2017 Activity Report

March Activity Report

March 2018
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Suzuki Yuki

It is the season of cherry blossoms in full bloom. I hope everyone is doing well.

Here in Shanghai, the peach blossoms are blooming everywhere, and I can feel the arrival of spring day by day.

This March, as always, we welcomed some interns from TUFS!

This year’s interns were two postgraduate students, Zhang Ji Yuan and Jin Xin. They were in charge of the second year intensive reading class, a class where students use reading comprehension material to learn new grammar structures and vocabulary, and deepen their understandings of Japanese culture. There are six of these classes, so we got the students to teach classes 1, 2, 4 and 5 the first week and 2, 3, 5 and 6 the second week.

In this year’s batch of second years, there are many quiet students, so the interns seemed a bit nervous during class. The two interns also seemed very tense during the first week, but were much more comfortable and relaxed in the second week, and thus became much better at explaining things.

The students had many positive comments such as ‘they were very serious and organized so the classes were always good’, ‘they’re Japanese was very good’, and ‘I want to try my best and be more like them’.

Below are comments from the interns themselves.

Zhang Ji Yuan:

I am very glad to have been able to intern at the Shanghai International Studies University. It was a very worthwhile program. The SISU campus is very big, and its buildings reflect aspects of countries all over the world, which makes the university feel very international.

The students all had a high level of Japanese, and it was my first time standing on the teacher’s podium, so I was nervous. However, we received a lot of advice from SISU professors and Coordinator Suzuki, and the students listened very carefully and asked questions during the classes, so I eventually got used to teaching. On the last day of classes, we took group photos with the students and exchanged contact details. This internship experience has given me even more determination to become a Japanese teacher.

Jin Xin:

This internship at Shanghai International Studies University was short, but very worthwhile.

I was really looked after by the professors and students.

The campus is very big and beautiful. The library was convenient as it is fully equipped with everything I needed for study and general daily life.

Through this internship I was able to feel the passion everyone at SISU has towards Japan and the Japanese language.

It made me happy to see the students study Japanese so diligently. Although I went to teach Japanese, I also learnt alot.

(Jin Xin is in the center wearing a black coat)

Moving on, after checking students’ schedules, we decided to open the Japanese Corner once every second week.

1. Japanese Baths

The friend of the bath is the yellow rubber duck. The other day, shocking news was presented by a Swiss and American research team, and has become a popular topic. For starters, most households in China do not have bathtubs, and most students know about them from Japanese dramas and anime. Because of this, the students got very excited talking about hot springs and bath toys they have experienced in Japan.

2. Children’s Literature

Since Japanese author Eiko Kadono won the 2018 Hans Christian Andersen Award, we talked about children’s literature. It seems that, as expected, the stories of Anderson and the Brothers Grimm had a big impact on the students when they were children. It seems that the Japanese students feel the same way, but I think it’s truly fascinating how these stories have transcended languages and borders.

3. aibo and pets

aibo is a robot dog developed by Sony. The students are very interested in AI and robots, but seem to dislike machines mimicking cats, dogs and other animals. They were however interested in why these kinds of robots exist. The students mentioned they mostly wanted AI to be able to do their cleaning and washing for them. I don’t think a robot dog is much help in that department.

4. Card Game ‘Caru Uta’

From this semester, as something new to try, I decided we would play simple games to learn about words and culture. The first game is the card game ‘Caru Uta’. In this game, you spread out a bunch of cards with words written on them, play some J-pop, and take the cards of words you hear. This time, we used popular songs from 2018. Words such as ‘dream’, ‘heart’ and ‘moon’ came up a lot, but phrase such as ‘I love you,’ ‘it’s okay’ and ‘close your eyes’ did not. Perhaps the kind of lyrics used in pop music is changing.

5. ‘Fictionary’

The second game we played was ‘Fictionary’. For this game we used the Kojien dictionary. In this game, one person chooses a random word from the dictionary that nobody knows the meaning of. The other players then have to guess what the word means. This game was more popular than I thought. Do you know the meaning of ‘nijiki’ (二食)? How about ‘okosozukin’ (御高祖頭巾)? It’s hard to forget things you focus on a lot, so this is a good game for learning Japanese.

The students told me they definitely want to play those games again. I think I will add them to the regular line up.

It seems we will have a singing competition next month, so I will write about that next time.

I’m looking forward to next month!

February Activity Report

February 2018
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Suzuki Yuki

The new semester has begun!

The streets of Shanghai, deserted through the Chinese New Year, have come back to life.

The days are still cold, but I still want the students to study hard and not give in to the cold.

Now, I’d like to share a comment from a student who used the winter break to go on a short term exchange to TUFS.

A comment from Fan Xing Yu:

My time at TUFS was short, but I learnt a lot. The professors taught me very kindly. The content of the classes was based on social topics such as Japanese education, residences and slang, so I think this knowledge will come in handy. I learnt more about Japanese culture through a tea ceremony experience and a trip to Nikko.

