2021 Activity Report

March Activity Report

29 March 2022
Global Japan Office Coordinator

As the saying goes, "三寒四温 (Sankan-Shion, three cold days and four warm days)”, extremely cold days and warm days came repeatedly this month, telling us the slow start of spring. The cherry blossoms on campus have begun to bloom, and on warmer days, I enjoy the scent of earth and grass. In Taiwan, it seems that once the Dragon Boat Festival arrives, it finally turns into full-blown summer, and I wonder when I should change my clothes. Today, I am working with a thick coat that I thought I would never wear again.

Now this is the hardest time for undergraduates majoring in Japanese for graduation work and thesis work, and several students came to my GJO office to check their Japanese.

Ms. Q likes cats, so she decided to write three Japanese essays about cats for her graduation project. She was not sure how to translate the Japanese word "既卒(Kisotsu)" in the essays into Chinese. In Taiwan, students don’t look for job as they do in Japan. After graduation, without a specific time frame, they look for jobs, so there is not a distinction between the terms "new graduates" and "former graduates". In the end, I could not find a word that fits exactly, but I thought that sticking to the meaning of one word and thinking about it is itself the most exciting part of learning.

Ms. W came to our office. Her favorite Japanese Vtuber was going to have a reading event on Rohan Koda's "Nomichi" and she wanted to know about the contents of the work. The novel "Nomichi" is a simple story in which the main character enjoys wildflowers while taking a walk with his intellectual seniors. The Japanese expressions used in modern literature are too difficult for me and are not used much in daily life today, so I had to translate them into simple Japanese by dictionaries and sometimes explaining them in Chinese. It was a good learning opportunity for me as well.

A Hong Kong student, Ms. H, also came to visit our office. She has been studying Japanese for only two years, but her pronunciation was beautiful and she was able to communicate well. She likes Japanese idol groups and anime, and has been watching Japanese TV programs for a long time, so she doesn’t have a problem in listening comprehension. However, he had not studied grammar, so surprisingly, he failed the N3 exam.

In my case, when I started studying Chinese, I was good at writing Chinese because I focused on only grammar and reading. When I first met a Taiwanese person with whom I had been exchanging e-mails in Chinese, she was surprised at my poor speaking ability. I realized that language ability cannot be measured by one ability alone, and I introduced the TUFS Language Module to Ms. H.

Cherry blossoms at TamKang University

February Activity Report

28 February 2022
Global Japan Office Coordinator

During the first half of this month, we were unable to enter the office during the winter break, so I interacted with students online. The students, who come to our office almost every time, told me about how they spend the Chinese New Year in Taiwan. They said that Chinese New Year in Taiwan is just like in Japan, where family and relatives get together to eat, play dice games and a board game called "Xiangqi" (Chinese chess), and have a good time. In Taiwan, there is a New Year's gift called a "hongbao (red envelope) ". As in Japan, the New Year's gift is given from adults to children, but after the children reach adulthood, they give the "red envelopes" to their parents.

One of the students had studied Japanese in high school by joining the karuta club. Since there are not many opportunities to play karuta in Taiwan, she has only remembered one phrase now. I promised her that we would definitely have a karuta tournament at GJO next time.

They also had a happy report: Ms. W was successfully accepted to an on-campus scholarship, so she is having a fulfilling winter break by taking a paid business Japanese course and participating in an online exchange program with a Japanese university. Ms. C, who was studying for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT), successfully passed the first level. It is wonderful to see Taiwanese students studying diligently and diligently and achieving proper results.

One of the students suggested that he wanted to study difficult words, so I asked them to read Japanese news. It was news about the Beijing Olympics. It looked difficult to read because of many katakana characters in people's names, but they said it was a good learning experience. In addition, we worked out past exams together in order to take the entrance exam of translation institute in a university in March. The content was of a very high level, with questions in Japanese and translation from Chinese to Japanese and Japanese to Chinese.

One student joined us online for the first time by seeing the flyer. He was a transfer student from another university and joined us from his hometown Pingtung. Tamsui, where Tamkang University is located, is as cold as winter in January and February, but he said he could stay in short sleeves in the southern area. Taiwan is about the size of Kyushu in Japan, so it is not that large, but it is very interesting that the environment varies greatly from place to place.

He was a graduate of a five-year school called "高職". I did not know that Taiwan has an educational institution similar to a "technical college" in Japan. He said that the demand for "高職" has been increasing in recent years, as it offers more specialized studies. We discussed the differences between the Taiwanese and Japanese educational systems.

