Ama — The place always makes me a big smile

Yasmin Karamutlu from Turkey, Asia Kakehashi 2019 alumna

In my exchange period, I was in Oki Islands, Shimane. Oki Islands has 4 islands in total and I lived in second small island called Nakanoshima. Our town, Ama’s population was 2,400 in total which is population of my neighborhood now, in Turkey.

When first time I heard that I placed to Oki Islands, I was shocked. My image of Japan was from animations and dramas. I was dreaming about big buildings, like a Sky-tree, bullet trains and crowded streets.

Honestly, I was so sad in beginning. There was no building taller our school which was 3 floors. There was no train of course, no supermarket, no traffic lights, no cinema… It was the exact opposite of my expectations!

I lived in dormitory. My dorm had roll call in 7 am. My roommate told me “you must be in dining hall when it’s 7 am.” So, as they said, I went there exactly 6:58 am.
Everyone was gathered and they looked me like I was late. This is the story I learned about ‘going 5 minutes early’ rule of Japanese.

The moment being the luckiest person in the world

I thought I am unlucky at first morning of my island life. On the same day, I decided to walk and survey the island. I enjoyed the beautiful view of mountain and forest while I was going down to the sea. There was no one around until I reached the seaside. First, I went to the port. And then, I walked throughout the seaside. I could clearly see fishes in the sea. When I finished walking, I was reached to beach. Sun was setting and I thought that I was in paradise. When sun was down, I enjoyed the sky that full of stars. I haven’t seen before such a beautiful sky. At the end of the day, I realized that I was not unlucky. I was the luckiest person in the world.

After my pleasant walk, I returned dorm and went to dining hall to eat. When I sit empty table, students whose were sitting near came and sit my table. We didn’t particularly know each other but their thoughtfulness reached me. On that very day I introduced myself to everyone in dorm at roll call time. They surprised with my Japanese and in no time I became one of them.

Living in a town “No any ‘no’s”

Ama’s, my town’s slogan was ‘ないものはない’ which means “there is no any ‘no’s”. Truly, Ama had everything. Anything that you need was in Ama. Magnificent nature, mountains and forests, adorable animals, clear sea, beautiful starry sky, kind people, non-monotone life with many events, and all things that you will need when you finding your inner peace.

I was faced many problems during my exchange period. But I had many friends beside me who always helped me. Islanders also helped me a lot. I often took walks in island.
Walking without a goal became one of my hobbies in Japan. While I walking I often talked with islanders.

One day, I stopped beside a middle-aged woman who was fishing and asked her if I can watch her fishing. She said ‘of course’ and while I was watching her we had a beautiful talk. Finally returning time came and she gave me fishes she caught. Saying it is a thank you for being friend while fishing.

This is only one of my stories. I talked many people, I received many things. I helped a lot to people and people helped me a lot, too. I cooked Turkish meals while they present me Japanese sweets. I owed many things to many people.

Now, when I am thinking about Ama, I always have a big smile on my face. I always remember the feeling I had when I was in Ama. Serenity, tranquility, peace, joy and calmness.

Categories: Turkey AFS stories

Tags : Asia Kakehashi