In my free time I went to Kichijoji with my friends, and ate at delicious restaurants. I also went to Shinjuku, Asakusa, Ueno Zoo, and the Tokyo Skytree.

Just as I did last semester, this semester I will be giving exchange and study consultation sessions, and open the Japanese Corner.

Next month, I will talk about the efforts of the trainee teachers from TUFS. Please look forward to it!

January Activity Report

January 2018
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Suzuki Yuki

Happy New Year.

Best regards for this year.

This month, it snowed in Shanghai!

In winter in Shanghai, it’s not unusual for the temperature to fall into the minuses, so it is very cold, but it seems that it hasn’t snowed in a long time.

The university covered in snow was such a beautiful sight to see.

Final examinations were held in January, after which the Chinese New Year vacation began.

There are many students who use this vacation to go on a short-term exchange to Japan.

Three students are, of course, participating in the TUFS Short Stay Winter Program.

Next month I will post about their experiences here, so please look forward to that!

Also, I am currently doing preparations for the new semester.

① Book-borrowing service
② Learning & Exchange Consulting Room
③ Japanese Corner

Next semester is the time when students will finally put together their graduation theses, and the time when some students go on exchange.

Because of this, I particularly want to strengthen ① and ②, and intend to go out and promote these services.

December Activity Report

December 2017
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Suzuki Yuki

Hello everyone,

Real winter has come. Faced with examinations of their graduating thesis titles, interviews for study abroad programs, and preparations for final exams which will start right after the New Year, students in December seem to be prone to getting ill. Hot Pot (huo guo) is very popular among students in the winter, because it is quite cheap, the portion size is generous, there is a lot of variety of ingredients and flavors, and it can be shared together with friends.

1. Speech contests

On the 9th of December, we participated in the Japanese Speech Contest for Students in the East China District, which was held at Zhejiang University. This is the 10th time this speech contest has been held, but it was the first time for students from Shanghai International Studies University to participate. In the Preliminary contest we were given the choice of either speaking on the topic of, “What we can do to overcome barriers,” or on the topic of, “the coexistence of humanity and animals.” In the final round there were speeches made on the themes of “the pros and cons of globalization” and “What it means to be unique.” The speeches, carefully thought out by the students, who hailed from the many regions in the East China district, were very interesting. Ms. Hu Jia Xin, a third-year student from Shanghai International Studies University, won second place with her speech. Congratulations!

Ms. Hu Jia Xin (center)

2. The Japanese Corner

In December we held the Japanese Corner as always. Here are the details.

① 1st : Instagenic/ Buzzwords/ Blood type theory of personality

The word, “Instagenic,” which won the U-can New Words and Buzzwords Award, is well known by students in Shanghai. While in China weibo or wechat are commonly used, in recent years there has been a large increase in the number of students who love taking photos, and these students share their photos on social networking services. In close vicinity to Shanghai International Studies University is the Zhu Jia Jiao, an ancient water town from the Ming dynasty, and the Tai Wu Shi Xiao Zhen, a town modeled after a traditional English village; these spots are excellent for taking nice pictures. Since most Chinese university students live in dormitories away from their homes, it is good for parents to be able to see how they are doing. However there is also a danger in uploading photos on SNS in that anyone can see them. Students seem a bit worried about that as well, and we talked about how we can safely enjoy social networking services.

Despite the fact that it is nonsensical to assert that human personalities can be divided into only four types, many Japanese people nonetheless believe in the idea that a person’s blood type divines their personality. Here however most students do not even know what their blood type is, and they seem to have found this theory rather strange. On the other hand, in China the horoscope is taken very seriously. A student cursed with being a Virgo and having a B blood type might feel very disappointed, but there are two sides to every coin. What one person calls “egoistic” and “fastidious” can as easily be called “confident” and “tidy.”

② 8th : Japanese English/ Kindergarten and day-care center/ Great sceneries of winter/ Onigiri

The term, “Japanese English” (or “Japanglish”)refers to expressions such as “Noto Pasocon” (notebook computer), and “Skinship” (close physical relations), which while based on English words were actually coined by Japanese speakers, as well as English loan-words pronounced in a Japanese way such as “Makudonarudo” (McDonald’s), and “Kohee” (coffee). The song titled “Tokyo Bon 2020”, released on November 19th by Namewee, is about both Japanglish and the Bon dance, and has become a popular example in China of a “brainwashing tune” (i.e. a catchy tune that one can’t get out of one’s head). It is a song with the purpose of, “expressing fascination with different cultures based on love, respect, and humor,” and expressing a hope that, “the world can become one with Bon Odori”. Please have a listen to this song, which is popular among students as well.

