My name is Kumudra and I am now a second year Mechanical Engineering student studying Automotive Engineering. Although I identify my nationality as Myanmar, I have lived in Nagoya for nearly fifteen years – twelve of which I spent attending Nagoya International School.
While living in the same city for over a decade undoubtedly made me wonder what the world outside of Japan had to offer, when college application season started Nagoya University was the first university I applied to. You may be asking yourself, what is it about this city that convinced me to stay for at least another four more years of my life. Up until my senior year in high school, I had convinced myself that I had seen everything I had to see in Nagoya – but I now stand corrected, as there is still so much to experience.
The 11th of January 2016 marked a special day for my friends and I who would be turning 20 this year, as it was the day of the ‘seijinshiki’ (Coming of Age Ceremony). I started my search for a furisode since August 2015, but it was not until November that I decided on which furisode I would be wearing. It may seem absurd, but this ceremony meant a lot to me as I have been raised in Japan. I had heard that some even started their search a year in advance, as each kimono has a different meaning behind it and everyone wants to find the perfect one.
I had an unforgettable experience with my friends that day. Our morning started at 3:30AM, when we started taking turns getting our hair done by a family-friend hairdresser of mine. Slowly, we transformed from sleep-deprived university students to beautiful young adults in furisode. The number of layers, ropes and strings that make the whole furisode come together is unreal, but I was in love with the final look.
What made the day even more memorable though, was being able to feel the love and support from the community. Not only were our friends and families there to congratulate us, but even people on the streets would tell us ‘seijin omedetou gozaimasu’, as we walked around Tsurumai park and Osu Kannon taking pictures after the ceremony. Throughout the ceremony itself as well, we were reminded of how proud our community was to have us entering the world of adulthood. It is during moments like these that I am really reminded of why I love being in Japan. My friend and I even ended up on television, as we were interviewed at the ceremony!
Above all though, the determining factor that convinced me to stay in Nagoya was the program that Nagoya University had to offer. I suppose it is not everyday that you hear of a girl pursuing an automotive mechanical engineering degree, but here I am (and yes, I happen to be the only girl in the major thus far). In less than two years since entering university, I have had the opportunity to completely dissemble and reassemble an engine in a practical class, attend specialized lectures with professors who have worked for world-renowned companies such as Denso, Subaru and Nissan, and I am literally only an hour drive away from Toyota city. The opportunities are boundless here if you are truly interested in automobiles, and that was enough to persuade me to stay. Of course, with such privileges comes the need to put in hard work – and by hard work I mean countless days staying in the library until closing hours.
At the end of the day though, I am certain it will all be worth it and I am determined to get through this crazy ride with the unconditional support I have from my community.