Discovering new self through challenges

Interview with Takuma Sawada


Sawada shoulders a kid in Cambodia during volunteer trip

Hakumon Herald has picked up many Chuo University students for interviews since reviving its activity in 2012 after having stayed dormant for 35 years. Featured in the latest of the series is Takuma Sawada, a third grader at the Business Administration Department of the Faculty of Commerce. He took a trip to Asia, volunteered to interchange with local students in Cambodia’s poverty areas and launched a student organization upon returning home. What is the source of his vitality? Sawada talked about his perpetual challenges.


Sawada and kids in Cambodia
Sawada and kids in Cambodia

  -What kind of challenges have you tackled so far since joining Chuo?



Sawada; I have made a trip to Southeast Asia and worked as a volunteer in Cambodia. I have also organized a student flash mob club as one of my challenges. (Editor’s note: A flash mob is a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual and seemingly pointless act for a brief time, and then quickly disperse, often for the purposes of entertainment and artistic expression. Flash mobs are organized via telecommunications, social media, or viral emails.)

澤田 東南アジアへの旅や、カンボジアでのボランティア活動に挑戦してきました。フラッシュモブ(注・不特定多数の人々が申し合わせ、雑踏の中の歩行者を装って通りすがり、公共の場に集まり、前触れなく突如としてダンスや演奏などを行って、周囲の関心を引いたのち解散する行為。flash mob=ウィキペディアより)の団体立ち上げも挑戦の1つです。

 -What was your motivation?



Sawada: It is curiosity or my desire to experience new things. I feel very much satisfied each time I make a discovery and get a new way of thinking. It is pleasant for me to discover something new. That is why I continue challenging various things. Before my volunteer activity in Cambodia, I had a sense of fear of visiting a land quite unfamiliar to me. However, my fear disappeared as soon as I began my activity. When I took my first step forward, I found myself quite new from I used to be. I came to see challenging and experiencing in a more forward-looking manner.

澤田 新しいことを経験したいという好奇心です。発見や新しい考えを得ることにとても満足感があります。発見することが楽しく、いろいろなことに挑戦を続けています。カンボジアでのボランティア活動では、知らない土地に行くことに恐怖心がありましたが、実際にやってみると、怖さがなくなりました。一歩踏み出してみて、これまでの自分とは違う自分がいました。挑戦することや経験することを前向きに捉えるようになりました。


-What specifically did you do in Cambodia?



Sawada: I participated in a volunteer activity to teach physical education to primary school children in Cambodia. Local children looked happy just tickling each other. That made me feel again that people can smile simply by coming in touch with each other. Then, I realized that smile is a common language all over the world. I felt that speaking the same language is very much important to know people.

澤田 カンボジアの小学生に体育を教えるというボランティア活動に参加しました。現地の子供たちは、くすぐり合って遊んでいるだけで楽しそうで、人と人が直接触れ合うだけで笑顔になれるということに改めて気づかされました。そして、笑顔は世界の共通言語だということを実感しました。また、人を知るには同じ言語を話すということがとても重要なことであると感じました。

Scene when his flash mob club cerebrates the clients
Scene when his flash mob club cerebrates the clients


-Why did you set up your flash mob club?



Sawada: Throughout my challenges such as the Southeast Asian trip, I thought of rewarding the kindness of those people who helped me. I thought we can perhaps reciprocate their courtesy by making clients and those around them happy with our flash mob performances. That motivated me to launch my club.

  澤田 東南アジアの旅などに挑戦していく中で、私を助けてくれた人たちに恩返しをしたいという思いがありました。フラッシュモブを行い、依頼者やその周りの人たちを幸せにすることが厚意に対する恩返しになるのではないか、と考えたことが学生団体を立ち上げるきっかけでした。


Sawada at Chuo Univeristy
Sawada at Chuo Univeristy

-Why did you do it now?



Sawada: Because we university students have the time and the environment that make such challenges easier. When I become a member of society, it will be harder to find time to do what I would like to. Moreover, I think even when students fail, they are better positioned to get the help of people around them. I think we should tackle various challenges because we have such an environment now.

澤田 大学生には時間と挑戦しやすい環境があるからです。社会人になると、自分の好きなことをする時間が取りづらくなります。また、学生は失敗をしても、周囲の人々の助けを得やすい立場であると思っています。こうした環境が整っている今だからこそ、様々なチャレンジをするべきだと考えています。


―Thank you so much.


ありがとうございました。(Interviewed by: Meiku Takeda)(聞き手:武田芽育)