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Volunteer on a Peace Boat cruise that travels to 22 different countries in 103 days

Ms. Chizuru Yamamoto

"I still can't forget the day when I performed Irish dance in front of others, because I had never learnt that before", said Ms. Yamamoto. She gave us a nice smile while she was talking about this "unexpected incidence" at an event by the Peace Boat NGO. It was a dance show that took place in Dublin, the capital of Ireland, and Ms. Yamamoto was participating as an interpreter. Since the Irish dancers did not made their appearance on time, tourists who had been kept waiting started to get angry and blame Ms. Yamamoto. 'Well... in this case, I'll do the job!' she thought and thus she performed an Irish dance in front of the audience, while trying to imitate the local coordinators. "Even the angry audience watched my performance in open-mouthed surprise", she winked.

The trip in which Ms. Yamamoto participated was Peace Boat's 58th Global Peace Voyage, which departed 9th June, 2007, and returned 20th September the same year. It was a cruise that travels to 22 different countries in 103 days. She decided to apply for a volunteer post as an interpreter in the autumn when she was a sophomore student. At that time, she was studying at the Glendon College of York University in Canada. She made her application because she believed that she was capable for the job. After a strict telephone interview in English, she passed! As a result, she boarded Peace Boat which set off from the Port of Yokohama as a volunteer staff member.

"In fact, being able to travel around the world for free was also one of my reasons to join the voyage", Ms. Yamamoto made a face when she revealed this little secret. However, the fact is there was more work to do during the trip than she originally thought. She has to support both the tourists and the staff members. She worked as an interpreter in nearly every on-board lecture and events at the anchorage sites. "But I enjoyed the trip pretty much because I met people from many different countries. I made new discoveries almost every single second!" she said. As she wanted to examine Japan from the outside, she started studying abroad in US and Canada since she was 15. Although she had travelled many times before this trip, she made some new realizations through working as a volunteer. "It is not necessary to be too self-conscious and push yourself very hard", she said. Even though she was an introverted person, she told us that she had learnt how to accept herself through communicating with people coming from different countries and of many races.

Ms. Yamamoto is currently working hard on getting a job that would make good use of her experiences of interpretation and studying abroad. "My current belief is, 'If you're interested in something, go and give it a try'", she said. When we asked her whether she would like to participate in another Peace Boat global voyage, she nodded yes almost instantly. "If I have to dance suddenly again, I will dance in a more beautiful way this time!" she promised.

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)

Ms. Chizuru Yamamoto

Born 1987 in Chiba Prefecture. Graduated from Shibuya Kyoiku Gakuen Makuhari Senior & Junior High School. 4th year student at School of International Liberal Studies. She studied abroad at the Glendon College of York University in Toronto from August 2006 to April 2007. She applied for the interpreting volunteer at Peace Boat when she was studying in Canada. She joined the global voyage in June for three months after she came back to Japan. She will participate in a student internship program organized by the United States Department of the Interior in Glacier National Park in Montana in August.