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Shibai's wall of wishes

Shayal Devi
Sunday, October 29, 2017

ARE you someone who has a bucket list?

If so, then your list is probably filled with a range of activities and personal goals you have set out.

However, even if you haven't drawn up a list, chances are you wish to achieve a particular objective in life and this is the basis of a worldwide art project titled "Before I Die".

Kota Shibai, a 20-year-old intern at the Free Bird Institute in Nadi, decided to give the project a go since there wasn't any attempt to kick-start it in Fiji.

Originally from Saitama, Japan, Mr Shibai is the youngest of three brothers.

"I was interested in Japanese traditional culture since I was small and I think I was influenced by my father," he said.

An avid sports fan, Mr Shibai said he came to Fiji for the first time after graduating high school.

"My father saw a TV program which was about studying English abroad in Fiji. He recommended the six-month program to me even though he has never been to Fiji."

Living in Fiji changed Mr Shibai's outlook on life and says he wishes to create good memories and enjoy living rather than focusing solely on earning money and making sales.

"A great point of Fiji is the strong connection between people. It is where happiness comes from," he said.

Tying in happiness with things people wanted to achieve before they passed on, Mr Shibai says he came across the "Before I Die" project, a global art project which allows people to reflect on their lives and what they wish to achieve.

Mr Shibai says the project has spread to more than 70 countries and has been translated in 35 languages.

"It has started to use abandoned space more usefully. There is a template which says 'Before I die, I want to…' on the wall where people can pick up a piece of chalk and write what they want to do before they die.

"It has never been done in Fiji before so I wanted to try that for the first time."

To get the project started, Mr Shibai contacted the organiser of the project via email to seek permission to start the project in Fiji.

"I also sent an email to the Nadi Town Council but did not get a reply. I asked Body Life Gym to put the walls on their fence and they kindly accepted me.

"There have been many interesting, silly, clever and eye-opening notes. I did not expect so many people to write their thoughts and would like to say thank you to all who supported me to complete this project. Thank you to the staff of Body Life Gym for their co-operation.

"I hope many Fijian citizens who wrote something will be aware of what they really want to do before they die and I hope those notes will also encourage other people."

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