文化の壁を打ち砕き、永遠の絆を築く Breaking Cultural Barriers and Building Lifelong Connections

This past March, I accompanied a group of American high school students and chaperones on a visit to Seika Minami Junior High School. The purpose of this visit was to provide the Japanese students with a chance to communicate and connect with peers from overseas.


The event was kicked off in the school gymnasium with a self-introduction by the 12 students and 4 teacher-chaperones from Peoria Christian School, a private school located in Illinois. After a short presentation where they told the Seika Minami students about their school and the surrounding area, everyone broke into groups for game time.


Students from Peoria Christian School lining up to introduce themselves

The first two games tasked students with getting to know one another. Using a worksheet, they asked each other questions in both English and Japanese, such as their favorite color or school subject. The language barrier was difficult to overcome, but, through a liberal use of gestures and simple words, it was eventually conquered as small whispers turned into lively conversations.


Getting to know each other using prepared phrases in Japanese and English

After getting to know each other, they separated into boy groups and girl groups to play “Human Knot” and “Through the Hoop.” The groups used both their best English and Japanese words to help untangle themselves out of a messy knot, and be the group with the most passes through a hula hoop.


The Human Knot game proved to be quite a challenge for some groups!

Following game time, the Seika Minami students sang two classic Japanese songs for their new American friends; their wonderful performance was met with roaring cheers and applause. The event was brought to a close after a few words of thanks from a Seika Minami student representative, and a short question and answer session.


A student conductor from Seika Minami Junior High leads the class in a song

I was initially worried that the students would have a hard time connecting with each other due to a 4-5 year age difference between the American students (who were older) and the Japanese students (who were younger). That uncertainty was wiped away after seeing both groups thoroughly enjoy their time together from start to finish. I hope this experience becomes a cherished memory for everyone involved and an impetus for the students of both schools to build lifelong international friendships.


A picture perfect end!

クリスマス気分を保育所にもたらす Bringing Christmas Magic to Local Preschools

In an effort to keep the dream of Santa alive and spread Christmas cheer, I visited two local preschools in Seika Town as Santa. Thankfully, as I do not own my own Santa costume, the preschools prepared a Santa suit for me to use.


One of the teachers introducing Santa (me)

On both visits, after quickly changing into the Santa suit and taking a short stop at the infant class to pass out gifts and take pictures, I was led to the play hall to greet the rest of the preschool children aged 1-5.


At each preschool, the children had some interesting questions prepared to ask Santa that I myself had never thought of asking, like “what colored roof do you like” or “what is your favorite book?” I told them Santa likes orange-colored roofs, as they’re the color of the sun and Santa, as a resident of the North Pole, doesn’t get to see the sun often. I imagine Santa as a sun-loving kind of a guy.


The teachers also prepared gifts for Santa (me) to pass out to every child in attendance, which I found quite thoughtful. I don’t remember getting a gift from Santa when I was in preschool. I don’t even think he visited my preschool!


Santa (me) passing out presents prepared by the teachers to the kids

At the end of each visit, the 4~5 year old children sang songs as a thank you to Santa. One preschool sang “Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer” in Japanese and the other sang “Awatenbo Santa Claus,” a popular children’s Christmas song in Japan that I had never heard before. It brought me great joy to see them singing their hearts out for Santa. I hope my visit as Santa made their Christmas a memorable one!


初学校訪問・My First School Visit



Hello! It’s Sandra Arazi from Kyoto Prefectural International Center.

On the first of February I went to my first school visit at Kyoto Bunkyo Jr. College Elementary School. I did a presentation about France to 3rd grade students. I spent an enjoyable time in the company of the students. During 45 minutes, I introduced them to my country , and got a positive response from them.

学校訪問の前に色々準備してPPT (マップ、イメージ、クイズ)とゲームを作成しました。もともと先生ではないので、やはり、私にとって一番難しかったことは、講座の内容を簡単にしすぎず、難しくすぎずに九歳の子どもにフランスのことを知っていただくことでした。ですが、いいバランスがとれたと思います。

Before the school visit, I prepared a lot and created a PPT(map, images, quiz)and games. Since I’m not a teacher from the beginning, what was difficult for me was to measure the difficulty of the contents of my presentation for nine-year-old children. But I think I found a good balance.

講座では、まずフランスの位置や、挨拶のやり方や、名所や、名物などを説明しました。それで、フランスのゲームを二つ、ジャンケン「pierre, papier, ciseaux」とジェスチャーゲーム「Le jeu de mimes」を行いました。さすがにゲームは子ども達を一番盛り上がらせた部分でした。私も楽しませていただきました!

