Finding Similarities Among the Differences 相違点の中に共通点を見つけ出す

Hello everyone! It’s me, Gavyn, the CIR from Seika Town.


This past July, I took part in a Chikyukko Lecture event held by our local international exchange and support group Seika Global Net (SGN). The Chikyukko (Japanese for “small world”) Lecture is a series of talks held a few times a year usually focused on multiculturalism and cultural understanding. This time, the event challenged attendants, both local and foreign residents, to consider not the differences between their respective cultures, but the similarities.



Let’s Learn How to Cook Taiwanese Food! 国際交流ふれあいお料理プラザ「台湾料理」

Hello everyone! This is an update from your Coordinator for International Relations (CIR) in Kyotanabe City, Mary Ho.


In June, I taught an International Exchange Cooking Class event hosted by the Kyotanabe International Exchange Association. This year we had the pleasure of inviting Ms. Huang, a Kyoto Prefecture Friendship Ambassador, as a Taiwanese guest to teach and cook Taiwanese dishes with me.



≪From Kyoto to France ~A message of hope for the successful restoration of the Notre-Dame Cathedral~≫ ≪京都からフランスへ、思いよ届け~ノートルダム大聖堂の再建への祈りを込めて~≫

Published by Sandra Arazi, Coordinator for International Relations                                配信:アラジ・サンドラ、国際交流員

Hello everyone!                                                                                                                皆さん、こんにちは!

 I think you have all heard that on April 15, 2019 a large-scale fire broke out in the Notre-Dame Cathedral, a cultural heritage site and symbol of France, resulting in its spire and parts of its roof being destroyed. As Notre-Dame Cathedral is a famous monument symbolizing France’s culture, art and history, it has been a great shock to French people. I was in Kyoto when the tragedy happened and the news was so shocking that I just couldn’t believe it. It must also have been terrible to hear for Japanese people known for their love of France.

     皆さんはご存知かと思いますが、4月15日にフランスを代表する文化遺産であるノートルダム大聖堂において、大規模な火災が発生し、尖塔と屋根の一部が焼失しました。 ノートルダム大聖堂はフランスの文化や、芸術や、歴史を象徴している名所の一つなので、フランス人の皆さんは大衝撃を受けました。 この火災が起きた時にフランス人の私は日本の京都府にいましたが、ニュースを聞いて信じられないほど驚きました。フランスを愛している日本人の皆さんにも大変なニュースだったでしょうね。

    By chance, we received lot of donations and support from all over the world which will help us rebuild Notre-Dame Cathedral. Kyoto residents also gave their support! In light of these circumstances, the people of Kyoto Prefecture pray for the successful restoration of the Cathedral. They have created a video message of encouragement for the people of France. Some famous personalities from Kyoto Prefecture, including the Governor, but also students shared their support in messages and created a “senbazuru” (one thousand origami cranes). I got to participate in the realization of the video. As a French coordinator for international relation, I went to schools to present my country and especially the incident at Cathedral Notre-Dame in front of the students. Besides that, I also helped editing the video by making the French subtitles and creating the design for the CD’s cover.

    幸運なことに、寄付とサポートを世界中から沢山いただき、ノートルダム大聖堂は皆さんの支えのおかげで再建できることになります。京都府民の皆さんの支援もいただきました! 日本の地方自治体である京都府はノートルダム大聖堂の再建への祈りを込めて、京都府からフランスへの応援ビデオメッセージを作成しました。京都府知事をはじめ京都府の様々な偉い方々からの応援メッセージを頂き、京都府の生徒からも応援メッセージと千羽鶴をいただきました。 京都府庁の国際課で働いている私も動画の作成に参加することになりました。フランス人の国際交流員として、学校訪問をしに京都府の学校を回って、生徒の前でフランスの一般な紹介と具体的にノートルダム大聖堂の件についての話をしました。他にも、動画の編集、字幕や、CDのジャケットのデザインなどで手伝うことが出来ました。

 As an incredible fact, this video message of support was handed in the form of a DVD directly from Governor Takatoshi Nishiwaki of Kyoto Prefecture to President Emmanuel Macron of France on his visit to Kyoto on June 27, 2019. And in order to show it to as many persons as possible, the video is now on youtube. Once you’ve watched it, please share it around you. Especially if you have French acquaintances! Help us reach French people’s hearts by sharing widely!

Please click on the link :

 それからなんと!この応援ビデオメッセージは、2019年6月27日に入洛されたマクロン大統領に、西脇知事からDVDの形で直接、手渡すことが出来ました。 また、皆さんがご覧になれるように、現在完成された動画はユーチューブに載っています。 一度ご覧になったら、周りにもシェアしていただけたら有難いです。特にフランス人の知り合いがいらっしゃったら、見せてあげて下さい!日本人の思いがフランスまで届くように是非拡散をお願いいたします!


Culture Talk: No Time to Soak 異文化の話: つかる暇がない

Hello Tabunka Kyoto blog readers! I’m Gavyn, the Seika Town CIR, and in this article I would touch upon the differences in bathing habits between Americans and Japanese people.


read more ~ 続き

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!


Let’s enjoy Taiwanese Culture! みんなでいっしょに台湾の文化を楽しもう!

Hello everyone! This is an update from your Coordinator for International Relations (CIR) for Kyotanabe City, Mary Ho.


On Saturday May 25th, I ran the event 2019 Kyotanabe International Exchange Association Annual Anniversary Event: Let’s enjoy Taiwanese Culture! Every year, the association selects a theme and this year it was chosen to be Taiwan. This year the event featured Taiwanese cultural talk and Taiwanese martial arts performances.


As the speaker for the Taiwanese cultural talk session, I talked about Taiwanese people’s personalities and communication style as well as a brief introduction on Taiwanese history. It was the first time that many of our participants listen to such content and everyone was very curious. At the end of my talk, I had a quiz session with prizes. The participants actively raised their hands and people who answered the correct answers got Taiwan-related goods as prizes. It was exciting to see the participants enjoyed the talk so much. Everyone had fun during the quiz session too.


Then we had Mr.Wang and Mr.Chen perform Taiwanese martial arts for us. The lead performer – Mr.Wang is currently teaches at the Osaka Chinese School for various traditional martial arts such as swords arts and Tai Chi. During the event, not only did they perform the martial arts on stage but they also arranged a practice session with the participants. The participants got to learn the basic moves of Tai Chi and how it can be practiced for daily exercise. Everyone was amazed by the performances and enjoyed learning Tai Chi with the performers. The two hour event went in a blink and I was very happy to see the participants learn about Taiwanese culture in an enjoyable atmosphere. It was a wonderful day filled with the wonders of Taiwanese culture.


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.


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!