Kei Just Won the Golden Ticket!

Narrative Golden ticket airplane

Meet Kei, the Winner of Narrative’s Golden Ticket 

This is Kei, the one lucky winner of Narrative’s Golden Ticket Contest!

Kei the Narrative Golden Ticket Winner going to Japan

Kei entered the contest when he was among the first customers to pre-order a Narrative Clip 2. When we informed him that he was the winner of Narrative’s Golden Ticket, he was both surprised and happy.

Kei lives in Gothenburg, Sweden and five years ago, when Kei was a High School student, he was awarded a scholarship by the Japanese Government through which he partook in a cultural exchange program between the European Union and Japan. Together with 14 other European students he got the chance to go to Japan to study at the Osaka Prefectural Otemae Senior High School for one semester. It was during his time in Osaka that Kei befriended the person whom he now will be reconnecting with through Narrative’s Golden Ticket.

MEXT and European exchange students are gathered

A group photo of the 15 European exchange students, along with Japanese government officials, school representatives, host families, and several European ambassadors at the Japanese Government’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology’s Headquarters in Tokyo in January of 2011.

 

Kei’s Story

During Kei’s time on Osaka, it had been arranged for him to stay with three different host families; each for two months at a time. The first two host families, the Minamiguchi family, and the Tsujioka family took great care of Kei. He felt like part of their families and he got great insights of everyday life in Japan. Sadly, when Kei moved in with his third and supposedly last host family of the trip, things took a bad turn.

It was at the turn of the New Year, a deep-rooted and very meaningful holiday in Japan, that Kei found himself left alone in the third host family’s large apartment:

“The night before New Year’s Eve, the whole host family decided in secret to leave and go to Nara, a city a few hours away from Osaka. I wasn’t told anything – in fact, the mother had spoken weeks before of what the family had planned for the holiday and about how we were all going to celebrate it together in Osaka – instead I was just left alone with an extra key to the apartment and a note saying that they had left.”

Needless to say, 18-year-old Kei felt devastated and alone. This, Kei told us as part of his Golden Ticket Contest submission, was when Shota Nasu, a good friend from his Japanese High School, texted Kei to wish him a Happy New Year and asked about his plans for the holiday:

“Just a few minutes after I had explained what had happened and how I had been left alone, Shota called me to tell me that he and his family would like to welcome me to spend New Year holiday with them and their relatives. In Japan, New Year is a really private, sacred, and special holiday usually reserved for the family, yet I was welcomed by the whole family and their relatives. They treated me with genuine kindness, cheering me up, and treating me with the most delicious food, I was completely blown away by their unbelievable kindness and empathy towards me”

Osaka Tenmangu Shrine

This photo is from New Year’s Day, the day after Kei got left alone and the Nasu family took him in to celebrate New Years with them. Here Shota has taken Kei with him to visit the Osaka Tenmangu Shrine, a temple that is thought to bring the visitors good fortune in academic endeavors. Pictured are some temple visitors that are hanging up their negative fortunes which they got when entering the temple. If you get a negative fortune instead of a positive one, you hang it up like this with the hope to leave the bad fortune behind. 

japanese tempel for good fortune

One of the negative fortunes above is Kei’s, which he got when he visited the temple. Hopefully by hanging up the fortune he would avoid it coming true…

A New Host Family

Since things sadly did not work out well for Kei at his third host family – a family that was later revealed of having a history of treating foreign exchange students poorly – the Nasu Family decided that they wanted to help Kei in the hard situation he was left in:

“In the end, the Nasus offered me to stay with them for the rest of my stay in Japan, and they even gave me my own room. To this day, the days which I spent with the Nasu family are the most precious of my whole life, and I am eternally grateful to them.”

During Kei’s time in Osaka, Kei and Shota became very dear friends. Their time was filled with a lot of studying, and they bonded especially over their shared interests in science and medicine. Whenever they had time off, Shota would come with Kei to look at various landmarks in Osaka. Aside from this, they loved singing Karaoke together! We Are The World by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie is their all-time favorite, and they would always perform that song when singing karaoke – hopefully the Narrative Community will be able to catch a re-run of this during Kei’s Golden Ticket trip to Japan!

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What is Kei up to today

Today Kei is back in Sweden, he is part-time involved in research projects with for example the world top-ranked Karolinska Institutet, and The Swedish Museum of Natural history. Kei is also a part-time private teacher of the Japanese language, and when he has time left over, he also does programming at home. Kei recently started the process of applying to different Universities around the world, and his hope is to end up at a U.S. top university and study Neuroscience there.

Here is Kei at Work!

Here is Kei at Work!

Kei’s Wish for His Golden Ticket Trip

Going back to Osaka and being able to once again meet Shota and his family is a dream Kei has had since he left Japan in early 2011. At Narrative, we are extremely happy to be able to partake in Kei’s journey to reunite with his loved ones in Osaka. Kei himself is very happy about being able to go back to thank the Nasu family:

“I want to visit my dearest and my important friend, Shota Nasu, and his family – to tell them in person how much what they did for me meant and, how grateful I am for what they did, and if possible, repay their kindness.

Kei will leave for his Golden Ticket trip this coming fall, and naturally, he will bring his Narrative Clip 2 with him to document the reunion with his dear friend Shota. And before Kei leaves, we will make sure to tell you a few stories and anecdotes from Kei’s time in Japan that he has shared with us, so stay tuned!

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