If I explain what I did during my presentation, it started with the localization of France, greetings, famous spots, as well as famous food learning. Then, I introduced two games ; « pierre, papier, ciseaux » and a gesture game called “Le jeu de mimes”. Without surprise the games got the children the most excited. I enjoyed myself too!


After my presentation and games ended, a spare time was dedicated to interact with the students. I have been asked a lot of questions. Their eagerness to learn was very cute! I was asked about my favorite food, favorite sports and so on. I was also asked a lot about baseball! Unfortunately, I told them that baseball is not really popular in France. By the way, I think that soccer might be the most prominent sport there.


Altogether it was a great experience! I hope I will have other opportunities to interact with children. By the way, if you want to learn more about my presentation on that day, you can visit the homepage of Kyoto Bunkyo Jr. College Elementary school : https://kyotobunkyo-sho.ed.jp/topics-2/30657/

Happy New Year! 明けましておめでとうございます!




そして、なんと!京都府に来てから約半年が過ぎました!ここに来てからいろんな方にお世話になり、とても感謝しております!仕事に関して, 最初はミスいっぱいで迷惑を沢山かけたと思いますがいつも親切にしていただき、ありがたいですよね。自分の新しい仕事と生活に慣れるまで少し時間が掛かりましたが、やっと慣れてきたのではないかと思います。2019年は様々な面でもっと活躍できるように頑張りたいと思います!!

Hello everyone! How are you doing?

It’s Sandra Arazi from Kyoto Prefectural International Center here.

It’s a little late for this announcement, but never mind, Happy New Year everyone! I wish you happiness for this new year! I say the same thing every year, but 2018 went by so fast.

Moreover, it has already been half a year since I came to work and live in Kyoto City! Since arriving here, I have been indebted to so many people who have taken care of me, and I’m really grateful to them. Concerning work, at first although I must have caused so many mistakes and bothered so many people, I have always been treated kindly, so I’m really thankful. Before getting used to my new work and life, some time was needed but I get the feeling that I finally managed it. For 2019, I will try my best to be more active and successful!



Well everyone, how did you spend the New Year?

As for me, I went back to France, and I spent it celebrating with my family. During this period, it’s best to be close to the people important to you, right? By the way. do you know the specialties served during the French New Year dinner? For example, you have salmon, foie gras, oysters, and other luxurious food! And for the drinks, of course, you have either wine or champagne. It’s a period where you can easily gain weight if you are not careful…!


Well everyone, I will be in your care again this year!


Sandra Arazi サンドラ・アラジ
photo sandra 2017


Nice to meet you everyone ! My name is Sandra Arazi and since august 2018 I joined the Kyoto Prefectural International Center as the new Coordinator for International Relations. Let me introduce myself. I am a 24 years old French girl born in Paris.
As everyone already knows, Paris is the capital of France and the center of many important fields. However did you know that Paris is the sister city of Kyoto ? I feel very honoured being able to help deepening the relationships between our countries and cities from now on.




How much do you know about France everyone ?

For several consecutive years now, France has been the first touristic destination in the whole world. Every year, people from all over the planet visit it’s capital Paris. It goes without saying that the city is really popular among Japanese people !There is a reason to this. History, culture, gastronomy, many strong fields are gathered in the same city and that’s what make it so special. If you would like to learn more about France and Paris, feel free to participate to my seminars !

Various types of cheeseParis-11

自分の街も国も心から大好きですが、おさないころにどうしようもなく日本のことに恋をしてしまった (笑)。それでも、日本が好きになったきっかけはなんですか?と聞かれるとよく説明できなくて困ります、、好きなところはないからというわけではないですけどね!ただ、返事は一つではないと感じています。やはり日本の特別な雰囲気や、深い文化と歴史や、素敵な言語や、日本人のおもてなしなどの影響が私の魂の中に響いたのでしょうかね。

Even though I really like my own country and city, when I was a child I fell in love with Japan. If you ask me why, I would’nt be able to give you a proper answer. It’s not because I don’t like anything、It’s just the feeling that there is not one single answer as to why I got to like Japan. Maybe it’s the particular atmosphere of Japan, the long history, the beautiful language, or the Japanese people’s kindness which got to resonate into my soul.

