Table Speech

“Yoneyama Month” Meeting
My Life as a Scholar of Rotary Yoneyama Memorial Foundation

October 2, 2013

Ms. Chen Yi-Hsiu, Yoneyama Scholar
Graduate School of Ochanomizu University

 I am currently working on my thesis on Japanese literature during the early Edo period at Ochanomizu University. To be more precise, I am writing about a scholar of literature named Sakauchi Naoyori, who wrote many novels of manners at the same time when writers like Ihara Saikaku gained popularity. Most of Sakauchi’s works have been regarded to be of unknown authorship. Similarity in taste between Sakauchi’s works and The Life of an Amorous Woman written by Ihara Saikaku proves the possible influential relationship developed between them. Through my research, I aim to identify Sakauchi’s works that remain anonymous today and to provide a comprehensive picture of his works by clarifying in what way he influenced Ihara Saikaku.

 It is almost a year and a half since I became a Yoneyama scholar. I still recall the first regular meeting I attended that made me a little nervous because I had not had many chances to talk with people experienced in life before I came here.
 Thanks to your warm reception, I immediately became relaxed.

 As I attended various events organized by the Yoneyama Foundation, I could deepen my understanding on Rotary and build friendships with people of different nationalities that have further enriched my student life here in Japan.

 My first Counselor Mr. Yamamoto has always cared for me attentively, especially on my research project and thesis as he himself was a university professor. I was deeply moved by Mr. Yamamoto during this Chinese New Year, as he remembered the holidays back in Taiwan and kindly gave me the New Year’s gift. He even apologized for not having put the gift in the Chinese traditional red envelope “Hong Bao.” I was almost moved to tears by his generous consideration.

 Mr. Hayashi has been my new Counselor since July. I felt a little nervous to have a new Counselor, but again my worries vanished right after I met him because he was very kind, just like Mr. Yamamoto. I tend to be shy with new people, but he made me feel at home and relaxed. Each time I see him, he always asks me if everything is OK.

 I call this the “Yoneyama magic” because I find myself smiling whenever I attend the Rotary meetings. I feel so comfortable here as everyone is kind and caring that makes me open up my mind.

 I want to share with you a small story about my parents who are both retired now. To my surprise, they both started studying Japanese from this month. I was moved when I saw them study Japanese harder than ever since I started studying Japanese almost 12 years ago. As I wish to work as a bridge between Japan and Taiwan in the future, I will start taking a little step and convey how amazing and interesting the Japanese culture is to my parents and help deepen their understanding of Japan.

 I have only six months left to attend regular meetings and other events as a Yoneyama scholar. Looking back on the past year and a half, I feel extremely fortunate to be here, having met people from around the world and receiving generous and warm hospitality from you all. Thanks to the attentive support by Yoneyama Foundation, I had less worries about my livelihood that enabled me to concentrate more on my research and thesis. My dream is to become like you in this Club and to give support to students studying abroad like myself in the future.