Students of Hiroshima Nagisa Senior High School prepare report on study tour to Malaysia, using language of indigenous people

by Junji Akechi, Staff Writer

Students of Hiroshima Nagisa Senior High School in Saeki Ward, Hiroshima are preparing a report on a study tour they made in Malaysia this past summer. During their trip, they experienced the local life of Malaysia's indigenous Iban people and the Iban language will be used in their report.

Though the school has conducted this sort of study tour for more than 10 years, this is the first time that the translation of the text into the local language will be included in a tour report. The school plans to distribute copies of the report in Malaysia as well.

The B-5 size report will consist of 32 pages, in color, and include Japanese, English and Iban. The title of the report is "Indai," or "mother" in Iban. Based on interviews with their host families, the students created the story of a fictional married couple. The story, with photos, describes episodes concerning the couple, including the woman's first encounter with her husband and the birth of their child. The story also features the mother's attitude toward the married couple and their child rearing practices.

Last year's report on the study tour, which was translated into English and brought to the area for the study tour this past summer, led to the production of this new report. In response to the call of the local people for an Iban version of the report, the students came up with the idea. Four of the 14 students who took part in the study tour have gotten together after school and on weekends to prepare the report, and staff members at a travel agency in the local area helped them translate the text into Iban.

Sayaka Mizuno, 17, a second-year student, said, "Creating a story that readers can enjoy was harder than I expected." Kenta Fujii, 16, added with expectation, "I'm looking forward to the reaction of the local people."

The school will print 1,000 copies. At a school festival on November 15, copies will be sold for 500 yen to help support the project.

(Originally published on November 11, 2009)