RA Kenta

At the Residence Hall Ikkyo-Ryo (Kodaira Dormitory), Community Assistants (CAs) and Resident Assistants (RAs) live in the dormitory and serve as floor leaders. They are responsible for assisting residents in their daily lives and promoting interaction between roommates/ floormates. While CA mainly takes care of their shared rooms, RAs are also assigned to a bigger group responsible for the entire dormitory, such as dorm PR and event organizing. The following interview with RA Kenta, the RAM (RA Manager) and the representative of ISDAK, covers various topics from Kodaira dormitory to his personal life.

PR team: Hi, nice to meet you. It’s a pleasure to have a chance to interview you today!
RA Kenta: Thanks for having me!

PR team: Let me start by asking you a few questions. I have the impression that you are quite selective about your clothes and hair. What kind of fashion do you like?
RA Kenta: Oh, I guess I have always been particular about fashion. Fashion expresses the person best and it can be a useful tool to be popular. That’s why I care about my hairstyle and what I wear. Talking about hairstyle, I like long hair. But as you can see, it’s not long now, right? I cut my hair short for my graduate school entrance ceremony. I thought about growing it longer, but someone I care a lot about told me in a roundabout way that she preferred short hair, so... By the way, which hairstyle do you think is better?

PR team: What a difficult question... I think long hair gives a mature and sexy impression. So I would say long hair. But I think short hair suits you too. It’s more refreshing. By the way, where do you buy your clothes?
RA Kenta: I often buy at secondhand clothing stores in Sangenjaya or Shimokitazawa.

PR team: I see. So you don't shop much around the dormitory?
RA Kenta: Yeah, I don't buy clothes but I do buy household goods such as dishes, bedding, detergent and food around the dormitory. Also books too.

PR team: Do you often eat out?
RA Kenta: Recently, I’ve started to cook for myself. I try to eat a pescatarian diet (a diet that includes vegetables, grains and pulses along with fish and other seafood, but generally excludes meat). But when I am busy with my research, I eat out. Around the dormitory, I recommend Chinese restaurant Takumi, Tonkatsu Fujinoki, and Yakiton Yuyake.

PR team: You seem to be very busy with your research recently... How do you like living in the dormitory?
RA Kenta: It is very comfortable. The best thing is that there are well-stocked bookshelves. I decorate my room with art books and posters to enhance my quality of life. And living in a dormitory is nice because I don't get lonely lol. I feel that a mysterious friendship with your floormates, similar to that of a family bond, sometimes gets cultivated.

PR team: Why do you think so?
RA Kenta: I think it was during my third year at university. There was a student in the dormitory with whom I became very close, but we had a big argument over a trivial matter in the winter of my junior year, and we ended up fighting and parting ways. After the argument, we didn't speak to each other at all, even though we lived in the same space. If I had something to say, I would write it down in a notebook and put it in the guy's mailbox. I would write what I was angry about in the note, and if the guy’s reply was not what I wanted, I would post the note again as a rebuttal. If he were a normal friend, I would have stopped contacting him at this point, but I don’t know why but I could not completely cut ties with him. I had conflicting feelings of liking him and disliking him, and although I disliked him more, my emotions swung wildly between the two. It's really hard to put it into words. In the end, the exchange of grievances heated up, and we stopped communicating after I sent him a letter saying, "please don't write back anymore." About three months after our big argument, the guy had to leave the dormitory, and I reluctantly met him because I got a message from him when he was leaving that he wanted to see me one last time. I was a little surprised when he presented me with a fountain pen as a farewell gift. He just said, "I know you study a lot." This didn't make the dislike go away, but it made me a little happy. We never kept in touch for a while but recently he contacted me to hang out. It had been about two years. We had a good time talking about the conflict and what our intentions were in writing and sending the letter. We eventually reconciled.

PR team: I see… It’s interesting that you communicated via notebook. Next, I would like to ask you about your RA duties. Why did you decide to become a RA in the first place?
RA Kenta: Because my friend told me about it. At the time, I had just returned from a language training program in England, and I really wanted to do and promote interaction between international students and Japanese students, so I decided to apply. Luckily I was employed in April of my sophomore year.

PR team: Could you please give a brief description of what you do as a RAM?
RA Kenta: Well, my main job is to organize the RA organization and to act as a liaison. For example, I organize monthly RA meetings, serve as a consultant for each group, and represent the dormitory every month in discussions with the university and the Plaza Office.

PR team: Thank you for the explanation. What do you find rewarding about RA activities and what drives you?
RA Kenta: Well, my floormates count on me and I guess that drives me to work hard. When my floormates come to me with various problems or questions about how to fill out forms or about Japanese language, I feel that I am helping them. Also, I am motivated by the pride I feel in protecting the lives of my floormates. When we get tired of our jobs or relationships, we can escape from them for a while, but we cannot stop “living” no matter how tiring or hard it is. For dorm residents, the dorm is a place where they come back every day, sleep, wake up, eat, and go out again.

PR team: On the other hand, what are some of the difficulties you've had in your RA activities?
RA Kenta: The first two years after the coronavirus pandemic started were tough. Most of the RA work has become online, which led to less interaction among RAs. This has reduced the amount of rewarding work. I’ve wondered how I could sustain the vibrant RA organization....

PR team: It’s so great that we are now able to hold parties in person! I also feel that the dormitory and the RA organization have become more lively with the increase in the number of international students coming to Japan after the deregulation of the Japanese government’s entry control. Since I’ve asked relatively serious questions up to this point, I would like to end with more fun questions. So, if you had some free time, completely free from work and study, what would you do?
RA Kenta: I would probably go on a trip. I would like to go to Hakone and soak in a hot spring or go to Kiyosato Kogen plateau and breathe fresh air. I'd like to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city for a while. I would also like to write poetry.

Kenta's Poem

PR team: Is there any superpower you would like to have?
RA Kenta: Interesting. I would like to have the ability to read people's minds. The ability to know if I'm saying something funny or to know what someone is upset about in a fight would be very appealing to me because I'm a timid person.

PR team: If you were to compare yourself to an animal, what kind of animal would you be?
RA Kenta: That's a tough one. A porcupine, or perhaps a hedgehog. You know the terms "porcupine’s dilemma" or "hedgehog’s dilemma"? I tend to fall into that dilemma. The closer I get to others, the more I avoid being too close to them, thinking that I may hurt them or I may get hurt myself. I love interacting with people, though. Hedgehogs use their pinnae to defend themselves against external enemies, but porcupines use their pinnae to attack external enemies. I think I’m more of a hedgehog than a porcupine because I try to maintain a certain distance in order to protect myself. Like I said before, I'm a timid person..

PR team: That's all for my question. Thank you for sharing so many interesting thoughts! I feel like I've succeeded in shedding some light on your personality!


Kenta Kasuya

Born in Aomori Prefecture in 1999. After graduating from Hitotsubashi University's Faculty of Sociology, he entered the Graduate School of Sociology at Hitotsubashi University (currently in his first year of master's degree). His hobby is reading and writing poetry. His favorite poet is Tamotsu Hayashi, and his favorite book he recently read is "Night and Fog”. His favorite hiragana is "た (TA)”.

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