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)




A Spring Dance Party – 親子deレッツ・ダンス~春のダンス・パーティ~

Hi guys! It’s Brian, the CIR of Kizugawa.

To enhance the international exchange of the three municipalities of Kansai Science City in Kyoto, Polly (Kyotanabe CIR), Jake (Seika CIR), and I hold 2 to 3 joint events together every year. And this time, we had a spring dance party.


In recent years only few dance fads have made it to Japan. We wanted to share some of the popular dances in the US with the locals, and we asked our participants to come with their family to dance together at this event.


Our Spring Dance Party took place on March 26. First we talked briefly about the dance culture in the US and the UK. There are school dances in both countries, and also people dance at weddings and other ceremonies. Then we started with the simple and old-school. We did the Macarena. It was easy so we played with the speed of the song and had all of us either rushing or in super slow-motion. The kids really liked it.




Next we introduced the Cha-cha Slide. After we went through the surprise moves like the Charlie Brown and Hands-On-Your-Knees, we had a great time doing the listen-and-move (watch-and-move for us at this event) number.


Body Transformers

Body Transformers ボディ・トランスフォーマー

We then played Body Transformers, which is simply team charades. We challenged the participating families with difficult questions such as conveyor belt sushi and electric fan. We were very impressed with the creativity we saw, and had a good time joining the children in charades.


We finished the event with Watch Me, the song and accompanying dance that went viral in 2015. The moves were confusing at first. After a couple of rounds, everybody was doing the whip, the nae-nae, and the stanky leg perfectly.


Brian dance (3)As our last 3-municipality joint event, I had a great time. Dance is a way of expression, and has long been a tool of social exchange. Plus, it is a lot of fun! With the popularity of SNS such as Youtube and Twitter, hopefully more fun dances will emerge around the world. I hope I can see you on the dance floor someday!



Starting 2016: thoughts from the Miyazu CIR – 2016年を迎える:宮津市国際交流員から

Hi everyone! It’s Jessica, the CIR in Miyazu.

Starting in January, we started a new English conversation group called “Miyazu English Corner” in Miyazu. We host it every Wednesday through Friday and Sundays 2-4 pm. Starting in April we are planning to cancel Sundays. People of the community interested in English who are available between the hours of 2-4 come and try their bests to have simple English conversations with a native speaker. Miyazu’s ALTs also participate when their schedules allow.

Since the group is held in the afternoon participants consist mainly of housewives and elderly retired people. Levels range from people who can have somewhat smooth daily conversations to people who have trouble introducing themselves.

My future goals are to start new activities focused on conveying culture rather than teaching English. Starting next month in March I will be giving lectures once a month about American culture. I always want to work to further establish the duties of the CIR position in Miyazu and try to make it separate from those of the ALTs which I have yet been able to do. I also want to be more conscientious in leaving data and records for the next CIR.

Jessica new year2016年の1月をもって「英語交流広場」という英会話イベントを開設しました。毎週の水・木・金・日の14時から16時まで開設しています。4月以降は日曜日をなしにし平日だけとする予定です。英語に関心があり指定された時間帯に参加できる方を対象にしています。町の英語指導助手にも空いているときに参加していただき、なるべく日本語のない環境を作り市民の方々と簡単な英語でコミュニケーションを取り、参加者の英語力の向上を図っています。



Starting 2016: thoughts from the CIR in Kameoka – 2016年を迎える 亀岡市のCIRから

New year greetings from the CIRs have been late this year because we all have been pretty busy! We are going to upload a series of articles from each CIR of Kyoto Prefecture, introducing what they’ve been up to and what they want to achieve for 2016. Look forward to it!



Hello hello everyone! It’s Michelle again from Kameoka.

It’s been just over half a year since I first assumed my position as a CIR in Kameoka. There have been many ups and downs but it has been a wonderful, fulfilling experience so far!

Within a short span of half a year, I went on a business trip that took me back to North America, got my feet wet (if not thoroughly drenched) with translation and interpretation at major events like sister city anniversary celebrations and Kameoka’s 60th Anniversary, did write-ups, translated and designed monthly and quarterly newsletters, as well as planned, implemented and facilitated international exchange events.


