Hi everyone! My name is Adam Franklin, and I’m the new Coordinator for International Relations at the Kyoto Prefecture International Affairs Division. I’m taking over for my predecessor Maia Hall, and I’m very happy to be living and working here in Kyoto City!


Truth be told, I’ve lived in Kyoto City for the past 6 years as I did both my Bachelor’s and my Master’s at Rtisumeikan University. When applying for this position I expressed my hopes to stay here in Kyoto City, but never in my wildest dreams did I actually think that could become a reality!


I was born and raised in a small town called Denbigh, which is in the north of Wales, the UK. It’s a largely rural area with lots of castles and sheep, so moving to Japan and living in the big city has certainly been a change of pace for me.


A question I get asked a lot is why I chose to study at a Japanese University. I think the answer to that question ultimately lies in my thought process around about the time I was graduating high school. I didn’t have a domestic University that I strongly wanted to go to, nor did I have a subject that I desperately wanted to study. When I came across the idea of studying abroad, I thought that wouldn’t it be great to study in a foreign country and learn the language whilst earning my degree!


I scratched other European countries off the list of possible destinations as I was worried that the prevalence of English fluency among those countries would mean I wouldn’t be able to fully immerse myself in the local language. Following this logic, I decided to look at countries that had a language that was far removed from English, and the prevalence of English-speaking natives not being a given.


Asia in general was a big area for this, and specifically within Asia I started to look at China, South Korea and Japan. I was particularly interested in Japan after being exposed to so much Japanese pop-fiction while I was growing up. Growing up in the 90s and early 00s, I used to hear a lot about how advanced of a country Japan was, that they were supposedly decades ahead technology wise. Couple this with “cool” images of samurai and ninja I had in my head, it became cemented as a place I wanted to visit when I was older.


So now with the chance to live and study there, I became very eager. I applied to Ritsumeikan University and spent a lot of effort on my applications. I was selected for an interview, did the best I could and crossed my fingers in anticipation! Luckily, I was accepted, and thus began my 6-year University journey in Japan.


I started my language study from scratch when I came here, but after 6 years of study I had a strong enough understanding of the language to apply for the position of CIR, and here I am now! I love my job, and I’m incredibly happy that I can pursue this kind of work in the city of my beloved university days. Kyoto has well and truly become a second home for me, and I look forward to what the future might bring!


Goodbye for now, Kyoto! またね、京都!

Published by Maia Hall・マヤ ホール

Hi everyone! I’m sad to say that my time as a CIR for Kyoto Prefecture is coming to a close. I have made countless wonderful memories and met so many different people here over these two years, and for that I will be forever grateful.

Drinking matcha at Ginkakuji Temple!・銀閣寺での抹茶体験


Elementary school visit・小学校訪問

Some things I got up to during my time in Kyoto will stick with me in particular. With the Kyoto Prefectural International Affairs Division and Kyoto Prefectural International Center, I was involved in many different regional level sister-city events and projects. For example, I helped out with the Kyoto Infused with Tea Expo in 2017, attended by the Deputy Lord Provost of Edinburgh, which was a success! I attended various festivals and events specializing in the wonders of Kyoto, such as the Tomorrow’s Kyoto Festival and also worked with Keihanna Science City and getting involved in the fields of sustainability and smart city, something that really piqued my interest. I met, guided and interpreted for foreign officials and organizations from all over the world; helped residents with disaster preparedness, traffic and extreme weather safety; assisted international students and residents in Kyoto… the list goes on!

Intercultural communication workshop・異文化コミュニケーションワークショップ


Getting involved in the community by speaking at Pechakucha Night・Pechakuchaのイベントにスピーカーとして参加

Through KPIC, I am especially glad to have been able to run a number of intercultural understanding lectures, where I had the opportunity to interact and debate with diverse people from all over the prefecture. Some of the topics we covered include introducing the culture, history, and politics of Scotland; Easter festivities where we also did a traditional European activity of dyeing eggs with natural onion skin dyes; talking about the real Grimms’ Fairytales from Germany and how they relate to Japanese folklore and mythology, whilst making glass silhouette candle holders; and most recently, a lively workshop on intercultural communication and the many socio-anthropological theories and reasons behind these differences, and how we as individuals can help cross cultural boundaries to make for a more open society.

