2022 Activity Report

March Activity Report

March 2023
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Marco Antonio Vazquez Muñiz

Spring has finally arrived and as many internet sources have already published, a high percentage of flower trees all around the world have blossomed very early. In case of Mexico, the “jacaranda” which is a type of tree with beautiful lilac-colored flowers are starting to blossom since the first week of March. Some days ago, I was sharing information and pictures about the Sakura festivals and the most important touristic activities related to this stunning event. Nonetheless, it is said by some scientists that the premature occurrence of this natural phenomenon could be a consequence of global warming, but it is for sure that independently of whether it is positive or negative we all feel amazed by the beauty of nature. As for us Mexicans, spring not only bring heat and color, but a two week long vacation related to Easter celebrations. For some people this vacation is related somehow with water, so during this time, Mexicans usually go to the beaches, lakes or even rivers to swim. Unfortunately for some of us, the closest beach is around eight hours away and it would be complicated to arrive by bus due to the numerous mountains.

Last week I had another Zoom session in order to share the most updated information about the online courses and the exchange programs. Surprisingly, this time there were less students than expected comparing with previous occasions. However, some learners who have missed the presentation have already contacted my personal account asking for another online meeting. Next week I will make sure to reach more people and maybe change the time of our session to make it easier to attend for all the Japanese levels.

As for the conversation group, Taro has been assisting to our weekly reunions and the students love it. My students are always attentive to our activities, and it seems that they are little by little getting used to talk to a native speaker. At the beginning, I could notice some hesitation from my students why trying to ask Taro about his Hobbies or lifestyle in Japan. Since our support class is getting bigger than ever, there is the possibility to move to a wider space. The classroom that we are using right now belongs to the Japanese language area, but there are a lot of students attending classes at the moment, so we do not want to bother these students when our class gets a little noisy.

February Activity Report

February 2023
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Marco Antonio Vazquez Muñiz

After a cold and windy winter season, we Mexicans are starting to receive the first heat waves of the year, and even some of the flower trees began to release their beautiful and radiant colors. Unfortunately, it seems that I have a new allergy towards the temperature change that has been affecting my ears and nose. According to my doctor, this could be a consequence of covid and recommended me to follow a rigorous treatment as soon as possible. However, the next forum for academic collaboration will be held in a couple of months and I feel positive about it. I received an invitation from the exchange office a few weeks ago and they were excited to inform that some universities are sending participants from their respective countries. I am willing to keep supporting and promoting this kind of events once more.

I am planning to have another Zoom session in order to share more information about TUFS and the exchange programs. the Japanese language coordinator suggested me to provide one more online meeting for all those students who might not attend the presentation for some reason. It is important to mention that I will also promote the Japanese online classes and the Nijiiro page which are recommended by the main office. I hope to spread the message to more people since we have more Japanese learners attending regular classes.

As for the conversation group for the basic level students, we were very glad to receive support from one of the exchange students from the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies Taro-san. During our first meeting some Japanese learners had the chance to practice the grammatical structures related to the invitation forms. I told the rest of the teachers to inform their students about these weekly reunions and encourage them to participate in our activities. One of the participants told me that it was a nice thing to finally have a native speaker to practice with. Our second meeting was very crowded and unfortunately, I could not take any pictures at that moment. If we are going to have more participants during the conversation class, maybe we could use any other classroom available at the building. In a few days, it is possible that more people could join our activities and if that is the case, I will have to prepare more dynamic chatting groups in order to keep everyone involved. I am conscious that there are a few more exchange students from TUFS and some others coming from other Japanese universities, so I am preparing once more an invitation for joining our chat groups.

