“It was my dream to visit Osaka. I first heard about the city of my dreams from Japanese volunteers, who showed me pictures and shared Japanese culture with me so I fell in love with it. I applied to study at a Japanese university (although in a different region) and started doing some research on Osaka. But when I finally came to Japan, I got too distracted by the minutiae of daily school life that I had put everything on the back burner. I was so busy with extra-curricular activities. And like other students from developing countries, I had to get a part-time job to support myself financially. I worked in the kitchen of an udon restaurant, where I didn’t need to talk to customers (I couldn’t speak much Japanese anyway). I also worked at the school cafeteria. Then I started attending conferences overseas and even within Japan. At some point, I participated in a conference in Osaka as a volunteer and did some sight-seeing with my friend. But it wasn’t until she posted the pictures online, and my friends back home saw them, did I realize I had forgotten all about my dream. It was a shock to read the comments: ‘Your dream came true! You made it to Osaka!’ It was a positive but sad reminder not to get too preoccupied that we forget our goals. I think we need to find balance in life and be more mindful of what we’re doing.”
When I was a student, I used to dream about making a positive change in this world, to do great things. But now I think even just answering a phone call from a friend in need is already big help. We all want to save the world. Save your friend first.