International understanding lecture・国際理解講座


Junior high school visit・中学校訪問

Living in Kyoto City has of course been incredible, but with the CIR role, I was also able to travel further afield, all around the whole of the beautiful prefecture that is Kyoto. I went on school visits where I felt like I was able to directly connect with and learn from the next generation of young people in Japan; helped out on tours; and worked at a kids’ English Camp! It really has been a blessing to see every corner of Kyoto Prefecture and know that it is not just the world-famous city that is so special.


At the top of Daimonji Hill in Kyoto City・京都市の大文字山の頂上
Junior high school visit・中学校訪問

As I prepare to continue my studies in Public Policy in Berlin from August (something I grew interested in through this position), all that remains is to say a huge thank you to all of my wonderful and supportive colleagues, both at the International Affairs Division and at KPIC, and the welcoming and enthusiastic people of Kyoto Prefecture who have made my stint as a CIR something I have learnt so much from, and of course, an absolute and unforgettable dream. ありがとうございます! I’ll be back!


Thanks for the Memories!最高の思い出をありがとう!

Hi! It’s me, Michelle, the Kameoka City CIR. I will be finishing up my term here at the end of June. When I think back on all the valuable experiences I’ve accumulated here, my heart becomes filled with deep gratitude. Thanks to all the people who looked out for me, I was able to lead a truly fruitful, fulfilling and blissful life in Kameoka.


The time I spent here is an irreplaceable treasure to me. I got to learn a little bit of calligraphy, traditional Japanese dance and kimono dressing. Work-wise, I did more than I ever thought possible and it has led to close friendships with amazing colleagues, fellow foreigners, citizens from sister and friendship cities and last but not least, kind local people. When I received my placement notice 4 years ago in May, I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would come to love Kameoka this much and that I would be so blessed in both my professional and personal life.


I also love Kameoka city itself. It is blessed with beautiful nature (Sakura Park during cherry blossom season and Kuwayama Shrine during fall), delicious food, and a great location. I remain ever so grateful and amazed that I got to enjoy gorgeous rural scenery on bike rides, hiking at the breathtaking Hozu valley, eating delicious traditional cuisine and cozy cafes (my favorite café in the world is Limone!) while being only a stone’s throw away from the famous Kyoto city.


Michelle at Limone
This place is so cozy and comfortable that I must have been here more than a hundred times!

Volunteering as a facilitator for the Powwow English Conversation session run by local citizen group Kyo-cro-cul was especially rewarding when I saw how enthusiastic and interested participants were to use and learn English. Learning about calligraphy, Japanese dance and kimono dressing allowed me to experience traditional Japanese culture up close and deepen my understanding of the intricacies behind each art.


Michelle Takarazuka
I fulfilled my dream of watching a Takarazuka show in Takazuka City thanks to a close friend whom I met in Kameoka!

Creating, planning and facilitating the Global Café sessions (organized by KIEA) brought me immense work satisfaction when I saw how happy participants and foreign guests were when interacting and exchanging cultures. I was initially intimidated and overwhelmed at first with business trips abroad. However, not only did I increase my professional competency once I overcame various challenges, I also formed close bonds with some wonderful and interesting people I met in the countries I visited.


Through my position at Kameoka City Hall and Kameoka International Exchange Association, I was given many chances to be actively involved in a variety of work from official visits and exchanges between sister and friendship cities, 2020 Tokyo Olympics related Host Town initiatives, to projects and newsletter editing work to promote international understanding amongst local citizens. Neither words nor pictures are enough to convey the diversity of experiences I was blessed with, so allow me to introduce some of these many experiences via the video below!


Thank you all for making me the person I am today. My next step takes me to Tokyo where I will be challenging myself on an entirely different stage. However, I hope to make similar connections in my new community by making full use of my experience as a CIR and to continue engaging in international exchange activities as I move forward.


おおきに、心の古郷、京都! A heartfelt thanks to you Kyoto, my second home


Alice from KPIC here! I will be finishing JET at the end of July. 5 years have passed so quickly, and it feels like I arrived just yesterday. This will be my last article on this blog.