January Activity Report

January 2023
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Marco Antonio Vazquez Muñiz

Surprisingly, in this month the students of the UG received their last three weeks of vacation. Most of the activities were retaken on the 23rd and the school of languages started right one week later, which means that we have just started our first week by January 30th. The scholar collaboration office organized a welcome ceremony for all the exchange students who just arrived Guanajuato, and although the number of participants was lower compared to previous reunions before pandemic, the ceremony was a complete success. As it is usually seen, there were people coming from Europe, Asia and the United States of America for this new scholar period. Everyone at the meeting was able to try some of the traditional food of every country, in special snacks and candy. Once all guests tried the food, the office and its members encouraged the students to dance some Mexican songs which are usually used in weddings. Some of the Japanese students were not able to participate due to their traditional outfits and wooden shoes, but they were close enough to see the action. these dances consist of holding hands with the closest partner and forming a long chain of people simulating a snake, that is why it’s called “La víbora de la mar” which means “the sea’s snake.” The participants must run and pass through some obstacles and try to keep the rhythm while holding hands during the whole song. It is common to see some accidents and falls because of the speed of running, which makes it even more entertained to see.

I had the opportunity to talk with two students from TUFS who were attending the event. I asked for some help with our conversation group which I want to adapt for the students at the school of languages. They kindly mentioned that they can participate once the classes start. It is good to know that we can finally get to know each other and make both groups of learners interact. Since most of the students are now getting used to their scholar schedules, we are planning to set our reunions after 3 o’clock because most of the university subjects finish after lunch time. Personally, I did not expect the semester to start this late, but I am glad to see that most Japanese levels are now attending classes face to face at the university facilities. It is just about time to recover our university lifestyle.

December Activity Report

December 2022
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Marco Antonio Vazquez Muñiz

As we recently know, there was a cyclonic bomb which covered most of the United States for a couple of days. Very low temperatures were registered all across the globe and this phenomenon also reached the Mexican border and even further. For instance, here in the state of Guanajuato which is an overall warm region, we were around three degrees at early morning hours.
We must remember that here in Mexico is not very common to see any heating systems like the ones used in US or Europe which keep families warm.
Mexicans rely on thick blankets and sweaters as well as hot drinks to fight against cold. However, Mexican population could not resist a snow storm such as those which hit the northern hemisphere. On the other hand, I heard that Japan was also having a hard time receiving winter seasons, and as some specialists indicated, these severe climate situations would increase due to global warming.

All school activities are currently paused because of winter vacation which lasts an entire month. The first week of December is actually one of the most difficult times for most of the students because of final exams and projects. The Japanese language program of the university of Guanajuato has been gradually changing during the last semesters, so one can notice how conversation skills are becoming a priority when comparing to the past.
During my last reunion with my participants, we went through some questions that were part of their oral tests. After some practice I noticed how we Spanish speakers (and in general all basic level students of any language) usually face certain degree of first language interference and how this influence speaking. For next month, I would like to see more students attending our support reunions and adapt their interest in our activities.

November Activity Report

November 2022
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Marco Antonio Vazquez Muñiz

Everyone is ready to receive winter season in a few weeks and one can really notice how windy and cloudy is going to be. In the last two weeks, lots of my coworkers had to stay home because of flu, fever and other related diseases. Although the Cervantino festival is over, and the quantity of people at the bars and streets of Guanajuato is how it used to be in the past. The first week of December is for most student the last period for handing in papers or taking final exams. As I explained on the previous month report, one of the main buildings of the University is getting a deep restoration so the philosophy and literature students are sharing the classrooms with the language students. This means that there is less space available for face-to-face classes, and most of the Japanese levels have been adapted to the online format once again. Unfortunately, that limits the amount of people that arrive to the Japanese area every day. However, I am willing to receive more students and invite them to our weekly meetings.

I have been providing a support class for the basic level students since October and most of them have zero knowledge about kanjis and their use. One of the students is really interested in mastering the grammatic exceptions such as Japanese counters and numbers. To be honest, I was not conscious of all the different things that a basic learner must go through during the first two semesters. There are some topics that I would like to prepare during this vacation period about the conversation classes I am planning to adapt. We are aware of the importance of bringing as much exchange students as possible.

