Quite an overwhelming task
Personally, I admit that it’s not an easy task to summarize a memorable experience into words into proper format. It’s quite daunting in fact. I had a great time in Japan, in a nice city, meeting great new friends and attending a big festival with great people and inspiring artists from so many different places. In trying to collect the sequences of activities in NAHA city, the memories are brought closer to mind and once again I feel a special sense of connection to the new friends I made in a far away land as I am writing these words.
Quite a rush of emotions
It’s an honor
First of all, by being invited and being part of the ricca ricca*festa is a great honor. It’s such a refreshing, eye-opening trip that I need but have not had in a long while. The festival is a reminder again for me that arts, creativities and theatre performances play a big role in a rich society that shouldn’t and couldn’t be overlooked. The ricca ricca*festa provides warm feelings with plenty of performances and surprises days after days. It’s a collection of like-minded people who somehow finds the way to connect instantly sometime without words and despite being so far from each other and only meeting here for the very first time.
Even though it’s the very first time to meet a lot of people, I feel an instant seamless connection. We share similar ideas, visions and passions for the communities and people. Creativity in its various forms perhaps is truly the bridge that links us instantly.
A new sense of hope
Learning about our new friends’ activities, challenges and approaches make me realize that we are all going through different challenges in our own ways in a similar path. We somehow see a new hope in our work to impact and encourage positive changes in our cities, countries and perhaps in the region as well as the globe. There’s a sense of possibilities and our ideas received much needed watering and food to push further beyon our boundaries.
I sit and sump up the trip into key phrases, and suddenly the most suitable word arrives; the festival is a truly inspiring. I am inspired by everything connected to the trip from the preparation, the flights and the participation in the Asian TYA Network Program as well as attending the ricca ricca*festa as a whole. I am inspired to hear what each person and fellow does and how they do their work, to learn about their goals, concerns and their visions for their hometown, cities and countries. This pushes me to rethink about what I do and the projects that I have planned to create.
Feeling challenged is a good thing
At times, being among the fellows in the program can be overwhelming considering what each person has achieved. The question raised in my mind of the validity of my being among the rest. I felt challenged and uneasy at times. My remedy was to engage in every aspect and experience of the festival even more. Raising hands to ask questions and share ideas while my mind was trying to tell me not to do it was a small push beyond what’s usually comfortable.
A great combination of fun and learning
I came to Japan planning in my head to be like a sponge to absorb everything I come across. The event was full of learning opportunities.
I have learned so much from the Asian TYA Network Program members who shared their backgrounds, what they do, their challenges as well as their visions. It’s interesting to know the problems each member faces in his or her country, how they overcome those challenges and what aspects of their strategies we can apply to our situation here in Laos.
My biggest lesson is how to listen and be truly interest to hear from everyone that I had the chance to talk to in the festival, and these people include the Asian TYA Network Program facilitators, host-organizers, TYA Meeting friends, the performers, producers & directors, the international trainers of the TYA World Creation project, experienced Japanese directors, the volunteers, the party facilitators, and the Japanese people in NAHA city and from other part who are at the festival. By knowing and learning a little bit about what each person does, it’s already an inspiration.
I honestly treasure every aspect of the trip from the travel, the first ever arrival in Japan, the Yui rail rides, the parties, the street walks, the city, my morning runs in Naha city, the old castle walk with new friends, the late night walk, and even the most delicious Okinawa soup I and my friend form Laos had for our late lunch on our first day in Japan; the best soup ever.
Inspired for the future
Our experience at the festival has encouraged us to relook at ourselves, and rethink about what we are doing from a new perspective. We have a clearer plan of which areas to Improve to move forward.
We are inspired to create opportunities and venues for the theatre performances for young audiences in Laos. We have identified certain strategies we can implement in order to bring back theatre & performance arts to people’s daily life and out to remote parts of the countries as well.
We are inspired to use our skills to help raise awareness and deal with current social concerns in hope that what we are doing can help shape a brighter outlook for later generations.
We are inspired to reconnect to our true vision, and stay strong and bold on what we stand for and what we are not willing to bend for.
We have identified certain future collaborations with few Asian TYA Network Program participating countries, and this is a very exciting for us as this festival inspires us to reach further.
Humble and grateful
I feel grateful for the opportunities and appreciate all the people involved in making the festival possible. It’s not easy to organize such a big event like the ricca ricca*festa. Without the faith from the organizers and the help from all the sponsors and donors, we, Lao fellows may not even be able to make it there. So, thank you is not quite enough to acknowledge your putting creativities and arts in the priorities of your agendas.
For the wonderful host friends of Japan, I am truly grateful for your hospitality, your kind heart and friendly smiles everyday we were there. We remember you. For our new friends at the festival no matter where you are from, you guys have now become part of us. We are honored to be on the similar creative journey with you.