Intern Interview 2020: Miyabi MATSUDA

[Original posted in Hatena Blog by Kazuto KANAOKA, 2020 Public Relations Intern (December 4, 2020); Translated by M. Goto/H. Lai]

Hello everyone! My name is Kazuto Kanaoka. I am a 2020 Public Relations Intern. In the 4th round of 2020 Interviews of Interns, I invited Miyabi Matsuda from the Palestine project. I am impressed that she is calm and hold everything like it should be. I interviewed her and asked about her daily life. If you are interested in Palestine, please check this blog. Here we go!

The interview started in a relaxed atmosphere.

Please tell us about your university life!

I major in general policy studies and now I am studying Islamic culture. I plan to write about the Middle East for my graduation thesis because I have been to Islamic countries. I was a member of a kendo (swordsmanship) club in university for four years.

A picture taken in Indonesia. Instagrammable!

How long have you practiced kendo before?

I started kendo in high school. Most people start kendo from elementary school or young age so very a few starts from high school around me. I didn’t do any sports until high school. But since I began, I was totally involved in it thanks to being surrounded by nice people and teachers.

The reason why I continued kendo in university was that I could not do well at the final match of my high school. I was so frustrated that I decided to keep going. The club activities were very hard, which I found after I joined.

In the kendo club.

What made you interested in international cooperation?

Honestly, I had no specific reasons. International cooperation was an extension of my desire to study the Middle East and to be able to speak English. Not because I watched some specific news but because I studied international issues in university and got interested in occupations that solve and address those issues. I gradually got know that NGOs are such kind of international cooperation organization. Before college, I wasn’t aware of international cooperation and didn’t think deeply about it even though I heard something about it.

How did you join JVC?

When I was a junior student, I wanted to know how an NGO’s office look like. I found JVC on the web, and then I attended the orientation and found that JVC also works in Palestine. It was attractive to have a chance to visit Palestine, so I decided to join JVC. However, since the JVC office was far from my home, I preferred to apply to the internship rather than volunteer.

Please tell us the reason why you chose the Palestine project and what is your current work as an intern!

I wanted to improve my English skills through translating work. I’ve been studying about the Middle East in university, so Palestine project would also give a good opportunity to learn about the Middle East more deeply. Palestine seems to be a wonderful place judging from photos, and it would be nice to have an opportunity being involved there.

My work as an intern is:

  • Read news on Palestine and Israel.
  • Organize donated post cards and stamps.
  • Send thank-you letters to donators.
  • Start selling embroidery products on Instagram.

I also write articles on Palestine for the crowdfunding that started this summer.

One of the difficult tasks is to translate interview articles from English into Japanese because I have no translation experiences. And it is hard to translate the news on the complicated issues of the Middle East and make the article understandable for the Japanese people. The news on Palestine is so sensitive that any small mistake can lead to misunderstanding.

Working at the JVC office.

Have you noticed anything after joining JVC?

I noticed how hard it is to raise funds when I was engaged in crowdfunding. We must figure out how to raise funds as an NGO.

What did you feel when you were engaged in crowdfunding?

When I heard that the Palestine team starts crowdfunding, I thought crowdfunding is something that venture companies or student groups do. But afterward I realized that it is more common among voluntary organizations. The present crowdfunding automatically sent us the messages from contributors. Each message was very warm-hearted, and I realized that so many people care about Palestine. I noticed that same contributors donate repeatedly, the age range of donors is high, and many of them concern JVC. So, the next task of the Palestine team will be getting new supporters and young people involved.

In my remaining internship period, I would like to use SNS to increase the sales of Palestine embroidery for young generation. I have learned a lot from JVC, and now I hope to bring benefits back to JVC.

A group photo of the Palestine team.

What do you value in life?

I’m afraid there is nothing. I just do what I should do.

It’s OK. You have time to think about it later. People are different. I can’t live like you, as I value not to regret my life when I die (Shoji).

You look always calm. How do you release your stress?

I show stresses on my face. When I’m stressed, I have a meal, watch YouTube, and forget about the stress. I’m forgetful, so it’s enough to devote myself to other things.

In my case, I talk to my friends to release my stress. I envy you since you can manage your stress on your own (Kanaoka).

Finally, what would you choose if you were to bring only one item to an isolated island?

Glasses! I am not sure should I choose glasses or contact lenses. But if I choose contact lenses, cleaning liquid is also needed, so maybe glasses are better. It’s a matter of life or death because I have poor sight without glasses.

What do you choose if you could bring one more thing? (Kanaoka).

My mother. If I can count it one, I would like to bring my whole family.

This photo shows the essence of her wishes to bring to an isolated island.

To wrap up…

How was the interview? Can you feel her love for Palestine? I found I unconsciously believed that it is necessary to have a philosophy in life. But it is more flexible to have no philosophy since one can absorb many things as Miyabi Matsuda does. It might be a reason why she looks calm and cool.

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