2019 Activity Report

March Activity Report

31 March 2020
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Yair Alejandro Yebra Lara

How is everyone?

As you all know, COVID-19 has suddenly forced activities to stop in various countries. On March 15 there was a notice that all schools in Mexico will be closed from March 22 until April 20. Everything was busy at the University of Guanajuato, as all schools in Guanajuato were closed from the 16th.

A week ago, there was a meeting of the Japanese roleplaying game club. This time, students got into pairs in which one of them would look at a picture and explain it to the other, who would then listen and attempt to draw said picture. This game was very fun. It’s sad that we won’t be able to play Japanese roleplaying games for a while, everyone is sad about it, but it’s important to put safety first.

Guanjuato’s annual Dia de las Flores (Flower Day) has also been cancelled. It’s tradition on this day to go downtown, buy flowers and meet friends. It can’t be helped this year, but everyone is looking forward to next year.

Last year’s Flower Day

I mentioned it the other day, but I will start studying in Japan this year as a MEXT research student (2020 intake), so I won’t be able to be the GJO coordinator anymore.

I would like to introduce you to the next coordinator of GJO Guanajuato. He has a bright attitude, is good at Japanese and participates in Japanese roleplaying game club.

1 – Please introduce yourself.

My name is Marco. I’m 28 years old. I’ve been a language teacher for four years.

2 – What do you like about Japanese/Japan?

I like the language and the kindness of the Japanese people the most. I’ve been interested in Japanese culture since I was a child, and I like it even more now because I keep finding out new things about Japan.

3 – What do you think is great about Mexico?

The character of the Mexican people and the colorful scenery.

4 – Is there anything you want to do at the GJO?

I want to learn more about my own culture and Japanese culture. Being able to work with both Japanese and Mexican people is great.

5 – Anything else you’d like to say?

The university is currently closed, but I hope to start soon. I look forward to working with you all.

Everyone, it’s been a lot of fun for the last three years. I hope to work with TUFS again in Mexico or Japan.

Thank you very much.

Please read Marco’s blog next month!

February Activity Report

29 February 2020
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Yair Alejandro Yebra Lara

How is everyone?

This month, I received a notice of acceptance via the Embassy from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (Academic Year 2020 Research Students). With this I will study in Japan for a while from April.

Therefore, I will not be able to be the GJO Guanajuato coordinator anymore from April onwards. I am very happy to have this opportunity, but I am sorry to leave the GJO.

If so, what will happen to the Dubbing Workshop?

- I am familiar with dubbing and will leave from this April, so I decided to change the main concept of the Workshop to an activity style that can be continued easily without me.

- Instead of a Dubbing Workshop whose activities revolve around dubbing, we decided to make the club a role-playing game club where you can use Japanese. By doing this, the club can branch out and do other activities. I am looking forward to seeing the club’s future activities.

Moving on, I interviewed Naoho, a TUFS student who came to Guanajuato in July. She is starting her second semester of studying abroad.

Please take a look if you’re interested.

1- Please introduce yourself.

My name is YAMADA Naoho, and I am a third-year Spanish major at the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. I have been studying abroad at my own expense at the University of Guanajuato in Mexico since the end of July last year.

2- Why did you choose to study in Mexico?

I was interested in Mexican culture and wanted to study in Mexico. That’s why I chose to major in Spanish at university.

3- What was the best thing about coming to Mexico?

Meeting the people of Mexico has been the best part for me. I was also able to experience various aspects of Mexican culture, history, food, genres of music, dances, parties, people’s way of thinking, love, religion and social issues.

4- Did you have any troubles during your study abroad?

In order to study abroad at my own expense, I had to ask various questions by myself and negotiated things at the university office almost every day. The services offered by banks, mobile phone companies and universities are completely different from those offered in Japan, so I had some problems with those.

5- What will you miss about Mexico when you return to Japan?

The people I met in Mexico, tacos and other Mexican food, the town of Guanajuato, music, parties, Mexican culture, everything.

6- Would you recommend studying abroad in Mexico and the University of Guanajuato to your lowerclassmen at TUFS?

I would highly recommend both. I was thinking of going to Mexico City at first, but I’m glad I chose Guanajuato. The town is small, but because of this you meet many acquaintances in the streets, and there are many students. It’s very safe, you can basically walk anywhere, the scenery is very beautiful, the streets are cute, and the people are kind. It’s a popular tourist destination, with many events throughout the year as well as the Day of the Dead and Cervantino. I am studying at the tourism department of the University of Guanajuato, and I am very satisfied with my studies at the university because I have a lot of extracurricular activities such as hotel practice, event planning, and helping with events in the city.

