Japanese volunteer Kyoko's story of Beijing Olympic Winter Games


Kyoko Yamashita, a Japanese graduate student from the School of Psychology and Cognitive Science of East China Normal University (ECNU), is one of the volunteers working for Beijing 2022. After nearly a month of training, she arrived at Zhangjiakou Olympic Village and began to work.

Zhangjiakou Olympic Village

“My job is mainly to run the sponsor booths. During the Beijing Winter Olympics and Winter Paralympics, I am required to distribute gifts to athletes from various countries in the Olympic Village. I also participated in formulating the preliminary plan.” said Kyoko.

Kyoko and Paralympic mascot Shuey Rhon Rhon

January 27 was the first day that Kyoko Yamashita was on duty. Her work was not easy: she got up at 6 o’clock, gathered at 7:30 with other volunteers and took the bus from the hotel to the Olympic Village, started to work at the booth at 9 and continued until 20:30. Then, there was a summary meeting, and she did not return to the hotel to rest until 22:30.

“Although I am a bit busy, I still feel quite pleased about all the fresh experiences I have gained here,” said Kyoko, “I have done some work related to exhibitions, but it was far from being as grand and professional as the Winter Olympics. Here I can see athletes from different countries coming and going. The organizing committee checks the volunteers’ communication script every day, which shows that the requirements set out for volunteers are very strict.”

The professionalism of Beijing 2022 is also reflected in the measures implemented for pandemic prevention. “Disinfection gateways have been set up at the Olympic Villages and the hotels. Every volunteer is required to take daily nucleic acid testing before going to work in order to ensure the health of the volunteers. We are also required to wear masks and gloves throughout the working hours.” Kyoko said, “food here is delicious and accommodation quite suitable. I feel comfortable working here.”

When it comes to something interesting during volunteer work, Kyoko mentioned, “I saw two Chinese athletes and greeted them on my first day of work. At that moment, it seemed that I met my family.” She couldn't hide her excitement.

However, Kyoko has encountered some difficulties at work. For example, there may be language barriers to her communication with athletes and representatives from countries such as Ukraine and Belarus, whose official languages are not English. Still, Kyoko managed to communicate with them with the help of interpreters.

As a second-year graduate student, Kyoko also has problems with her schedule. “I went to Beijing for training in December, and the volunteer work may last until the end of March, but the thesis proposal is scheduled to take place in May. I need to coordinate my studies with the volunteer work.” Kyoko said, “fortunately, my supervisor and the leaders of the School of Psychology and Cognitive Science are strongly supportive of my decision to volunteer for Beijing 2022. I am really grateful for their understanding and support.”

Mentioning why she decided to be a volunteer for Beijing 2022, Kyoko said, “My mother and my grandmother are Chinese, and my father is Japanese. I grew up in China. I really want to do something to win glory for the country where I grew up, so I signed up as a recruit to the volunteer work for Beijing 2022 as soon as I read the notice.” Kyoko said, “But in fact, I was hesitant at that time because the volunteer work would take nearly five months, which was too long for me. But my family suggested that I take on the job as this may be an once-in-a-life time opportunity.”

Kyoko expressed her blessings and expectations for this grand event, “I’d like to cheer on the Chinese Olympic team. I hope that during the Winter Olympics people can not only cheer on the athletes, but also learn more about them. I hope more people will take part in winter sports!”

Source: School of Psychology and Cognitive Science

Author: Yuan Yiwei

Copy editor: Philip Nash

Editor: LI Mengjie


East China Normal University