On 2nd June, 2018, Minato International Association (MIA) welcomed the Embassy of Germany and Goethe-Institut for bi-annual country introduction events.
“Germany Day”, a wide range of participants enjoyed the culture, history and German rap.
Personal report by R.O
We held Tsukuba Science Tour.
Here is a comment from the leader of this event.
I wish to express my deep gratitude to everyone who took part in the Tsukuba Science Tour.
Seeing the latest scientific technologies in Japan up close and learning about their history and research result allowed us to fully achieve our ultimate goal of fostering international communication.
Visiting each research facility by bus and having conversation to various nationalities left a mark on my mind.
I am also grateful to everyone in fostering interesting interactions with people from various generation.
We went to Lucky Cat-Maneki Neko (Gotokuji Temple) Historical Tour.
Here is a comment from one of the participants from Sweden.
Even though it was early spring, we were in luck with the weather.
Finding the meeting area was very easy, due to the helpful staff who were stationed at different areas to guide the participants.
When everyone was gathered, the staff introduced themselves and gave us the schedule of the day orally in both Japanese and English.
The walk to the Temple was very pleasant, both the pace and the view.
The staff were excellent in teaching about the different locations we visited, and to create subjects to talk about among the participants, which created a joyful atmosphere.
We went hiking on 29th of October, 2016.
Here is a comment from one of the participants.
A good way to kick off the cool autumn and its dramatic changing colors is to be with nature, feel the cool breeze and be awed with the orange and red leaves colors.
Okutama Hiking had let us experience not just the beauty of nature but also having us interact with different people. Not known to many, Okutama is just half and hour away from Tokyo. It is a quick escape from the busy metropolis and good way to recharge our body with nature.
Last October 29, roughly 30 people walked, trekked and hiked the stony, steep yet beautiful scenery of Okutama. There were several pauses, breaks, ups, downs, slippery path but while you are walking you will feel different as you see the green leaves turning brown, the fading scent of Summer and the welcoming cool breeze of Autumn. Hikers also managed to see the crystal water which was made more beautiful because of the stones in the water.
A cat will wait you at the end of a Hanging Bridge! You have to take your time in this bridge as only 5 people are allowed to pass at a time. And if you are hungry, grab your onigiri, drink your ocha, sit down and relax. Feel the comfort of the Earth.
After the steep and long walk, you will come across a dam. With its water and the backdrop of trees, it is a beauty to behold.
The 7 hour hike in Okutama will not just rejuvenate you. It will also brush up your Japanese!
MIA Youth Team held “KARUTA” event on July 30th.
Here is a comment from MIA Youth Team member who organized this exciting program.
“Going Back in Time with the Magical Cards Karuta”
The feeling is strange and the environment looks different, it seems we were transported back in time when Tokyo was still Edo and Japan’s doors were still closed. But we did not use any special machine to bring us back to the old Japan. We managed to touch and play only these magical cards – Karuta.
Karuta, as we heard of it, was a loan word from Portugal – caruta which means cards. Karuta is a card game but unlike other card games, it does not use Spades and Aces or Magical Monsters. The way we learned it is that there is one set for picture cards and the other set is Japanese proverbs corresponding to the picture card. The game was pretty simple and fun. We just need to listen to the proverb’s first syllable sound, look for the picture card laid on the tatami mat, slap it, say ‘hai’ and get the card. Of course, it is sometimes tricky as you need to listen very carefully to the proverb, look the picture cards slowly and find the hiragana corresponding to the first syllable. Before you know it, someone already said ‘hai’ and gain the card! Winning the game is pretty simple as well. The person who holds the most number of cards wins the game.
There were three sets of cards which we managed to play – (1) easy level which used simple hiragana, (2) medium level – which used katakana, and (3) difficult level – in this level we used the Edo Iroha Karuta Cards. The difficult level was a bit tricky as some of the hiragana’s are no longer being used today!
The playing atmosphere was amplified by the venue. We went to Akasaka Civic Center and entered a Japanese style room. The room’s floor is not modern in style rather it has the traditional tatami mat. Tako’s (kite) were hung in the room. The organizers wore the traditional summer outfit in Japan – Yukata.
Playing the game also let us socialize with other nationalities. At the end of the game, we managed to know other countries’ cards game and proverbs. Proverbs were spoken to the participant’s mother language, then, translated to English and finally explained the meaning of the proverbs.
It was a wonderful experience and with a historical feel of knowing Japan’s culture and playing the game which was played century ago. At the same, we learned different culture’s card game as well!