I found that we could talk more online than in person. Perhaps because the silent time would be awkward, everyone spoke actively without pauses. One of the advantages of online is that I can immediately type and correct the words that the students misspoke. This was well received by the students, who said that even though they usually have opportunities to speak with Japanese people, they don't have anyone to correct their Japanese, so having someone correct them on the spot was a big help.

January Activity Report

31 January 2022
Global Japan Office Coordinator

In the first half of the month, no one came to the office, probably because it was during the test period. Finally, in the middle of the month, students who had finished their tests came to check their answers. I explained how to use the words ageru, kureru, and morau, looking at the textbook, and asked them to make example sentences. When I teach Japanese, I am often surprised to learn that there are words that I am not usually aware of. Sometimes, students learning Japanese teach me Japanese that I didn’t know before. It may be that native speakers do not know so much about their own language.

Seven students came one after another to my office to receive the payments that Prof. Lin of TUFS had left for them. I asked them if they would like to talk, but they all seemed to be busy during the test period and left immediately. They were all students who were coming to the office for the first time, so I suggested, “Let's talk on zoom during the winter break!”

In the last week of January, I had a conversation with a student on Zoom. One of the students, who has been visiting our office often, asked me to explain the Japanese on a stamp she recently bought of Kanahei, a popular character in Taiwan. When I asked her to send me a picture of the stamp, I found the words gyoi (meaning “certainly”), sayou (meaning “yes”), and yoshinani (meaning “do as you see fit”). When I explained the meaning, she responded that it was deep and intriguing. It might be interesting to do a feature on Japanese words used in period dramas and Rakugo storytelling. I want the students to enjoy Japanese terms that they don’t usually use.

December Activity Report

31 December 2021
Global Japan Office Coordinator

The weather in Taiwan in December is so mild that you can eat ice cream outside on a sunny day, but if you stay indoors or it rains, your body will get cold at once. Many students came to visit the GJO this month, so it was nice to have only a short time to shiver in the cold.

Students who finished the midterm exams came to ask me about what they didn't understand or what they got wrong. Most of them were mistakes with Japanese particles. When I support Taiwanese learners of Japanese, I notice that they don't make many mistakes in vocabulary and grammar. It is difficult to explain the differences in particles, so I always refer to the textbooks in the office or look them up on the Internet.

Graduate students preparing for their midterm reports or their master’s theses also came. They shared their worries about their master’s thesis. I was in the same situation, so we comforted each other.

There was a student from the Department of Information Management who came to the GJO for the first time after seeing the GJO flyer on the Japanese language department’s website. They had happened to see a YouTube video and wanted to know if the creator of the video was Japanese or Taiwanese. We watched the YouTube video together, but since there was no audio and only subtitles, we couldn't figure out if it was a Taiwanese person who spoke good Japanese or a Japanese person who dared to use slightly different Japanese. Whatever the case may be, I’m glad that students who are not Japanese language majors are interested in the Japanese language.

Some students from the Japanese language department came to interview us for their final presentations. The students were wondering whether they should go back to their hometowns to work or go to graduate school after graduation. One student wanted to study Japanese-Chinese translation at a graduate school in Japan, so we looked around for schools, but it seems that there are few graduate schools in Japan that specialize in translation. In Taiwan, Fu Jen Catholic University has a graduate department specializing in Japanese-Chinese translation where you can also study law and medical translation.

Lastly, I would like to introduce the reindeer that were displayed in the university library. In Taiwan, even after Christmas is over, Christmas songs are still played in the supermarkets, and Christmas decorations are still in place until the Lunar New Year arrives. I wish you all good health and happiness in the coming year from a still bustling Taiwan.

November Activity Report

30 November 2021
Global Japan Office Coordinator

The winter season has finally arrived in Taiwan. The day of the first day of winter was just a Sunday, and on my friends' Instagram, I saw them enjoying a delicious meal with their families or going to a hot spring. After this day, it became much more like winter.

This time of year in Taiwan, hot and cold days come and go, so every day I would check the weather forecast to see what the temperature would be and decide what to wear. There were days when short sleeves were fine, but there were also days when a coat was not enough.

In Taiwan, where winters are short, there are basically no heaters in houses or schools, so there are not many ways to keep warm, and the GJO Tamkang office doesn't get much sun, so we shiver in the cold when the students don't come.

During the midterm exam period, I didn't see any students on campus, so I responded to e-mail inquiries from students. One of the students in the Chinese department was taking an advanced Japanese class as an elective and contacted me to correct her self-introduction.

