CSRJ-AH alumni, on the 16th anniversary

Posted: 23/08/2021
Category: CSRJ Family

Iuniana Mindru

My name is Iuniana Mindru. I am a graduate of the “Ion Creanga” National College and of the Romanian-American University. During college (international relations) I was an Erasmus scholarship holder for one semester in Finland, and I participated in an internship in Okinawa for a month. I taught Japanese for beginners at the Angela Hondru Romanian-Japanese Studies Center and am currently working for the Japanese Organization for Foreign Trade (JETRO).

Like many others, as a child I started watching anime. Saturday morning was the time I spent with my brother watching… Pokemon! In the eighth grade I knew for sure that I would study a foreign language. I was about to enter a high school with a French profile, but I changed my mind when I found a high school with an intensive Japanese language profile. I didn't stop to think twice. It was the best decision that would take me to CSRJ-AH and to the friends I made for life. I started reading a lot about Japan and I was very impressed by the traditional part and its transposition into contemporary values. What I love is the culture, the way of thinking, the discipline, the respect for people and the environment. I'm not saying everything is perfect but we have so much to learn.

Ah, and probably everyone knows this, I love Japanese food!

During high school I met Iulia (or Tsuki as she is known to everyone). She is one of my best friends, and the one who introduced me to the Center. Since then we started going to classes together and we were inseparable. I will always remember how many beautiful memories we had, both in classes and in summer camps or during Cultural Programs in Japan. I became a CSRJ volunteer along the way. I really enjoyed seeing so many people passionate about the Japanese language and culture and since then I have felt that I am part of this community. I also graduated high school and chose to study at the Romanian American University and in parallel to continue studying the Japanese language. At the age of 18, I went to Tokyo for the first time in Japan. After that, I went to the cultural programs of the Center, in one year even as the winner of the title of "student of the year". I remember that the emotions were so great that I was going with my friends to Japan.

At the Center we also had the opportunity to have native teachers and we interacted a lot with the Japanese. This helped me a lot in communicating with them. It was a great satisfaction to see the fruits of my study of all these years.

During college I participated in many conferences on both cultural and economic issues related to Japan, pop culture festivals, I was an interpreter for Center events and helped organize them. I also participated in exchange programs for teachers.

I think that in 2011, a contemporary dance event took place in Bucharest, more precisely a Romanian-Japanese collaboration. Together with several colleagues, I worked as an interpreter. Although I was very young, I tried to do my best and be the voice that connects the two cultures. I gained a lot of confidence when I was chosen to go on a tour of Romania with Japanese guests, and to see that this event was a success. In 2013 I participated in an internship in Okinawa at the Laguna Gaarden Hotel for a period of about a month. I learned about Japanese etiquette, how to interact with people, the working style of the Japanese and the values of their society. What I mean is that it wasn't easy, but I learned things that I had nowhere to find in books or anywhere else.

A few years later, I started teaching Japanese to beginner students. Due to the influence of my family, my mother being a teacher and my grandmother a former teacher, I was attracted to this path. I started with great emotions, but this had a very big impact on my development. I tried to make my classes exactly as I would have liked myself and I tried to be close to my students. I also had role models at the Center, who inspired me, especially Chinatsu Kawamoto sensei. It was a real pleasure to come to her classes. I hope that I managed to pass on my love for Japan and that no matter how little, my students came to love Japan, or at least to arouse their curiosity.

There have been many challenges all this time but I have learned that perseverance can take you anywhere. After so many years, I am still learning every day because I want to give my best (Ganbaru!). This is the most precious thing I have learned since I became part of the great CSRJ-AH family.

Later, working in the field, I learned what it means to be organized, determined and to be very careful in everything I do. I learned how to communicate and what I can improve for better communication both with the Japanese and in everyday life.

I can't decide what is my most beautiful memory at the Center. Maybe the Cultural Program, when we were together in Japan and visited so many beautiful places (but Miyajima stayed in my heart), maybe when I went to karaoke, maybe walking in the rain on the uninhabited Japanese streets, maybe satisfaction of a successful event, or maybe the period in which I taught. What is certain is that I can't help but smile when I talk about that period in my life.

All the people I met at the Center and at the University are special and helped me become today's Iuniana. I am very grateful to you and my thoughts are always with you. Happy Birthday! May you have the best students, just as you already have, to guide them as you did with me. Thank you! Good luck!

©Iuniana Mindru
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