Sony has designed the international youth program "Sony Student Project Abroad (SSPA)" as part of its social contribution activities. Sony invited American high school students every year for ten years starting in 1990 and Chinese high school students since 2006.
Under the theme of "Small Lens, Big Findings- Creating a greener environment through cultural exchange", Sony invited 30 high school students from the cities of Beijing, Xi'an, Wuhan and Nanjing to Japan during July 21st through the 28th.
The students visited Sony and learned about its cutting edge technology and the "monozukuri" spirit of traditional Japanese shop-floor production, and through interaction with high school students and Japanese families, they learned the importance of environmental conservation and intercultural communication.
30 high school students from China. What did they learn from the trip? Here is a recap report of their 8-day stay in Japan.
Upon arrival in Japan, students were welcomed by Shizuo Takashino, Corporate Executive of Sony Corporation and the representative of Sony (China) Limited. The students were excited about what they would be seeing and experiencing during their stay.
A visit to Sony Archives, a history museum where approximately 250 of Sony's pioneer products are displayed.
A visit to Sony Computer Science Laboratory. Students attended lectures by the laboratory researchers, one of whom was Chinese, on topics such as brain science.
Demonstrations on advanced human interface technologies such as designing augmented reality environments with visual tag "CyberCode".
Monozukuri (Production Creation) Day
Meeting Japanese high school students for the first time.
Attending lecture on the contactless IC card technology "FeliCa" developed by Sony. Students held a discussion on "How can it be applied to make our lives convenient?"
Students moved to Odaiba and experienced paying with electronic money "Edy" that uses the "FeliCa" technology.
Then, a workshop on assembling a CD player was held at Mediage, a Sony's entertainment facility. A unique and original CD player was produced by using unusual parts like wooden sticks, cardboard, screws, adhesive tape, scissors and felt-tip pens. Applause arose after the students successfully produced a sound.
After the workshop, the students visited the "Sony ExploraScience", a science museum.
Contemporary Culture Day
A visit to the Ghibli Museum (an anime museum) in Mitaka. The students then visited an animation production studio called "A-1 Pictures", a part of the Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc. group, that produces "PERSONA-trinity soul", "Tetsuwan Birdy DECODE", and "Big Windup!" to learn how anime is created.
Traditional Culture Day
Students from both countries gave presentations on their culture at the host school,
Kanto International Senior High School. Chinese students played traditional instruments and performed a dance. Japanese students provided demonstrations on kendo, tea ceremony, calligraphy, kimono-wearing and an introduction to the Japanese language.
There were many moving scenes when the students hugged each other with tears in their eyes and exchanged contact information with promises of future correspondence.
Cultural Understanding Day
During a two-night home stay, the Chinese students had a lot of non-touristy valuable experiences with their host families such as the Japanese daily life and night stalls at a summer festival.
Environmental Technology Day
Lecture on the environment by associate professor of Tokyo Zokei University, Yasuyuki Yamagiwa at the Sony headquarters. Learning about environmentally-conscious designs through the disassembly workshop of the "Walkman" made from vegetable-based plastic. Students also shared ideas about future environmentally-conscious products for the next generation.
In the afternoon, they gave presentations on findings and thoughts they had during the SSPA program from their unique points of view to Sony executives and other personnel involved in the program.
A farewell party was held in the evening. Sir Howard Stringer, Chairman & CEO of Sony Corporation, and Dr. Ryoji Chubachi, President & Electronics CEO, as well as host families attended.
A video shot during the students' stay in Japan and a demonstration of traditional ink painting by students enlivened the party. At the end of the party, the participants reluctantly said their goodbyes, and the event hall was filled with tearful words of gratitude.
After returning to China, the students introduced their findings in Japan - such as the advanced technologies and the environmental consideration in daily life - to their parents, school officials and local media in their hometowns. They also made rice balls, as a sample of Japanese cuisine, introducing Japanese culture to attendees.
30 Chinese high school students. Their 11-day trip included 8 days in Japan. Their findings are.......
From July 21st to the 28th, 30 Chinese high school students from the cities of Beijing, Xi'an, Wuhan and Nanjing were invited to Japan. They made many new discoveries through interactions with Sony employees, Japanese high school students and volunteers. They also gained valuable experiences through various programs on MONOZUKURI (spirit of traditional production), and environmental and cultural understanding.