Thoughts michelle (2)The most interesting and nerve-wracking experience for me during the past few months was the business trip to Stillwater, USA in commemoration of the 30th Sister City Anniversary between Stillwater and Kameoka. Not only was it my first business trip but it was also the first time where I had to heavily translate from English to Japanese. The fact that I was only 2 months into the job definitely did not help my nerves either. Despite the million and one anxieties, I was ultimately glad to have gone. The rest of the Kameoka official delegation and the people in Stillwater were considerate of my position which made the interpretation experience smoother than expected. The warm hospitality and welcome from the people of Stillwater left me with fond memories and new additions to my extended “family” network.


Thoughts michelle (1)It has been immensely challenging so far and I constantly thank my lucky stars to be blessed with such a variety of experiences. Not only did I acquire and honed more than a handful of skills, I also gained a deeper understanding of myself.


In fact, I realized that I tend to try and take on too much within too short a time. As such, my overall new year’s resolution, on both work and personal level, is to pace myself and really look before I leap. It is all about making meaningful baby steps!


Mantra for the year is to “Prioritize, prioritize, and prioritize!”


Some examples of my work:


Kameoka International Times Newsletter 亀岡国際タイムズニュースレター:


Kirari Newsletter キラリ広報紙:


Easter Party ― イースターパーティー

Hey everyone! Jake from Seika here.

Easter event2On April 5th, Polly, Brian and I planned an Easter Party at the Mukunoki Center in Seika. We started our party with a Team Easter Egg hunt. Each egg had a challenge inside that the children had to complete before moving on to get the next egg. The difficulty of the challenge depended on the color of the egg, and harder challenges received more points than easier challenges. Some eggs had tasks that required a physical challenge, while others asked various questions about Easter. If a team could not complete a challenge they did not get the points from the egg. At the end we handed out candy based on how many points each team got, but all teams got candy so don’t worry.


Easter event34月5日(日)に私とポリーとブライアンが企画したイースターパーティー(復活祭)をむくのきセンターで行いました。パーティーはのたまご探しゲームで始まりました。各たまごの中に子どもが完成しないといけないチャレンジが入っていました。チャレンジの難しさはたまごの色によって、難しいチャレンジのほうが簡単なチャレンジよりポイントを与えました。体力に関わるものや、イースターについての質問型のものもありました。もしチームがチャレンジを完成できなかったら、ポイントをもらえませんでした。最後に子どもたちが得たポイントに応じキャンディーを配りましたが、全員がキャンディーをもらったので安心してください。

Easter eventAfter the Easter Egg hunt we learned a dance called the Bunny Hop where kids stood in 5 lines and followed set of hopping dance moves to music, competing to see which line could make it across the room faster. When the dancing was done, we played a game where kids passed the egg in a circle and when the music stopped, the last person holding the egg was out. Then we ran a race were the kids had to blow an Easter egg across the floor without using their hands. For each game we passed out candy as well!


I had a great time playing games with all the kids and teaching them a bit about one of the holidays I remember from my childhood. All of the kids seemed to have a lot of fun and it was amazing how much they remembered from our presentation at the beginning. I am excited to invite them all back again in the fall for our next event!



Easter event4Hey it’s Brian from Kizugawa City. The CIR collaboration event was a lot of fun this time as well! Being one of the most celebrated holidays in the US, Easter is still not that well-known in Japan. I was glad that we had the chance to introduce it to more people, while having a blast celebrating with the kids through dance and games. Join us at our next event! It will be a lot of fun.


World Festa in Kameoka - 亀岡ワールドフェスタ

Hi everyone! It’s Eric, the Kameoka CIR! Last month we held Kameoka’s largest international event,  the World Festa at Galleria Kameoka. This year’s theme is traditional fashion from around the world focusing on multiculturalism in everyday life. We had many exciting events including a fashion show, world snack booths and a world games corner. At the end of the event all participants got up to do the zumba.



The world snack booth was the most popular with snacks from 11 different countries including Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam and France. The cookies from France and Austria were very popular and ran out really quickly. The participants had the opportunity to enjoy tasting and seeing something different while speaking to people from different countries in the booths.

世界のおやつブースは大変人気であり、コリア、インドネシア、ベトナム・フランスなど11カ国のおやつと、日本やコリアのお茶を提供しました。フランスやオーストリアのお菓子はクッキーであっという間に無くなるほどの人気がありました。いつもとは味や見た目の違うおやつを食べて、ブースの中の外国出身の人たちとも話し、世界の味を楽しんだようです。IMG_7513 (5)

This year’s World Festa’s main focus is about learning about traditional dresses and costumes from around the world with the purpose of finding a method to live peacefully with people from different cultures. I hope this event created an opportunity to think about diversity in Japan.


