Reflections from Masaaki Hata


MasaakiI have been in the program for 4 weeks and have one more to go. But I think this program will not finish in just 5 weeks because I will live my life using what I learned here for my future.

Last weekend, I took a walk at the park and thought about where I can find myself. Before this program, I thought I knew who I was. However, when I listened to the session about “triggers”, I started having doubts because if I know who I am, I wouldn’t be affected by my surroundings and I wouldn’t feel any triggers, but in fact I did feel them.

I thought that who I really am is who I want to be and how I want to be. In that meaning, who I am is not influenced by anyone. It’s all up to me. However, in my real life, I was comparing myself to others. It was really hard for me to think about who I should be.

After more reflection, I realized that 共創: co-creation is to show myself in relation to others. I also believed that to show myself was not to show arrogance or pride, but just who I really am. Now I value the idea of not who I should be, but what I want to be.

Through this reflection, I felt myself become clearer. One question remains of how I can cope with my weaknesses. It’s still hard to be who I really am. However, I have learned many lessons to face the weaknesses that I have, lessons such as accepting vulnerability, how to face triggers, and how to recover to stay centered from the failure faster than before.

I will take more time to face myself.

Masaaki is in his second year at Waseda University studying sociology. He grew up in a Buddhist family who owns a temple in Hokkaido, and now Masaaki is living in Tokyo. Since he was strongly impacted by the Great East Japan Earthquake, Masaaki has been actively involved in the revitalization of Tohoku.

When Masaaki was in his first year of University, he went to Kesennuma, Miyagi and was shocked to see the lack of people in the disaster affected area even after 4 years. However, Masaaki was also surprised to witness the liveliness and resilience that the local people had. After seeing their lives and connecting with locals, Masaaki immediately committed to serve to support the revitalization of the Tohoku area and joined a volunteer-led organization. He is currently serving as a project leader at a Tokyo branch and providing events and opportunities for people who live in Tokyo to stay connected with the people affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake. In addition, Masaaki is interning with an association to support local farmers and fishermen from the Tohoku area. As a leader he believes having a shared vision is critical for any leadership position for creating an environment in which people can motivate each other.

As an iLEAP TOMODACHI SIIS scholar, Masaaki is looking forward to learning about global leadership skills. Masaaki firmly believes that promoting the food of Tohoku to world can encourage the local people who are a crucial part of revitalization of Tohoku and relearn about what this area can offer to the rest of the world.

Kei Eriksen

Kei Eriksen

Kei is originally from Japan. After gaining her B.A. in Humanities, Kei worked at an adult education institute for several years, designing and implementing language study programs with international instructors for a mostly Japanese audience. During this time, Kei advocated for many of the instructors who did not have enough access to resources in Japanese society. This experience has led Kei to the realization that in order to create programs to deepen connections at a personal level, she needed to further her career and experience overseas. In 2009 Kei received her M.A. in International Education from SIT Graduate Institute in Brattleboro, Vermont.