France Salon: Board Games – フランスサロン「ボードゲーム」

On May 24th I opened the third session of my France Salon series. I didn’t plan a lecture and discussion this time, but instead a gaming session where people could play French board games, learn some basic French words and sentences to use in the games and interact with each other while having fun.

I asked a friend of mine who previously worked as a CIR in Tochigi and is now teaching in a university in Kyoto to lead the event, given his knowledge of French and Japanese game culture, on top of being a French language teacher.


Board GamesWe had 16 people total in the event, coming from all different kinds of backgrounds such as elderly people who came as a group of friends, university students and working people. We divided them into 3 groups according to their French proficiency level. I was in charge of the group who could not speak French (or complete beginners) and the teacher took the other 2 groups with intermediate French speakers in charge, and we all played different games.


Board GamesI first introduced the culture of board games in France very shortly. Indeed, we play board games from when we are small children until the day we die! The English language uses the term “board games” but we have a wider term for them, “jeux de societe” meaning “societal games” because they bring whole families, friends and acquaintances together in a fun game. Therefore, we don’t only enjoy board games (with a so-called board) but also card games, role-playing games, strategy games etc.

Even with the economic crisis going on, the societal games industry in France is still thriving. Why? Because at times where money is hard to come around, the focus tends to switch from going out and traveling, back to the family and having fun while staying home. And what better than good board game parties with everybody?

ゲームを始める前に、フランスのボードゲーム文化を紹介しました。実はフランス人は生まれてから死ぬまでボードゲームで遊びますよ!英語と日本語では「ボードゲーム」を使いますが、フランス語では「Jeux de societe 社会的ゲーム」を使います。そのようなゲームのおかげで家族、友達、知り合いが集まるからです。従って、「社会的ゲーム」ではボードゲームだけではなく、カードゲーム、ロールプレーゲーム、戦略ゲームなど、種類がたくさんあります。


Playing "les 7 familles" 家族合わせで遊ぶ

Playing “les 7 familles”

The first 2 groups of French speakers started with “le jeu des 7 familles” or “the 7 families’ game”. You have to collect the cards of a whole family (mother, father, son, daughter and grandparents) by asking people if they have them. The one who completed the most families in the end wins. Participants learned family names and how to ask for something in French with this game.

They then did a game of Dixit, where one has to describe a picture card and the others have to guess which card it was originally when confronted with a choice of cards later.

フランス語中級の2つのグループは「Le jeu des 7 familles – 家族合わせ」と言うカードゲームから始めました。他の人に聞きながら家族のカード(両親、子供、祖父母)を全員揃え、家族をたくさん揃えた人が勝ちます。そのゲームで参加者は家族の名前とお願いの仕方をフランス語で習いました。


My group couldn’t speak French at all so we started easy with a game of Ouga Bouga. It’s a memory game where people have to say the sound written on the cards as they are shown, and remember the correct order as the game continues.
The cards use some sounds in the French language which do not exist in Japanese such as “arrr” or “glou” for example so it was a nice warming up game.

Our second game was the Shrimp Game, where you have to find the similarities between 3 cards with shrimps of various sizes, nationalities, color or number. Once you find the similarity, you have to hit the mayonnaise pot and announce it, so my group learned how to say some numbers, colors and sizes in French. I was very proud of them because their accent got better and better and they could say the words and the sentences fluently by the end.

It was a very fun day and very rewarding to see everybody having fun and slowly mastering some parts of the French language. See you later for the next France Salon!

Explaining the rules ルールを説明する

Explaining the rules

私のグループはフランス語入門や話せない人達のグループだったので、「Ouga Bouga」というゲームから始まりました。メモリーゲームであり、どんどんカードを重ねて、カードに書いてある発音を正しい順番で言うゲームです。発音の中で「Arr」や「Glou」など、日本語にないフランス語の発音がたくさんありましたのでスタートとして良い練習になったと思います。



Izumo Flower Dance Festival 出雲風流花祭躍り

On April the Hanashizume Festival was held as Izumo Jingu Shrine. As part of the Festival Exchange Program organised by the Kameoka International Exchange Association exchange students from universities in Kyoto came to participate in the festival. The festival is to pray for the plague to go away and stop from spreading.


From ancient times, it was said that the plague will start spreading once the flowers start to die. This festival is for stopping the spreading of the plague.


We were able to see the Izumofuryu Flower Dance and enjoy the atmosphere of the festival.


Study Abroad in Europe Fair - 欧州留学フェア

On May 18th, I participated in the Study and Research in Europe Fair, and I got to help at the booth of Campus France, a French government agency which encourages those in higher education to study abroad in France. The fair was organized both in Tokyo and Kyoto and I helped with the Kyoto event.

A lot of universities from all over Europe participated in the event. We had representatives from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.

Europe fair5月18日(日)に欧州留学フェア2014年に参加し、キャンパスフランスのブースで仕事をしました。キャンパスフランスと言うのはフランス政府留学局であり、フランスへの留学を推進する公式機関です。

Booth of Toulouse University トゥールーズ大学のブース

Booth of Toulouse University

French universities and business schools were there too, catering to a broad range of students and specialties. Famous schools such as HEC or ESSEC for business and Sciences Po for political studies were present, and we got two universities coming from Lyon and Toulouse.

The French higher education system is very different to the Japanese one, with the ranking of private business schools and universities being reversed, and with universities fees being very cheap compared to those in Japan for example.

The Campus France booth was in charge of providing general information about scholarships, procedures before leaving, and French language schools and programs etc.
A lot of people seemed to be interested in studying in France because we sometimes had a queue of people waiting for counseling with the staff.

フランスの大学とビジネススクールもブースを出し、学生の様々なプロジェクトとそれぞれの専攻に対応しました。ビジネススクールで有名なHECやESSEC学校及び政治学で有名なSciences Po学院がいれば、リヨン市とトゥールーズ市の大学も出席しました。


Mayumaro at the French Institute's booth まゆまろがアンスティチュ・フランセのブースで相談

Mayumaro at the French Institute’s booth

In the afternoon we even got a visit from Mayumaro, Kyoto Prefecture’s official mascot, and he was immediately surrounded by rows of fan wanting a picture with him (me included).
I’m sure he wants to go to France as well because I spotted him asking for information at the French Institute booth!


Together with Mayumaro in front of the Campus France booth キャンパスフランスのブースとまゆまろと写真を撮る

Together with Mayumaro in front of the Campus France booth

On that day, we had more than 600 people visit the fair and I got to interact with a wide range of Japanese students, all with different kind of projects and backgrounds but all with the same interest in France and its culture. I was really glad to give an insight into French university life, and I hope they will be able to carry on their projects in France and become bridges between Japan and my home country too.


New CIR in Maizuru – 舞鶴市の新しい国際交流員

We are happy to welcome the new CIR of Maizuru to this blog and Kyoto Prefecture!
You can read more about her and her love for Maizuru here:


舞鶴市の国際交流員、崔銘哲(さい・めいてつ) Cui Mingzhe, CIR in Maizuru

Cui Mingzhe, CIR in Maizuru