Thank you for reading.

Please read next month’s report too!

January Activity Report

31 January 2020
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Yair Alejandro Yebra Lara

Guanajuato University has winter vacation from December unil the beginning or middle of January. It’s a good chance to travel and do some sightseeing in Mexico, and to relax at home before the next semester, January-June, begins.

There was a welcome event for international students as usual, this time there were 59 exchange students – 50 students from 13 foreign countries and 9 students from Japan. The countries of the other international students are Germany (seven) Spain (four), US (four), France (ten), Japan (seven), China (seven), Colombia (four), Korea (two), Norway (one), Argentina (one), Peru (one), Canada (one) and Chile (one).

Guanajuato is a small town, but there are many international students, especially if you include the number of privately-funded international students. Also, the newest international students always come in fall, not spring.

From now on, everyone will study at the four campuses of the University of Guanajuato.

December Activity Report

31 December 2019
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Yair Alejandro Yebra Lara

Hello, everyone. This is Yair Alejandro Yebra Lara, coordinator of the Global Japan Office Guanajuato. Happy New Year. 2019 has been an interesting year.

December was also interesting. First of all, on the first Sunday of December every year, the Japanese Language Proficiency Test is held in Mexico City, so people studying Japanese from various cities in Mexico went to take the test. This year, a group from the University of Guanajuato got together and took the exam together. We’re worried about the exam, but we feel calm when we have friends. The results of the exam can be checked on the Internet from the end of January, so everyone who took the exam will be a little nervous until then.

There was also a sports event for students studying Japanese at the University of Guanajuato and Japanese students studying abroad. We were able to experience basketball, dodge ball, Mexican games and Japanese games such as “Daruma-san fell down”. We had a great time.

There was also a groundbreaking demonstration at the University of Guanajuato. Students demonstrated from 12/4 against the university’s indifference towards an incident in which a student was found dead, and its disregard for student safety, including bribing the media and deleting articles mentioning the incident. The students demanded interest in and efforts to implement safety measures at the university and state levels. During the demonstration, a former student from Japan wrote this article:

“What Happened at the University of Guanajuato? Details on the Demonstration and More”

The demonstration was a disaster, but surprisingly was completely peaceful, with graduates of the University of Guanajuato and the people of Guanajuato cooperating to provide food and other services. Also, students from the University of Guanajuato ‘s Orchestra, Music Department and Department of Performing Arts performed. Somehow, the community of the University of Guanajuato came together and was overflowing with innovative cooperation and pride for the University of Guanajuato. On December 9, the president of the University of Guanajuato, the mayor of Guanajuato, the governor of the state of Guanajuato and the Attorney General of Guanajuato signed a cooperation petition, and the demonstration ended successfully that night. After that, students had their final exams, and the winter vacation began. It is common for families to gather and celebrate together on the night before Christmas and New Year’s parties.

November Activity Report

30 November 2019
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Yair Alejandro Yebra Lara

Hello, everyone. In Mexico, when it comes to November, two main things come to mind. These are Day of the Dead (Dia de Muertos) and the Mexican Revolution. The Day of the Dead (November 2) is basically a celebration to honor and remember our deceased ancestors. On this day, many people believe that their ancestors will come to visit them. Many families, universities and governments in Mexico set up altars for the dead. Every year, a large altar is set up at the University of Guanajuato. This is the altar for this year.

【The altar】

This year, as a special program for the Day of the Dead, the internal government of Guanajuato made a tapete de muertos (a special type of rug for the dead). Since this event aimed to promote international exchange, the Japanese exchange students participated and attempted to create a special tapete de muertos.

【Tapete de Muertos】

Isn’t it so nice? In my opinion, the greatest part of it is how the traditional aspects of Mexican and Japanese culture are brought together in one picture. This was also a celebration for our ancestors that participated in The Mexican Revolution of 1910. Inequality prevailed in Mexican society during Porfirio Díaz’s 30 years as president, which resulted in a revolution to change the government. At that time, the country changed so much that some people thought the revolution was a bad thing rather than a good thing, but even now, every year, to celebrate their ancestors, the police, firefighters, and even elementary and junior high school students, walk in a parade on this holiday.

