I LIVE IN JAPAN / Zilola Kozimova

MAY 2019 (VOL.141)

Zilola Kozimova

Home country/state /city:Uzbekistan, Samarkand

What do you study in Japan? 

I am a Master’s student at Keio University.  I study Cyber security and do research on education.  My research is about student and teacher experiences about English Medium Instruction in higher education in Japan.  

There are a lot of Japanese universities that offer degrees in English now and attract many foreigners.  Japanese language can be a big barrier to one’s dream to study in Japan — with EMI, this problem is solved.

How do you think about Japanese education compared with Uzbek education?

My Japanese university offers me courses that are taught both in English and Japanese, with many English courses taught by international professors.  I really enjoy the international environment here compared to my home country.

What do you appreciate most about Japanese culture?

I love learning about Japanese culture.  It really amazes me that Japanese people find beauty in almost everything.  This beauty is different from the beauty in my country.  In Uzbekistan, beauty is about being colorful and having a lot of details such as jewelry and accessories in both culture and in fashion.  You have to be loud and stand out to be “beautiful” in Uzbekistan.  In Japan, all the beauty is in simplicity and quietness.  For example, if you practice calligraphy here, the most important thing is how you sit down, hold the brush and how patient you are.  You are supposed to follow the rules, and when you do, you create the whole world of new spiritual gain for yourself.  Almost everything is based on beauty in simplicity.

Which places in Japan do you recommend that foreigners see?

Kyoto is my favorite place.  However, I would really recommend everyone who visits Japan to go to Kamakura.  You can have a one-day trip to Kamakura from Tokyo.  You can discover a lot about the history of Japan by visiting beautiful temples there.  The Great Buddha is highly recommended to see both from the outside and inside.  The view from inside provides you visual information on how it was created so many centuries ago and how sophisticated the art is.  There are also beaches close by.  Enoden, the local train, and the sound of it will make you feel like you are in a manga.  You can actually find a spot that was used in many Japanese movies and manga.

What parts of Japanese culture do you recommend that foreign people try to experience?

For meditation lovers, I would recommend experiencing zazen in a temple.  This was one of the most amazing experiences I had in Japan.  Tea ceremony is another beautiful experience that I would recommend for everyone.  Visitors can try on traditional Japanese clothing such as kimonos and have beautiful photo sessions.  I would definitely recommend everyone to go to an “onsen”, local hot springs.  Outdoor onsen is one of the most amazing things to try in Japan.  Japanese onsen and bath are my favorite things about Japan.

What are your favorite Japanese foods?

Almost all Japanese food is my favorite.  I can eat sushi and sashimi every day and never get tired of it.  “Yaki niku” – Japanese freshly grilled meat is the best in the world.  And soba noodles with “tempura” are a must-try.  I love almost everything.

After moving to Japan did you have any funny experiences?

I had an amazing and wonderful experience.  I went to Enoshima (a small island very close to Tokyo) one day and entered into a garden, because all the gardens in Japan are very beautiful.  Accidentally, I came across an event called “Gratefulness and appreciation day” (Kanshano hi). It was organized by a famous Japanese calligrapher whose name is Takeda Souun and took part in the event.  Then I met amazing people there, which later inspired me to become a part of the NPO called Honki University and take part in their events as a volunteer and a member.  Although they did not know me at all, they called me into one of their events as a volunteer.  I was delighted about it.  Seeing how cool and fun they were, I decided to become a member and still participate in the events together with local club members.