Life Onboard
Xiamen, China - Building friendships across Asia, May 12, 2012
As a way of fostering positive relations between Japan and China, Peace Boat facilitated a day of cultural experiences
Although China and Japan are geographically close, Japan's past invasions and war crimes are a major issue affecting current relations between the two neighboring countries. As a way of fostering positive relations Peace Boat facilitated a day of cultural experiences, bringing about a heightened sense of trust and understanding between people from both countries. After arriving in Xiamen Port on the morning of May 12, a group of Japanese participants were guided on a tour that enabled cross-cultural friendships to flourish.

"The people who talked to us were very warmhearted and friendly."
The first stop was Nanfudaji Temple. After walking through the main gate, Japanese participants were surprised to suddenly be offered snacks from a Chinese group who were drinking tea together. One participant said, "The people who talked to us were very warmhearted and friendly."

A Peace Boat participant enjoys playing music for his Chinese host family
After making their way to a family home, where all participants were welcomed with warm smiles, a traditional lunch was served. Fresh prawns, dumplings, stir fry's and a seaweed-vegetable mix were among some of the many dishes prepared and presented to the participants upon arrival. The ice was broken through a conversation about the ingredients of the food, and also through the efforts of one elderly Japanese man who played the harmonica and flute, which encouraged the Chinese family to begin singing.

Participants enjoy folding cranes together, a symbol of peace
After lunch, everyone shared their views about what makes them feel peaceful. One man who was born in Manchuria during World War II explained, "I feel peaceful now, and it's like I'm at home in China." Once the activity was over, the girls created origami cranes together, which is a sign of peace.

I welcome all foreigners to my house, said the Chinese host
As photos were being taken, and contact details written down, one of the hosts expressed "I find it really fascinating to meet with foreigners, and we love Japan's culture. I really enjoy opening my home because it is better for China-Japan relationships as we can improve our communication. I welcome all foreigners to come to my house."

Participants affirmed that direct interaction and cultural exchange with others can build peaceful ties
On the way back to the port a participant offered his impressions of the exchange by saying "It was a real and natural international experience, and they were greeting us from the bottom of their hearts. I had a really pleasant time," he continued, "and wanted it to last forever! I believe that it's a really simple thing, but that these sorts of interactions will lead to world peace."