中学校から日本好きな私は「いつか日本で働いて長く住みた いな」と思って、日本の自治体の国際化に貢献できるJETプログラムに申請しました。しかし、英語圏出身者の募集は毎年何千人もいるが、フランス人募集は 5名以下のに対して、応募は100人以上もいるという激しい競争率が現実です。ですから、合格した時には本当に夢が叶い、幸せの極みでした。

「国 際交流員の仕事は何?」とよく聞かれますが、今になってやっと答えが分かりました。「国際交流の何でも屋さん!」です。5年間の中で知事と首相レベルの通 訳、訪問団を迎える準備と同行、ミシュランシェフの付き合いなどという制度上のレベルで普段関われない仕事もあれば、住民に向けたワインセミナー、フラン ス伝統舞踊体験など、地域と深く関われる仕事もありました。

I have been in love with Japan since junior high, and it was one of my dreams to work and live in Japan, so applying to the JET Programme was only natural. Every year, thousands of people from English-speaking countries are recruited but only a few spots are available to French people, while hundreds apply each year. So when I got accepted, it was like a dream come true.

Interpreting for oyster farmers in Ine village 伊根町で牡蠣養殖業者同士の通訳も

Interpreting for oyster farmers in Ine village

People often ask me “What does a CIR do?”. After all these years, I think I finally have the answer: “A CIR is the jack-of-all-trades of internationalization”! In my 5 years, I did some work that usually fresh graduates don’t get to do such as interpreting for Kyoto Prefecture Governor and Prime Ministers meetings, welcoming delegations and accompanying them, working with Michelin star chiefs, but also work involving the Prefecture’s citizens and connecting with the community with events such as wine seminars and traditional French dance classes.

印 象に残った仕事は山ほどあります。大好きな京都府と南仏の地域を友好協力協定諸の調印で繋げて、アーティスト、高校生をはじめ、色々な当事者が交流できる 環境を作ったり、「フィールドトリップin京都府」で府内の市町村へ外国人住民を連れて、地域ならではの文化体験と住民との深い交流でお互いに豊かにな り、偏見と孤立感を解消し、地方振興に貢献する事業も担当したり、色々しました。全て知りたい!という人はセンターのHPで読んでくださいね。

Signing the friendship agreement 友好協力協定諸の調印

Signing the friendship agreement

Field Trips were awesome! 大好きだったフィールドトリップの仕事

Field Trips were awesome!

There is a mountain of things I will remember. I got to do many wonderful things, such as linking Kyoto and my native southern France together through a friendship agreement, creating many ties between the two regions thanks to artists and students exchanges, or creating links between international and local residents through Field Trip programs across the whole of Kyoto Prefecture, breaking down stereotypes and isolation, and contributing to local areas. Look at the Center’s website to check everything I did!


ま ずは、学校訪問。国際交流員として府内の小・中・高校で授業をする機会がありました。日本の学校はよくアニメやドラマに出ているので、実際に行って、学生 と交流して、本当に暖かい思い出が盛り沢山。特に、素直な日本人小学生に何度も感動しました。彼らの声は今でもずっと響きます:「ええええ」(フランスの 文化に対するビックリ声)、「メルシー」(フランス語を一生懸命習ってくれた姿)、「先生!」(発表の途中でも質問をする好奇心)。それから、訪問後の手 紙で涙を何度もこぼした「フランス語を習う!」「世界に出たくなった!」「無意識な偏見を意識する!」。未来を作る次世代の視野を広めて、光栄です。皆さ ん、世界の色々な架け橋になってください。私もみんなの笑顔で頑張れます。

Dancing with the kids 子どもとフランスの鴨踊りを踊る

Dancing with the kids

There are two times when I felt that my work was truly meaningful and that I really contributed to the community.

Alice6First, school visits. I got to visit elementary, junior and high schools and do classes there. Japanese schools often appear in dramas or anime, so actually being a part of them and meeting the students are some of the best memories I made. I still hear the students’ voices: “Whaaaat” (when hearing about French culture), “Merci!” (their remembering of French), “Teacher!” (when interrupting the presentation to ask more out of insatiable curiosity). Their letters often got me tearful too: “I want to learn French!”, “I want to see the world!”, “I will be careful of stereotypes!”. It was an honor to broaden their horizons. I hope they build tomorrow’s peaceful world. I will take your smiles with me from now on.

