Molly Reissmann: Nikko Nikko : )

For my CIP, I volunteered with the Nikko Nikko Tomato Program at the Kyoto University Hospital. The program organizes fun events for the patients in the ward reserved for terminally ill children age 3 months to 18 years old. One event the program organized was a bazaar. I helped the other volunteers set up an elaborate towel and handkerchief display in preparation for it. I was really impressed with how much time and thought the volunteers put into the displays for the bazaar, as well as how many things had been donated to the program for this event. Since the children’s ward is pretty small and the number of items for sale so large, there were a lot of things left over. The other volunteers and I were then allowed to buy the things we wanted from the bazaar. All the proceeds went to fund Nikko Nikko events.
I think the events the program organizes are great for kids who are unable to leave the hospital. Unfortunately, I did not get to interact as much with the children as I expected I would. However, I was always able to chat with the other volunteers. Besides the 5 KCJS gaijin, the other volunteers were (very sweet) middle-aged Japanese women. They were always interested in hearing about my experience so far in Japan.
While at the hospital, especially during events, I often felt really awkward, like I was getting in the way of the program’s organization. Also, I felt like maybe I sort scared the kids with my height. My only regret is that I was not more outgoing with them. From this experience, I’ve learned that I just need to get over my insecurities with my Japanese speaking ability. I need to take advantage of all these opportunities available while living in Japan and talk to as many Japanese people as possible.

2 thoughts on “Molly Reissmann: Nikko Nikko : )

  1. Amazing. I know you said you didn’t get a lot of exposure to the actual children, but I wonder if that’s for the best. I know it’d be really sad if I had to interact with those kids.

    I’ve been really impressed with the stories and interactions you’ve had with the staff at the hospital though. Think about it, you’re talking with REAL JAPANESE people in a REAL JAPANESE ENVIRONMENT. I know KCJS pretty much bars us from any actual contact with Japanese society, but I think despite that, experiences like this really are unique and are giving you a bit of culture that you would probably never see.

    Keep up the awesome work. Your CIP makes me feel guilty for only going to a English discussion circle. By the way, you should come to one of our CIP’s so you can have a bit of a break from the hospital.

  2. <3 Yeah it's really great to go into a different environment and be able to use my Japanese. I only wish that I had been able to volunteer more often!!! Too bad we're always stuck in Fusokan.
    And count me in for klexon!