Opening Remark by Mari Hirotsuru, SIJ President and Founder


I am very pleased and honored to officially open the 4th Summer in JAPAN seven day 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 business. 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. The reason we received this award 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, the 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.

(July 31, 2016)