At GenkiJACS, we offer a few different types of dormitories for our students. One of those is the 月宿 (gesshuku), which is like the owner’s house opened up into a dorm. Two of the gesshuku we offer in Fukuoka are 月宿朋 (Gesshuku Tomo) and 月宿石山 (Gesshuku Ishiyama). A lot of our students, in particular under-20 students, stay at these two dorms.
Traditionally, university and high school students often stay in gesshuku, and the owner, called 月宿のおばさん (Gesshuku no obasan) cooks and cleans for the students, and helps them with their problems. She acts as a kind of second mother for the students in her care.
On Sunday the 11th of December, the Obasan of Gesshuku Ishiyama, Sachiko Ishiyama, passed away suddenly from a brain hemorrhage. She was still young, and had seemed healthy just shortly before she was found in her room. It was a very sudden, surprising and sad event for everyone.
When we talked to her, she often said “I always worry whether we can take good enough care of students in our small dorm. It makes us very happy and proud when GenkiJACS students say 「おばさん、楽しかった！」(I had fun, Obasan!) as they leave.” She was a warm-hearted and lovely person. Our accommodation coordinator Aya says that seeing how Ms. Ishiyama felt about her job made Aya feel more proud of her own job too.
The Gesshuku is run by the whole family, including Ms. Ishiyama’s husband, son and daughter. They would arrange many events for our students, including taking them on day trips, BBQs, and others. The living room of the dorm was covered in photos of former students, and they loved to talk about what students are doing now. Gesshuku Ishiyama was exemplified by the care they gave to each student.
We used Gesshuku Ishiyama for younger students specifically because of the great care they gave to each student. Younger students who came with their parents to see the dorm first would often say, after eating dinner with the Ishiyamas, that this is where they wanted their child to live. Even with only limited communication in English, the essential goodness of Ms Ishiyama was easy to see.
At GenkiJACS too, we feel that we have lost an important and special person. The staff and teachers here know that accommodation is almost as important as the school for our students, and that our school is only a success because of the support of people like Ms. Ishiyama. We learn from her about Japanese hospitality.
Ms. Ishiyama, thank you for taking in so many of our students over the years, and for taking such good care of them. Now is your turn to rest. The thoughts of all of us at GenkiJACS are with you and your family.
GenkiJACS Staff representative, Yuuki Yamazaki