In addition, this month I mainly corrected the presentation manuscripts of the graduate students of the Department of Japanese Language who are about to give their concept presentations. Correcting Japanese manuscripts always feels like a test of my Japanese vocabulary. The meaning is correct, but when I look at the overall balance of the text, I find parts that don't feel right, so I try to think of ways to replace them with native-like language.

We also talked about recent Taiwanese movies. Every year around this time in Taiwan, there is a film award ceremony called the Golden Horse Festival and Awards. I talked with Taiwanese students about the current status of Taiwanese films, such as what kind of films are nominated and which ones are attracting attention. I was busy working on my master's thesis this year, so I was only able to see a few of the films before the awards ceremony, but they were all of a high level, and I hope to see more Taiwanese films in the future.

The professor who teaches the Taiwanese history class that I am auditing brought coffee to the GJO. The professor has been bringing me snacks from time to time since we happened to meet in front of our office and talked about the GJO's activities.

I want not only students but also teachers from other departments to know more about GJOs.

October Activity Report

31 October 2021
Global Japan Office Coordinator

As of October, the university is offering classes in a hybrid format that combines online and offline courses. In the beginning, there was a limit on the number of people who could enter the classroom, and the days to go to school were divided according to whether the attendance number is odd or even. From the middle of the month, this limitation got eased, and from November, classes will be completely offline. As cases of Covid-19 continues to be zero, the number of people who enjoy eating with friends and going far away has increased. The GJO office also responded to the students' consultations about Japanese language while taking measures against infection.

A master's student in the Japanese language department is taking a teaching practice class while writing a thesis. While reading a text about Japanese language education, they exchanged opinions on how to conduct classes.

An undergraduate student in the Japanese language course seemed to be in a lot of trouble when he got a homework assignment to write down more than 20 designated grammatical expressions from Japanese novels. He was delighted to find just the right novel in the GJO office.

This month, students not only in the Japanese language department but also in other departments visited my office. A student in the department of Chemistry, a regular visitor to the GJO, came along with a student in the department of Information management. They met in the chat section of the international center on campus. I asked the new student where he had studied Japanese because his pronunciation is beautiful and he can answer correctly. I was surprised to hear that he had never studied Japanese at school or cram school and had learned by watching anime. I've been listening to Chinese on the radio and TV for a long time, but I can't quite reach the native level, so why can't I? ...I was a little depressed. He said that he would like to work in Japan in the future if he has a chance.

Then, a student from TUFS came all the way to our GJO office. While I was picking her up at the bus stop, I went to a restaurant near Tamkang University and took out some Douhua to eat at the office. There are many delicious restaurants around the University, so I'm glad she enjoyed it. We had a great time talking about Taiwan's delicious food. After I showed her around the campus a little, we went around historical sites near Tamsui Station. I took her to Ma zhu Miao, Longshan temple, and Mackay Memorial Museum, looking back on the history of freshwater that thrived as a port city.

In addition, I received a call from a student of TUFS who was looking for a language exchange partner, and I searched for a student in the Japanese language department of Tamkang University who was interested in a language exchange. A Taiwanese girl who comes to my office often these days said she would love to do it, and I was going to introduce to her, but she said she had already found someone else, so it was a pity this time. I think language exchange is a very good system because if you find a compatible person, you can learn realistic expressions that you cannot learn in textbooks, and you can form a friendship between people who have the same sense of purpose. I also have been exchanging languages with Taiwanese student whom my school introduced me to when I first came to Taiwan. We became a good friend, as my best friend would say.

If I have a next chance, I would like to help the students of TamKang University and the students of TUFS get to know each other.

September Activity Report

30 September 2021
Global Japan Office Coordinator

I heard that classes would start in the latter half of September and we can enter the literature building after 22nd, but in the end, the whole school had online classes for the first week and we couldn’t enter the office. Since the last week of September, online and offline hybrid classes has started and the school building has opened. Since May, I have been able to work in the GJO office for the first time in a while. The internet environment is better than at home, so it is very helpful to consult Japanese in zoom smoothly.

Two undergraduates came to the GJO for Japanese language counseling after reading the Japanese language department's website. In the past, I've mostly dealt with people on a one-on-one basis, but it's fun to have friends come together so that we can talk about various topics and have a lively conversation. One of them had a very high level of Japanese and hardly made any mistakes with her accent. She had originally been scheduled for an internship in Japan, but it was cancelled due to Covid-19. Since she is a fourth year student, she didn't have many classes and was looking for an opportunity to speak Japanese, so she was very happy to have a place like GJO. The other student, who will have to take the N1 exam in December according to the school's regulations, did not seem very confident about her Japanese ability. In the first session, we talked about a simple self-introduction, hobbies and local food.

