2022 Activity Report

March Activity Report

31 March 2023
Global Japan Office Coordinator

In March, I can feel the arrival of spring through the climate and the life style in Taiwan. In Japan, although the cold has begun to ease up, the cold weather is likely to stay with us for a while. Compare to Japan, with sunny days averaging around 20 degrees Celsius every day, the weather has remained warm and comfortable here, and we can travel regardless of the weather. I think March is the best season to travel in Taiwan.

What strikes me in March is that Taiwan, known as the fruit kingdom, seems to have a huge increase in varieties of fruit. The fruit called “sugar apple”, which is known as the "ice cream of the forest," is in season. Not only fruit shops in the city, but many shrines and parks all over Taiwan are selling this fruit, and I can feel the passion of Taiwanese for fruits every day.

The famous fruit in Taiwan is mango, but the taste of sugar apple is also excellent, so I recommend you to try it when you visit Taiwan.

As for what happened in the campus this month, while many students have postponed or cancelled their study abroad programs due to the impact of the Covid-19, the restrictions on entry into Japan have been eased since March 20, 2023, and many are considering studying in Japan again. However, I feel that there are many students who are thinking about studying abroad, but are feeling anxious being not sure of how to plan for it because of the impact of Covid-19. To support those students to relieve their vague anxiety about studying abroad, I talked to two students who wanted to study in Japan, based on my experience of studying abroad.

In these days, when international exchange has gradually got more active while the pandemic of Covid-19 is getting calmed down, I hope that universities will reconsider how to conduct their study abroad programs, and that the "cross-border learning" of international students will become more active.

February Activity Report

28 February 2023
Global Japan Office Coordinator

As February arrives and the new academic year begins, the weather in Taiwan is getting warmer and warmer. This year in Taiwan, as in Japan, the weather has been colder than usual, with some days below 10 degrees Celsius. As it enters the end of February, however, the weather is returning to the comfortable and pleasant feeling of spring in Japan.

Now that February has arrived, Taiwan is in the middle of the Chinese New Year, and the Lantern Festival (the last day of the Chinese New Year) was celebrated on February 5, 2023. Stores in the city began to reopen for business, and temples and shrines in various parts of the city were overflowing with worshippers, making it hard to visit there to pray. Many other places such as night markets, downtown, Taipei 101, and museums have also reopened for business, so you need not worry about not being able to go anywhere when you visit for sightseeing.

Regarding the situation on campus this month, as we enter the new school year after the Chinese New Year, I have a feeling that more and more Tamkang University students are coming to me every day to ask for corrections of their Japanese language study plans for studying abroad or to ask questions about my experience studying in Taiwan. I am happy to see that after more than three years of the Covid-19 Disaster, the restrictions on studying abroad have finally been eased and the "study abroad environment between Taiwan and Japan" is gradually returning.

In the future, in addition to establishing a system for prompt contact with Taiwanese students who wish to study in Japan, I will try hard to share more of my experiences of studying in Japan, provide more support in preparing documents in Japanese, and work to help those students to relieve their anxiety.

January Activity Report

31 January 2023
Global Japan Office Coordinator

Happy New Year! The final examination period at Tamkang University has ended in January, and the winter vacation have started from the middle of this month.

In Taiwan, people have a New Year’s holiday for about two weeks from late January to February every year as a winter holiday including the Chinese New Year holidays. On January 1st, there are countdown events at each city to celebrate the coming year. The Taipei 101 is especially famous for its countdown fireworks, a popular event that attracts huge crowds in the area several hours before the fireworks begin. I also enjoyed the fireworks with my classmates. However, the next day, I did not go on New Year's vacation, but began my final report, which was somewhat discouraging to me as a Japanese.

From late January, the day before the Chinese New Year’s Eve (January 21st), a nine-day vacation started and there was a rush to return home throughout Taiwan. Not only was it difficult to obtain tickets for various types of transportation, but road traffic was jammed, making travel very difficult and taking twice as long as usual. As the hotel rates are more expensive than usual and most of the stores, restaurants, food carts, banks and post offices are closed, I stayed at home every day. So, I recommend you to avoid traveling to Taiwan or visiting universities at this time of the year.

Regarding what happened at GJO this month, I heard that some students at Tamkang University were thinking about studying in Japan in the future, so I contacted them, talked my experience of studying abroad in Taiwan and gave them some advice about the living in Japan. They also said they were interested in TUFS, so I gave them some materials of TUFS.

In the past few month, as we have been recovering from the spread of Covid-19, I have seen a great increase in the number of Tamkang University students who are aiming to study abroad. Therefore, I would like to put more effort than ever before into supporting Taiwanese students who wish to study in Japan.

December Activity Report

31 December 2022
Global Japan Office Coordinator

It is now December, and the weather, which was still warm in November, has suddenly turned cold.

