The Most Memorable Experiences in Japan (Mr. Sylvester ROKUMAN - Part 4) ~Interview to JICA Long-term Participant~

【写真】Mr. Sylvester ROKUMANJICA Long-term Training Program Participant (JICA Scholarship for Graduate Student)He belongs to Graduate School of Engineering, Nagoya Institute of Technology.(JICA Scholarship: SDGs Global Leaders Course 2019)He is from Independent State of Papua New Gu
Mr. Sylvester ROKUMAN

We interviewed Mr. Sylvester ROKUMAN from Graduate School of Engineering, Nagoya Institute of Technology, one of the Long-term Training Program Participants at JICA Chubu. (Part 1~4)
(Interviewer: Mieko ARAKI, Training Program Division, JICA Chubu)

Please share your most impressive memory/experience in Japan so far.

Summer festival participation in Iwaki city
(Syl-san is sitting on the very right)

When I first came to Japan in 2015 to attend the JICA program on ‘Port Development and Planning for Port Engineers’, the best experience was spending the weekend in Iwaki City to witness the summer festival. In that event, I took part in Japanese traditional dancing and other traditional and social activities. After all the hype, the weekend was closed with a breath-taking fireworks event, and the event lasted for one hour. Since then, I've never had any better experiences than that and to this day, I've been very vocal about it.

In my recent stay here in Japan, another great getaway activity that was satisfying for me was my trip to Miyama City in Fukuoka. This trip was the ‘Pacific Islands Youth Program’ to make awareness and introduce my country to the town that will be hosting Team PNG during the Tokyo Olympics.

I spent a week going through the beauty and attraction of Miyama City which included, visiting the oldest Sake brewery, visiting the only vegetable packaging factory in that area, visiting the shopping mall, visiting the gas and electricity plant that produces energy from waste material, making firecrackers, painting carved birds, visiting the bamboo forest in the mountains, and visiting two shrines. I also spent an entire morning with a Buddhist Monk in his garden who then took me to another temple higher into the mountains to meditate.

In front of the shrine (Syl-san is on the very right)

After spending the week in Miyama, I went to present my experiences and findings to the committee in Tokyo. In Tokyo, I stayed for two days only then I was off to my home country in late February 2020. In my home country, I met with the Olympic Committee and explained what took place in Miyama and Tokyo Cities, and then I returned to Nagoya after a week just in time before the coronavirus lockdown.

Although there are many memorable experiences where I met new people, both Japanese and non-Japanese, making friends with colleagues and partners from all over the world, the above experiences were the most impressive and memorable for me, personally.

In September 2019, when you came to Japan, it was in the middle of “Rugby World Cup” Japan hosted. Do you also play your national sport, Rugby?

Yes, I was surprised that the Japanese team was very strong and skillful.

I played so many games, including rugby football league (RFL). I also played the Aussie Rule, soccer (football), basketball, and volleyball. Apart from ball games, I also did athletics in the specifically 100-meter sprint, where my fastest was about 9.2 seconds. I was recognized for the games mentioned above but there were other games I was not recognized for such as baseball, cricket, and Kyokushin Karate which I also played but not so seriously.

I stopped playing most, if not, all of the games when I got very busy with work and since then, I haven’t given time again to engage in sports.

Please give a message to Japanese readers if any.

Syl-san under the Japanese Cherry Blossoms

Japan's presence in PNG has influenced PNG a lot both in historical and recent times. Both countries have been benefitting from the historical and bilateral relationships.

It is my dream that with what Japan has been doing so far for PNG, such as training people like me and others in the program, as well as supporting with financial aid and expertise in various areas, PNG can be able to forge its systems necessary for advancing into efficient governance and meaningfully contribute to the world economy as well as technology.

I thank the people of Japan for your continuous support and relationship with PNG.

* Thank you very much for answering all of our long interview, Syl-san!!