Intern Experience|Nonoka Tagashira

On Sunday, September 3rd, we visited Spring Hinata’s Aikido teacher, Angelica Sensei, at her home. I was warmly welcomed by my daughter Fabi, who I once took an Aikido class with. We had a homemade lunch and had a very delicious and happy time. Also, after dinner, I went for a walk with Hana-chan, and we were able to see three blue birds, which is considered lucky if you see one. In the evening, we went to a place called Sabaneta and had a dessert called buñuelo. It’s usually a small meal eaten at Christmas, but the one at Sabaneta was as big as a fist and left me full, but it was delicious.

On September 5th, I went to a nearby library with my host mother. The atmosphere was calm and the view from the terrace was great. There were disused trains and mysterious objects nearby, making it a very enjoyable place to visit.

On September 7th, I went to Comuna 13, which is now a famous tourist destination. We rode a ropeway unique to Medellin to the top of the mountain, so we were able to see a spectacular view. The view from the ropeway was of a slum, unlike where we were staying. It was a bit of a shock to realize once again that there was a huge gap between the rich and the poor, as the houses were all made of simple brick or tin roofs. However, when I actually arrived at Comuna 13, I found that it was a well-maintained townscape, perhaps because it is a tourist destination. I also felt that the city was lively, with hip-hop music such as rap battles being heard everywhere, and people dancing. However, when I spoke to my host family, they told me that just 15 to 20 years ago, the area was so unsafe that even locals couldn’t get close to it. I had heard that it was unsafe in the past, but I was surprised to see that it is now a place where you can go sightseeing. When I asked what had improved the security of Comuna 13, I was told that it was music. It was true that music could be heard from all over Comuna 13, and young people were dancing to entertain tourists, so it made sense that the power of music could improve public safety in the city. However, I’ve heard that some young people are still using the tips they receive from music performances as drugs, so I don’t think music is necessarily improving public safety. I felt sad. I hope that the power of music will be used in a positive direction to improve public safety.

On September 9th, I went to a maid cafe with the Spring Hinata students. I had never been to Japan before, but this time I tried it for the first time in Colombia. The cafe was decorated with many goods and pictures from Japanese anime, manga, and games. I was impressed by the staff’s dedication to introducing themselves in Japanese. Although Japan and Colombia are very far apart, it was a valuable experience for me to realize how much Japan’s culture has influenced other countries.