Before, Cai Yulin, a sophomore majoring in English at Guangdong University of Foreign Studies (GUFS), thought her peers in Japan would have spent their spare time differently from her.
After she had a discussion with them during a China-Japan youth exchange event in her campus on March 26th, she realized that they actually had a lot in common, for example, they both enjoy watching variety shows and taking selfies with beauty cam apps.
Students from both China and Japan have a group discussion during the China-Japan youth exchange event held in GDUFS Northern Campus' library lecture hall, Guangzhou, March 26th, 2019. [Photo provided to Newsgd.com]
Kaori Okado, a sophomore student at the University of Tokyo, admired the Chinese students’ hard work and organisational abilities a lot, and saw a few differences between youths in the two countries. She pointed out that some animations such as Natsume’s Book of Friends (夏目友人帳) are very popular with Chinese youngsters while Japanese teenagers don’t know much about them.
The students talked about habits & customs, entertainment, environment, cutting-edge technology, life, aging populations and Sino-Japanese relations; all hot topics they shared a common interest in.
Cai’s classmate Fang Shufen said that she benefited greatly from the discussion and became good friends with her group members from Japan.
June from Tokyo’s University of Foreign Studies believes this is a great opportunity for students from both counties to understand each other more.
Guests and students from both China and Japan pose for a group photo before the group discussion. [Photo provided to Newsgd.com]
Four-day trip to Guangdong
Over 100 Japanese students from 57 universities took part in the 2019 China-Japan youth exchange event in Guangdong between March 24th and 27th. The delegation was led by the Executive Director of Japan-China Friendship Association Nagata Tetsuji who pointed out that it was the first time for most of the students to visit the province.
Before GUFS, the students went on a tour around Shenzhen, visiting Guangdong-based technology firm Huawei, ‘The History of Shenzhen’s Reform and Opening-up’ exhibition at Shenzhen Museum and the 9 Square Shopping Center. When in Guangzhou, they paid a call to the Art Museum of Cantonese Opera, Yongqing Fang, Huacheng Square, Canton Tower, and took the Pearl River night cruise.
Kaori Okado was very excited about her trip in Guangdong, especially the night cruise on the Pearl River and shrimp dumplings in Guangzhou as well as the reform and opening up exhibition in Shenzhen. She said she knew only a few facts about Guangdong from history text books before, and after she was here, she was deeply touched by the surrounding, all the water and lush mountains in particular. And she called the province a spectacular and magical one.
Nagata Tetsuji (L) and Ouyang Jiangxuan exchange gifts on the stage. [Photo provided to Newsgd.com]
Nagata Tetsuji said it was a precious life experience for the Japanese students to have this exchange activity in Guangdong, and all of them thought the event was of great importance.
Ouyang Jiangxuan, vice-chairman of Guangdong People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, said that Guangdong and Japan have eight pairs of sister cities/counties and Guangdong is also home to over 1600 Japanese-funded enterprises, including Japanese multinational automotive manufacturers Toyota, Honda and Nissan.
2018 marks the 40th Anniversary of the Signing of China-Japan Treaty of Peace and Friendship. Chinese premier Li Keqiang encouraged the two countries to enhance youth exchanges and mutual learning. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe invited more Chinese friends to visit Japan, noting that the year 2019 is "Japan-China Youth Exchange Promotion Year."
Reported by Monica Liu
Edited by Olivia Yang, Simon Haywood