2016 Activity Report

March Activity Report

March 2017
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Saki Ozawa

We entered March in Salamanca, and from the end of the month, summertime began at last. A little after it the beginning of the month, we started being visited by weather warm enough to go out in short-sleeves. However, there has been snow, and as soon as we think that the short-sleeve weather has returned, it snows again, and it seems that this year the weather will be unpredictable.

This month I have continued with the library categorisation of the books donated by TUFS, and in addition, in early March I was able to welcome three teachers from TUFS.

On 1st March, we welcomed Ms. Fujimura from the Japanese Language Center for International Students and Mr. Shibano from the Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa, who gave a debriefing aimed at Literature department East Asian studies Japanese course first and second year students on the E-learning resource ‘JP-Lang’. Many students attended and actively had a go at activities using JP-Lang. As well as being a chance to come into contact with a new learning resource, I think that it was a valuable opportunity for the students to hear Japanese spoken by someone other than the teachers they are used to listening to. Also, the following day there was an informal gathering with the teaching staff.

From the 5th, Mr. Hagio came to Salamanca to sign the partnership agreement, and the hope to renew the exchange agreement between the University of Salamanca and TUFS was fulfilled. By renewing the agreement, from now on we will be able to send exchange students from the University of Salamanca to TUFS, which I am very much looking forward to. I am very glad that I will be able to continue to introduce TUFS during my study abroad discussions with students.

On the 6th, the opening ceremony of Japanese Culture Week took place at the University of Salamanca’s Spanish-Japanese Centre and was attended by the ambassadors, and the turnout was so great that some stood to watch. Since it overlapped with the Japanese Culture Week opening ceremony, I am glad we were able to receive their attendance along with their tour of the Spanish-Japanese Centre. In addition, they attended the commendation ceremony for Mr. Falero of the Literature department East Asian studies Japanese course, who is appointed at the GJO.

This month I have continued having discussions with students on studying abroad, and recently we have started having follow-up discussions as well. From here on I think that I would like to offer support that students can rely on not just for one-time discussions, but for repeats as well. Also, I have been continuing work on the curriculum for the next academic year. Focusing on the two pillars of instilling the essence of the literature department and how much we can raise the students’ ability, along with my colleagues I have been sinking my teeth into textbooks with worry, but after looking through the textbooks published by TUFS we received from Ms. Fujiwara, as well as receiving the advice of Prof. Kondo of the Japan Foundation Madrid Japan Culture Centre, we consolidated our plans.

Also, this month I took part in the cooking practise event aimed at Japanese international students and met some Japanese students using their spring break for a short-stay study abroad, and I was able to ask them about their study abroad and catch a glimpse of the nature of their Spanish education. I think that this was a good opportunity for me to see the situation of not just Spanish students, but also of Japanese international students. From here on, I hope that I will be able to communicate those situations so that Japan Culture Week at the literature department will reflect them.

The debriefing session. Everyone is listening as hard as they can
The commendaiton ceremony for Mr. Falero, which was attendend by Mr. Haigo.
The Japanese Culture Week opening ceremony held at the Spanish-Japanese Centre, also attended by Mr. Hagio. After an introduction ti haiku, there was a discussion n haikus composed by Spanish people and commendation of outstanding composers.
The scene at the event held at the Spanish-Japanese Centre. Along with students form the hospitality technical school of the neighbouring town, we made the four dishes of paella de mariscos (seafood paella), arroz negro (squid ink risotto), risotto de setas (mushroom risotto), and leche frita (a milk pudding-like dessert dish).

February Activity Report

February 2017
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Saki Ozawa

It’s February in Salamanca, and the new term has begun. In the first week of February were last term’s end of term exams and the deadline for grading, and when the term began the next Monday, students and teaching staff were hurrying back and forth inside the university.

This year, unlike last year new assistant couldn’t come, so we continued carrying out school affairs with the assistant form last term. Because we were continuing on with the same assistant, it was a smooth transition, which helped a lot.

