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Yasuko Mori

Keio University

“I don’t remember since when---but as I grew up, I came to find it difficult to be myself when I’m in a group of people. I cared too much about what other people might think, feel, and so on, which deterred me from being myself.

JASC, however, was a completely different experience. With every participant so unique in his or her own way, I gradually stopped hiding my feelings and behaving “good.” I have never put myself in an environment that was so open, warm, and accepting, as well as fun, friendly, and energetic. I have never felt so comfortable when being myself. People in JASC accept 'the real me.'

Of course, it is not an easy thing to live with so many different people for a month. There were times when our opinions clashed. Everyone’s opinions varied because we all had different backgrounds and had different values. I realized the best way to deal with this was to understand and appreciate each opinion as well as to say my honest feelings out loud. Now, after the one-month conference, we have a strong bond that allows us to say our true feelings. Having done JASC for one month, I have gained so much more than I had expected. I believe that all the things I gained through JASC--the strong friendships we built, the precious experiences we had, the exciting and meaningful times we had together--will stay in my mind and will encourage me to take on challenges in the future.”

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