Gao Huabin (Beijing,China)
Period of stay in Nagasaki: April 2006 – April 2007 (former CIR at Nagasaki Prefecture Convention & Visitors Bureau)
The last time I was in Nagasaki was five years ago.
Between April 2006 and April 2007, I worked for one year as a Coordinator for International Relations (CIR) in Nagasaki Prefecture Convention & Visitors Bureau. It was the first time I had lived abroad and I was only there for one year, but Nagasaki’s fresh atmosphere, beautiful nature, delicious food and friendly people left a great impression on me. Even after I had returned to China, I often dreamt of Nagasaki– of Glover Garden; of the long slopes; of Sadamasashi singing Gambaramba in the local dialect. I always thought to myself that I must go back someday.
Then, in late November last year, I was blessed with the opportunity to undergo some training in Japan, and, at long last, was able to visit Nagasaki again. There I spent a very fun and worthwhile two days.
I arrived on a Sunday, right when there was badminton match for Chinese exchange students going on in the gym of Nagasaki University’s medical department. My friend Li asked me to participate in the match and we managed to win the doubles!
I recall the days I practiced badminton in this gym five years ago extremely fondly, even now. Cai, who was the head of the Association for Chinese Exchange Students in Nagasaki a long time ago, is no longer in Nagasaki but in Kyoto. However, I met a new Cai from Taiwan who unfortunately beat me in a singles match. It was great to be able to meet up with some old friends. In the same place as five years ago, with the people around me too as youthful and vivacious as back then, I felt like it was only me who got a little older.
My interest in badminton started here in Nagasaki, and I have nothing but gratitude for Mr. Ushijima of the Chikyuukan and the people at Shiminkaikan, who taught me from scratch. When I left, I made a promise with Li to take him to badminton practice the next time he had a business trip to Beijing.
Award ceremony at the end of the match. On the right is Lee, who received two awards!
In the evening, after I’d gone to the Ringer Hut near DejimaWharf with Li and eaten my beloved champon, I strolled around Mori-machi, where I used to live. Cocowalk, a huge shopping centre, now stands where before there was just a huge empty space – I was surprised to see that there’s a ferris wheel on top of the building! I’m often told that China changes quickly, but Japan is changing, too.
On top of that, before there was only a small port office down at Matsugae wharf, but there’s a beautiful new terminal which has added a lot of charm to the surrounding area. There must be lots of other places that have changed since I was last here, but I didn’t have time to go around everywhere to see.
New shopping facilities near my old area
The port office at Matsugae 5 years ago
The Matsugae wharf terminal now
The next day, after a training lecture at the prefectural government office, I visited the special “Sun Yat-Sen x Umeya Shoukichi xNagasaki” exhibition at the culture and history museum.
Last year marked a century since the Xinhai Revolution in China, so there have been a lot of TV dramas, films and exhibitions recently relating to this, and I was glad to be able to see something related to Sun Yat-Sen in Japan. I think it’s particularly worth seeing because there are so many things assembled together in one space – a statue of three people including Sun Yat-Sen and Umeya Shoukichi donated from China, various valuable items that Japan has preserved, and other artifacts borrowed from China. You should all definitely go and see it.
In front of the statue of Sun and Umeya (on the left is a lovely lady who came with me on training, and on the right is a lovely guide, who explained everything beautifully)
My time in Nagasaki on this trip has been short, but I’m extremely glad that I could meet so many old and new friends and colleagues, and especially the editor of Dejima Network. I look forward to being able to exchange information about Beijing and Nagasaki on the internet from here on.
See you next time on Dejima Network!