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Thanks to Sakura House…
Kuramae Living Room
It had already been 6 years ago, since I came to Japan for the very first time with 21. I already finished my 4th semester of “Japanese Studies” at my German university, so it was time to go, since all students should spend some time living in Japan. My University has several partnerships with Japanese Universities like Sophia, but I had a pretty different idea about my stay in Japan. I wanted to follow my dream to become a scientist on Sumo, the National Sport of Japan! Yes, the big guys…I saw Sumo on TV when I was about 13 years old and it just caught me.
Entering whatsoever exchange program would have totally eaten up all freedom to go and watch Sumo-training in the morning, or sit and watch the 2-weeks lasting tournaments 6 times a year – you could not call in sick that regularly, pretending to be half-dead for 15 days… ;-)
So the best way for me to keep total freedom was going on my own with a Working Holiday Visa – which I did. No University-relation also meant no dormitory to stay in, no help with whatsoever paper work etc… I must admit it was a bit scary at the beginning, since I never had been to a foreign country on my own before – being a young girl of 21…but I found the solution, SAKURA HOUSE. In walking distance to the Sumo-area (Ryougoku), they had a shared room in Kuramae for a rent as cheap as I could afford, without any further confusing costs like the gas bill or so, which would for sure come in Japanese, driving me crazy…
YAY! Booked online, went to Japan, all easy. I also found a job pretty quickly, working as a waitress in a German restaurant. I made a good living, compared to the living costs in Germany, I lived like a Queen (the Yen was much cheaper back in those days, being a waitress I could buy a new Laptop at the end of my stay!!!). I could do my research and made great contacts to the people of the Sumo-world I would need in the future…just the best decision I ever took. But beside all that, the very best thing about my SAKURA HOUSE in Kuramae had been the people living there with me. It was like an international family and I would not trade this experience for anything!
To date the friends I made back then, like Jackson (a young Canadian of Chinese descent) and me are still in contact. Jackson I do call my brother. Recently he helped me translating the PR I created for my company into French! SAKURA HOUSE means networking folks! Keep the friends you make in Japan on Facebook and never let em go!
I have real friends now on each continent! I could stay overnight in India, Mexico, China, Mongolia...isn’t that great? (^_^)v
In autumn 2009 it was time to do the research for my Master’s Thesis – about Sumo, so back to Sakura House Kuramae. All I needed was buying a printer for 6000 Yen, cheap paper and refill-ink, so I could produce my 4 pages questionnaire on my bed-desk-office. Over 600 copies…
Great success, I did a poll with all the Sumo-teams, getting great results and since I had had made contacts at my first stay, those people recognized me and my poll had been answered by 48% of all Sumo-teams. Now that is a rate for a researching M.A.-student, isn’t it? Master done, dream reached – became a scientist on Sumo.
Back in the same year 2009 a young man from Africa was searching for help online. He, already doing Sumo successfully as an amateur, wanted to become a professional Sumo wrestler. I and a friend teamed up to help this young man, it took until 2011, but we came to Japan together and did put him into a Sumo-team. As the first ever African person! He is still a beginner, but has all potential to become a big star as well as a symbol for internationalism and freedom, so please support him – we want to go watch him train together with SAKURA HOUSE and with you!
Now 2012, being an M.A.-Japanologist, working for Tokyo Riverside School as PR-specialist and Sumo-scientist (teaching our students about it etc.) I want to thank SAKURA HOUSE from the bottom of my heart to make all that possible. Neither my dream nor the dream of that young African man could have been reached without it – and we go on, we are still so young.
Guess what? Right now I also live in a shared house managed by the SAKURA Group. Each time one beloved housemate leaves Japan, we remaining ones cannot wait what kind of person the next guy or girl might be. I never learned so much just by sharing a living space together with people from so very different backgrounds. SAKURA HOUSE means widening your horizon, widening your heart – even if you sometimes get angry about dirty dishes waiting in the sink or so, see the gift in sharing a living space!
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