Masayuki Hayashi, the mayor of the Himi City of Toyama Prefecture in Japan, led the Himi City Government, civil society organizations, and business representatives to visit Si Wan College of National Sun Yat-sen University on the morning of February 15th. This is the first return visit to Taiwan by the Himi City Government after signing a memorandum of cooperation on revitalizing local culture and international cooperation with NSYSU in Himi City in August 2022. NSYSU stated that during the period from July 30th to August 9th this year, through the “Service Learning (3) Japan International Volunteer” course of Si Wan College, NSYSU will select 20 students to Himi City to participate in and assist local activities under the guidance of the Tourism Exchange Section of the Ministry of Industry Promotion of Himi City.
NSYSU Si Wan College pointed out that it started course cooperation with Himi City Government in 2020. Through the general education course “Introduction to Japanese Culture,” Mayor Masayuki Hayashi personally served as the lecturer to take the lead, and citizens from all walks of life in Himi City as lecturers, and launched a series of simultaneous remote teaching with the theme of Himi City. A total of 23 courses have been completed, and about 300 NSYSU students have taken the courses so far. Through such course cooperation, it is possible to create a first-hand learning environment during the epidemic, provide students with a multi-faceted understanding of Japanese culture from Himi City, create opportunities for communication between Himi City citizens and NSYSU students, promote understanding, and get closer to each other, which is well-received by students.
Due to the slowdown of the epidemic, Mayor Masayuki Hayashi and the Himi City group came to Taiwan to visit NSYSU Si Wan College. In addition to meeting with Dean Hong-Zen Wang and Associate Dean Virginia Shen of NSYSU Si Wan College on the exchange of future visits between the two sides, Mayor Masayuki Hayashi also cooperated with the general education course of NSYSU Si Wan College “Food and Literature” to give a special lecture on “Exchanges between Himi City and Kaohsiung City.” Mayor Masayuki Hayashi was not only the first lecturer when Si Wan College and Himi City launched distance teaching but also became the first guest speaker for in-person course exchanges between the two sides in the post-epidemic era, which is of great significance. In his speech, Mayor Masayuki Hayashi first introduced Himi City’s beautiful scenery and rich fishery products due to its unique natural environment and the Etchu-style fixed fishing net sustainable fishing method that originated in Himi City. Himi City’s wisdom of coexisting with the sea for hundreds of years can have a dialogue with the educational direction of NSYSU that emphasizes ocean and environmental protection. He also introduced how Himi City, Kaohsiung City, and NSYSU broke through the epidemic restrictions and maintained various close exchanges during the epidemic. Finally, he also expressed his welcome and expectation for NSYSU students to go to Himi City for service learning in the summer. More than sixty students from various departments of NSYSU and more than ten students from the R.O.C. Air Force Academy attended the scene to listen, and the interaction was lively.
To welcome Mayor Masayuki Hayashi and the Himi City group from afar, NSYSU Si Wan College specially prepared the “sugar painting” works representing Taiwan’s traditional folk skills and diatomite coasters that highlight the space characteristics of Si Wan College as souvenirs, hoping to impress the visiting guests from Japan. The sugar paintings are the words “Himi City,” “Si Wan College,” and the shape of the lunar year’s zodiac rabbit. The design of the coasters is inspired by the colorful paintings representing the cultural patterns of various countries on the art wall of Si Wan College, located on the 10th floor of the NSYSU Info-Library building. It expresses Si Wan College’s emphasis on local cultural heritage, innovation, and international exchange dimensions and can also be treasured as a memory of this NSYSU trip by visiting guests.
In addition to the course cooperation between Si Wan College and Himi City, in the future, NSYSU Alumni Service & Social Engagement Center will also cooperate with Himi City in the investigation and innovation of local topics such as fishery culture. It can be expected that future exchanges will be more lively and diverse.