A clear blue sky on Thursday, November 5, 2020 from Tokyo to Gifuhashima (岐阜羽島) Station via Shinkansen train. The staff of the Gifu International Centre collected me and we drove to the Kani International Exchange Association (KIEA) for my workshop titled, Start with the Mindset to Finish, to introduce Stress Management and Communication Skills Development to foreign youth residents of the Gifu Prefecture’s Kani City.
The room filled about 26 students. One participant was an 8-year old South American girl, while the average range of participants were 15 to 20s (from the Philippines, Brazil, Peru, Thailand, Vietnam, Nepal and Uganda).
Before the event started, I invited the participants to sit closer to the front so that we can all properly hear each other and for me to ask them a few questions about how long have they lived in Japan, where do they come from, and what is their agenda for the rest of the month. The first 15 minutes consisted of me asking questions to the audience, Getting to Know You Segment, to promote peer-to-peer interaction to improve confidence and communication skills.
Followed by my basic anatomy and physiology lecture on the limbic system and the nervous system for the participants to better understand their emotions, where emotions come from and how they chemically react (between the body and the brain).
Then I introduced the first activity, Emotion and Stress Management through the Yoga Prāṇāyāma Breathing Technique, as shown in the images below, where even the staff and organizers participated in the activity! Based on my observation, the staff also found the activity relaxing and calming to their spirit because when I asked the audience, “would you ever apply this technique if you ever need to relax from a stressful situation?” the entire room joyfully responded, “Yes!”
The purpose of this activity was to awaken the value of managing emotions towards clearer decision-making by paying attention to every moment in order to analyse what is happening, then choose the appropriate emotion with which to respond.
The following activity was, Priorities and Deadlines through Time Management Tables. I prepared timetable sheets for each participant to fill out in order to experience how to schedule and improve their time-management skills. The rom became very lively with staff and students interacting with each other.
The Time Management Table Activity was then connected towards career planning because of my personal career story when I was their age (15 – 18 years old). I explained that “your future is dependent on the choices you make today, so use your time wisely.”
The event closed with my kind reminder for the students to be thankful of the Gifu Prefecture and KIEA’s efforts to prepare activities like this workshop for them. It amazes me how warm, accomodating and friendly the Japanese government officials are.
There was a series of pictures taken after the students discovered my identity. Overall, it was a well-organised program and fun experience connecting with these global citizens of our planet’s future.