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Aug 13, 2023 / 13:29

Vietnam-Japan festival highlights bilateral relations

Bilateral relations have improved so much over the past 50 years, and the two nations are poised to enhance their partnership in the future.

The Vietnam-Japan 2023 Festival kicked off in August at the Dong Da District Cultural, Information and Sports Center in Hanoi.

 The photo exhibition at the Vietnam-Japan Festival 2023. Photo: Hanoi Union of Friendship Organizations

The event, organized by the Hanoi Union of Friendship Organizations, was part of a series of joint activities celebrating the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

The festival is packed with activities, including the third Vietnamese Haiku Poetry Seminar, which gathered 50 members of the Haiku Poetry Club under the Vietnam-Japan Friendship Association and other clubs in the country.

The exhibition featured 50 photographs of the two nations' cultures, landscapes, and people.

A special art performance by the Hanoi Joy Choir, composed of 14 Vietnamese and Japanese artists, was also held.

Kamitani Naoko, Director of the Japan Information and Culture Center at the Japanese Embassy in Vietnam, said regular cultural exchange events have brought Vietnamese and Japanese people closer.

She said that bilateral relations between the two nations are at their best, adding that mutual understanding between Vietnam and Japan and between the two governments is the root of such relations.

"I have been in Hanoi for two years. I feel at home in this city. Vietnamese people, especially those living in Hanoi, are almost my family," she said.

Dao Viet Long, Chairman of the Hanoi chapter of the Vietnam-Japan Friendship Association, said bilateral relations had improved so much in the past 50 years, and the two nations are expected to enhance their partnership in the future.

Student Exchange

Cooperation in education and training has been an important part of Vietnam-Japan cooperation.

From August 5 to 11, 41 Japanese students from Fukuoka Prefecture came to Vietnam to stay with Vietnamese families.

In each family, they are accompanied by a Vietnamese student of the same age and taken care of by Vietnamese parents.

 A Japanese student takes selfie photos with Tran Phu High School students in Hanoi. Photo: The Hanoi Times

Through this activity, the Japanese students were able to interact with Vietnamese families and learn about Vietnamese customs and traditions. Despite the language barrier, the time spent together would be a great memory for Vietnamese and Japanese students.

Khanh Chi, a 12th grader at Doan Thi Diem High School, said her Japanese friend enjoyed Vietnamese food.

After learning about the activity, Chi made a plan to show the Japanese student her city, local cuisine, and popular places.

"We got up early in the morning so that we could visit as many places as possible," Chi said. "We talked a lot, especially about the teachers, families and friends."

Admitting that having a foreigner in her home was quite strange, Chi said it was an exciting experience.

"We have a lot in common and I've learned from her. She is independent and confident, friendly and outgoing," the Vietnamese student said.

For Nguyen Ha My, a Chu Van An High School senior, accompanying Japanese friends to the most popular places in Hanoi brought her good memories and experience for her future.

My and her Japanese and Vietnamese friends walked around Hoan Kiem Lake, attended water puppet shows at the Thang Long Water Puppet Theater, visited Bat Trang Pottery Village and the Hoa Lo Prison Relic.

"We had the opportunity to study Japanese culture. On this occasion, our Japanese friends also played sports, learned and did other outdoor activities," said Pham Nguyen Hanh Dung, an 11th-grade student at Viet Duc High School.

The parents of the Vietnamese students who agreed to participate in the program acknowledged that it was a meaningful activity not only for the students, but also for them. Their students had the opportunity to improve their foreign language skills and become ambassadors to introduce the beauties of Hanoi to their foreign friends.

According to the Hanoi Department of Education and Training, the capital city will cooperate with other cities and nations to organize more student exchange programs to help Vietnamese students expand their knowledge and explore more opportunities.

"We will implement the program in rural areas so that students in these areas also have a chance to prove themselves and narrow the gap between urban and rural areas," said Tran The Cuong, Director of Hanoi's Education and Training Department.

"We hope to receive the full support of Hanoi's parents and students to make the program successful."

The Hanoi-Fukuoka Student Exchange Program 2023 involved five local high schools, namely Viet Duc, Chu Van An, Doan Thi Diem, Tran Phu and Phan Dinh Phung.