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A baby named Lau

Ernest Heatley
Friday, April 03, 2015

An international volunteer has named his son after a province in Fiji.

Yuma Nagasaki, 37, has worked at the Free Bird Institute (language school) in Nadi and Lautoka since 2007.

He made the decision to name his newborn son after experiencing the warmth and hospitality of people from Lau, the island province to the east in the Fiji Group. And some would say the most remote.

Mr Nagasaki, whose son was born two weeks ago in Lautoka, decided to name the boy Lau to honour his continuing relationship with those from Lau.

"My first son was born in Lautoka Hospital. I named him Lau," Mr Nagasaki said.

"I have been taken care of by people from the Lau islands. Their hospitality has been great," explained the proud new father. The people from the Lau islands have accepted other culture a lot. And Lau is like a country even though it is in Fiji.

"I would like him to be like a Lauan who can accept other culture, be independent and well-educated.

"Someday I would like to visit Lau islands with my wife and son."

This is a continuation of a love-affair the Japanese man has with Fiji and its people.

In January 2007, Mr Nagasaki joined the Ship for World Youth program where he met Fijians for the first time.

A keen writer, Mr Nagasaki has already expressed a desire to publish a book about Fiji which he believes will boost tourism between the two nations — which enjoy links stretching back to decades.

The volunteer believes many nations around the world can learn from the friendliness and happiness displayed by Fijians everywhere he has gone.

Mr Nagasaki, who rates Fiji highly among the many popular destinations around the world, says it is easier to rate a country through a foreigner because they compare countries they have visited. And are more objective than locals comparing their homeland with that of others.

"It is important to train teachers. However, I feel too much is expected in terms of adjusting to this rapidly changing world. Sometimes we need to consider how to make good use of other resources."

Although Japan is regarded as one of the most educated nations in the world, Mr Nagasaki said the nation was now struggling to make education better.

The "Teach for Japan" started in 2010 to outsource education and it is just one of a number of options used by the Japanese Government to improve education.

He's convinced Fijians generally have "super powers" to correct the damage the world faces.

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