The caring for and education of infants in China is determined as follows: “Children from ages 0 to 3 are to be taken care at day-care centers certified by the Office of Sanitation, children from age 3 to 6 are to be raised and educated by kindergartens certified by the Office of Education.” Roles are explicitly delineated by age. When I asked the students about their experiences, no student could recall being raised at a day-care center, but all of the students had gone to kindergarten. In China it is not uncommon for grandparents to take care of grandchildren, because their parents are busy working. This seems to be the reason why students were interested in the day-care and kindergarten system in Japan.

When one mentions winter scenery, inevitably this brings to mind scenes of snow. A number of the students however are from southern regions and have never seen snow before. Seeing photos of snow in Japan prompted a desire in them to see snow with their own eyes. When I think about snow, my first thoughts are of northern regions such as Hokkaido, but today the winter sceneries from prefectures such as Kyoto, Gifu, and Tottori were introduced and we had fun.

The other day we held an “Onigiri Tournament”; a number of students expressed an interest in onigiri. In particular, they were curious why onigiri are shaped like triangles. Do you know why? (This is explained in detail on the website of the Japan Onigiri Association. Please have a read!) Additionally, we talked about what our favorite Onigiri flavors were. The most popular was tuna, and salmon came next. This was probably because Japan is famous for seafood, and because onigiri are so easy to buy at convenience stores and such.

③ 15th : books/manga/easy points and difficult points in learning Japanese/Shichi-go-san

Rankings for this year’s most popular Japanese books have been released. They cost a bit more in China than they do in Japan, but Japanese books in paper format are available in Shanghai, and electronic books are also very popular, so the students can obtain new Japanese books surprisingly quickly. Especially popular among students are books from which movie adaptations were made, such as “Kokuhaku” and “Enu No Tame Ni” by Kanae Minato, and “Hibana” by Naoki Matayoshi. The author Keigo Touno’s is particularly popular, perhaps because there are many translations of his works available.

I asked native Chinese speaking students what they perceive to be the easy points and the difficult points of studying Japanese. They said that studying Japanese is easy for them in the following ways; “Since we know Kanji, it is easy to read Japanese” “I can read books” “Pronunciation is easier than Chinese, so it is easy to speak”. As for their difficulties, they commented that, “Since there is no conjugation or declension in Chinese, it is hard to memorize these concepts in Japanese,” “Since spoken Japanese and written Japanese is can be quite different, I often get them mixed up,” and “I cannot speak much, because I am afraid of getting my honorifics wrong”.

The Chinese events in celebration of people’s age are Zhua Zhou Sui, celebrated when the child is one year of age, and Hua Jia (60th birthday). Apparently there aren’t any events in between like “schichi-go-san” in Japan, which celebrate the 3rd, 5th, and 7th birthdays, so the students showed strong interest in that custom.

④ 22nd : Looking back on this year

The year is already about to end. This was a profoundly memorable year for the freshman students, who at the beginning of the year successfully entered Shanghai International Studies University, and for the sophomores, who had successfully completed their freshman year. When I questioned the students, they commented that, “It was fun going to Japan for the summer vacation,” “I was studying all the time,” and “I started to study new things from the second year, so it was a challenging year”.

(At the Japanese Corner on 15th December. On the very left is the coordinator, the third one from the right is Jiang Yi Qin, the mediator for this term)

Next month marks the start of the winter vacation. We plan on giving consultations via email and WeChat during winter vacation.

November Activity Report

November 2017
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Suzuki Yuki

Hello everyone,

It is already cold in Shanghai in November, and we have to huddle deeper into our coats every time the wind blows. This cold does not however deter the students from passionately engaging in a multitude of events.

1. Speech contests

Autumn is the season for contests. Students at Shanghai International Studies University are of course participating in various contests. And this year, at our university we held the 30th Japanese Speech Contest for Students in Shanghai on the 11th of November, and the 10th Speech and Debate Casio Contest for Graduate and undergraduate students majoring in Japanese at Shanghai International Studies University. The former contest was conducted around the theme of the “45th anniversary of the normalization of Sino‐Japanese diplomatic relations- for further development”. In the latter contest, speeches were given invoking one of the following four themes, which were “The Significance of Volunteering” “The Significance of learning Japanese” “The Significance of Weekends” and “The Significance of the University Cafeteria”.

In the latter contest, we also engaged in debate regarding the three themes of, “The double eleven day (11th November),” “Shared bicycles,” and “Using Mobile Phones to pay for Bills”. All students thought hard about the themes and made wonderful speeches. Their hard work paid off, and at the Japanese Speech Contest for Students in Shanghai, Zhang Si from 2nd year class 7 took third place, and at the Casio Speech and Debate contest graduate student Bu Yanyang also took third place, and Zhang Si won second place. Zhang Si said,

“I was glad to have been able to talk about my thoughts regarding further development of Sino-Japanese relations. I would like to work even harder on international exchange as a Chinese student studying Japanese.”