Surprisingly, one of the teachers of the Art department encouraged me to have a calligraphy session with her students. Since they were studying the history of art and other related topics, we thought that it was going to be interesting to focus on the abstraction and graphic complexity of kanjis and their cultural importance for Asian countries. We organized this event so quickly que there was not time enough to invite other students apart from the art department. I made sure to show some videos related with the creation of brushes and the kanji contests among Japanese schools. I really enjoyed teaching the few things I know about Shodou and it was very satisfying to watch participants making such an effort. My colleague made sure to take plenty of photos to remember this very nice time with the participants. It was very easy to obtain the necessary materials for the class since we were surrounded by art studios.

October Activity Report

October 2022
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Marco Antonio Vazquez Muñiz

This month the Cervantino festival lasted one more week than usual.

One could notice the great amount of people and foreigners on the streets until late morning hours, just as it used to be before the lockdown. There were incredible events every single night at the Alhondiga, which is a very famous touristic spot that received artist and orchestras during the whole three weeks. One of my favorite activities was to visit the museum at the main building of the University of Guanajuato. Projections and holograms were used to provide a visual experience like no other experience offered in previous festivals. On the other hand, the “Día de los muertos” celebrations and Halloween lasted just a few days but it was a surprise to see a large amount of people disguised as zombies, vampires and anime characters in many schools and bars all around the city. I took some pictures of the beautiful flower ornaments that were displayed on main streets of the city. The people were anxious two finally celebrate all these festivities after two years and I am glad that the city is now as pretty and vibrant as I can remember.

For this week, I tried to adapt a Japanese support class for the basic level students of the University of Guanajuato. I would like to invite the students of TUFS to our conversation session and support our activities.

One of the exchange students answered the questions I sent to all of the TUFS students some days ago. I pointed out that their names and personal information will remain secret. The objective of this interviews was just to get to know the general information about their decision of going abroad as exchange students. Since most of learners are not conscious of kanjis and their use yet, I am trying to introduce the most important aspects of the symbols by providing plenty of examples. I am currently using the material that I created since the very first year of working for the GJO office. I made sure to include all sots of grammar and conjugations to my material and some pictures to make more intuitive and attractive. I am looking forward to receive more participants in the next weeks.

September Activity Report

September 2022
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Marco Antonio Vazquez Muñiz

7th Forum and Expo for academic collaboration



The forum was held in one of the new buildings from the university of Guanajuato which used to be a nice hotel before the pandemic state. The activities started at nine a.m. and continued in three different areas simultaneously. As one can see, the conference room where I showed my presentation had amazing vistas from the city and the “Santa Cecilia” castle which is an incredible touristic spot from the capital.

One of the main topics of this reunion was the risks and implications of going abroad and the objectives for a better experience being an exchange student. Participants from all over the world came to make promotion of their study programs and scholarships, and it was very exciting to notice that scholar exchanges are finally back in action after all this long time.


I was very surprised by the number of students who attended this event during those three days. The material sent by the office in Japan offered very clear information about the available programs and I also made sure to solve the student´s questions. During my presentation I showed some pictures from the campus and also the information about the online Japanese courses. It was a pleasure to meet other participants from other universities and talk about their experiences as exchange students in the past. My booth was lacking some decoration items, but fortunately the members from the university of Nagaoka which is a engineering school gave me one of their yukatas.

In case of the activities for the Japanese students, I would like to adapt a conversation class for the first semester students next week. During previous reunions with the rest of coordinators from TUFS, I notice that some of them use to have a chat group in which they discuss some cultural features such as animation, food and other relevant social trends from Japan. The plan is to invite other exchange students to our weekly reunions and support the current Japanese language course.

