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The summer this year was hot again, wasn’t it? Following on from last year’s event, during the hot summer, we at LVC worked hard again to provide a varied Japanese cultural programme for the foreign summer students at the Ariake Campus of Musashino University to experience. The foreign students this year were from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and South Korea.
Among the various events arranged for the students I would like to focus on the “Origami” programme. We considered “which Japanese craft” we would like to introduce to the foreign students to replace the “Kimekomi craft” event which we held last year. We then decided on “Origami”, which is likely to be familiar to almost all Japanese people, and set up a preparatory committee.
The committee approached an origami-instructor and asked her to assist us. After three training meetings and one supplementary lesson, we held the “Origami” event in Musashino University on 20th July 2016. We had decided to make a “toothpick cover”, a “chopsticks cover” and a “mini-shopping bag” (see photograph), all objects which can be useful. We used origami paper donated by LVC members for the former two items, and used recycled flyers for the latter, as we could obtain these “easily and free”, they are bigger than the usual size of origami paper, and they contain Japanese letters, pictures and photos, which can be used as an art form.
At the beginning, the foreign students were struggling with folding the paper though later they were able to complete the origami with the instructor and LVC members’ help. The LVC members were glad to see that at the end the students seemed to be satisfied and pleased with the results of their efforts.
We would like the foreign students to spread the word about origami as one of Japan’s cultures to their families and friends after they get back home. At the same time, we are glad if what they learnt through the experience with LVC forms one of the enjoyable memories of their stay in Japan.
I would like to add that there was a lot of support from many people for this event, and we would like to thank them for their kindness.
To those of you who are reading this article, would you like to join our volunteer group and enjoy the activities with foreign students through the interesting programme we have got lined up for next year’s hot summer? And before next summer, we are also planning to have a lot of enjoyable events.
You are always welcome ! Entrance fee and Membership fee are free !
The opening ceremony for the first Tokyo Olympics approximately 50 years ago was held on October 10. We have four seasons, so JIOC sought the best day for the ceremony and they found October has more sunny days than other months. October 10 used to be the Health and Sports Day (national holiday) until several years ago, but it has since been changed to the second Monday.
By the way, speaking of October, the Koto Ward Citizen’s Festival will be held this year on the 17th (Saturday) and 18th (Sunday). It’s a great place to browse through traditional crafts, bargain items, and other lucky finds. I visited the festival for the first time last year, and ended up buying a lot of knitting yarn, as befitting the saying that “autumn is for the arts”! But since they were summer yarns, I haven’t used them yet and the yarns have ended up being kept in my closet. . .
LVC had a booth at the time of this festival, and that is how I learned about LVC. I did not apply there, but I received pamphlets and enrolled two months later. Of course, LVC will have a booth out this year as well. The details are now being prepared. Please come visit us and learn about our works!!
LVC joined the Musashino University Japan Summer Project (MSJP) and were involved in the planning and management stages. For Musashino University this year’s MJSP was the first time it had been held since they had to discontinue because of the Great East Japan Earthquake. As LVC were asked to take part in such a commemorative event we were honoured and excited to join the event.
For this year’s MJSP, 37 overseas students from 4 different countries/regions (South Korea, China, Taiwan and Australia) visited Japan to take part in the project. They studied Japanese language in the mornings and in the afternoons they joined the extracurricular activities. Among the extracurricular events held on 20th, 22nd and 24th July LVC assisted the students by acting as helpers, guides or interpreters and cameraman; even once as a teacher. We asked the students to form three groups and visited a “Tatami Studio”, Kiyosumi Garden and Fukagawa Edo Museum, and had them experience tea ceremony, wearing yukata and Kimekomi handicraft. 17 LVC members had the opportunity to use their foreign languages and their own specialisations in each event.
At the tea ceremony the students eyes seemed to be caught by the green of the moss in the beautiful garden with its “Shikiishi” stepping stones. As, for some of them, this was the first experience of the tea ceremony in their lives, we tried to closely support them. The students carefully listened to the friendly, clear explanation from the tea ceremony teacher and her husband, and it led to them asking many questions. Not only did they drink tea, but also some students actually experienced making powdered green tea. They seemed to fully enjoy the experience, which even we Japanese people often do not experience in our daily lives.