It is of course important that everyday efforts are evaluated, at the same time, although it might take work, I think it is extremely important for students to participate in contests like these, to think about many things and talk to other students with same goals, and to experience many things. Fortunately Shanghai is a large city and we probably have more of such opportunities than in other cities, so I would like students to take advantage of them.

2. The speaking tournament and Onigiri tournament

The season has come for the speaking tournament and the Onigiri tournament! The speaking tournament is a tournament of play-acting, in which sophomore students show what they have learned by performing in a play. Almost all of the classes came up with original scripts, which in itself showed how excited the students were for this tournament. The Onigiri tournament was held with the support of the Monogatari Corporation, so that students could experience Onigiri as a part of Japanese food culture. This year both events were coincidentally held on the same date and such it was a busy day for us, but the plays which the students practiced for in between classes were all very good, the Onigiri was delicious, and it was overall a fun day.

3. The Japanese corner

We held the Japanese corner in November as well! Below are the details.

① 10th: Buzzword/ funeral culture

The students are quite sensitive to new buzzwords being used in Japanese society. So naturally they check the U-can new words and buzzwords award every year. However buzzwords in China and buzzwords in Japan seem to be a little different. In China, wherein texting is quite developed, buzzwords are very often “texting words” exchanged over SNS. Phrases such as “Does your conscience not hurt?” and “shako,” (we are going) fall under this category. Apparently they originally come from TV programs or online videos, but adults and children alike all commonly use them.

Additionally, several students asked to be told about the funeral culture in Japan, so I talked a little about that. In China, the price of burial plots is rising every year because of the large population, and some students said jokingly that rather than spending money on graves, they would like their ashes to be scattered in the ocean, or have sky burials.

② 17th: 11th of November/ The Red and White Singing Festival/ Trips alone

In Japan the 11th of November is “Pocky and Pretz Day”, but in China it is the day for binge-shopping on the internet. There were students who had saved up for months, checking for the products they wanted to buy on this day. Such binge-shopping must be good for the economy because it causes an expansion of consumption, but there are also negative side effects such as lowered quality, fraud, and trouble with delivery. The students engaged in a serious discussion about how these problems could be solved.

Students in Shanghai who are sensitive to trends naturally keep track of pop songs that are trending in Japan as well. Looking at the list of participating singers, they discussed, they said things like, “I don’t know this singer,” “This singer will probably sing that song,” and “What will this group’s costumes look like?”

In recent years, an increasing number of Chinese students have expressed a fondness for being alone. I can’t say whether this has anything to do with the one-child policy, as I haven’t researched the policy in any detail. Nonetheless, I feel that there are more young people than before who prefer to travel alone rather than with friends. Japan is a popular destination for women traveling alone, and many solitary tourists visit Japan. Students follow their travels on SNS sites and use them as reference. Especially since Japanese food is often served as a full course per person, tourists would not miss out on any delicious food even if they are traveling alone.

③ 24th: Regional Gourmet/ houseboats/ red leaves

What comes to mind when you think of Japanese food? Sushi? Tempura? No, it’s minced meat cutlet from Kichijoji, and Octopus crackers from Enoshima. Students who had been to Japan several times gave presentations on the many delicious foods from Japan. Students in Shanghai, where there are many Japanese restaurants with deep ties to Japan, seem to want to experience “real” Japanese culture, rather than the compressed, simplified Japanese culture that they have thus far been exposed to. I think regional gourmet is just what they need. I would like students to experience authentic regional gourmet when they visit Japan.

As a nation surrounded by the sea, I wish that Japan would emphasize the appeal of houseboats to other countries. It is not that uncommon to go sightseeing on a boat, but there are not so many boats in which delicious meals are served and fun parties can be held. The students were particularly interested in how the leisure activities pursued on boats differ according to the season; for example, in the summer it is common to view fireworks displays from boats.

When one thinks of Autumn, it is natural to think of leaves changing colors. Of course, there are many plants whose leaves change color in Shanghai as well, but it is still very different to what can be seen in Japan. On the internet one can find beautiful pictures of many different fall leaves, but seeing them for real leaves a much stronger impression. On this day we talked about where we wanted to go to look at fall leaves.

Next month we are planning on reporting about the Japanese corner. I hope you are looking forward to it!

October Activity Report

October 2017
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Suzuki Yuki

Hello everyone.

The scent of the sweet osmanthus has finally disappeared. The arrival of true winter is upon us. However, there are still many hot days, so I see sick students, unable to keep up with the temperature changes, every now and then. Please drink hot water and stay warm.

Anyway, as promised, I will now tell you about the events held this October.

1. Japanese Corner

We opened the Japanese Corner on the 13th, 20th, and 27th of October. Information on each day can be seen below.

