28 March 2016

   Cristina Ghinea

The Japanese Volunteering Programme with the support of EU-Japan Fest Japan Committee celebrates 10 years

This year, Sibiu International Theatre Festival (FITS) celebrates 10 years since the Japanese Volunteering Programme with the support of EU-Japan Fest Japan was started. The partnership started on the occasion Sibiu European Capital of Culture– 2007. More than 130 Japanese volunteers were included in the programme during the period FITS 2007 – 2016.

This month, Petruța Popescu, coordinator of the International Volunteering Programme, travelled to Japan with the support of EBS Romania // NTT Data Romania, for the selection of the Japanese volunteers that are going to join us to Sibiu this summer. Interviews took place in Tokyo - EU-Japan Fest Japan Committee office, Takayama - Takayama City Hall and Osaka – Nextage office that was kindly offered with the help of Emi Misaka, candidate of the volunteering programme 2014. For FITS 2016, a total of 11 Japanese volunteers were selected with the approval of Mayumi Taniguchi, Japanese correspondent of Petruța Popescu.

“The success of this programme is confirmed by the yearly increasing number of the candidates: 19 candidates for 2014, 23 candidates for 2015 and 31 candidates for this year, aged 19 to 66”, announced Petruța Popescu.

The Japanese Volunteering Programme would not have been possible if it had not been for the pro-active involvement of EU-Japan Fest Japan Committee for all this time, by covering for the flight tickets of the Japanese volunteers. For this year’s edition, the organization covers 10 flight tickets; the 11th volunteer’s ticket is partially covered Takayama City Hall, twin city of Sibiu since 2012.

„EU-Japan Fest Japan Committee is an exceptional partner with whose help we succeeded in developing an impressive programme which started on the occasion of Sibiu European Capital of Culture - 2007. Together, we could touch the lives of more than 130 Japanese volunteers. This experience contributed to many of them finding themselves, learn new things about themselves, decide what they want to do in the future, what their dreams are, they sometimes even decided on their carreer, focused more on foreign languages learning, found the taste for discovering other cultures and civilisations. They are all true Ambassadors of Japan and FITS”, said Petruța Popescu.

Mayumi Taniguchi, bond between Sibiu and Japan

Throughout all meetings and interviews that took place in Tokyo, Takayama and Osaka this March, Mayumi Taniguchi accompanied Petruța. Mayumi Taniguchi is Coordinator of the Japanese Volunteering Programme since 2014. Besides coordinating the Japanese volunteers, Mayumi is also supporting the international volunteers of FITS as well as the Japanese companies invited to FITS. Mayumi’s bond to the festival started in 2010, when she was part of the Japanese Volunteering Programme, supported by Japan Fest Japan Committee. Then, Mayumi returned every year, covering her expenses. Mayumi’s dedication is simply amazing. Her efforts were recognized in 2015 when she received the Special Award of Supervolunteer Gala, the 10th edition. Mayumi was also successful in realizing project STEP (Sibiu-Takayama Exchange Project), according to which 5 Romanian volunteers were involved in organizing Takayama Autumn Festival, with the support of FITS, Sibiu City Hall/ “Gheorghe Lazăr” College Association , Romanian Embassy to Tokyo and Takayama City Hall.
The story of the international volunteering started in 2005, creating a community of more than 200 volunteers from countries like: Bulgaria, Canada, South Korea, Iran, Japan, France, Georgia, Germany, Russia, Singapore and Turkey.