Welcome to the final part of the 3 part Awaji Learning Holiday Program Report. For the final 2.5 days of the program, the participants experienced “Wadaiko”, Japanese Taiko drumming, and continued to communicate in Japanese with Pasona staff through some more “action learning”. The purpose was to create and complete their final presentation on the theme of how to make Awaji the No.1 Island for foreign visitors/residents.

Day 5 (September 1, 2023)

Experiencing Japanese Taiko Drumming

As Pasona staff knew it would be very hot on Awaji Island during the summer, the Japanese Taiko drumming experience was arranged in the early morning of Day 5. At 8:45 am, the participants arrived at “Nojima Scuola”, a renovated closed-down elementary school. As a symbol of regional revitalization, Pasona Group gave the school new life by converting it into a multifunction facility including a restaurant, market, cafe and bakery. With an intact and functioning gymnasium, the participants could learn how to play the Japanese drum. The instructor was a musician from “Music Island”, a violinist as well as a Taiko player, who has been playing Taiko for 5 years since joining Pasona Group. The participants were very proactive and keen on practicing, and after 2 hours, they could perform one song together.

Preparation for the final presentation

In the afternoon, four Pasona staff came to Nojima Scuola’s meeting room to help the participants prepare for their final presentation. The participants explained their presentation ideas to the Pasona staff, and then they discussed together how to improve their presentation.

Dinner at “Awaji Chef’s Garden”

“Awaji Chef’s Garden” was first opened in April 2021 on the North Eastern coast of Awaji Island in order to provide new work opportunities for people whose restaurant operations had been affected by the pandemic. It was a collective dining facility made with containers where people could enjoy meals safely and securely, maintaining social distance at the outdoor seating area. The East coast Chef’s Garden was closed in November 2022 and reopened in the West coast in April 2023. As there were restaurants of various cuisine from all over the country, it was fun to look around and find what to eat.

Day 6 (September 2, 2023)

Beach Cleaning with Pasona’s Social Contribution Committee Members

The purpose behind this activity was to have one last chance to communicate with Pasona staff and learn Japanese people’s awareness regarding environmental protection. The participants and 6 Committee members gathered at the lobby of the accommodation at 7:30am. They were divided into 6 groups with one or two ALH participants and one Pasona staff in each group. They communicated with Pasona staff in Japanese during the 5 mins walk on the way to and back from the beach. However, during cleaning, everyone was so keen to do their part for the environment they forgot to focus on speaking Japanese! We could only hear , “kore wa moemasuka. (Is it burnable?)” and “kore wa nandesuka. (What’s this?)”, etc. as they worked hard on clearing the beach. Thanks to their hard work, within around 15 minutes, they filled up 8 large rubbish bags.

Free time

The participants had free time to relax before they tackled their final presentation for the last day. Three of them chose to visit “Nijigen no mori”, the anime theme park that Pasona Group runs within the Hyogo prefectural park.

The others got on a ferry and travelled to Akashi city on the opposite shore and visited “Uonotana” shopping arcade that has over 400 years of history. The participants enjoyed looking around the shops and eating sushi, Akashi-octopus tempura, Akashi-yaki, etc.

Farewell Dinner at “Ristorante Scuola”

After practicing delivering the presentation with the assistance of two Pasona staff, they went to the Italian restaurant “Ristorante Scuola” at Nojima Scuola to have the farewell dinner. It was an authentic Italian dinner course with 8 dishes with 5 kinds of freshly baked bread. They all enjoyed the last evening of the program, reflecting on their experiences on Awaji Island within a week.

Day 7 (September 3, 2023)

Final Presentation

The two Managing Executive Officers of Pasona Group Inc. were invited as the judges for the final presentation. One of them was also the President of Pasona Furusato Incubation Inc. which runs most of Pasona Group’s restaurants. The other judge is in charge of Digital Marketing of Pasona Group. The presentation theme was to propose “a plan to make Awaji Island the No.1 Island that HK / foreign people wish to visit/live”. All the plans reflected what they have learned through the action learning and their own experience spending one week on this island. The presentations were judged by “uniqueness, effectiveness, feasibility and performance”. The judges enjoyed listening to three groups ideas, which were very different from one another. They commented that they will consider realizing all the plans. Although all the plans were excellent, Group 1 was the winner by a narrow margin.
In the one-minute speech, everybody expressed their satisfaction on their challenges during the program and looked very happy.

This was the final activity they had for this program and after went their various ways. Some participants left Japan from Kansai Airport right away, and others went on their next journey to Osaka, Nara, Kyoto and Tokushima. The one-week program created strong bonds among the participants which continued even after they all returned to Hong Kong.