The weather has been around 15c every day, which is as comfortable as autumn for Japanese people, and even when I am wearing a long-sleeved shirt, Taiwanese people who are not used to cold weather dress in midwinter clothes, and I ask them every day, "aren't you cold? Be careful not to catch a cold!"

Taiwanese people seem very sensitive to the cold, and my friends who used to go out every day are now relaxing at home since they cannot go out due to the cold weather.

Compared to Japan, where many events are held in the winter, and people spend a lively time outside, the streets of Taiwan are quiet, and locals have a Chinese expression, "Taiwanese people hibernate during this season."

This month in Taiwan is also the only season the entire city was abuzz with activity during election campaigns.

Not only the candidates but also their supporters were campaigning in unison like a march, and every day as I walked down the street, my eyes were glued to them. In Taiwan, voter turnout is extremely high, and some of my friends traveled by bullet train for more than five hours to vote.

Election campaigning seems to be "the most important day" for Taiwanese people, which is different from Japan where low voter turnout is a hot topic in every election; I was reminded of the importance of election campaigning.

Regarding the GJO's activities, I first contacted the Japanese students to discuss their concerns about their daily lives and university classes, and I offered them my experiences and advice based on my five years of study in Taiwan.

Next, I attempted to organize a language exchange meeting on Japanese at Tamkang University, but, unfortunately, I could not gather any participants due to final examinations this month.

Next month, we will try to hold an online event so students can easily participate.

November Activity Report

30 November 2022
Global Japan Office Coordinator

In November, temperatures that used toremain at 30 degrees Celsius at all times suddenly droped to 20 degrees Celsius or lower for days. I feel that winter has finally arrived in Taiwan. October is the most comfortable season in this hot and humid Taiwan. It is neither cold nor hot, with low humidity and little rain. Therefore, I recommend that you come to Taiwan in November.

It has been four months since I started my studies at Tam kang University. The wonderful natural view of the campus and the pleasant weather make me feel very energetic and motivated to do my best for the day when I arrive at school every morning.

I previously attended the National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei City for four years. Comparing the school life of the two universities, I felt that Tam kang University is located far away from the entertainment facilities in the city, so the students can concentrate on their studies. I realized that the good quality of its environment.

By the way, as for activity report about the GJO, to be honest, I began to grope my on way. First and foremost, I focused on spreading the information about GJO to current students at Tam kang University and foreign students studying in Taiwan. So I sent out emails to each of them and created electronic posters for publicity at the university.

Although I have not been able to interact with many students so far, I will continue to publicize GJO to plan more events next month.

July Activity Report

31 July 2022
Global Japan Office Coordinator

Summer is in full swing. Just going out for a short while makes us sweat without stopping. The high temperature the other day was 38 degrees Celsius, but in Taiwan, where humidity is high, the temperature felt is over 40 degrees. The GJO office is open from 9:00 to 13:00, when the temperature is not yet high, but it was still hard to walk outside, and there were few people on campus, too. Since Tamkang University is located far from the station and on top of a hill, the university and the surrounding area are instantly deserted during long vacations.

This month, our activities were mainly online: on the GJO Tamkang Facebook page, we shared Japanese news and gave word exercises. There were views but not many reactions.

I conducted a survey on Japanese language learning materials at universities in Taiwan. I found that there are a total of 43 universities in Taiwan where students can study Japanese. This was more than I had imagined. I looked at the websites of the Japanese language departments of all the universities and found that all of them had well-developed curricula.

At the end of March, a student, a first-year master's student, contacted me to practice Japanese via ZOOM, but unfortunately, our time did not match.

I will be returning to Japan next month, so my activity diary will end this month. While working as the coordinator of GJO, I have met many excellent Taiwanese students, and I have been greatly influenced by them. The GJO office will be closed for the month of August. I hope that many students will continue to visit the GJO Tamkang office and that it will continue to be a place where students can enjoy studying Japanese.

June Activity Report

30 June 2022
Global Japan Office Coordinator

The first half of this year has been damp and gloomy, but the long Taiwanese summer has arrived, with sunshine so strong that we forget all about it. In Taiwan, it is said that summer arrives in earnest after the Dragon Boat Festival. During the Festival, people eat zongzi, rice dumplings, decorate the entrance of their homes with wormwood and Japanese iris, and dragon boat races are held. It is one of the most important festivals for Taiwanese people who love to spend time together as a family.

Zongzi differs in cooking method and taste depending on the region, and each region seems to be particular about the taste. I received an e-mail from a master's degree student in the Japanese language department asking me, "Which zongzi do you prefer, the southern or the northern?" I did not know where he was from, so I answered, "I like both," to which he replied, "You are a pacifist.” Apparently, every year there is a debate about which region has the best zongzi. The northern region puts the filling into cooked rice and steams it, while the southern region puts the filling into raw glutinous rice and boils it in water. The northern version is more flavorful, while the southern version is glutinous and sweet. During this time of year, my refrigerator is filled with the pomelo and zongzi from Taiwanese friends.