Also, this month it seems that my appeals in various places has paid off as, the number of people coming to discuss things like studying abroad has doubled compared to last month. Not only Japanese majors and students taking Japanese language, but also people outside the Japanese major have been coming to ask questions, and we were able to have good discussions. We were able to have discussions on all kinds of topics, from applications for international student exchanges, to what happens after the accepted students travel, as well as form the short-term summer programme, to graduate school. From here on I plan to continue to work with the University of Salamanca’s international department towards for studying abroad support for students.

Next month will be the signing of the renewal of the agreement between the University of Salamanca and TUFS, so I began to actively promote TUFS. Along with the renewal, I am looking forward to being able to see Prof. Hagio from TUFS.

Also, on 1st March I will be collaborating with the GJO to hold an explanatory meeting for TUFS’s E-Learning system, JP-Lang, for first and second year Japanese majors at the university which will be held at the University of Salamanca, so I made preparations for that at the same time.

We are excited to receive this chance to learn about a new study method. Also, because next week we will be preparing for Japanese culture week, I will be carrying out support for Spanish students and meetings with students for Spanish-Japanese cultural exchanges.

In addition to all this, this month I continued classifying and sorting the donated books. Because the library staff cannot read Japanese, I have to convert the detailed information of each book into roman letters, translating where necessary, print it out, and insert it into the books one by one. Because we have received such a large number of books, as well as taking up time, it seems that the processing of Arabic book donations is also piling up, so it’s expected that it will be a long process.

Next month, I will be helping with the explanatory meeting for TUFS’s E-Learning system JP-Lang given by the teachers from TUFS.

Almond flowers a little inside the Plaza de Anaya, which contains the Japanese department. They resemble cherry blossoms, and reminded me of spring in Japan.
Storks building their nests on a building called the ‘Palacio’ in the Plaza de Anaya. Recently, perhaps as a result of global warming, I hear that they don’t return to Africa even in winter.
The facade of the university. It had been undergoing repairs for a long time, but it seems that recently they have finally finished and the scaffolding has been taken away to reveal its grandiosity.

January Activity Report

January 2017
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Saki Ozawa

Happy New Year! ¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

Salamanca has welcomed the new year. A little while after we entered January, they had started to take down Christmas decorations in town, and the pretty illuminations have also finished.

At the University of Salamanca, work begins in the new year from 9th January, and for the students, January is full of exams.

The students are spending the cold season coming to university to take exams and being busy with revising and essays.

This month, because there were no lessons due to exams, I was busy with things like business trips to Madrid which would be difficult schedule in the middle of term; tidying up the research room; putting together materials for the administration of the GJO; and identifying and categorizing the books that we finished receiving at the end of last year.

In Madrid, the Japan Foundation and CASA ASIA held a meeting focused on lesson observations and meetings about methods of getting the most out of teaching materials in university education in Salamanca; class control; as well as teaching materials that exploit funds, while also being about how to proceed with the curriculum and lessons from next year onwards.
It has still only been a shot time since the East Asia undergraduate curriculum at the University of Salamanca’s literature department was established, and currently there are only first and second year students enrolled. Because of that, by observing lessons at higher levels at the Japan Foundation and CASA ASIA, I am thinking that we will have the materials to refer to as a model for when we proceeded with our lessons.

Also, there are materials which the GJO uses provided in the research room such as study abroad guides and pamphlets on universities and educational institutions, and I sorted through the old materials and the Chinese materials from when the office was shared with the Chinese department. At the GJO, because we think of the students’ Japanese study and study abroad support as our main focus, I categorised the materials for things like studying abroad and finding employment in Japan and created an index with categories for Japanese and English / Spanish with the aim to make it quick for students to access the materials they want to look at. Also, in order to update and replenish the materials, I began work on collecting more. With the main focus of study abroad support, from now on I intend to continue maintaining and using these kinds of materials and will endeavor to create a hotspot for having discussions and gathering information.

While putting things in order, I decorated the GJO shelves with cards for online teaching materials to give them a friendly face.

In addition, I prepared a ‘Take Free’ corner for pamphlets and flyers with the intent to make an environment where it easy for students to take them, and I am thinking of occasionally adding colour according to the season in order to make shelves that people will want to keep coming back to see.