October Activity Report

31 October 2019
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Yair Alejandro Yebra Lara

Hello, everyone.

This time I would like to talk about two events that happened in October. One of them is 『PUREZEN MÉXICO 2019』. ‘PUREZEN MÉXICO’ was held in Guanajuato twice in the past. It was held in Guadalajara this year! ‘PUREZEN MÉXICO’ is a presentation competition where Japanese language learners from the central regions of Mexico present ‘About Mexico’ using Japanese. The evaluation is based on 3 points: “empathy”, “thought”, and “evidence”, with a particular emphasis on “did you move the audience?”. There were two topics and two categories this year. Category A (Elementary to Intermediate) Topic: “Ideas for Wixarika folk crafts” Category B (Advanced) Topic: ” New event planning for cross-cultural exchange between Japan and Mexico” There were seven teams from these two categories.

This time, I joined Category B with a friend who has been studying Japanese together since 7 years ago, and it was very fun. Each team made an interesting presentation and presented on a lot of things and events that I didn’t know of or hadn’t thought about before.

The second thing I would like to talk about is the Festival International Cervantino (FIC), an international art festival held in Guanajuato every October. This year we had special guests from Canada and the Mexican state of Guerrero. ‘TOKYO SKA PARADISE ORCHESTRA’ also came from Japan. It was really fun. The admission fee for the event is relatively cheap, and there are some events you can watch for free, so why don’t we all come to ‘Festival International Cervantino’ next time?

I am also looking forward to the Cervantino next year.





September Activity Report

30 September 2019
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Yair Alejandro Yebra Lara

As every September in the University of Guanajuato, an academic forum was carried out. Not just Japan but universities around the world came here.


Every University had a stand to talk with the students.

In the Stand and presentation of TUFS, I talked about TUFS, my experience as an exchange student in japan, and advices about living in Japan. Also I invited the student who had a good Japanese level to join in the Japanese- Spanish Dubbing club.

Here is more information about this international academic forum.


Also, There was an event about Quizzes of Japan. “Japan Bowl Mexico” There were Quizzes about culture, history, economy and more themes. Every member of the team which won this contest got an air plane ticket to go to Japan! This year the event took place in Guanajuato city, I was invited to be the master of ceremony. It was very funny, there were Japanese sponsors and exchange voluntary students. Here is the facebook page of the event.


August Activity Report

31 August 2019
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Yair Alejandro Yebra Lara

This year, the University of Guanajuato’s summer vacation was from June until August 5. Students from all four campuses returned to the city, and dove into the August-December semester.

This month, a Japan festival was held in Guanajuato. There was Japanese food, sweets and alcohol on offer, and Japanese dances, music and films were showcased. Even the Dubbing Workshop participated in the festivities. The Workshop did a live dubbing session, and also screened a video of one they had made in the past.

The Dubbing Workshop at the Festival

On the 15th, the Dubbing Workshop resumed its activities. Because we have done many dubs, and played many games in Japanese and Spanish over the years, there are many members who can teach other newer students. I look forward to working with everyone in the Workshop from hereon out.

It’s a short video, but everyone was able to participate in the first dubbing project of the semester. The students still need to work on their Japanese and timing, but I think they were able to convey the feeling of thinking and working together.

Enjoy. https://youtu.be/D4lzwC3u0U4

July Activity Report

31 July 2019
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Yair Alejandro Yebra Lara

It is summer vacation here at the University of Guanajuato, from June until the start of August.

In August, the August-December semester begins, so exchange students from many countries, including Japan, have come to Guanajuato. We held the usual welcome event for them, at which they gave presentations on their own cultures, listened to a speech from the President of the University of Guanajuato, and ate Mexican food. From now on, these students will study at the University’s four campuses.

This year’s presentations were shorter than last year’s, but there were also many sweets from different countries on offer, which were all very good.

This month, Guanajuato had two of its most important holidays. These were Apertura de la Presa (Opening of the Dam) and Dia de la Cueva (Cave Day).

On Apertura de la Presa, the floodgates of the La Olla Dam are opened to let out the water that accumulated during the rainy season. It is a festival that usually has an unexpectedly large turnout.

I wrote about Dia de la Cueva last year, and this year I went again with the Japanese exchange students. Basically, this is a Christian holiday held every year on July 31, during which people climb La Bufa (the Bufa hills). From the top of La Bufa you can see a beautiful view of the city, so it is a very good experience.

I also interviewed Kodama, a member of the Dubbing Workshop. Feel free to read it!

