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Sudbury teenager gearing up for ambitious year-long teaching project in Japan

By Priya Kingsley-Adam

Lucy Keedy-Davies is fundraising for a year-long trip to Japan in August, where she will be teaching English whilst taking part in community work. PICTURE: Mecha Morton (2400981)
Lucy Keedy-Davies is fundraising for a year-long trip to Japan in August, where she will be teaching English whilst taking part in community work. PICTURE: Mecha Morton (2400981)

A teenager from Sudbury has set herself an ambitious task of learning Japanese as she gears up for an overseas project.

Lucy Keedy-Davies will spend a year living in a small Japanese community, known as Ittoen, teaching English to various age groups.

After applying for the volunteering programme, the 19-year-old visited Scotland, where she was selected along with six students to take part in the scheme organised by Project Trust.

“I have been waiting for this for so long,” said Lucy, who is counting down the days until she flies out in August.

“I have never been to Asia, which is one of the reasons why I applied.”

During the project, Lucy will become a member of the Ittoen community, which live a simple lifestyle, without material possessions.

Throughout the year, Lucy will teach English to nursery and school children, along with adult classes

“My dad is a teacher and I want to know if it’s something I want to do,” explained Lucy, who will decide whether it is a career path she wants to pursue.

An important part of the Ittoen culture is the contribution to daily work, which includes grounds maintenance; cutting wood, and helping in the kitchens.

Integrating herself with other members will be a key part of the experience for Lucy, of York Road.

“It’s a small community, so I’ll get to know everyone,” she said.

As part of its spiritual beliefs, which are loosely based on Buddhism, the community worships light by giving thanks during morning and evening services.

Another tradition, that will be particularly significant for Lucy, is the coming-of-age ceremony, which celebrates the birthdays of 20-year-olds, as they reach adulthood.

In between studying for her A-levels, Lucy has learnt two of the three Japanese alphabets, which have taken eight months to grasp.

“I don’t think you can fully immerse yourself without speaking the same language,” said Lucy, who is keen to learn the basics before starting the project.

But the biggest challenge for her will be returning home to England.

“The hardest part will be the culture shock coming back,” said Lucy.

To help Lucy reach her fundraising target for the project, go online at https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/lucysvolunteeryear.

A quiz is taking place at The Cyclist in Sudbury on July 7, at 7pm. To book a place, email japanquiznight@gmail.com.


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