① 13th: Thoughts on Student Film Academy Award Winning Short Film ‘Life Smartphone’/Favorite Films

‘Life Smartphone’ is a film about how people in modern society are obsessed with their smartphones. In particular, smartphones have made China a completely cashless society in which smartphones are a necessity, and the negative effects that come with this are becoming a problem. The students commented that the film was ‘very deep,’ that they ‘understand what the film is trying to do, but this society is already a reality, so it can’t be helped,’ and that ‘the fact that this film was made by a student is amazing.’

Also, it seems that the number of foreign films allowed to be screened each year in China is limited, and so, depending on the year, Japanese films may or may not be available, but lately, Japanese animated films such as ‘Your Name,’ and ‘Sword Art Online the Movie –Ordinal Scale-‘ are being screened in China. It seems that many of the students invite their non-Japanese department friends to go and see these films, so I could really feel the importance of cultural exchange here.

② 20th:Traditional Handicrafts Experience/Pets

One thing that surprises students who go on holiday or exchange to Japan is the amount of ‘hands-on tourism’ attractions that exist in Japan. Even in Tokyo, there are many places where one can experience traditional handicrafts such as Tokyo Shippou, Edo Glassware, Edo wind chimes, and Edo Sarasa. The students were very interested in the fact that you can not only look at these handicrafts, but also that you can try to do them yourself, and comments such as ‘I want to try make this one day,’ and ‘this model is interesting’ could be heard.

Also, the news that ‘Shunsuke-kun,’ the idol dog that gained much popularity through commercials and Twitter, passed away shocked many of the students. It seems that there are many ‘idol dogs’ and ‘idol cats’ on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, which provide comfort for people who are tired from work or study. Some students even expressed that they ‘can’t handle separation,’ so they ‘won’t ever get a pet.’

③ 27th:Name Change of Chinese McDonalds/Introduction of ‘Thou Shalt Not Die’

Until now, the Chinese name of McDonalds has been ‘Mai Dang Lao.’ It was a name that was close to the original pronunciation, and the kanji that was used was well-thought-out. However, for localization purposes, the name has been changed to ‘Jin Gong Men.’ I heard many students expressing their confusion at this change. However, it seems that, in recent times, the number of students eating fast food is not exactly low, and the comments ‘I want a bigger variety of fast food restaurants,’ ‘if it was healthy fast food I would eat it,’ and ‘fast food is too expensive’ could be heard.

After that, I tried something new, and at the request of the students introduced Akiko Yosano’s ‘Thou Shalt Not Die.’ The poem uses old Japanese, so I read it aloud while mixing in some Chinese, and let them appreciate the melody of the seven-five meter.

2. Welcome Party for New Students

On the 12th we held a welcome party for the new students. It was a choir competition for the first year students who entered the university in September, to compete with their favorite Japanese songs. The GJO coordinators participated as judges. Even though it’s only been one month since we met these students, they worked hard thinking about and practicing their performances, and it gave me a very nostalgic and promising feeling seeing them work together as a class. Also, the first year students are so full of hope and anticipation this time of year, so I hope they don’t forget these feelings, and study hard.

Next month, I plan to talk more about the Japanese Corner, and events such as The Onigiri Festival, so please look forward to it!

September Activity Report

September 2017
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Suzuki Yuki

Greetings everyone.

The new academic year has begun! The senpai of the university have become nostalgic from seeing the new students’ faces full of anticipation and nervousness. September this year was full of rain, but I think we had such a good start to the year, so good that not even the depressing weather could bring us down.

Anyhow, as I said I would, I’d like to share the reflections of the students who participated in the TUFS Summer Camp Program. (The reflections below are as written by the students).

① Qin Hui Geng

In the summer vacation, I participated in the TUFS Summer Camp, and made many meaningful memories. It was my first time in Japan, so the most important result came from studying many Japanese conversation techniques over the three weeks. I think I also improved my keigo usage and general conversation ability through the classes. The Japanese students were very cute and easy to get along with. I also was able to go on a trip to the Edo-Tokyo Museum, try out tea ceremony and flower arranging, and try on a kimono.

During the program I had my 20th birthday. I had different teachers for each of my classes, so they sung ‘Happy Birthday’ to me about three times. That was one of my funniest memories of Japan. The SSSP teachers were always so kind, and smiled when they spoke, so I will always remember them very fondly.

② Shu Shu

During the summer vacation I studied for three weeks at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. I thoroughly enjoyed my time staying in Tokyo.

TUFS is located in Fuchu City, and while it is not very big, the campus is beautiful. While at TUFS I ate lunch almost every day in the cafeteria – the ankake dofu was my favorite. I felt that the teachers at TUFS were really kind people. Not only during class, but also after class the teachers were kind and warm-hearted. When I was in Japan, it was my birthday. On the morning of my birthday, one of my teachers gave me chocolate, and I felt so happy and grateful from the bottom of my heart.

