On some Sundays, I eat breakfast with my language and cultural exchange circle of friends. Our founder, Jiyoung Beak, came back to Cebu recently after staying in Vietnam for a year. We decided to hold as many morning sessions as we can while she and I are in the country.
The morning session or “Asakatsu” in Japanese started in 2017. It is an event for exchanging thoughts on the cultural differences and similarities between the Philippines and Japan. The participants are both Japanese and Filipinos who share the same love and curiosity towards the two countries, the people, and the culture.
I joined two years ago because I am an advocate for cultural exchange and I am a product of some cultural and international exchange programs myself. I believe that when we experience a different culture, we gain a deeper understanding of other people, of our differences and similarities, and this deepened knowledge helps us strengthen our relationship with others, especially with foreign nationals of our neighboring countries.
Over the years that we’ve had the morning sessions, we’ve been able to forge an amazing friendship with everyone who has been part of it. Most of our Japanese friends now are out there, chasing their dreams, and traveling around the world.
Last Sunday, we had our first gathering for April. Peku-chan invited some students of CrossXRoads and we met this time in Yolk Cafe IT Park. We used to have our asakatsu in Yolk Cafe Mabolo. We loved our new breakfast place by the way!
We talk about our dreams
The number of participants has increased since, so we always divide the group into two, where Filipino participants are spread out among the Japanese students. When we choose a topic to talk about, we normally ask the Japanese friends what they want to know about Filipino culture. Our group this time though ended up talking about BTS.
You got that right! We talked about the phenomenal Korean group Bangtan Boys or Bangtan Sonyeondan (Bulletproof Boy Scouts). It turned out that I wasn’t the only BTS Army in our group. George-chan, one of our Filipino participants, shared why she loves BTS so much and that one of her dreams is to watch them perform LIVE someday. Her dream to watch BTS led us to ask everyone about our own dreams.
Asuka-chan, a lovely lass from Okinawa, cheerfully shared that she dreams of running her own boutique inn in her hometown that will welcome tourists from different parts of the world. Now that she’s traveling around the world, she takes notes of things and takes photos of places where she gets inspiration for her dream hotel.
Misa-chan, a pediatrician from Tokyo, shared that she’s learning English because she wanted to travel around the world. But she’s not just traveling the world because she wants to see places. She wants to meet children from different parts of the globe to understand them more and to discover what makes children happy. What is happiness for them? Isn’t that heartwarming to hear?
Kyoka-chan, the youngest in the group, said she dreams of going to a good University in Tokyo and someday work in her dream companies – McKinsey & Company and Accenture. Now at 19, she’s loving her experience working as a volunteer for major entertainment concerts. It gives her the opportunity to meet some of the world’s famous artists.
George-chan, who kept babbling about BTS until after our session ended, said aside from her BTS dream, she also dreams of visiting Japan during the Hanami season and travel with her family.
I, on the other hand, shared that my new dreams include growing and holding more activities for Arm in Arm (AiA), the women self-help group I founded last year, traveling and spending more quality time with my parents and my younger siblings who are both based abroad, and running in as many places as I can around the world to promote my advocacy for the environment, among others.
Last Sunday was too soul-stirring and encouraging that we ended up teary-eyed while we were sharing our dreams.
We talk about places to see in Cebu
The other group was a little confused about what got us emotional. They figured it out when we were already wrapping up our session. Their group decided to talk about the places in Cebu, not only in the city but also in the countryside, that they can visit in a day, over the weekend, and during holidays. They also ended up going to a mini-cultural city tour after our session.
What is your dream?
Everyone has dreams in life. Some are enthusiastic about sharing them in details even if they have no idea yet of how to achieve them, but others are reluctant to even think and talk about their dreams. Some may have lost touch with their own dreams, others are continuously chasing theirs despite everything.
We believe that knowing and remembering our dreams will inspire us to be hopeful, to move forward, and to keep doing the things we love. Knowing other people’s dreams also inspires us to challenge ourselves and dream, too. Listening to everyone sharing their dreams give us a more positive outlook in life.
Our dreams, no matter how little or big, are among the foundation of our goals, journey, and purpose in life. Our successes and our failures, two of our best life teachers, have started as a dream.
Our dreams have no limit, too.
That blissful Sunday led me and Peku-chan to do the “What is your Dream?” passion project. It aims to encourage people to never give up on their dreams. We hope to invite everyone to share their dreams on our Facebook page, and we hope to create a community of happy dreamers who are there to cheer and encourage everyone to make dreams come true.
We will be holding another Sunday session this month and we welcome everyone who is interested to join us.
Wherever you are in the world and whoever you are, dream passionately!