イナルコ大学で日本語と日本文化の専攻を選んで、三年間後卒業しました。直後、様々な試験に合格し、奨学金を二ついただくことになり、慶應義塾大学と西南学院大学に留学することができました。今でも留学の機会を与えてくださった文部科学省とFondation de Franceにはとても感謝しております。フランスに帰国した後、修士を目指し、ソルボンヌヌーベルパリIII大学で文化学と観光学を学ぶことにしました。

I chose to study Japanese culture, civilization and language at Inalco University. I graduated of it three years later. Right after, I passed some examinations and got rewarded with two scholarships to study in Keio University and also Seinan Gakuin University. Even now I am really grateful to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) and the Fondation of France for giving me those opportunities to study abroad. After going back to France, I decided to go after a master, and studied culture and tourism at Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris III University.


Since I have a real interest for tourism, I realized internships at the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) in Paris and the Japanese travel agency HIS also located in Paris. During summer 2018, I have also worked for a Japanese event company called Japan Promotion as I felt a strong attachment to the Japanese cultural and art world. As an example of the kind of work I accomplished : I became an interpreter and presentator for a major Japanese event called Japan Expo going on every year in France. I feel that Kyoto is the center of the Japanese artistic and cultural world so it‘s really a privilege to be able to live here from now on.


From now on working at the Kyoto Prefectural International Center will certainly give me the chance to experience many works. I’m really looking forward meeting people during the time spent visiting schools, while giving seminars and participating in international event. Thank you ! !


Sandra Arazi

For further information : https://www.kpic.or.jp/shichoson/koryuinhaken.html


小中学校でハワイ異文化講座 Hawaii Lectures at Elementary and Junior High Schools


My name is Gavyn Guigui and I am the new Coordinator for International Relations (CIR) for Seika Town starting August 2018. Although I am new to Seika, I am not new to the CIR position as I was previously the CIR for Kizugawa City (a neighboring municipality) for two years before coming to Seika. For a more detailed self-introduction, please check out my introduction page!



There are a number of events coming up in Seika Town that I would like to report in the coming days, so stay tuned! In the meantime, I would like to talk about some school visits I made towards the end of my tenure at Kizugawa City.



My stage for the day at Saganaka Elementary School

In my last month as the CIR for Kizugawa, I visited a few elementary schools and one of the city’s junior high schools to present about some interesting things from my hometown Hawaii such as the food, sights, and its cultural differences with Japan. Since the grade levels for which I asked to present to were so disparate, I decided to make two different presentations, one for the elementary schools and another for the junior high schools.


For the elementary school presentation, I talked about basic information regarding Hawaii like how many islands there are in the main island chain, and the delicious foods you can eat only in Hawaii. The children were enthusiastic in their reaction and were very interested in hearing things they didn’t know about Hawaii. Some classes prepared questions to ask at the end of my presentation, and a few of them even asked in English!


The middle school presentation consisted of similar topics, but I added a few slides about the differences between American and Japanese schools. The topics that surprised them the most were perhaps the quality of American school lunches and the lack of cleaning time allotted in the school day. Lastly, I taught them about the Hawaiian alphabet, vocabulary, and how to do a short self-introduction in Hawaiian.


IMG_9074Visiting the schools was a great learning experience on how to tailor educational content for different audiences of varying ages that keeps them interested and engaged. Also, since I don’t teach at schools on a daily basis, it was interesting to see the Japanese student and teacher dynamic in real time. I hope I get to visit many more schools during my time as Seika Town’s CIR!


英語村オリンピック・パラリンピック講座 English Village Olympics・Paralympics Lecture

(Posted by Maia Hall, Kyoto Prefectural Office CIR)

On the 22nd November, 2017, I had the opportunity to go visit the Kyoto Higashigaoka High School to take part in their annual English Village Hello Week. I, and two Kyoto Friendship Ambassadors spoke to a group of about thirty high school students about the Olympic and Paralympic Games.


We were all from past hosts of the Games: I from the United Kindgom, and the other two from China and the United States respectively. Our talks and discussion ranged widely from the breakdown of the Games, the meanings of the symbols and mascots that were used, the Opening Ceremonies, Olympic legacies, what a country can learn from hosting the Olympic Games, and what Tokyo and Japan do in 2020.


Understanding that these students were a similar age to mine when the London 2012 Games took place, I wanted them to get a feel of how important a step the Olympic Games can be to internationalisation, and the things they can contribute to these changes in the next few years.


The students seemed to enjoy themselves, asked many questions and had excellent English. We hung around for almost half an hour after it was over to speak in both Japanese and English to those who were more keen. I hope their brief but intensive encounter with some outside opinions about the Olympics managed to inspire them to action, or at least think about how Japan can become more accepting and open to diversity!2611535.jpg