It was an interesting experience to travel around by myself after class. I explored Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, Harajuku, Shibuya, Kichijoji, and Yotsuya. While walking down Omotesando Road in Harajuku, I thought to myself that Japanese girls are really cute. I also visited Tokyo University. There were many tall trees lining both sides of the road, casting shadows on the pavement, and so I was able to be cool in the shade on a hot day. There was also a tree canopy on campus, and chairs underneath it, so many people were enjoying their time resting or taking photos underneath it. Anyhow, it’s really nice to walk around Tokyo.

If I have another chance I would like to go to Japan once again. I hope to visit places such as Kyoto, Osaka, and Nara, and meet all my Japanese friends again.

③ Lu Jing Yi

This summer vacation, I participated in Tokyo University of Foreign Studies’ SSP. It was so much fun. The program was for 21 days. During the program I had Japanese classes every day, and was able to experience Japanese culture, so I really learnt a lot. For example, in tea ceremony and flower arranging class, everyone was able to make tea and arrange flowers. Also, it was very fun to try on yukata.

Students from all around the world participated in this program. There were even students from Kazakhstan, Laos, Hong Kong and Taiwan in my class. Every day in class, everyone talked about their own countries, and I learnt a lot.

Aside from class, we also went to the Tachikawa Life Safety Learning Center, and the Edo-Tokyo Museum. But the most enjoyable thing for me was going to places such as Harajuku, Shibuya, Koenji, and Kichijoji after class. I ate Japanese food, went shopping, and took photos. Through the 23 days I spent in Japan, I came to love Japan more than before.

④ Mao Li Min

This year, I participated in Tokyo University of Foreign Studies’ Short Stay Program during the summer vacation. It was a short visit, but I was happy to make friends with everyone. The kindness the teachers showed me will forever remain in my heart. I am very grateful for the many things they taught me. I am in debt to some very kind people. Aside from learning Japanese, I was also able to learn about Japanese culture. Through the tea ceremony and flower arranging classes, I understood the uniqueness of Japanese culture for the first time. At the museum and safety center I was able to learn about things we don’t learn in class. Because I had to do many presentations in class, I practiced a lot and became less nervous about speaking Japanese. The three weeks were over just like that, but it was a very fun, educational experience. From eating delicious food at the cafeteria, and spending time in the dormitories, I was able to understand how it feels to go on exchange to Japan. From now on I will hold this experience close to my heart and continue to study Japanese.

Also, I really loved the dorm!

There is no other way to feel the vibe of the cities and experience the cultural differences of a country than to actually go there. It seems the students that we sent to Japan this summer were able to see, feel, and think about Japan in their own ways. The selection process for the winter program has already ended, but I hope the kouhai will want to go to Japan after hearing many stories from their senpai, and learn and experience many things.

Next month I intend to talk about events such as the Japanese corner, the speech competition, and the onigiri competition. Look forward to it!

August Activity Report

August 2017
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Suzuki Yuki

Hello everyone. It seems that while Japan had its first cool, rainy summer in many years, Shanghai had the hottest summer in China, with some days registering over 40 degrees.

There were some students that utilized the summer vacation and visited Japan. Next month I will post about the experiences of the returning students, so look forward to it.

Also, from this Autumn, two students will go on a half-year exchange to TUFS. I asked one of these students about what they wish to learn, and where they wish to go in Japan.

‘In terms of what I want to study, I want to study Japanese, English, and Chinese interpreting, and also international relations and public relations. By all means, I wish to become a translator, so if I go to TUFS I definitely want to practice translating. I don’t know exactly what kind of work I will go into upon graduating. This summer vacation was long, so I looked into PR-related careers. While researching I thought that this kind of work doesn’t seem too bad, and will match my personality. Therefore, I want to study public relations at TUFS.’

‘In terms of where I want to go, I want to go everywhere in Japan! I want to go to all the ramen restaurants in Tokyo!’ (As written by Chen Li Yan).

The two of them are both very excellent students, and full of curiosity. I think they will learn a lot.

In other news, I am doing many preparations for the new semester.

① Book-borrowing Service
② Learning & Exchange Consulting Room
③ Japanese Corner

Out of these, ② and ③ have been happening since last year, but this year I plan to improve these services.

Please look forward to it.

July Activity Report

July 2017
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Suzuki Yuki

Hello everyone. Summer vacation has begun here. The Summer vacation at Shanghai International Studies University lasts about two months through July and August, and for students living in the dorm it is a precious period in which they can return home and take a breather. Nonetheless, it seems most students are spending the vacation travelling and working part-time jobs.

1. Career Consultation

In July, on top of giving consultation to students through email and WeChat, I also met with students that visited Tokyo on holiday to talk about their paths after university.

