A Dream to Change Mindsets about Islam and the Middle East


“Tell me about yourself and your hobbies.”

I’m twenty years old and a student. Until now, I’ve been a member of our brass band club, and recently I’ve started playing jazz. Right now we’re all practicing hard for a competition that will take place in the summer. I’ve been playing trombone since I was in elementary school, but I only started playing jazz when I entered university about three years ago. I started playing trombone because the older girl who was my next door neighbor played. I saw her and I thought it was so cool, so I started. My arms are kind of short, so it’s difficult for me to reach all of the notes, but…

Recently I bought a camera, and I’ve really been enjoying taking pictures. Like an old postbox on a house, flowerbeds, pinwheels, etc.. I’ve really gotten into that recently. On Kawaramachi Street, south of Shijo Street, there are some restaurants that were originally old-style houses. That’s the kind of place where I like to take photos. Recently I’ve been trying hard to use a manual camera. I haven’t taken formal classes — just trying to watch and imitate the techniques of others.

“What is your dream?”

It was a big bother for my mother and father to raise me, so I want to find work for myself that will make my parents happy. Right now, at university, I’m majoring in International Relations, and particularly about Islam and the Middle East. The main field I want to work in is Media and Mass Communications. People’s mindsets are really changed by the way information is broadcasted, so I want to become an individual who is able to relay information without any prejudice or bias. I first became interested in Islam through my love of the movie Aladdin. And last year ISIS became widely known and started influencing people’s views of Islam in a bad way. But they’re not all like that, and I thought that was very sad, so that’s why I began studying this topic.

“What was it like growing up in Kyoto, and which place do you like best now?”

I grew up in the Kyoto countryside. I used to run around in bare feet, playing tag with friends and going to the Kamo River to throw bread to the ducks and getting in the water to catch medaka rice fish. Recently, I really love Nanzenji Temple. It’s quiet. The crowded areas are very crowded, but there are some spots where no one goes at all. When I want to think about something deeply, I go to Nanzenji. I sit by myself and look at the evening sky. For example, if you walk a little ways up the hill, there’s a spot from which you can see the whole city. That’s my favorite spot. I can think quietly. I recommend that international visitors go to Nanzenji. They can see the brick wall remaining from the old part of the canal carrying water to the city from Lake Biwa. It’s not what international visitors may equate with “Kyoto”, necessarily, but it’s a window into an older time, and I think they would enjoy it.


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