Nevertheless, the fact remains that, due to the GJO bookshelf being inside the teaching staff’s research room, it’s hard to say that there is an environment where students can access it with ease. Because of that, I am thinking that during the new term in February I will have a chance to advertise to the students the fact that study abroad materials can be seen in the research room and that they may do so freely and without hesitation. Also, to prepare for the culture weeks that will arrive soon, I am steadily solidifying my ideas for creating opportunities for cultural exchange with Japan. With these opportunities, along with spreading the word about the GJO, I hope to increase the students’ interest in Japan.

Horses heading towards the Plaza Mayor for the event in Madrid
The GJO shelf in the research office
The Index. Of course, there is one for TUFS!

December Activity Report

December 2016
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Saki Ozawa

In December, The town centre is wrapped up in the Christmas mood, and the townspeople and students somehow seem restless to leave for the Christmas holidays.The 4 months since I took up the post in the University of Salamanca’s Global Japan Office have flown by, and this month the teaching period of the first term had finished. During the Christmas holiday and the first half of January, the university’s students will be studying for the midyear exam period at the end of January.

This month, university—related operations have been centred on preparing this academic term’s tests, coordinating with students, and putting together the curriculum for the year to come, among other things.

Currently, only first years and second years are enrolled in The University of Salamanca’s literature faculty’s East Asian studies course, which was set up in 2015, but since next year this year’s second year students will progress to their third year, there needs to be a third year curriculum. That’s why this month I began laying out the curriculum for next year. To find out how to make the most of the special qualities of the literature Faculty; how best to improve reading comprehension skills; what kind of teaching materials we should use; and what motivated students to join the faculty’s Japanese course, as well as consulting my fellow teaching staff, I created questionnaires to send out to the students. I then drew up a list of things to read in Japanese, and after comparing the preferences and opinions of the students and created a tailor-made curriculum that could only come from our University’s literature faculty.

In addition, I prepared for the general teacher’ meeting to be held next year.

It has been several months since I adopted the post, so I am looking forward to having the chance to share information on Japanese language education in Spain and meet and receive guidance from teachers, as well getting a valuable opportunity to get a feel of the life and circumstances surrounding Japanese language education outside of Salamanca.

I am looking forward to putting the personal connections formed and information gained so far to good use at the GJO.

The Plaza Mayor, with a giant Christmas ornament

November Activity Report

November 2016
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Saki Ozawa

Once we entered November, the air became dryer and the days steadily got shorter. The appearance of winter coats has started to increase, as has that of Christmas decorations here and there as we get towards the end of the month. One can feel the change of the season.

For me, the main events of this month have been my collaborating in events organised by the Japanese-Spanish culture centre, and the completion of the reception of books from TUFS by the various organisations of the University of Salamanca.

In November, the Japanese-Spanish culture centre organised a cultural exchange event aimed at 14-30-year-old students who are interested in Japan or who study Japanese at many various institutions, starting with the University of Salamanca, where they could be introduced to and experience calligraphy, origami and manga.

At the manga introduction, we had a real manga artist join us as a guest, and also the calligraphy was led by overseas students from Japan and Japanese teachers. Despite being late in the evening, all present enjoyed a lively and spirited session.

There were a lot of young people attending, so unfortunately we can’t show any photos from the event, but through witnessing such an animated event, I once again felt the strength of the interest in Japanese culture in Salamanca, and so it will be a happy memory for me personally.

In particular, multi-coloured origami and decorative origami boxes folded from multiple sheets of paper were popular. Learning about different variations of origami, not just those using only one sheet of paper, and realising that they too can create them, seems to have been a trigger for a deeper interest in Japanese culture for many.

On the donation of books from TUFS to Salamanca which has been coordinated continually since last year, the scheme concluded on the 25th of this month through the collaboration of TUFS base of internationalisation when the books safely arrived at the organisations in Salamanca.

We are tremendously grateful both for the donated books and for the warm support that we have received.

Along with the staff of the organisations in Salamanca, I am extremely grateful for the increased access in Salamanca to books related to Japan thanks to this book donation. These books will, beginning with the young people who attended the above event, be a beneficial information source for people in Salananca who are interested in Japan, and will provide a useful resource form here on.