Lately, the slogan ‘Japanese Plus’ (日语加) has become popular in China’s Japanese educational institutions, meaning that just learning Japanese is not enough, and more and more students are learning other skills, researching what areas of expertise will be needed in the future, and taking on a second major to complement their Japanese. While NICHIIN students have a very high chance of employment and advancing to higher education, in a day and age where economics and finance tends to hold much importance, it seems they feel a sense of insecurity. Even in the Japanese Language Proficiency Examination in July, many students said they felt uneasy, so I felt that the students need to be more confident and strengthen their Japanese competence so they can proudly say ‘I am a Japanese major.’

In August there will be some students in Japan at summer school or on holiday, so I would be happy to give advice if needed.

June Activity Report

June 2017
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Suzuki Yuki

Greetings, everyone. Shanghai has also entered rainy season, and the students are always complaining that their washing doesn’t dry.

1. Senryū Competition

The results of May’s Senryū (comic haiku) competition have been released! This competition is held every year for third year students who learn about and create haiku in class, with 2-3 Senryū being chosen as the best by the class. Voting was done through the official Shanghai International Studies University Japanese Department Social Networking system. This year there was also a ‘Tokyo University of Foreign Studies Award.’

The winners of this year’s competition were the following Senryū:

‘kareshi iru? Shangai ni ite, arienai’ (You have a boyfriend? For someone at Shangai, that’s impossible.

‘“aishiteru”, hahani ittara, “okanenai”’ (‘“I love you”, I said to my mother, she said “I have no money.”’)

‘kimatsu shiken, seikaku nanowa, namae dake’ (‘final exam, my only correct answer was my name.’)

The Tokyo University of Foreign Studies Award went to the following Senryū: ‘kauyoku wa, kattamono kara, umareteru.’ (‘The desire to buy things is born from the things you’ve bought.’) When Senryū were first introduced in class, the students were worried as to whether they could actually make them or not, but when you look at the results, it can be seen that they wrote many good poems. In particular, Senryū can be made rather lightheartedly, so even after the competition, some students continued to write in Senryū style on their blogs. I really want this competition to continue next year and beyond.

2. Graduation Ceremony

On June 15th, the 2017 Shanghai International Studies University School of Japanese Studies Graduation Ceremony was held. With their four year-long student lives coming to an end, the graduates’ faces were beaming with excitement at the roads ahead of them, a very hopeful and promising sight. The graduates today are the students I taught during my student teacher internship, which led to my employment here, so for me it was a very emotional day.

At the Shanghai International Studies University graduation ceremony, students wear matching gowns and trencher caps. On the stage, students receive their diplomas from the academic advisors who helped them write their graduation theses, and have the tassel on their trencher caps moved from the right side to the left side. This is called ‘the turning of the tassel’ and symbolises that you have received your degree and are now officially a graduate. From what was announced on stage, it seems that the graduates are going down various paths, with some continuing on to postgraduate education, some starting their professional careers, and others who are undecided, but no matter what the path, I wish you all a bright future.

Congratulations on graduation!

May Activity Report

May 2017
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Suzuki Yuki

Hello, everyone. In Shanghai, the days with over 30°C heat keep coming, but how are you getting along?

1. Speech contest, recitation contest, Japanese ceremony… a whole variety of activities!

In May, many various events took place at Shanghai International Studies University, and the first and second students were very busy.

1) Speech Contest

The speech contest, which is joined by second year students, was held with the two themes of “My Independent Learning” and “Virtual Reality”. This time, we experimented with using presentation-like method, showing PowerPoint slides while speaking.

2) Recitation Contest

The recitation contest, which was held on 9th May, was held by all the first year students from a total of 7 classes, and the coordinators participated as judges. The programme consisted of four stories: ‘The Carb and the Monkey’, ‘Issun-boshi’, ‘The Tale of Princes Kaguya’ and ‘Surori Surori Kita Wai Na’. The classes gave a variety of performances, and it was difficult to choose a winner.

3) Japanese Ceremony

The Japanese Ceremony, in which a variety of stalls were run by mainly first and second year students, is a festival of culture in Japan. Not only university students from outside the Japanese course, but students from neighboring universities also came to visit this one big Japanese language institution event. In general each class ran one stall, where people could experience things such as playing mini-games and trying Japanese food. Also, the Japanese-style ‘horror experience’ haunted house which has become established as the event’s centrepiece every year was a great success, with the screams of students who couldn’t handle Japanese horror echoing out.

4) Dubbing Contest

In the dudding contest, mixed teams of first and second year students competed to complete dubbings of animations and dramas. The students worked on popular animations such as ‘Steins; Gate’ and ‘Monthly Girls’ Nozakai-kun’, as well as variety shows like ‘Monthly Lateshow’, and I was impressed by how many different genres of Japanese language media they were engaging with. The advantage of these dubbing activities, aside from of course coming into contact with Japanese culture, is that the students can learn to enunciate better. I hope that they continue to come into contact with many various works and absorb lots of good practices form them.

