Japanese Students Impressed With Charm And Communal Spirit Of Rural Bhutan To Become Guides For Future Students

Email

A week away from their gadgets and highly networked world, the students said that the trip has given them a chance to explore a completely different way of life.

Children of Shingkhar, Bhutan. (Source: Hiveminer)

 

By Tshering Dorji | Kuensel

It was indeed an unforgettable experience for three Japanese students who spent a week in the remote village of Shingkhar in Ura, Bumthang.

Source: Kuensel

 

Sarono Sugiyama, Yuka Miura and Hinata Sogabe, three students from Konan University are used to the hustle and bustle of city life in Okamato, Japan. This is why Shingkhar mesmerised the three young Japanese so much that they claimed that it was an opportunity of a lifetime to explore happiness in its true essence in Bhutan.

What the three Japanese students said

“We have realised that materialistic well-being is not important. The religious outlook based on Buddhism is so strong and this could be the secret behind a happy Bhutan,” said Hinata Sogabe.

The students however found it quite unusual that people did not bathe every day, like they did in Japan.

 

Source: BBC

 

“But they were very kind to arrange a hot stone bath for us,” Sarono Sugiyama said adding that in Japan people have to pay for everything.

A week away from their gadgets and highly networked world, the students said that the trip has given them a chance to explore a completely different way of life.

“There was strong vitality in the community to help each other and celebrate every moment,” Yuka Miura said.

University programme started by Professor K Masaki

In fact, what brought them to Shingkhar was a university programme led by their Professor K Masaki, who is not new to Bhutan.

 

Shingkhar     

Source: bhutanhomestay

 

He first came to Bhutan in 2004 through a JICA project and in 2006 he was the advisor to JICA on a local governance project in Bhutan. The professor became closely acquainted with an informal association called the Shingkhar Dechenling Phendey Thuentshog. Since 2006, K Masaki has been visiting Shingkhar whenever he visits Bhutan.

He wanted to do something for the community and got the support of JICA and Konan University. He claims that this is the first JICA project that is a mini programme targeting 89 households and focused on one chiwog.

With a fund of 10M Yen (equivalent to Nu 6M) from JICA, the programme has revived a milk-processing unit, conserved two water mills and built a flood protection wall along a small stream.

K Masaki said that the milk-processing unit was almost defunct and the structure was about to be given up. However, it was revived when the project installed new equipment and renovated the structure.

More Japanese students are expected to visit Shingkhar

The project has not only revived the cooperative but also trained five youth as a leader of the cooperative. These youth would be invited to Japan to master milk processing skills.

Except during the three winter months, each household provides about seven litres of milk to the processing unit. K Masaki said that each household is paid Nu 18 to Nu 20 for a litre of milk. This is being revised to Nu 35 a litre currently.

The bigger idea, he said is to bring students from Japan and make them experience rural Bhutan, which they have never experienced.

 

Source: bhutanhomestay

 

“Every small gesture my students experienced is very special,” he said.

The three students, he said will be guides for future students visiting Shingkhar and they have been selected through an open competition among 30 students who had applied.

The funding was proposed two years ago and the two and half year long project began in April this year. Except for the flood protection wall, the rest have been almost completed.

The outline of the project stated that it is in the rural communities where people live in close touch with nature and their neighbours, and where better appreciation of spiritual and emotional well-being are being embraced.

With this philosophy in mind, K Masaki said that the project in Singkhar is to assist people to enhance their income and revitalise their collective activities, both of which constitute the mainstay of rural livelihoods.

“Shingkhar will be an excellent model for other chiwogs to follow, given its rich cultural and spiritual heritage,” he said.

 

This article first appeared in Kuensel and has been edited for the Daily Bhutan.

 

 


Related Posts

Haa Develops Tourism Action Plan To Promote Its Rich Cultural...

Haa had the 6th highest visitor arrivals among the dzongkhags in the country, according to the Bhutan Tourism Monitor...

Jul 26, 2018 08:23

Study Finds Homestays And Eco-tourism Helped Preserve Bhutan’s...

The evaluation found that 98 percent of the homestays used exclusive traditional products like local food products and...

Aug 25, 2018 16:17

Bhutan Sustainable Tourism Society Launched To Foster Partnership...

Karma Tshering said that the intention was to bring all the diverse groups together to shape the future of tourism.

Sep 28, 2018 16:41

Tshechus (Festivals) In Bhutan Becoming A Platform For The...

"The impact will be a thousand times more powerful. When a spiritual figure conveys a social message in line with...

Sep 08, 2018 19:00

Dochula Tschechu – Truly Captivating!

What makes the Dochula Druk Wangyel Festival unique is that while the mask dances performed elsewhere in Bhutan are...

Nov 24, 2017 05:19

Concept Of A Model Organic Village Initiated In Bhutan For...

The concept developed through funds from the Asian Food and Agriculture Cooperation Initiative (AFACI) will bring...

Jul 06, 2018 17:17

Latest

News

Their Majesties, Prime Minister Dr. Lotay Tshering And Other Dignitaries Of Bhutan Offered Prayers For Sri Lanka

His Majesty also sent a message of condolence to the President of Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena, expressing the solidarity of the people...

Apr 24, 2019 20:08

WFP Shifts Focus To Capacity Development In Nutrition And Disaster Preparedness In Bhutan

The decision was made after consultations with Bhutan's government, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Apr 19, 2019 13:02

Features

Addressing Some Challenges As Bhutan Prepares For Rise In Tourist Arrivals

The gross receipt from tourism is expected to increase from Nu 10.6 billion in 2018 to about Nu 39.16 billion in the next five years.

Apr 23, 2019 17:40

How Bhutan Has Changed Me: Julie Chapman

Julie Chapman, who is from the California, speaks about how life was like for her while living in Bhutan.

Apr 18, 2019 10:20

Sports

Bhutan To Hold First 'Sports And Culture Festival' For Runners And Cyclists

There are two tiers to the event, comprising of a full-race distance of 50km and a half-race of 25km.

Mar 06, 2019 17:14

Bhutan’s HRH Princess Eeuphelma Choden Wangchuck Attended The General Assembly of the Asian Paralympic Committee In Dubai

The General Assembly is the highest decision making body of the Asian Paralympic Movement.

Feb 08, 2019 18:15

Business

Celebrating Bhutan's Entrepreneurs: Kinley Dema Of BuBu Bakery, Lobesa

This story is part of an exclusive feature by Yeewong Magazine in Dec 2018 on celebrating entrepreneurship in Bhutan.

Apr 20, 2019 19:18

Celebrating Bhutan's Entrepreneurs: Sonam Choden of Rolling Pin Bakery in Thimphu

This story is part of an exclusive feature by Yeewong Magazine in Dec 2018 on celebrating entrepreneurship in Bhutan.

Apr 11, 2019 11:08

Travel

Can Bhutan Take Its Happiness Brand To The Next Level?

Two key challenges: galvanising citizens as brand ambassadors and applying brand recognition to growth sectors.

Apr 21, 2019 10:40

The Magical Waters Of Gasa Tsachu – A Popular Hot Spring In Bhutan

While most people visit the hot spring in the hope that it could cure them of various ailments, it has become an annual visit for many to...

Mar 25, 2019 14:38

Lifestyle

Food Review: Cloud9 Cafe & Bar

Cloud9 has always been known in Thimphu for dishing out handcrafted gourmet burgers.

Mar 09, 2019 09:44

Tshering Zangmo Represents Bhutan At The 5th Young Chef Olympiad In India

Tshering Zangmo has successfully made it to round two of the Olympiad.

Feb 04, 2019 16:35

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!