Sannenzaka Correspondence

Editors’ Diary 05/09/2023

The concept of student house is quite intriguing. The first student house I ever resided in was located in Hamburg, Germany, and it was vastly different from those in Japan. It featured facilities like a bar and other communal spaces for interaction. This dormitory bore the name of Gustav Radbruch, a highly influential figure in continental jurisprudence. Interestingly, I only learned about him after returning to my home country. His legal theories played a pivotal role in shaping the criminal justice division at the University of Tokyo’s Faculty of Law.

I was quite troubled by the loud argument between the Korean family in the adjacent room. However, it turned out that the father is a professor at a fancy University in Seoul. He treated me with great courtesy and showed a keen interest in topics like art history, engaging me in detailed conversations.

Situated in the St. Georg area, which is remarkably close to the city center, it was an area where the Green Party held the position of the largest political party – a scenario unimaginable in Japan’s political landscape. There, you could find the refined business district known as Berliner Tor Center. Within the office buildings here, Siemens Gamesa, a company wholly acquired by Siemens, had its presence. Moreover, the city housed the headquarters of news media like Die Zeit, Die Welt, Der Spiegel and NDR, along with space industry Airbus’s German base. I felt the power of private and intelligent enterprises.

Back in my early days as a rookie at a newspaper based in Tokyo, a remarkably insightful supervisor advised me to pay a visit to Siemens Gamesa and introduce myself. It was a meaningful reunion of sorts, reminiscent of my student years.

At present, I have connections only to the United States, the Swiss Alps, or areas south of it. My interactions with the Federal Republic are limited to riding in a Volkswagen. Nevertheless, one day, these experiences may prove to be valuable.

Hamburg is an exceedingly political city, and its law school is highly prestigious, having produced a former president of Stanford University. Conversely, my purpose in coming to Germany was solely for investigation of the German art and Deutsch lernen. While Siemens Gamesa’s global presence is on the decline, Europe’s largest player, Vestas, is headquartered just a stone’s throw away in Denmark.

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