Bonds that Cross the Pacific

President Matsuda discussing the American-Eastern Asian relationship, photo taken by Editor-in-Chief Atzimba M.
おはいよございます。Wait, wrong language. Anyways, getting back on track, the Eastern Asian Institute of UTSA recently welcomed President Matsuda from Kyoto University of Foreign Studies (KUFS).

President Matsuda actually used to be a part of the UTSA faculty way back in 1986 as a visiting Fulbright scholar to teach a course in American-East Asian relations. I got to meet him 3 times. The first time around was during my study abroad at KUFS
EAI associate director Mimi Yu introducing President Matsuda, photo taken by Editor-in-Chief Atzimba M.
I met many wonderful people and have plenty of stories of our adventures, but that's for another time. The second time around was when he visited Professor Fukuda's intermediate Japanese class Wednesday, which I managed to arrive by 1 minute before class, again another story for another time. The final time I met him was yesterday during his presentation.

Overall, his perception of things has not changed. His presentation was focused on the relationship the US and Japan have towards the military troops in Okinawa and how both sides have different perspectives as to how it should be handled. 

In summary of his speech, neither party is fully right. Japan has a misconception of the US never abandoning them and will make the best of America's military might. This is due to how Okinawa was offered as a sacrificial offering to the US by Emperor Hirohito in 1947, in order to protect Japan. While the US has been accused of being self servant and lack a unified command, with Japan, dealing with belligerent actions. 

Japan seeks peace from a nuclear war, even though they are protected by a nuclear umbrella, and the US needs to build a better relationship with Japan that is based on actual friendship and equality.

His speech was an eye opener. I never realized the inequality the military forces had been facing. I did not get a chance to visit Okinawa, but the people in Kyoto were kind and willing to help when they saw I needed it. Hell, Robert, one of Rowdy Radio's geek bloggers, lost his phone 3 times in Kyoto and EVERY SINGLE TIME people stepped in to help.

A full room led to people standing in the back, photo taken by Editor-in-Chief Atzimba M.
Yet, appearances are not what they seem. The Japanese traditions are not always depicted in anime, so don't push your luck and think that'll save you (especially with the language). Kindness is best given when it's received. As President Matsuda said, "The biggest trees give the most shelter."

To me that's kindness.

I was welcomed with open arms in a foreign country and never felt homesick. I miss the people I met for those three weeks. I would give anything to see them all again. 

It was thanks to the EAI I got that chance. Study abroad may seem far out of reach or too expensive, but there's always scholarships and different opportunities. You never know where those adventures will take you.

Group photo from study abroad in KUFS, photo taken by RR Blogger Robert A.
To all my foreign friends, I hope one day we all meet up again in Kyoto. To President Matsuda, thank you for visiting UTSA and I hope your visit was awesome. To the EAI, thank you for the opportunity.

Take a chance. Nothing is out of reach when you try.


  1. I want to go to Japan so bad! Thanks for sharing a bit of your wonderful experience abroad, still expecting a post talking more about it :P