Although there are many fun events, June is also the time for final exams and graduation theses, and students and teachers are very busy. There was also a plenary presentation by a fourth-year undergraduate students in the Department of Japanese, whose thesis I had previously corrected, but I was unable to attend because I was also about to take the oral examination for my master's thesis. I gave a little advice online to third-year master's students by correcting their master's theses and participating in their oral examination practice, but no students actually came to my office this month.

On a personal note, it was decided that I will graduate after this semester and will be returning to Japan in August. Although GJO Tamkang is not that big, it took me a while to explain workflow and the equipment left behind by the previous senior students.

Next month, due to the summer vacation, we will have a period of time when we cannot enter the office, but we plan to actively interact with the students online.

One of the customs of Dragon Boat Festival is "立蛋". It is said that if you put up an egg at noon on Dragon Boat Festival, you will live happily for the whole year.

May Activity Report

31 May 2022
Global Japan Office Coordinator

The online class that started last month was originally scheduled for two weeks, but due to the spread of Covid-19, it has been extended until the end of this semester. Although many students were happy to be online, I will be graduating this semester, so I am disappointed that my last semester will be online. The school facilities are open, so activities at the GJO office can be conducted without problems. However, it rained heavily every day and there were many students who went back to their hometown, so less people came in and out in this month.

Continuing from last month, an undergraduate student, Mr.Y, came to our office to practice Japanese conversation. He wanted to practice free talk, so we talked using standard keywords such as food, tourist attractions, anime, manga, etc. as clues. The conversation sometimes came to a halt because the same content was repeated or the topic did not expand well. One of the most difficult moments for me personally while working at GJO is during free talk time. Some students who do not speak Japanese well could not respond to various questions, and became silent. On the other hand, some students were more likely to speak when I kept quiet and did not ask too many questions. My ability to respond was being tested.

Because GJO Tamkang's office is not very large, and because of Covid-19, students often visit the office alone. There are few people coming and going, and the office is not an open space, so students sometimes get nervous when talking one-on-one. I would like to develop a countermeasure so that students can relax and have a conversation with me.

Oral examinations for graduate students will begin soon, and we have received inquiries about Japanese-language corrections for master's theses. Ms. R, a student in the same grade as me, is writing her thesis on club activities. She is researching the history of club activities and the position of club activities in school life. As a graduate student, she rarely makes big mistakes in Japanese, so I revise a manuscript into more dissertatory phrases.

Then I interviewed candidates of next GJO coordinator. He has specialized in Japanese language education and is very interested in the collection of books in the office. I will be leaving Taiwan soon, and I hope that the GJO office will continue to be crowded with many students.

April Activity Report

30 April 2022
Global Japan Office Coordinator

Starting with the outbreak at the end of last month, new cases of Covid-19 in mainland Taiwan has been increasing daily; on April 28, the number of infected people per day exceeded 10,000 for the first time. This is said to be due in part to the reopening of entry from overseas for business purposes in March.

Previously, Taiwan had a zero-corona policy, but the rapid increase in the number of cases caused a switch to a with-corona policy. The requirement to wear masks in public places remains in place, but it is no longer necessary to scan QR codes when entering stores, schools, etc., and the quarantine period for close contact has been reduced.

At Tamkang University, classes with infected students were switched to online classes. I was glad to open the GJO office since it wasn’t a full lockdown, but only a few students came to the office because there were few people on campus.

This month, Mr. Y came to our office to correct the Japanese for his graduation project. His theme is a translation of a book on hamster breeding, and we first corrected grammar and vocabulary. For proper nouns and technical terms, we worked together while referring to a dictionary. Mr. Y, who loves to travel, started having hamsters recently, so he can't go on a trip easily. He happily told me about his life with his hamster. We also had a lot of fun talking about ramen shops in Taiwan and his trip to Japan.

Mr. Y was originally scheduled to study at a Japanese university as an exchange student, but it was cancelled because of Covid-19. He told me that he was glad to speak Japanese frankly at GJO office because at university lectures, he mainly just listens to teachers and does not have much time to speak.

I got good news from a student who used to come to GJO office. He got accepted into a graduate school specializing in Japanese-Chinese translation, which was his long-cherished dream. I was very happy to read his e-mail, "Thanks to Iwasawa-san, I was successfully accepted into a graduate school of translation”.

I don't know what the situation will be like next month, but if I can't open my office, I will continue to interact with students online.

Taiwan's national bird, the Yamamusume (Taiwan Blue Magpie), seen on the Tamkang campus. The season has come around again.