それから、私は「よさこいで燃え尽きる者」とよく同僚に呼ばれています。来日してすぐに、「颯戯 FUJA」という京都のよさこいチームに入って、全国のお祭りに参加して、ある祭りではチームをまとめる役割もさせていただきました。ここでよさこいが 「超楽しい!」以外に、一番感動したのは「外国人」ではなく、「アリス」として受け入れてくれたことです。「日本では~」と言いながら、「私達日本人とあ なた」の壁を作らずに、同じ地域とチームの一人として見てくれたこと。多彩な国籍と人柄を全て「外国人」としてしか取り扱わない無意識な差別が多い日本 で、外国人住民の私がよく疲れていましたが、毎回チーム活動でリフレッシュして、刺激を貰い、仕事もプライベートも頑張れることができました。

名古屋のにっぽんど真ん中祭りに参加 Participating in the Domannaka Festival in Nagoya

Participating in the Domannaka Festival in Nagoya

Alice8My colleagues often call me “the Yosakoi girl”. As soon as I arrived in Kyoto, I joined my team, “FUJA”, and participated in lots of festivals around Japan. I even got to be team leader for one of them. Outside than Yosakoi being super fun, the thing that stood out the most is how everyone treated me as a member of the team and as myself, Alice, rather than “the foreigner”. They didn’t build walls between them and me. It’s easy to get tired in Japanese society where the diversity of non-Japanese are clustered into a big “foreigners” label only. Meeting with my team every week was so refreshing and gave me the energy to keep on living and working in Japan.



大原のおばあさんにフランス語を教えるお母さん My mom taught French to a shop owner in Ohara

My mom taught French to a shop owner in Ohara

メ ディア、テレビ番組、雑誌ではなく、自分自身で違う価値観、文化を感じて、理由を知るようにしてください。「異文化」は「海外」に限りませんよ。隣人、違 う仕事の人、県外の人なども「異文化」を持ちます。自分の文化や価値観と比較して、すぐ判断するのではなく、相手の話を直接聞いて、「外国人」「外の人」 ではなく、「その人」のことを理解しましょう。それから、機会があれば、世界に出て、自分が「マイノリティ」になる経験をしてください。そうすると、異文 化理解の上、自分のアイデンティティ、価値観と自信がしっかりします。豊かな人間になります。


Finally, here is my last lesson for you (because I’m a “teacher” now!)

First! “Make your own opinions yourself”.

大原女の行列に参加した! I became a Ohara girl!

I became a Ohara girl!

Experience different cultures and values first-hand and not through media such as magazines or TV. “Different” doesn’t automatically mean “foreign”. It can be your neighbor, people from different fields of work or regions etc. Don’t judge and compare from your own culture but listen to that person. Don’t treat them as “different” or “foreign” but as “this person in particular”. If you have the chance, live abroad and become a minority yourself. Not only will you understand other cultures and viewpoints better, but you will also get a new insight on your own values and identity. In a world where obscurantism, hatred and terrorism are on the rise, it’s our duty as citizens of the world. Reach out to others and build bridges instead of walls.


おおきに! Thanks Kyoto!

Thanks Kyoto!

京 都それから、日本で出会ったみなさんが、受け入れてくれたことに対して感謝。5年間でできた経験は人生で唯一のことばかりで、私を成長させ、豊かな人間に してくれました。過ぎ去った5年間を、京都府国際センターと京都府国際課、それから皆さんと一緒に過ごせたことはとても光栄なことで、私の次の職場や人生 の様々な場面で、心を温め、支えてくれる大切な思い出と力になると思います。これからも京都で冒険したり、よさこいを踊ったりするので、会ったら声をかけ てください!皆さん、心からおおきに!それから、またね!

Second! “A heartfelt thank you”!

次の冒険へ! On to the next adventure!

On to the next adventure!

All the people I met in Japan and Kyoto have welcomed me into their hearts and local communities, and I am so thankful for that. Everything I experienced in these 5 years has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience and helped me grow so much. It was an honor to work together with the people at the Center, the Prefectural Office and everyone I met, and these memories will be the strength that will support me in the next step and warm my heart on down days.

I will still enjoy Kyoto and dance Yosakoi here and there, so say hi if we meet! A big thank you and see you later!

Greetings from the CIR in Maizuru – 舞鶴市国際交流員の挨拶

July might be the month of farewell for a lot of us, but here is a new CIR introduction!
Meet Sun Yanan, the CIR in Maizuru. She arrived in April and will be staying one year. Go read her self introduction here:





Goodbye from Jake, CIR in Seika 精華町国際交流員ジェーク氏の退任の挨拶

Hey everyone!  I’m Jake, the CIR in Seika Town and this will be my final post on the Tabunka blog.