1- Please introduce yourself.

My name is KODAMA Yuusuke, and I’m a Spanish major in Faculty of Foreign Studies at Setsunan University.

2- How long have you been studying in Guanajuato?

From August 2018 until July 2019.

3- What was the best thing about studying in Mexico?

Mexican food

4- What was the best thing about studying in Guanajuato?

The city is beautiful, and the climate is mild. Also there are many culturally-intriguing spots and events.

5- What didn’t you like?

The sidewalks and roads were dirty and rough. Also I gained a lot of weight during my year here.

6- Would you recommend studying abroad at Guanajuato to other Japanese people?

Yes I would. Reason: Japanese culture is pretty well known in Guanajuato, so I think it’s easy for Japanese people to live here.

7- How did you find the Dubbing Workshop?

It was really fun. I’m really happy I was able to make friends through the Workshop. I also was able to learn about Spanish conversational phrases and tone, which is a pretty big accomplishment. The connections and memories I made at the Dubbing Workshop are one the greatest treasures I gained from my exchange. I am particularly indebted to Yair, the GJO Coordinator.

Thank you for reading.

June Activity Report

30 June 2019
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Yair Alejandro Yebra Lara

Here at the University of Guanajuato, June until August 7 is the summer vacation. It is a good chance to travel around Mexico, do some sightseeing and relax at home. Most of the students studying here come from other places, so everyone goes home, the whole vibe of the city changes, and the students are replaced in the meantime by tourists. Same as last year, the Dubbing Workshop held its final meeting this month!

Since it was the last meeting of the semester, we did some simple dubbing in Spanish and Japanese. Have you ever watched Pokémon? The students tried dubbing the famous scene when Team Rocket appears. I took some videos of the students doing their dubs, I hope you enjoy them.

These videos show the final products of the students’ Spanish and Japanese dubs.

Spanish - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zY-w2nUWfN8

Japanese (1) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvJOzY9ppgY

Japanese (2) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YuK1oWFLP8o

The Dubbing Workshop

After this, we had an okonomiyaki party in the room we always meet in, and were joined by other students from the Japanese department. It was a lot of fun.

I am looking forward to seeing the Dubbing Workshop students and the Japanese department students again next semester.

May Activity Report

31 May 2019
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Yair Alejandro Yebra Lara

May in Mexico is a month full of holidays. There were many different holidays this month including Labor Day (May 1), the Battle of Pueblo Day (otherwise known as Cinco de Mayo, May 5), Mother’s Day (May 10), Teacher’s Day (May 15), Student’s Day (May 23) and even University Student’s Day (May 25). However, these were not written as holidays on my calendar, as the University of Guanajuato treats them as normal days, and simply cancels classes or closes the campus when these days arrive. Because of this, the Dubbing Workshop was cancelled twice this month, but the days we did meet were fun as usual.

The students played improv games and practiced translating and adapting, and also cooperated in fixing each other’s mistakes while playing roleplaying games and having normal conversations in both Spanish and Japanese.

Every year at the University of Guanajuato, a special concert is held on Student’s Day. This concert is held every year at the Alhóndiga de Granaditas, a historic building from the Mexican civil war, and so it was held here again this year.

Most universities in Mexico have their semesters from January to June, and August to December, and their final exams and presentations are held from late May to early June, so the students and exchange students at Guanajuato were quite busy studying hard this month. The Japanese exchange students were, of course, studying hard too.

April Activity Report

30 April 2019
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Yair Alejandro Yebra Lara

Hello everyone!

Have you ever heard of Semana Santa and Semana de Pascua? Together, they make up a famous two-week Christian holiday (known as Holy Week or Easter in English). Putting it simply, this holiday is a two-week period to remember the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and to reflect on your own sins. In Mexico, many people take time off for two weeks from April 3. It is comparable with Golden Week or Silver Week in Japan. Guanajuato has a special way of celebrating this holiday. The Thursday and Friday before Semana Santa, Guanajuato celebrates “Flowers Day”, so many people gather in the city center to enjoy flower and food stalls. It is custom for men to give flowers to their girlfriends, or to anyone they think is cute (even if they don’t know them). Starting with Flowers Day, the University of Guanajuato entered into its two-week spring break.

While this celebration usually happens at the start of spring, this year it was pushed back by about three weeks for some reason. Most of our activities this month centered around Semana de Pascua. The Dubbing Workshop also met once before the spring break.