As well, throughout November, I participated on several occasions in a seminar for teachers of Japanese held at the Japanese-Spanish culture centre. I had the pleasure of greeting all the attending teachers, and was able to get a foothold on gathering information through things such as giving speeches on topics such as the state of Japanese education in Salamanca. For companies offering support for study abroad, knowing about changes in students trends is important, and so I hope to have the pleasure of listening to more speeches, using these companies as reference to make the most of the experience from here on.

October Activity Report

October 2016
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Saki Ozawa

Now it is over a month since the start of term, and the students’ studies are progressing smoothly.

In October in Salamanca means Halloween and All Souls’ Day, and you can see people in traditional costume and shops decorated for the occasion. As well, in anticipation of the harsh continental winter, daylight saving time has begun, and more and more I can sense the beginning of the winter season.

One month has passed since I took up my new post, and continuing on from the previous coordinatior I have been in contact with various people to make arrangements for the book donation from TUFS to the University of Salamanca’s Japanese-Spanish culture centre and literature department.

At present, customs for packages arriving in Spain are extremely strict, which is why preparations have continued after the term of the previous person in charge ended, but I have been making various preparations with the teachers of the Japanese-Spanish culture centre and literature department to receive the donated books from TUFS. Until the donation is complete, I hope to continue maintaining close relations with TUFS.

Also, this month there was a questions session for students with an interest in studying abroad in Japan. There were mainly questions about which of the University’s Partner institutions they should apply to, but in particular there were many allusions to scholarships, which goes to show the financial apprehensions held by many of the students. Those who joined the discussion were mainly students of Japanese, but I was happy to see students of other subjects come as well. From here on, whilst gathering information on scholarships I plan to increase awareness of the Global Japan Office and carry on setting up support systems.

September Activity Report

September 2016
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Saki Ozawa

As we approach the latter half of September, summer in Salamanca has gone by all too quickly, and literally as soon as the dog days are over you can start to see people wearing padded coats around town.

From this term, GJO Salamanca starts its second year. The signboard for GJO, which was established last year, has been put up on the door of the shared research office for literature and Japanese teaching staff, and I feel compelled to work hard to live up to its reputation.

The students who enrolled in the newly-established faculty in 2015 are now in their second year, and compared to the last year the number of students has roughly doubled. In addition, from this year students of Korean and Chinese entering their second year will choose another language as their double-major. Of course, since there are so many students choosing Japanese as a subject, we expect that the demand for information on Japan will keep on increasing.

Now that new term has begun, I am distributing business cards and explaining activities to the several Japanese foreign students whose acquaintance I’ve made; asking about the current state of their study abroad and gathering information from the assistant students from Japan; making the personal connections which will support future activities and working towards gaining all the provisions I can think of related to knowledge of GJO and the objectives of its activities. Also, I discussed exam preparation and exam strategies with students who are thinking of joining the Japan foreign exchange programme.

From here on, taking over the student support system set up by Moriya, the previous administrator, I hope to play a role in increasing the chances for the students, including those of the newly-established faculty, who haven’t been able to access as much information on Japan as they had thought, to discuss things like studying abroad in Japan and to gain knowledge about Japan.

June Activity Report

June 2016
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Moriya Kumiko

June in Salamanca sees the sunshine getting much stronger and without sunglasses its very bright and walking around the town becomes a little difficult. Due to the students of the University of Salamanca returning home after they finish their exams, Salamanca in the end of June is filled with tourists from all over the world which gives the feeling that summer vacation is almost upon us.

This June I will be leaving my post here as the coordinator of the GJO office and return to Japan. Due to this, the majority of June saw the preparations take place for the handover ready for when my successor arrives. I summarized the academic content of the first year of the Japanese Language Course which was established at the University of Salamanca, the past activities conducted by the GJO as well as future plans from here on in order for my successor to be able to smoothly transition into working at the GJO. I would especially like to conduct preparations in order for the introduction to Japanese culture event to be held next year as unfortunately this year we were unable to. This will involve cooperating with every field of the University of Salamanca and handing over the information to my successor. The new academic year will begin from September which means new first year students will be joining the Japanese major within the Faculty of Philology here at the University of Salamanca however, I thought it would be great if we held an event that made not only the students majoring in Japanese but also the people living in Salamanca think about learning Japanese or visiting Japan on holiday.