Jake last2Over the past two years I have met new people, tried new things and learned stuff about myself that I wouldn’t have if I had worked anywhere else.  I had a great time working in Seika and I am excited for the CIR who will be coming in August to take my place.

Seika is a beautiful town with warm, friendly people.  In the mornings when I walked to work, I would be greeted by all the little old ladies walking their dogs calling out “Good morning!” and in the evenings I would get a “Welcome home!” from the people tending their gardens and rice fields.  Sometimes, the kids from the nearby elementary school and junior high school would walk back with me or if they were feeling really brave try calling out to me in English.  It really made me feel like part of the community these past two years.

Jake last4Working as a CIR was also a wonderful experience and I had the opportunity to make some great friends and do some things that I never would have expected to do.  I remember barely even being there a month and been asked to visit Kameoka to dance in front of kids!  Every day I was doing something new and thanks to all of that I believe that I really grew as a person.

For the next couple of years, I plan to live here in Japan so I am sure I will be back to visit often, but even if I move away from Japan I know that I will always be able to come back to Seika!

Thanks for reading everyone! And make sure to watch for articles from my successor!


Jake lastこの2年間、私は新しい人と出会って、やったことないことをいっぱいやってみて、そして他の職場だとわからなかったであろう自分のことについて分かりました。私は精華町で働くのをとても楽しんでいて、次の国際交流員のが精華町がその同じことを経験できるのをとても嬉しく思っています。


Jake last3国際交流員として働くのもとてもいい経験で、いい友達もたくさんいっぱいできて、いつもやらないと思っていたことをいきなり仕事で体験しました。そうといえば任期の一カ月もたってなかった時に亀岡市に行って子どもの前で踊るイベントに参加したことを思い出します!毎日は新しいことをやっていたからそのおかげで本当に成長したと思います。



Goodbye from Brian, the CIR in Kizugawa 木津川市国際交流員ブライアン氏からの退任の挨拶

July marks the season where a lot of JET Programme participants are leaving and new ones coming. 3 CIRs participating in this blog will be leaving at the end of this month: the CIRs in Kizugawa (Brian), in Seika (Jake) and at the Kyoto Prefectural International Center (Alice).

Here are a few words from Brian.




Wow how time flies. Three years have passed since I made my debut on this blog. Through the summer heat and winter chills, I have had a wonderful time living in such a pretty place like Kizugawa in Kyoto.


Through the Kyoto CIRs’ efforts, I hope more international residents can call Kyoto their comfortable home. And also I hope more natives all over Kyoto will be interested in traveling and experiencing different cultures, and become global citizens of the world. From understanding and interacting, make the world a better place. Thank you, Kyoto. See you around!



国際理解講座と写真展示会への誘い Invitation to a picture exhibition and seminar

「心の故郷、京都へ ~5年間を振り返り、京都と日本の国際化を考える~」

Picture exhibition and seminar
“Kyoto, my second home: an insight into 5 years of life and local areas’ internationalization”

cir omoide banner7月末に任務を終えるため、京都府国際センターの国際交流員ボナミ・アリスの最後のイベントと講演会となります。皆さん、ぜひ、ご参加ください!

This is the last event and seminar by the CIR in Kyoto Prefectural International Center, Alice, who will leave at the end of July.
Please come!


alice2● 名前: ボナミ アリス
● 出身: フランス、ボルドー市

● ストーリー:  中学生の時、ジブリにはまり、日本に一目惚れ。大学で日本語を勉強し、1年間屋台と豚カツの国(福岡)へ留学。異文化理解を専攻し、大学院を卒業。 2011年に京都府国際交流員として入洛。そこで、京都にさらに一目惚れする。5年の間、異文化理解・国際交流イベント、フランス自治体との交流事業など を担当し、京都府の国際化と多文化共生に幅広く関わる。


alice3alice4★ 写真パネル展示会
おおきに、心の故郷、京都 ~笑、涙、感動、冒険の混ざった5年間~
6月15日(水)~20日(月) 10:00~18:00
※ 申し込み不要

★ 講演会
そして、京都と出会った ~外国人府民としての想い、地域の国際化を考える~
6月18日(土) 14:30~16:30
※ 要申込、フランスのお菓子付き
※ 本講座は日本語で行われます

★ 場所: 京都府国際センター(京都駅ビル9F)

★ 定員: 45名(先着順) (講演会のみ)