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Exchange Students


The Welcoming Party Organized by Former Japanese Exchange Students at PIASS

December 20, 2020

Justus's home university, Protesntant Institute of Arts and Social Sciences (PIASS), accepts international students from other African countries, as well as from Japan as exchange students or privately financed students. After he arrived in Japan, he had a reunion with his Japanese friends who had studied at PIASS and enjoyed eating sushi. Sushi captured his interest and made him research about it. Not only just enjoying eating, but also learning after that... we should learn from him.

The following is his essay.


My first time tasting Japanese food. 2020/12/20

After my quarantine, the former Japanese students who had studied at my home university (Protestant Institutes of Arts and Social Sciences, Rwanda) organized for a simple reunion welcoming party. They included Mako Ino, Kenta Kono, Sumire Muria, Chika Umetsu, and Kako san. Among these Japanese students, I was more familiar with Mako, Chika, and Sumire san of whom we had studied together at my home university for one year. Some of them lived together in the hostel and we always eat lunch and dinner together in the group of other international students. We attended classes, parties, workshops, wedding ceremonies, and seminars together. Actually, at my home University, we the international students live together as one family (brothers and sisters) unlike at TUFS, where everyone seems to live a personal lifestyle, perhaps it's due to the pandemic? Or perhaps international students are too many?


During the Alternative to Violence Workshop at PIASS, Rwanda (Sumire & Mako in middle) 2019/8/19

For Kenta and Kako san, we had never met in person before, but Kenta san is very known at my home university. I heard several good stories about his peculiar lifestyle while staying with other international students, and up to date he still stands out as one of the coolest Japanese students ever visited my home university. Some students refer to him as "an African man" for having lived a real African lifestyle. Actually, Kenta once lived in my country Uganda and the curiosity to meet him was high.

I was connected to Kenta through Rodrigue (Burundian) who had met him both in Rwanda and Japan while an exchange student. Kenta started organizing for this party even before we came to Japan and when I finally made it to Japan, I was looking forward to meeting him and other exchange students and of course, enjoying this reunion gathering.

The party took place in Shinjuku, in the central city of Tokyo and we had agreed to eat sushi first at Sushi Zanmai restaurant and later on move to another restaurant (Yakitori) for some of us who had a rear appetite for raw seafood to taste other dishes. At the Sushi Zanmai, we ate several Japanese dishes even the ones I used to think I can't eat such as Makizushi, Nigiri sushi, and Tuna sushi. Honestly speaking, I couldn't think I can eat raw food or meat since had just started eating meat for the last two years. If I couldn't eat cooked meat well, what about raw meat..? Guess what, I was wrong and I finally tasted sushi after seeing my friends enjoying it.


Among the Japanese food served, I very much liked Nigiri sushi. It tasted delicious than the way it actually looked, I tried to find out about Nigiri sushi, just like some other Japanese foods, Nigiri sushi too has some historical attachment as to its origin, how, and when it's eaten. For instance, I realized that Nigiri sushi was the original form of sushi that most people know today, called Edo-mae (meaning "in front of Edo"), it's said that this name refers to its birthplace of Tokyo (formerly Edo). It's made up of a hand-pressed rice cylinder (shari) topped with any number of ingredients (neta). It's believed to have been invented as a type of "fast food" by an enterprising sushi chef working in the Edo area during the 1800s who decided to sell his freshly created sushi to nearby workers for a quick snack.

Sincerely speaking, I was glad to reunite with my former exchange Japanese students once more and get connected to other Japanese students such as Kenta who up to date is a helpful friend.