These past 10 months felt as long as they did short and even though I am unsure of how much we have achieved for the University of Salamanca and the GJO, I personally have learnt a lot and feel that it has been a very fulfilling year. I am certain that the 10 months I spent in Salamanca will prove to hold significant meaning for me in the future.

Garbage truck that drives through the city of Salamanca (it drives around sucking up garbage)
An ice cream shop in the Mayor Plaza which is thriving on business from tourists.

May Activity Report

May 2016
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Moriya Kumiko

It is growing warmer and warmer in May here at Salamanca and the sunlight is getting stronger too. The clothes of the tourists around the city have become lighter and there is an exhilarated feeling in the air. There is also the exam period and so the students seem very busy however when I see them laughing and talking in the sunlight it lifts my spirits up as well. Though I also feel sad when I think I will have to soon say goodbye to my life here in Salamanca.

May mostly consisted of creating the Guide to Studying Abroad in Japan and documents to aid in the successor’s takeover.

Continuing on from April, the foreign student’s lifestyle guide received some supplements and modifications and is now loosely completed. However because the accuracy of the contents and the fact that it may not prove useful for students wishing to study abroad in different countries, we have decided it still requires further editing. For this reason, we will have it checked by other managers at the GJO and aim to create an effective lifestyle guide for foreigners in Japan.

Since I will be leaving this position here at Salamanca University at the beginning of July, I have also started preparing the documents and resources necessary for when my replacement arrives. I am planning to summarize not only the contents of the work I have done as part of the GJO staff but also the features and trends of the students, points to note in the classroom as well as points to note about the lifestyle here in Salamanca in order to allow my replacement to adjust to their new position as quickly and smoothly as possible. Being part of the staff during the first year at the Salamanca GJO and experiencing the growth of the office, I have high expectations for the future.

June will also be mainly focused on preparing for the takeover however I am intending to create documents whilst considering which points my replacement may be concerned or feel uneasy about. Also continuing from April and May, I am intending to inform my replacement of the donated books from Tokyo University of Foreign Studies so they will be able to sort out any issues that may arise.

Jazz concert and various shops selling books at the Mayor Plaza in Salamanca
Piano Concert held in front of the Literature Faculty building. Piano concerts were supposedly held is various places over the past few days.

April Activity Report

April 2016
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Moriya Kumiko

It has become April and spring has also arrived here at Salamanca. It is the beginning of summer time; the sun begins to set around 21:30 and finally gets dark around 22:00. Due to the fact that it remains light until late in the evening, even when lectures finish at 21:00 it is difficult to get a feel for how late it is. However, Up until now I thought it unusual to have dinner past 21:00 but now it feels like I have gotten used to it.

In April I mainly focused on the continuation on the creation of the Guide to Studying Abroad in Japan and contact regarding the publications to be donated by TUFS.

The Guide to Studying Abroad in Japan has been created for the Spanish students who will be studying abroad in Japan but I decided to alter the guidebook thinking that it could be used at other GJOs as well. I reviewed the deficiencies in the content I had created thus far and added new items such as WiFi, mobile phone procedures, and insurance. At first, I was aiming to have the guidebook completed by mid-April but realized that additional supplementations are needed. May means it is close to the exam period so I am hoping to have the guidebook completed by June.

Also, I have been making various contacts regarding the donation of publications to the University of Salamanca’s Spanish-Japanese Centre and the Faculty of Philology, University of Salamanca from TUFS. As a kind favor from the various teaching staff at TUFS, it has been decided that the University of Salamana will receive a large donation of publications covering a wide range of genres including literary works, research papers and even manga. Due to this, University of Salamanca’s Spanish-Japanese Centre and Faculty of Philology, who will be receiving these publications have been keeping in contact and preparing for the donation of publications. Currently, customs in Spain is becoming very strict and so to lower the possibility of the publications being sent back, it has been decided that we will make contact with customs and get confirmation before proceeding any further. For the Spanish students it can be presumed that reading manga, literary works and writings regarding Spanish culture in Japanese will not only help their study but also widen their horizons and be a very useful source of information. In order to complete the transaction and have the publications ready for the students as quickly as possible, I wish to further progress with the preparations.