Two students of Jawahar Navodaya Vidyala Khumbong, Imphal District, Ruhikumar Sandham and Ningthoujam Nareshkumar Singh, both of them studying in eleventh standard had visited Japan in December 2014, as part of Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths, JENESYS. Bobo Khuraijam had a brief conversation with them.
IFP: So you have been lucky to visit the Land of Rising Sun. Was it your dream come true or it happened as a surprise?
Nareshkumar (NK): Yes, it was like a dream. But we believed that we have fair chance of visiting the country. Some of our school seniors had already visited the place through the JENESYS programme.
Ruhikumar (RK): Yes, three of our seniors had been to Japan. Lalhaba, who went there earlier, is presently pursuing higher studies in the country after passing out from the Vidyalaya. But this was the first time that two students were selected from the same school.
IFP: That`™s interesting. How did it happen? Tell us about the criteria of applying for the trip.
NK: We have to submit our application online through the Ministry of Human Resource, Government of India. Eighty students are selected from all over the country. It is important for the applicant to be an `all-rounder`™, which means one has to be good in studies and as well as in co-curricular activities, including games and sports.
RK: Right. I had applied giving emphasis on my sports activities, as I have played Volleyball, Kabaddi and football at national level competitions. But the selecting authority had instructed us to furnish our academic records too.
IFP: What was your first reaction on getting the news of your selection?
RK: It was during our half yearly exam, Naresh was called by our Principal, N Dhiren. Sir instructed Naresh to check his personal e-mail as it was already time for announcement of selected students. I stayed back in the dorm, with butterfly in my stomach.
NK: The first word was `congratulation`™; I quickly figured out that I was enlisted. Then I went back to dorm to inform Ruhi, and insisted him to check his mail. But he was reluctant.
IFP: Naresh, we learn that you have been going places even after your Japan trip. Tell us something about it.
NK: Well, I along with six students of our school went to attend an inspirational talk session given by renowned scientists organised by CSIR at the North East Institute of Science & Technology, Jorhat from Jan 5 `“ 10. JNV Khumbong was the lone school from Manipur to take part in the programme. There was an elocution competition as well during the session. Our school bagged the 1st and 2nd position. We spoke on a common theme: Nanotechnology.
IFP: Congrats. You have been doing well, making the school and your parents proud of you. Did you get inspired after the session? What are your future plans?
NK: Thank you. Yes, certainly. We are inspired. I also attended a science programme some time back in Manipur University. From that session and the last one we attended in Jorhat, I have decided to pursue higher studies in research work. I want to become a scientist. I want to do research in Chemistry as it has been my favourite subject.
IFP: How about you, Ruhikumar?
RK: I want to go for active service; I want to become an army officer. A few days back, an alumnus who is now serving as Lt. Col in the army came to meet us on the school annual day. His talk was very inspiring.
IFP: We wish you all the best. Now, tell us about your Japan trip.
NK: I don`™t know how to begin about the trip. It was an amazing experience. The place is so advanced and people are so warm. I can never forget their hospitality. We were segregated into groups. They took us to different places like school, stadium and yes; the home-stay experience was unforgettable.
RK: Yes, we were amazed by their discipline, cleanliness, their sense of belonging to their country. Of course, the physical infrastructure they have is something that overwhelmed us all. The skyscrapers in Tokyo were so high, I thought, they would collapse upon us (laugh). And our guide told us that they are all designed to withstand earthquakes.
IFP: Did you not have a ride on their Bullet trains?
NK: Yes, we did. They took my group (5 of us), to Aomori, a town in the northern most corner of Japan. It was 400 miles away from Tokyo. The Bullet train covered the distance in just 3 hours. And then we were taken to the Kawamonzen family. The family is a rich family though farming is their occupation. They grow apples and strawberries, and own 3 cars (laugh).
RK: My home-stay was with the Kudou family. They are also farmer. What was exciting was that the family took me to their strawberry fields and asked me to help them in their work, to which I happily agreed. It was a mild kind of work compared to their refreshments and hospitality. I would like to go back to Japan if given the opportunity.
IFP: What things would you like to bring back from that country?
RK: I definitely like their urban infrastructure. How they are design and build; it has been a puzzle to me, and will be for a long time. Take their school for instance. The kind of gymnasium and other facilities they have is beyond words to describe. But what I admire most is the discipline of the people. People follow time very strictly.
NK: Our guide told us that if you ask for direction to someone walking fast in the street, most probably you will not get an answer. Because he/she do not want to be late even for a minute to reach their work place, otherwise, people are very helpful. I too like the sense of discipline of the Japanese. It is worth emulating.
(Nareshkumar is son of N Krishnamohon Singh and N Prema of Heirok, Part-III, Champrathong Makhong & Ruhikumar is son of S Ibungo and S Tampakleima Devi of Samurou Makha Leikai)