The second meeting was at the beginning of the new school year, so they reviewed what they had studied in class and taught me various Chinese words that are not found in Japanese. For example, "拖延症" may seem like a disease at first glance, but it is a new word to describe a person's inability to get on with things. In Japanese, it means a habit of procrastination. One of the students, who is fluent in Japanese, also translates lyrics as a hobby, so it was very interesting to discuss how to translate such a special word. Other than that, I had a student read past questions of N1 and tested whether she understood the meaning correctly. She doesn't have much time, so I hope she will study hard every day and gain confidence before the exam. She said she would like to continue coming to GJO in the future, so I will support her well.

Next month, we will be recruiting students for the fall semester's remote Japanese language education classes requested by Prof. LIN Chunchen.

August Activity Report

31 August 2021
Global Japan Office Coordinator

I couldn't enter the literature building again this month, so I conducted our activities online. In order to increase the number of people accessing, I set a longer time online, but I was disappointed that it did not increase as much as expected. So, I asked my classmates to publicize the event and asked my teacher of Japanese department to hand out flyers. I talked with them about the future activities of GJO, and I decided to be in charge of Japanese language training for the master's students from next month.

I talked with the master's students with Zoom about the progress of her thesis and how to spend the summer vacation. On the day when the undergraduates came, we talked about Covid-19 in Japan and about the Olympics.

On August 25, for the first time since May 9, there were no new cases on the mainland. There are signs that the pandemic is ending. I feel relieved to know that the classes would open on campus as usual.

Also, domestic vaccination has started, and more of my friends are getting vaccinated. I can't get the vaccine I want yet, so I'm more careful than anyone else when I go out.

In September, I will start our activities at the Literature Building, and I would like to make efforts to prevent infection by recording the contact information of students who come to the room, and thoroughly disinfecting the room with alcohol and replacing the air when they leave.

Advertising flyers for August

July Activity Report

31 July 2021
Global Japan Office Coordinator

The alert level, which has extended since May 19, will be lowered to Level 2 on July 27, as the infection situation in the whole island of Taiwan is settling down. There were days this month when the number of cases per day was in the single digits, and it seems that the government and people's efforts have kept the epidemic to a minimum. Another strengths of Taiwan is the close proximity between the government and the people, as shown by the employees of the Health Bureau who sincerely convey information to the public at their regular daily press conferences.

After the alert level was lowered, I went to the university to check on the office, but the campus buildings were still gated off and could not be accessed without a key card. It looks like we won't be able to do anything in the office until the new semester.

I used the room function on Facebook to interact with students. One student in the Japanese language department was almost unable to get out of bed for several days after get a vaccine. In Taiwan, people can now register for the vaccine online, not only for the elderly but also for younger people. There is still a shortage of the vaccine, and those who are middle-aged or have underlying diseases are given priority. It seems that it will take a long time for me to get a vaccine.

We discussed Japanese proverbs and idioms and Chinese idioms. One student who studied a lot of Japanese proverbs and idioms as an undergraduate said she was happy when she wrote a proverb on her Twitter account for practicing Japanese. She was surprised when I told her that Japanese people don't use proverbs much in daily conversation, although she often hears Chinese idioms used in everyday life.

I also corrected the students' papers. I did it with students sharing the screen online. There were few big mistakes, the student tends to write one sentence very long, so I revised it to make it as easy to read as possible while confirming the meaning of Chinese. The content was about modern Taiwanese literature, and I learned a lot about literary works I didn't know. Li Qinfeng (Li Kotomi), who was the first Taiwanese to win the Akutagawa Prize, is still fresh in my memory, and I hope Taiwanese literature will remain popular in Japan.

June Activity Report

30 June 2021
Global Japan Office Coordinator

Covid-19 alert level 3, which began on May 15, was originally scheduled to end on May 28, but as the situation did not improve, it was extended to June 28, and was recently extended to July 12. However, the situation is changing and the number of cases is decreasing every day. It has remained in the double digits. When I go out for shopping, I feel that there are more people than before.

There are no restrictions on going to work or school, but the Literature Department, which has the GJO Tamkang office, has been unable to enter freely. Last year, some students came to my office even during summer vacation, so I'm frustrated that I can't welcome any students this year. I hope we will allowed to use the office in July.

