went on for almost an hour, with yours truly resolutely hanging on, composed and still hosting, and attempting to crack an occasional dry joke to invite a smile or two...

Now as I blog while reviewing the pictures, I can't believe I am shedding tears...

Tears of delight... no doubt...

I say, it must be that rain...