August Activity Report

August 2022
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Marco Antonio Vazquez Muñiz

The rainy season has started in the Mexican territory since a few weeks ago and I am personally very surprised that it is raining almost every single day. Unfortunately, the north of the country has experienced several floods during the last two weeks which might sound unusual since this part of Mexico is a vast desert. In case of Guanajuato city, we have received two very powerful rains that affected the tunnels under the city. Although these tunnels are designed to get flooded instead of the streets, sometimes the water flows so fast that some cars cannot escape from the low parts of these tunnels. It is very common to two or three cars completely covered by the water during this time of the year.

I have personally contacted the coordinator on the Japanese area of the school of languages and there seems to be an issue with the classroom space in the building. Apparently, the university is remodeling the philosophy and the literature department, so all the students from those departments are now sharing the same classrooms as the language students. Only first semester students are allowed to assist to class, and this means that I will not be able to meet the rest of Japanese learners for now. I think that this might be the opportunity to create a conversation class using basic grammar and expressions. There is also the possibility to try some other presentations and material that I used during all this time at the reading and kanji group.

As I mentioned before, all teachers and students are starting to retake normal activities since the semester started, but there are no many language students as expected for this semester. Now that everyone must attend to class, many students must move from their hometown to the city of Guanajuato. However, it might be difficult for some of these learners who are already used to have online classes only. It is important to notice that Mexican schools took very long time to retake normal activities when compared to other countries. This might suggest that I would take a little longer to perceive that everything is back to normal for all academic institutions.

July Activity Report

July 2022
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Marco Antonio Vazquez Muñiz

Mexico is still experiencing a very difficult time with the dry season at the north of the country. Some days ago, the first rains of the year started to fall on the most affected cities, yet this is not enough to increase the level of water needed to fill the most important dams. The lack of water on these areas is so severe that the government implemented some temporary solutions to deal with the problem. As we already know, desalinization plants are known for being pretty much expensive than most conventional methods and that they should be located close to the ocean in order to make it functional. This could be an issue since most of the populated areas are inside the state and not in the cost. In addition, water from a desalinization plant could cost more the three or four times the regular prize. Fortunately, the case of Guanajuato city seems to be less severe since we are located between the dry and the green part of Mexico. Rains have been present for some weeks so far and they bring relief from the unusually hot sun from Mexico. It is known that the desert of Sonora, which is one of the affected states, is now becoming one of the hottest places to live on earth. I could not even imagine how is like to live in such a place.

I have been creating some text for our support class using as much examples as possible. This would be the last month in which we are going to use online classes with the students. the plan for next month will be trying to gather the students and get a special space for us. The main objective would be the cultural and language exchange once the next semester starts at the second week of August. There is also the possibility to share more exchange information about TUFS and its programs on the next forum that is going to be held in the middle of September. I will be personally there handing material and solving questions from our guests and hopefully help a future exchange student.

As for the last weeks of the summer vacation, everything here is growing green and strong. It is practically impossible not to stare at the dense and pure nature and grab some fruit that grows around my house. This is the perfect activity to recharge energies before returning to the activities.

June Activity Report

June 2022
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Marco Antonio Vazquez Muñiz

In the last few weeks, there have been a lot of problems with a more than severe dry season in the north of the country. According to the news and the government, some of the most important cities such as Monterrey, which is located very close to the border, reported that a vast number of the population did not have running water for several weeks. This is not surprising since that part of Mexico contains a gigantic and diverse desertic territory. However, the problem was that most citizens pointed out the inefficiency of the authorities to look for a solution. We are already conscious of the climate change and overpopulation and how this is somehow affecting many societies around the globe. In the case of Mexico, there are certain predictions that mention how water will be a very alarming issue in the future. As for the city of Guanajuato, there are no problems with running water for the moment, but there is the possibility to experience the same scenario in the next few decades. I think that it should be a priority for the Mexican government to invest in ways to desalinate water from the ocean, so we can have more options in case of worse scenario. Fortunately, the first rains of the year started a few days ago all over the Mexican territory and the people are being more positive towards the situation.

