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"Experience of a Lifetime"

Balkisu Saidu
Home country: Nigeria
Graduate School of Economics (Master's Programme)

It is an honor to be in your midst tonight. I am a 3rd year PhD Student in the Graduate School of Law under the guidance of Professor Jiro Tamura. I have so many experiences from my stay in Japan but I have only 3 minutes to speak to you so I will keep it short. One of the experiences of Japan that I will never forget is the earthquake of March 11 this year. I was in an office on this campus when the earthquake occurred... Of course I hid under the desk and would not have ventured out if not for the staff who calmly requested us to move outside and gather in the evacuation center. I was scared... But the part of that experience that I cannot forget was how calm and dignified everyone was. There was no panic, no rushing, no shouting ... nothing of that sort. Everyone was just calmly trying to help others and to make way home. I was amazed to see how random people, on the street, were stopping to ask me if I needed any help. They were going through the same experience as I was, but they were so generous and kind to realize that, being a foreigner, I may need some assistance. I do not know how the Japanese do that but I think the rest of the world has a lot to learn from Japan and the Japanese in that regard.

Another experience that has made a lasting impression on me was that of working with Professors in Keio University. Their method of guiding researchers in Keio nurtures the mind; it challenges one's creativity and intellectual drive ... bringing out the best in us. As a researcher, I could not have wished for more. I appreciate that because it has made me challenge myself even more; and I am glad of what I have been able to achieve because of that. I wish to thank the organizers for this opportunity to share my experience ... and I wish to thank MEXT and Keio University for the experience of a lifetime. Thank you! どうもありがとうございます !

*The above is a transcript of Karine's speech at the 2011 Year-end Reception for International Faculty, Visiting Scholars, Doctoral Students, and Exchange Students (December 9, 2011)

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