When you're training astronauts from around the
world, clear communication is critical. Dealing with different
languages and procedures can make this difficult. "Culture plays
a role in learning and understanding," said Nishikawa. Unless
there is complete agreement, "the astronauts being trained wouldn't
know what to do." The participating space agencies train their
own astronauts and global guidelines ensure a uniform "voice."
Hard. Train Harder.
Nishikawa understands firsthand the long hours
that have to be put in before you can see the "finish line." Squeezing
in time around work, Nishikawa trains hard for the Salomon X-Adventure
World Cup Race. During
the 250-km course, covering two days, he and his teammates run
in the mountains, ride mountain bikes and canoe the longest river
of Japan. Symbolically his team is named "Freedom," the original
moniker of the station. Currently, they're ranked 24th among 50
"I hope that we will see a time where you
can bring your children up to space with you," said Nishikawa.
Twice a year, he lectures at Cosmic College for 5th and 7th grade
space lovers whose biggest questions are about eating and going
to the bathroom in space. He loves their enthusiasm, but thinks
it's important that they understand the challenges of space. "The
space that ordinary people know, they think that it's a place
for dreams," he said. "There are a lot of difficulties in really
living up there. But I want to tell the children that it's really
interesting; it's challenging." For someone tied closely to action
and adventure, he has a poetic view of the station's significance:
"International Space Station is part of a gift from the 20th century
to the 21st century. I hope to maintain it as a symbol of wisdom
and peace for the next generation."