Experiencing Japanese culture through field work

Public Relations Office        August 28, 2014

DUNSKA SANDRA (Latvia), exchange student from University of Latvia


-What made you decide to study at KG?

When I was in the first year of high school, I read Japanese modern literature, such as works by Yasunari Kawabata, became fascinated by the beautiful view of the world offered by such works, and became interested in Japan. After entering the University of Latvia, I focused on learning Japanese and chose to study at KG, an exchange program partner of my university. I’d like to further improve my Japanese and join the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia to take charge of East Asian affairs in the future.

-What do you think about classes at KG?

Through a field work program for international students, I visited various places, such as Kyoto and Ise Jingu shrine to learn about Japanese culture. The University of Latvia offers very few field work opportunities, so I enjoyed the program very much.

-You attend some classes offered by the School of Sociology with Japanese students, don’t you?

Yes. Each time I attend a class offered by the School of Sociology, I discover something new. During a class of Cultural Studies, I watched the anime film Crayon Shin-chan: The Storm Called: The Adult Empire Strikes Back and considered nostalgia for the Showa Era. I was really impressed by the very attractive depiction of the Showa Era in the film. This class has given me a different perspective to appreciate films and broaden my outlook. Japanese students talk to me in a friendly manner, so I have made many friends. I always chat with them over lunch on the central lawn, my favorite place.

-What kind of behavior of KG students interests you?

I’m interested in their fashion. Many students wear fashionable outfits, so when I see them, I can instantly recognize fads. On the other hand, there are also many students clothed in a sweat suit. I’m inspired by them because I can feel their enthusiasm for sports. In fact, there are no students clothed in a sweat suit at the University of Latvia.

-Please boast about your home country.

So-called “countryside tourism” is booming in Latvia. By participating in a countryside tour, you can enjoy the rich nature of the countryside. The Old Town of Riga is also a popular tourist spot and a World Heritage Site. It’s famous for its medieval townscape. The food I most recommend is a traditional Latvian cold pink soup made from a vegetable called “beet” and yoghurt. It’s delicious!

-Please tell us what your favorite Japanese word or phrase is.

My favorite phrase is “Ichi-go Ichi-e (Treasure every encounter, for it will never recur).” During my stay in Japan, I always have new encounters. Since I came to Japan, I’ve become eager to cherish each encounter and each moment and come to like this phrase. I was told that this phrase comes from chado (the Way of Tea). Sen no Rikyu is said to have conceived the concept of this phrase. I think he was a great man.