一般社団法人Summer in JAPAN
代表理事 廣津留真理

Opening Message Summer in JAPAN 2017

Good morning and welcome,

“If Einstein’s father had had his druthers, Albert would have become an engineer. Instead, he devoted himself to, in his words, thinking for its own sake,” said Drew Faust, then President of Harvard University, at the opening convocation for Harvard’s Class of 2016, which included my daughter who was taking her first step forward on a new continent.

Young people are often encouraged to listen to the experience and advice of great achievers, but in life you have to stand on your own two feet. Have confidence in yourself and what you’re doing. Every single minute of your life is a crucial moment that determines your future.

In 2013, I was relaxing in a hot spring in Beppu, a world-renowned hot spring resort in Oita, when the idea of creating an educational space for young people around the world to exchange ideas came to me like, “eureka!” The very next day, I made a rough teaching plan, and booked a hundred rental rooms for workshops, a concert hall, and some cultural places to visit.

Then I asked my daughter, a freshman at Harvard at the time, to advertise the seminar on campus. I made a website to recruit talented college students from Harvard. Then I waited and waited. I waited for a long time expecting someone from Harvard to respond, “Hi, Mari. I would like to apply for SIJ 2013!” The deadline day came. No one had responded yet, like Arnold Lobel’s story of Frog and Toad waiting for the mail to come on the front porch. Am I all right? My daughter answered calmly, “No worries, mom. We Harvard students take action at the very last minute as we are always too busy to plan ahead with deadlines of every upcoming event.”

So it was eleven fifty-nine at night, one minute to the deadline. Blood was rushing to my face and I was about to count the total sum I had spent when suddenly so many emails from Harvard rushed into my laptop. If I had given up in the middle for fear of total failure , SIJ would not have been born at all. This story is not only about the importance of making decisions, but also of having confidence in yourself and what you are doing.

Five years have passed, and SIJ regularly receives about 100 applications from Harvard along with other universities, such as Stanford and UT Austin, and welcomes 155 participating school pupils from 10 countries to SIJ Oita and SIJ Okayama.

In closing, I hope SIJ 2017 will be a fun and exciting summer place for every one of you to embark on an uncharted ocean full of adventures and learning.

Thank you.

Opening Message Summer in JAPAN 2016

Good morning and welcome,

I am very pleased and honored to officially open the 4th Summer in JAPAN sevenday English Seminar here in Oita, Japan. From a pool of over 100 extremely qualified applicants from Harvard, we have brought these 9 exciting young people here to Summer in JAPAN.  Their presence here was made possible due to the generous support of this community: the parents, the students, local governments, local universities, and businesses.  All of you are an essential part of this seminar.

We were awarded the 5th Career Education Award from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan.  The reason we received this is because we believe that liking what you do and doing what you like is the key to having a successful professional career.  If students are encouraged to pursue their passions, they will become highly motivated self-learners.  For instance, if students like music, they need to have their interest nurtured.  By being enrolled in piano lessons, they will meet other musicians and join an orchestra or music groups then go on to study musical theory and then to study abroad in Europe and thus their once idle interest may develop into a satisfying lifelong journey of musical discovery.

Life is not linear. Life is richer and more complex. Just because you are pursuing something with all your passion does not mean, that is the entirety of your life.  Having a broad, well-rounded experience is one of the keys to having a fulfilling life.  Looking back on three years of SIJ I have observed that our guests from Harvard have their own specific interests, but they also remain open to new ideas and experiences.  Just because someone is focused on music doesn’t mean they cannot later develop a passion for computer science or organic chemistry, or even baking. Please remember: you are the future.

At SIJ I want to provide role models who have a great wealth of cultural capital so that students can be immersed in a rich culture of learning and exploration.  A large part of cultural capital consists of one’s personal habits: spending your time on worthwhile pursuits, not staring at Pokémon GO every spare minute of your day. Fill your time with reading, writing, performing music, dancing, filming, enjoying arts, having conversations, going to amazing places, and having adventures!

I wish all the participating students and the university student instructors a very fruitful and productive seven-day seminar. Embrace your future.

Thank you.

開講にあたって Summer in JAPAN 2015

ご来場のみなさま、日本全国から、海外から、7日間の英語セミナーSummer in JAPAN 2015 (SIJ 2015) にお集まりいただき、誠にありがとうございます。