I was asked to correct a report written jointly by a first year master's student and an undergraduate student in the Japanese language department. It was written based on an interview with a history researcher living in Tamsui. In the report, there was a description that "Cicadas was singing, ‘Mee Mee.’" “Mee Mee” sounds like a kitten and very cute. When Japanese people talk about the chirping of cicadas, they probably express "Miin Min Min" and "Gee Gee". When I was researching the sound of cicadas, there was a onomatopoeic called "tsukutsukuboshi". When I listen to the actual sound, it always sounds like "Pyurururu Le Bossi" to me ... By the way, you can also hear the sound of cicadas in Taiwan. There is a big forest near my house, and when I hear the sound of cicadas coming from there, I feel like I am in Japan.

I also wondered how to write proper nouns that are not officially translated into Japanese, such as names of buildings and works. In the end, I read English in katakana. It was very fun to learn the difference between Japanese and Chinese. I tried to hold a lecture event called "Japanese Traditional Performing Arts Primer Noh" on June 30, but no one came on the day. I think it was probably not good to hold it in the morning. I will hold the same event in July as I was asked to hold it again from those who wanted to participate in the event.

May Activity Report

31 May 2021
Global Japan Office Coordinator

I expected that students would visit the GJO office more often than usual since the mid-term exam is originally held in late May. However, the infection of the aviation pilot in the beginning of May triggered the spread of Covid-19 in Taiwan, and currently (5/31) approximately 400 people are confirmed infected every day. At the moment, the mental burden is still light because the government's quick response and information is available at regular daily press conferences, but there are some news such as some people who refuse to wear masks and act violently, and cases where infected people injure nurses, which make me think that people have no time in their heart.

Tamkang University decided to have two weeks of online classes on May 15. At this stage, students were free to go in and out of the campus building, and the teachers also distributed lessons from classrooms. Shortly thereafter, it was decided that all classes would be conducted online until the end of this semester, and only those with registered student IDs would be allowed to enter the Literature Department building.

I asked the educational affairs division to register my ID because there was a time when I couldn’t get out of the building in the past when working after the closing time. However, they said that only students of Literature center can be to register. I don't know yet if I'll be able to get into the office during the summer vacation, but anyway, given the large number of students leaving Tamsui and returning to their hometown, I would like to strengthen my the online exchanges.

I gave a workshop of “ Kyo-Kotoba (Kyoto dialect)“ on FB on May 31. (I originally wanted to use zoom, but it is not recommended in Taiwan.)

A total of seven instructors and students from the Japanese language department gathered. First, I explained briefly about Kyo-kotoba. I didn't know that, but Kyo-kotoba is divided into several origins, and there is a difference between the words used in Kyoto Imperial Palace and the words used in the town. I personally found it interesting that there are subtle differences in nuance depending on the occupation.

Each of them practiced Kyo-kotoba, focusing on simple greetings such as "Ohayo", "Konnichiwa" and "Sayonara". When Japanese who are not from the Kansai region imitate the Kansai dialect, it is unnatural in many cases. However, the Taiwanese students seemed to have good ears and were able to sense and repeat the unique slow and subtle intonation of the Kyoto dialect.

There were a lot of slides, including quizzes on the characteristics of the Kyoto people and how to read difficult place names, but in the end, we ran out of time.

The students who participated in the workshop commented that they had a lot of fun studying because they usually don't have many opportunities to experience Japanese dialects.

Students’ response was better than I had imagined, and some students who were absent at this time said they would like to participate again if they have a chance, so I would like to hold such an event in June. My plan is to focus on the theme of Noh, a traditional Japanese performing art.

April Activity Report

30 April 2021
Global Japan Office Coordinator

Water shortage continues even in April, and they are calling for water conservation in daily news. I talked with the students that this water shortage happened because the typhoon had not come last year, but other than that, there seem to be a lot of problems related to water, such as water leakage due to aging dam facilities and water pipes, and people waste water without saving much because water is too cheap. It's true that the water bill in Taiwan is about 400 yen a month, which is much cheaper than in Japan. I reflected on the fact that I was wasting water.

A Japanese language student came to GJO to prepare for the mid-April midterm exam. The test was not conducted as a group, but as a one-on-one test with the teacher, and the students talked using the grammar they learned in the textbook. When the student first came, she didn't bring me a textbook, so I didn't really understand the form of the test. I didn't know how to practice, so I was a little troubled, but she brought me a textbook for the second time, so it became easier to practice. It was about introducing her family and friends to people in different positions. In Japanese, we need to choose the appropriate language depending on our position and situation. Even if it is a simple conversation, it seems to be difficult for Japanese learners.

The instructor of the Japanese Language Department brought an invitation to the graduation performance of the Japanese Language Department next month. At the Japanese Language Department of Tamkang University, they perform plays of Japanese language every year. I was invited because I had helped the class at the end of last year. I'm looking forward to seeing the students grow up.