2. The Japanese Corner

This month too we held the Japanese Corner once a week, a total of three times. The topics were as follows:

1) ‘Newcomer Welcome Parties in Japanese Companies’ and ‘Dagashi’

Of course, it’s not the case that all companies in Japan hold these welcome parties, but it seems that there are a lot of ‘entrance ceremonies’ that seem to be interesting to Chinese students. In particular, things like the Toba aquarium’s underwater ceremony caught their interest.

Cheap sweets are also sold in China, and sweets like ‘dagashi’ are popular among adults as well as children. I introduced Japanese dagashi and was introduced to Chinese dagashi. We tried thinking about the differences, but came to the conclusion that you couldn’t tell without actually trying them.

2) Hanafuda

On 16th May we played the Japanese indoor game ‘hanafuda’. This was the second time we played with hanafuda in the Japanese Corner, so everyone knew how to play.

3) Museums and Novels

I introduces some of the slightly unusual museums in Japan. In Shanghai there are also prominent museums and galleries, and I hear that students in Shanghai all visit them on school trips to them at least once.

We talked about the Japanese novels that are popular in China. After Junichi Watanabe and Murakami Haruki, Keigo Higashino was overwhelmingly popular. After watching dramas and films, we tried searching for the original works, and found that the one whose work has the most Chinese translations was Keigo Higahsino. Also, there was a trend among the students of preferring ebooks to paper books.

April Activity Report

April 2017
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Suzuki Yuki

Hello, everyone. From April, I, Suzuki Yuki, will be taking over from Yamagishi Ami as coordinator for Shanghai International Studies University GJO. I will endeavor to show the real faces of the students of Shanghai and the situation of Japanese language learning. I am looking forward to the days ahead.

In a usual year, Shanghai gets a lot of rain in April, but this year, contrary to the forecast, it was a warm, easy month with lots of clear days. Sadly, Shanghai doesn’t have sakura avenues, but there are magnificent yoshino cherry tree avenues in Shanghai Botanical Garden and Tongji University in the city center. The Qingming season of this year had unusually good weather, so there were lots of students going out to view the cherry blossoms.

1. 2017 Autumn Term Exchange Students Decided

The students who will study abroad in Japan this autumn have been decided. According to the person in charge of the selection, the students who ‘in addition to a strong desire for studying Japanese language, had clearly decided what they want to study outside of Japanese language’ were chosen.

Along with this, there were individual consultations on study abroad with several of the students. Of course, they have no choice but to figure out things such as anxieties concerning their Japanese language ability and about living alone (most Chinese students live in shared dorms with several other students) for themselves, but we had lots of consultations around students having little information on the cities of their destination universities, and even when they did have information, having trouble grasping the very different curriculums and systems.

One thing that became apparent form the consultations was that the students’ relationships with their seniors was thin, and the seniors’ stories of their experiences didn’t seem to be being shared with the juniors. Certainly, communal activities aren’t as prevalent as they are in Japan, but the third year students who have returned from their study aboard are busy with employment training, and it seems that there aren’t many chances for them to share their study abroad experiences. Thinking that this was a place where I can contribute something, I am in the middle of planning a group where people can share their study abroad experiences.

2. Japanese Corner

This month too we held the Japanese Corner once a week, a total of three times. The topics were as follows:

1). Let’s Play with Japanese Playing Cards (Karuta)!

We played games with iroha karuta, todofuken karuta, and yojijukugo karuta. The yojikugo karuta use kanji, so I thought they would be easy, but everyone first read them with the Chinese pronunciation, so it was an unexpectedly hard battle.

2). ‘Tab Payments’, ‘Akita Beauties’ and ‘Kyushu Guys’

In China, most payments are made with debit cards, so there were a lot of students who felt a sense of apprehension towards using a tab for everyday shopping. On the other hand, they reflected on how, while we think that being able to buy anything on the internet is convenient, the flow of money is becoming more difficult to see than it used to be, and we can end up wasting money.

Prefecture stereotypes like ‘Akita beauties’ and ‘Kyushu guys’ of course exist in China too. There are also ‘Henan beauties’ and ‘Tohoku guys’. While on the one hand there were those who took pride in having their place of origin praised, some people talked about feeling sad and thinking “I’m not like that’.

3). ‘May Disease’ and ‘Harmful Animal Problems’

Although there is no name for the condition of feeling ‘I’m not ill, but for some reason I don’t have any energy or motivation’, the Chinese students could strongly relate. In particular, this April there was a lot of really nice weather, and there were not a few students who were thinking ‘why am I in a classroom studying?’.

Regarding the issue of ‘harmful animals’ talked about in Osaka, everyone agreed with the joke statement of ‘harmful animals won’t become a problem in China because we’ll eat them all’.