Nozomi Fujii

Japan | Junior (Exchange) | Political Science

Why did you join Rotaract?

“First of all, I was browsing the web for like clubs and stuff and I knew that I wanted to do something music related and volunteer related because that’s what I’ve been doing since high school. I’ve been in a service club and in university I also chose to be in another service club which was about collecting old textbooks and reselling them so that we could raise money to help education for kids in Bangladesh. I wanted to continue on with service and when I saw all the lists of clubs, I thought that Rotaract might be nice. And I attended the meetings and everyone there was very friendly, so I just decided to keep on going.”

Can you expand on your volunteering experiences in Japan?

“So back in high school, I was in this very general service club. We didn’t do much, the active thing I did was go to orphanages and it was for a Christmas toy drive where we collected gifts and then we physically delivered them to the orphanages. That was really nice because you could really interact with them and in university, again I wasn’t in direct contact but we did our best. It was a very small club and we kind of advertised it and brainstormed how we could collect textbooks and raise more money. I had the option of visiting the site in Bangladesh, but because of the study abroad, it didn’t work well with my schedule so I couldn’t go. I’m kind of bummed about it. Separate from my club, I also did a volunteer tour thing. I went to the disaster earthquake site in Fukushima and I helped plant crops. The rice there is kind of stigmatized, so they wanted university students to come and grow it and experience it and buy the rice and contribute to the consumerism so that the rice isn’t too stigmatized anymore.”

What was your first impression of your family, and what are you looking forward to?

“I think that during the first meeting where we go to meet all the families, I only got to see the O’Neils and another family. For somehow, I really liked the welcoming atmosphere within the O’Neills circle. I went some bonding events and they were really nice. They were all so wholesome. I really liked them. And even though I don’t go to often to all the meetings or events, they were still welcoming. I feel very at-home. This year, I’m trying to be more involved and try to grow the bonds more. I would just love to attend many events and get to know them better.”

What will you miss most about Cal Rotaract?

“I think I’m going to miss my family members the most— everyone is really nice. I wouldn’t have believed it before I came here. I feel very welcomed so I’m going to miss that the most. I will also miss the baking. I remember that at the first meeting, they gave me cookies. I was very happy and I think I’ll miss the service events here too. I haven’t been able to attend a lot, but one of the ones that stood out was the Prisoner’s Literature Project. I’ve never experienced something like that before and really was eye-opening to me. When I go back to Japan, instead of doing remote volunteering, I want to actually physically volunteer. I’ll try to find something like that when I go back to Japan.”

If all your clothes had to be one color, what would it be?

I think I would choose baby blue because that is my favorite color. Ever since I was a girl, I was never like a pink girl. I’ve always been like a blue girl. It’s always been my favorite color.”

What’s the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?

“So I was at Toronto and my friend and I was going to go to Montreal. And then the plane was about to leave and we were really in a rush so I grabbed my jacket and scarf and we just went to the plane. When we landed in Montreal, I realized that something was missing. I realized that I forgot my suitcase. That’s the most important thing you need to have when you’re travelling right. You know how Montreal is really cold, all my heat techs were in the suitcase so I was like what am I going to do. So I had to buy more clothes when I got to Montreal…. I didn’t lock my suitcase so I was really worried and called them everyday. When I returned to California, I got a call and it was like a week after I came back from Toronto, they were like “Oh we found it!” I was not in Toronto so I was like, “What am I going to do?” I realized that my friend was in Toronto and she was willing to pick it up for me. So now she has it and I have her spare suitcase. When we go back to Japan, we’re going to trade.”

Oldest piece of clothing

“My mom makes me throw something away every summer, so I don’t own something very old. I think the oldest thing would be my pair of pajamas and it’s all yellow and it has a little chick on it and I really like fluffy chickens so I couldn’t let go of it somehow.”