2019 Activity Report

March Activity Report

31 March 2020
Global Japan Office Taiwan Coordinator
Fumiya Saito

In Taipei this month, temperatures were above 30 degrees on hot days and below 20 degrees on cold days. It was weather that required physical condition management and proper clothing selection.


In Taiwan, the COVID-19 coronavirus delayed school opening by two weeks. Accordingly, the GJO’s activities were suspended in February and started in March. At Tamkang University, you need to take your temperature when you enter each building on the campus, and there is a line depending on the time. Even though we were doing activities at the GJO this month, what we mostly talked about was the coronavirus and its impact on the economy. Under these circumstances, people were very interested and seemed worried. I hope it will end soon.

This month, we had a lot of people come to the office. First of all, there was a student who came to ask for advice on their Japanese homework. It was a grammar exercise where they had to make sentences using specific grammar structures, so I explained why certain structures did or didn’t work, and I think the student left with a better understanding of the content. I also taught them how to read some Japanese words, and explained their meanings. Next, I checked the Japanese language in the research plan of a student who wants to enter graduate school in Japan. I tried to correct their particle errors and added explanations on how to make their expressions more suitable. Since Tamkang University holds interviews to choose exchange candidates in March, a student came to GJO to practice. I checked their answers to the interview questions that they had been thinking about in Japanese, and advised them on what to say. In addition, the student asked questions about mobile phones and things to be careful about living in Japan, and I recommended a mobile phone service that allow one-year contracts for exchange students. It was a difficult question for me as a Japanese person, but I talked to him about the cost of eating habits such as eating out or cooking.

Also, a student who had gone to Japan for an exchange program returned to Taiwan and came to visit us. They talked about various aspects of their life in Japan. Before going there, the student seemed to have a lot of anxiety, but in the end, they seemed to enjoy it, so I thought that was good. I am thankful that some of the students who have come here say that the GJO is calm and that it is easy to speak Japanese here. I will continue to do my best.

January Activity Report

31 January 2020
Global Japan Office Taiwan Coordinator
Fumiya Saito

In January, relatively warm days have increased, and while some people are wearing thick clothes such as parkas, others are wearing relatively thin clothes, and the atmosphere of spring has already emerged.

In Taiwan, January 1 was the anniversary of the opening of the country, so schools were closed. In addition, due to the influence of the presidential election, January 10 was designated as a day to return home, so the final exams were held irregularly from January 3 to January 9. For this reason, the duration of GJO activities was only about a week, but there were some students who came to our room.

In addition to the usual activities such as chatting and socializing, I communicated with the students about the final exam. In the Japanese conversation test, as I mentioned in the activity reports of last month and the month before last, the students made their own scripts and had conversations. The first student gave advice on the content and development of the script. I also checked for grammatical and typographical errors. The second student also checked the grammar and writing and gave advice on why they were wrong and how to express it more clearly.

This semester, the GJO has been trying to distinguish itself from the language exchange chat corner at Tamkang University. I think I was able to give appropriate advice on what was wrong or could be improved on in the homework check, interview practice, conversation practice, etc. I think we could differentiate ourselves to some extent.

During the winter break, the GJO will be taking a break from its activities, but we will resume activities from the new term in February, and will continue to advertise and support the students.

December Activity Report

30 December 2019
Global Japan Office Taiwan Coordinator
Fumiya Saito

There were relatively warm days in December, and there were days when I would sweat even in short sleeves. In Japan, preparations for the New Year begin as soon as Christmas is over, but in Taiwan, since the Chinese New Year is regarded as relatively important, Christmas decorations last until the middle of January, and there is no year-end and New Year atmosphere like in Japan.

Ms. Hayashi, President of Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, visited on December 26, and I accompanied her during her visit at Tamkang University. Thanks to the Director of the International Center at Tamkang University, I was also able to attend their meeting. In addition, I received a souvenir from President Hayashi and enjoyed it with the students who came to the GJO.

Photo 1: Souvenir (1)
Photo 1: Souvenir (2)

In December, many students came to our room and I supported them in many ways. I talked with the students who often came to the office about exchange programs and checked their homework. Regarding exchange programs, I gave advice on what to write about for research plans and autobiography, and how to write them. As for homework, I talked about how to correct the parts that were checked by the teacher and why they were not good, such as writing sentences using a specific pattern. I also gave advice on what to watch out for in order to improve as the content was advanced Japanese. I also had some students who had been visiting me from time to time that were hoping to enroll in a Japanese graduate school. They asked me questions about what was written in the test materials, and I explained how to choose the subjects for the test.

There were three students who came to the office for the first time this month because they wanted to practice conversation. One of them was a student who could speak Japanese to a certain extent, and we had a regular conversation about the culture of Japan and Taiwan. For the other two, who are in beginner and intermediate level Japanese classes, I gave them a topic and asked them to think and speak about it, asked and had them answer a few questions, and practiced with them while focusing on their conversational abilities.

There was a student who came to see the text of the conversation test. The content of the test is to think of a script by themselves and have a conversation using it. I heard that they were a first year student, so I asked them to what extent they had learned, checked them accordingly, and explained the mistakes they made in grammar and particles.

In addition, a student came to my office to ask for advice about part-time job interviews at a Japanese store that has opened in Taiwan. It seems that an interview in Japanese is necessary, so I gave advice on how to answer, and practiced the interview in Japanese.

The students who came to the room for the first time were introduced by friends or flyers on the homepage of the Japanese language department. It took some time, but I’m relieved that the flyers seem to be effective for advertising.

We held a Christmas party in the GJO this month. There were some students who couldn’t make it on time, so we decided to hold it twice. First, three students came. We prepared snacks and drinks and talked about various topics. After that, there were some students who came late, and the party became very lively with playing cards and eating pizza for dinner.