At the “Tatami Studio”, as making tatami is a specialised kind of work, air conditioners cannot be used, even in summer. Despite the heat, the students listened carefully to the explanation, which has been handed down from tatami maker to tatami maker, and there were more questions from the students than we thought. From tatami, the floor material which has been an essential part of Japanese houses from olden days, the students learnt about our culture, climate and living style, which are different from those of their own countries, and on top of that, the benefits of tatami, and it seemed to be a meaningful time for the students.
The wearing yukata session was made possible by the cooperation of Gallery Himawari, which has a shop in a shopping district in Koto-ku, where LVC is based. Under the guidance of the kimono teachers of Gallery Himawari, LVC members were able to help all the boys and girls to quickly and correctly put on their yukata. After they had become “Yukata dandies and Yukata beauties” they had their photographs taken professionally by one of the LVC members. From the beginning some students were in high spirits, whilst some looked shy as this was their first experience. Nevertheless, everyone struck a pose in front of the camera eventually, and “click!”. It was an exciting time.
At Kiyosumi Garden the students strolled around, listening to the LVC members’ explanations about the garden. They were calmed by the beautiful pond, the large carp, and the pretty turtles, and had a relaxing time surrounded by greenery. Although it was a day when the sun beat down on them, they were full of smiles.
On the last day the 3 groups got together and tried Kimekomi handicraft which was held at a classroom in the university. Taught by an LVC member who had experience teaching overseas, the students tried making gourd-shaped Kimekomi handicraft. Although everybody had some difficulty making it, they enjoyed the process of “monozukuri” – “making something” and everybody completed his or her gourd. The piece which they made can be a good souvenir for them, and we were glad that they could experience the pleasure from making something, which might also help build their confidence.
After that, the students visited the Fukagawa Edo Museum. In this museum, in which is reproduced a life-sized part of Edo era Tokyo, whilst the students were listening to the museum staff they were able to touch and have their photographs taken in front of the exhibits. They seemed to enjoy fully being able to enter a time slip to a different world.
For this year’s MJSP, almost all the students could speak Japanese very well. However, when we needed to explain a subtle nuance of expression, we thought the LVC members’ language support proved to be useful.
If the overseas students, through these experiences, learned or felt something and enjoyed themselves, we are pleased.
Dear readers of the HP, would you like to make use of your foreign language skills and experience such an exciting, enjoyable time together with us?
Accepting the local paper, Totoyomiuri Shimbunsya’s offer, LVC has translated a serial about the sento that is now (October.2015) appearing in the newspaper into English since June, 2015.
The sento is Japanese traditional public bathhouse and there used to be many sento along the streets in the Edo period. Once “having a bath” meant going out and having a bath in the sento on the nearby street for the ordinary people in Edo area surrounding the Edo Castle.
This serial called “Osen-Looking for Sento” introduces the sento still active in the shitamachi area of Tokyo with each sento’s establishing story and the historical changes in the town where each sento is located. There are numerous facts which even the ordinary Japanese people don’t know well ,and the serial mentions about the origin of the sento culture and architectural styles.
If you live in Tokyo, or if you are visiting Tokyo now, why don’t you click the following link?
Don’t you have the sento which you pass by unconsciously everyday?
Or, there is perhaps the sento near the street which you are walking on now!
The sento might be in these articles and might have an unexpected interesting history.
Totoyomiuri Shimbunsya “Osen-Looking for Sento” ～ English version
Hello, I am Miho who is in charge of the LVC public information.
Our homepage is newly opened and I’m glad to see you.
My writing may be expressed frankly, please forgive me…
Our group is named as Language Volunteer Co-talk is an official name, and LVC becomes the foreign language volunteer Co-talking if Japanese.
It’s crossed the Co-talking and Koto-ku belonging to by the coined word that Talk expressing Co and a conversation to express a friend stuck to.
As our main activity, we aim for performing a volunteer for the Tokyo Olympics Paralympics of 2020 and perform English learning or the cross-cultural communication of the members for it. There will be other pages for them, so please refer to that one.
If you hear about “foreign language volunteer”, you may imagine that you are required to use English,but is not necessarily so. When we,Japanese go to foreign countries, we are also as a foreigner, too.There are some foreigners who are interested in Japanese or Japan than a Japanese thinks by the spread of popularity and Internet of the Japanese animated cartoon of these days a lot. Because there is the opportunity to talk with such people, we do not have any problem even if you cannot talk about English, but if you want the place showing result of the self learning by all means to do it!
I hope we’ll still have a good relationship after this.