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Those who know me, know that I love watching anime and one of the places to visit is Japan, The Land of the Rising Sun, where anime originated.

Below is the story of Kelevi Stark who had the chance to do so.

” I recently had the opportunity to visit Japan from the 5th- 12th of December 2023 as part of the Jenesys program funded by the Japanese government, which aims to foster mutual understanding and friendship between Japan and the Pacific Island Countries. This once-in-a-lifetime trip allowed me to explore the beautiful city of Hiroshima and learn about its rich history and culture. In this article, I will share my experiences and insights from my visit to the city, focusing on the atomic bombings and the famous shrines.

Visiting Hiroshima: A City Rich in History and Culture

My journey to Hiroshima began with a visit to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, which serves as a poignant reminder of the devastating atomic bombings that occurred on August 6, 1945. The museum houses numerous artefacts, photographs, and testimonies from survivors, providing a firsthand account of the events that unfolded that fateful day. It was an emotional yet enlightening experience to learn about the impact of the bombings on the city and its people.

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park - Wikipedia
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

Exploring the Atomic Bomb Dome

One of the most iconic symbols of Hiroshima’s history is the Atomic Bomb Dome, a UNESCO World Heritage site that was the only structure left standing after the bombings. The dome’s skeletal remains serve as a powerful testament to the destructive power of nuclear weapons and a call for world peace. Standing in front of this haunting structure, I couldn’t help but reflect on the importance of promoting peace and understanding among nations.

The Spiritual Side of Hiroshima: Visiting the Famous Shrines

In addition to learning about the city’s history, I also had the opportunity to explore Hiroshima’s rich spiritual side by visiting some of its famous shrines. The Itsukushima Shrine on the beautiful Miyajima Island is a stunning example of Japanese architecture and a UNESCO World Heritage site. As I walked through the shrine’s iconic torii gate, which seems to float on the water during high tide, I was struck by the serenity and beauty of the surrounding landscape.

Itsukushima Shrine - Wikipedia
Itsukushima Shrine in Miyajima Island

The Power of Cultural Exchange: The Jenesys Program

My trip to Hiroshima under the Jenesys program was an eye-opening and enriching experience that allowed me better to understand the complex history and culture of Japan. The program’s mission to promote mutual understanding and friendship between Japan and other countries is an essential component of fostering peace and cooperation in our increasingly interconnected world. I am grateful for the opportunity to have participated in this program and hope that my experiences can serve as a testament to the importance of cultural exchange and understanding.

I got to witness firsthand the technological innovation that permeates every aspect of Japanese society. The ubiquitous vending machines, with their advanced features and convenience, exemplify Japan’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of technology. As I bid farewell to this captivating country, I couldn’t help but marvel at how something as seemingly simple as a vending machine could encapsulate the essence of Japanese technological prowess.

Finally, I encourage Fijian Youths to appropriate this wonderful opportunity and explore the endless possibilities of Japan which is rich in innovation, technology, culture and diversity.

My deepest thanks as well to JOCA and the USP International Office for their guidance and also not forgetting my Supervisors during the trip, Ms Ronna Lee from Samoa and Mr Sairusi Lui.” – Kelevi Stark.

Thank you Kelevi Stark for sharing your story with us!!☺️