Photo 3: Christmas party scene (1)
Photo 4: Christmas party scene (2)

November Activity Report

30 November 2019
Global Japan Office Taiwan Coordinator
Fumiya Saito

In November, the temperature dropped and there were many rainy days. Sometimes, when it is clear, there is a big temperature difference from the previous day, and sometimes the temperature suddenly drops. It is a time we have to be prepared for anything, the changing of the seasons.

We had midterm exams at Tamkang University this month. There were not many visitors to the GJO because students were concentrating on studying for their tests. On the other hand, I had an opportunity to discuss the Japanese conversation test questions with a student. As for the content of the conversation test, I decided that students have to decide and think about the topic of the conversation by themselves before the test day, and so I gave them advice on what types of topics were easy to talk about. The same student also asked me how to determine when to use “sumimasen” (excuse me; sorry) and “gomennasai” (sorry), and I answered that it is best to determine usage depending on the situation and the social distance between the person and oneself.

As I mentioned in my activity report last month, there are some students who want to study abroad among the students who often come to the GJO. This month, we talked about the same thing, and I gave advice on what you would be asked about in an interview and what points to consider when answering questions. The interview will be in March next year and the application process hasn’t started yet, but the student who asked is very fluent in Japanese, so I don’t think there will be any problem, however I would like to continue supporting him.

Japanese high schools and universities often visit Tamkang University on exchange, so we are looking for students who can speak Japanese to assist during these visits. I provided information on the Japanese high school students who will visit in January to the students that come to the GJO. Many of the students who come to the GJO are enthusiastic about interacting with Japanese people, and the recruitment is limited, but we would like to continue to provide such information to the students.

A student who had been on a working holiday in Japan for one year since last year came back to Taiwan. We talked about their experiences in Japan. It seems that there were a lot of hard times, especially in terms of money. Also, when I talked with exchange students before, I heard that they were having trouble with problems that they had never thought they would have before they went there, and it seems that they also had such problems on working holidays.

Next month, I want to hold a little Christmas party like I did last year.

October Activity Report

31 October 2019
Global Japan Office Taiwan Coordinator
Fumiya Saito

Taiwan has become much colder since the beginning of October. Even so, hot days still reach close to 30 degrees, so I hope everyone is looking after themselves.

We continued our activities in October, such as chatting and socializing as usual. There were many students this month who came to the office for the first time, and some of them came almost every day. In any case, they came to the office because they want to practice their conversation skills and interact with Japanese people.

In conversations with the students, Hong Kong was a frequent topic of conversation in early October. A large demonstration in June triggered rallies in Taiwan. Also, many of the news programs in Taiwan covered the topic of Hong Kong, and I often talked about it with the students who came to the office.

One student’s textbook changed from intermediate to advanced, so I could teach him a lot as, although he could understand the meaning of words, he didn’t know how to read them. In addition, our conversation developed from the topics of the textbook, and we talked more about the differences between Japan and Taiwan along that theme. This semester, I have the impression that we are talking more about the differences between Japan and Taiwan on various topics. Most of the students who come to the office tell me about their complaints regarding the Chat Corner language exchange space of Tamkang University. I try to discuss these from various angles so that I don’t have biased opinions.

Some of the students who come to our office want to work in Japan after graduation, or work in a company in Taiwan that has relations with Japan. I had a chance to talk about job-related issues, so I talked about the differences between job hunting in Japan and Taiwan. In Taiwan, ability is key. Your place of employment is greatly influenced by your university major, skills and experiences. In Japan, new employees can receive training once they enter a company, and the students were very surprised when I told them that they could get a job regardless of their major, whether it was liberal arts or science.

Some of the students who often come to my office want to study in Japan as exchange students, and sometimes we talk about where the university they are going to study in is. I want to support them well.

It was a little later after the new term started, but I made a flyer to promote the GJO and had it posted on the homepage of the Japanese language department. I will do my best to increase the number of visitors.

September Activity Report

30 September 2019
Global Japan Office Taiwan Coordinator
Fumiya Saito

I went home for the summer vacation, and returned to Taiwan in late August. August was constantly hot in Japan, so Taiwan felt much cooler in comparison. From mid-September the temperatures were around 25-30 degrees, which I think most Japanese people would consider to be hot, but the fashions around me gradually started changing, and more and more people began wearing long sleeve shirts and jackets. Due to a typhoon, the university was closed on September 30.


At Tamkang University, the opening ceremony and safety briefing was held on the 5th and 6th of September. Classes began from September 9th, and the campus came to life with extracurricular clubs trying to recruit new members.

The GJO also resumed activities from September 2nd. The first week of September was technically still summer vacation, but many new students visited the university to complete their registration. The GJO also received a visitor, a new master’s student from Japan, who came after hearing about us from the Japanese department staff. I answered a few questions they had on admission documents. I also told them about the application process for getting the necessary permit for part time work in Taiwan.

There are a few students who often visit the GJO that visited or went on exchange to Japan during the summer, so I met with them and asked them what they did and if they had any complaints. Among these students, one student had visited Japan a number of times and couldn’t think of any particular complaints.

One student also visited the GJO wanting to take the Japanese Language Proficiency Test. Since achieving N2 of this test is a requirement for going on exchange to Japan, many students here want to pass N2. However, since we didn’t have any textbooks for N2 in the office, I borrowed some from the Japanese department. I hope these can be used effectively.

I’ve written about this many times before, but Tamkang University has a language exchange space called the Chat Corner. The GJO’s usual activities revolve around Japanese homework checks, social events and general chatting. However, since these activities are not so different from those of the Chat Corner, we have decided to put more emphasis on Japanese language learning to attract more visitors, and so I added information on this to the flyers we create every year. I hope to use these flyers from October onwards.