Konichiwa! Japan was a combination of work and play, and this post is dedicated to the “work” side of our amazing trip! This was my second visit to the beautiful country of Japan, and this was Elizabeth’s first time, so it was very exciting for the both of us. Basically this all started with me being Miss UPH (Universitas Pelita Harapan) Scholar 2010 way back in the day when I was invited to be on a Japanese television show that came to our university about the documentation of Miss campuses in Asia. We never knew this, but programs like Miss Campus in Japanese universities are a pretty huge deal! The girls in Japan who become Miss Campus in their universities go on to have modeling contracts, television appearances and become somewhat local celebrities in their hometowns, which is completely different to what we see here in Indonesia!

            Anyways, about a year later in late 2011, I was invited to Japan to attend the Miss Campus Summit. To my knowledge and understanding at that time, this was a meeting between various Miss Campuses around Asia that would come together, represent their countries and share their knowledge concerning their homeland and universities. I was SO excited as at that time I had never been to Japan and it was an all expenses paid 4 day trip to gain cultural experience and meet other wonderful girls, what could a girl ask for more? So, I went and it was incredible!

            I was invited again this year in February to attend the Miss Campus Summit and meeting, this time held in Tokyo. Of course, Elizabeth didn’t want to miss another chance of going to Japan, so she came along. This was an 8-day trip so we were super excited. Plus it was so nice to get away from our university work and thesis for a whole week!

            This time around, I was told that we would be conforming a Miss Campus Organization and that seven miss campuses would be a part of this organization; myself, Miss Campus Vietnam (Quyen), Miss Campus Singapore (Louisa), and four Miss Campuses from Japan (Hiroko, Shiori, Yoko, and Mariko). Basically the aim of the organization is for Asian countries to develop deeper relationships of peace and friendship, contribute in maintaining international peace through cultural exchanges between students of different countries. No matter your nationality, religion, ethnicity, economic status, this organization embraces each other’s differences and comes together with mutual respect for one another. I am incredibly humbled and proud to be part of this great organization!

The first day we had a meeting within the Miss Campus Organization in which we talked about our hopes, plans, and ideas of what we wanted to do with the organization. The meeting was followed by a press conference and brief interviews with the Japanese press. The next day was the actual summit where 20 Japanese Miss Campuses from various cities throughout Japan competed for the title Miss Campus Japan. We got to wear our traditional garments that day, so I wore my beautiful kebaya :) There were seven judges, including us, the International Miss Campuses. The girls had to give a presentation about their hometowns and basically convince us why we should visit, which for us seeing their beautiful presentations made us love Japan even more! Afterwards, Louisa, Quyen, and I also gave individual presentations about our countries and universities. In the end, Naomi from Niigata won that night, congrats! Afterwards there was a small dinner party and we got to mingle with the other judges, including the minister of tourism of Japan, and the other girls, which was very exciting.

On our last day in Japan, we had quite a busy morning! We arrived at the House of Representatives, Tokyo to meet and chat with the minister of foreign affairs Japan. We also met and talked with the Secretary General of the Liberal Democratic Party, Mr. Shigeru Ishiba. Among other things, we discussed peace within Asian countries as well as women’s role in society. It was very enlightening and a great experience overall!