For this month, I continued with the kanji and reading class, but I made sure to put some more emphasis on the creation of examples. During the last sessions, I was able to share my screen and give explanations about the kanjis we are studying and provide more details about the strokes by using a drawing program that allows me to imitate an actual pen. I found a Japanese application that presents the most recent news around the world by using basic vocabulary and expressions. I am currently using both to create and present more material for the students and they seem to appreciate it. Once the schools are opened, it will be very interesting to apply all these methods with the learners. Next month will still be part of the large vacation period, which means that I will not be able to see the students yet.

Now that we are at the middle of the vacation period, I was able to visit my parents’ town Salvatierra which is now getting green and humid. I try to reactivate myself by riding next to the corn and tomato fields of the area for two hours a day. I would highly recommend this type of activities to get in touch with nature and fresh air.

May Activity Report

May 2022
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Marco Antonio Vazquez Muñiz

May was a very peaceful yet crowded month for the people of Guanajuato. Some weeks ago, we received the first rains of the year, so everything is turning green and wonderful. Guanajuato is surrounded by majestic mountains that provide singular vistas from all terraces of the city. Summer vacation has finally started, and this first week of June is the time for the students to go back to their origin places. As I have mentioned before, summertime is the longest vacation period of the year and now that the lockdown is not that serious as the previous year people are willing to visit many Mexican beaches and other touristic spots.

Last week I had a very strong flu, and I spent the whole week trying to sleep and get better. Our zoom reunion was not canceled, but I was not able to go to the office because I wanted to be cautious for my coworker’s safety. To be honest, I cannot even remember the last time I got this sick. Although I completed the treatment, my body gets really exhausted when I try to use the stairs. One of my Japanese colleagues taught me to make a very famous tea to treat this kind of problem by combining ginger and onions with a little bit of lemon juice. By doing this, one can really feel how the symptoms start to decrease little by little.

For this month I continued with the kanji and grammar support. I try to use texts of my own creation to make sure that the students are in contact with already seen knowledge. Now it is more noticeable that most of students possess a great amount of vocabulary in their heads, and that it is easy to retrieve information for them even though they are still basic level students. The support class will continue for the entire vacation period as usual and once the activities are reopened next semester, we are going to be able to finally assist to our cultural class. hopefully, this could be the time for exchange students and local students to share their thoughts and experiences.

April Activity Report

April 2022
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Marco Antonio Vazquez Muñiz

There have been a lot of situations going on in Mexico in the last few weeks. As I mentioned before, here in Mexico there are three main vacation periods during the year and on this last month we had one of those periods called La Semana Santa. A Two weeklong vacation dedicated to rest and visit the national beaches because of the symbolism of water for this Catholic tradition. In the case of the Guanajuato city, I was able to see as many people as it used to be before the pandemic state. The authorities indicated that the restrictions are now becoming less drastic and recommend to retake activities in all sorts of public and private institutions. However, the university is currently not working at its 100 % yet until most of the population get at least two doses of the vaccine.

Some days ago, a 19-year-old student got shot and other young student got injured in an unusual situation involving government police in a small industrial city called Irapuato. The case is now being attended by the university because they were part of the first levels of agronomy bachelor’s degree. A big crowd got assembled (mostly students from the University of Guanajuato) and organized a strike demanding for justice. This became an international case announced by many countries and there is still a lot of information to clarify. We are inspecting all this incident to be resolved as fast as possible.

Our kanji-reading group is still working every Saturday as usual. Last week we saw a text involving most of the kanjis that we have learned in the last month and the students seem to appreciate it, and now that I am officially working at the UG facilities I can receive all kind of students and offer information every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Meson de San Antonio. I am willing to share my location and my schedule with all the students who might need help or who might need information about exchange programs. One of my coworkers told me that it is possible to open a special space for our cultural reunions, but I have to talk with the students and try to see what is more convenient for our context.