School visit and Panel Discussion about Love and Marriage in Kyotango – 京丹後市での高校訪問と恋愛・結婚観のパネルディスカッション

Mineyama High School Visit – 峰山高校訪問

Alice from KPIC!

In February I had the opportunity to visit Kyotango in the North of Kyoto Prefecture twice for events linked to international exchange and multiculturalism.


I first went to Mineyama High School as part of an international exchange event held every year. It was my first time visiting this school and after a few email exchanges with the students beforehand I was really eager to meet them all.
4 Kyoto Prefecture Friendship Ambassadors went with me, originally from Hungary, Indonesia, Ukraine and Thailand so we were representing 5 countries in total.


We first met with all the 1st year students (more than 200!) in the school gymnasium for a brief introduction of our native countries.
We had only 5 minutes for this introduction, so I introduced basic facts about France and spoke about French overseas departments and French-speaking countries. I also showed various pictures about French tourist places, natural landscapes, cuisine and cultural events.


Mineyama HSWe then split into classes for further exchange. When I entered the class, all the students welcomed me with perfect French, which almost brought tears to my eyes. I really felt welcomed.

Students first introduced the Tango area to me, with its legends, food and local speech. They put a lot of humor into their speeches and it was really a lot of fun.

I then spoke in more details about France, such as immigrants, high school life, culture and a bit of French language. Exchange afterwards was really meaningful as well, with students asking questions such as “what cultural aspect of France are you proud of?”, “what do you think Japan needs in this globalized world?” and “what is your motto in life?” for example.



I love exchanging with students because they are the ones building tomorrow’s society and having such discussions about different cultural backgrounds and habits is really important for both sides.
I hope I can visit again!


Panel discussion about love and marriage –

2 weeks later I took part in a panel discussion about love and marriage in Kyotango, together with two Japanese, a Colombian lady and a Polish man.

Panel tangoWe were first asked to talk about marriage and love values in our respective countries.
I spoke about the various kinds of unions existing in France first. Indeed, on top of traditional marriage, we also have “PACS”, which is a simpler form of marriage that can easily be concluded and dissolved. Originally created for same-sex couples, it is nowadays very popular with young couples looking for stability but still wishing to keep a certain degree of independence through marriage.
Same-sex marriage was also legalized in France in May 2013 so I talked about the background before the law was passed and the different viewpoints about this topic in France.


I then briefly introduced common views about love and marriage in France. Preserving one’s independence within the couple is really important. Therefore, both people tend to work and housewives are quite rare. Keeping love going on and still being lovers after years have passed and children get into the equation is equally important.
For French couples, preserving a good balance between work, love and parenthood is at the center of a happy relationship.


Panel TangoThe other panelists then introduced how love is viewed in their native countries.
I discovered together with the other participants that divorce is almost unheard of in Colombia because of the very strong Catholic values, and that family is all important and usually placed above private couple matters in Poland.


We then had a discussion with all the panelists, with Japanese people talking about their thoughts on love in Colombia, Poland and France, and answering questions about what Japanese men and women look for in a relationship, as well as the changes currently occurring in Japanese society on this level.

The Colombian and Polish panelists then talked about how they met their spouses, both of them being married to a Japanese person and living in Japan.



The Polish person talked about how he tries to spend as much time as possible with his family and stressed the importance of creating quality time together. To him, it was hard to understand how most Japanese fathers are still mostly absent from their homes.

The Colombian lady told us how she wished that Japanese people spoke more openly about their feelings, especially to their partner. Indeed, and especially in the case of international marriage, no understanding can be reached without proper communication.



The panelists and organizers パネリストと主催者

The panelists and organizers

In spite of the differences in marriage and values surrounding love in our respective countries, the three of us agreed on one point: we do not understand “konkatsu”, the Japanese practice of going to special meetings or events with the aim of marrying somebody met there. For us, thoughts of marriage occur after meeting someone one loves and after spending a few years dating him / her. But the purpose of “konkatsu” turns this whole logical concept around: one meets someone because they want to get married. It sounds like getting married for the sake of getting married and not because you want to spend your life with that particular person.


I realized that no matter how long you have lived in a country and how well integrated you are, some fundamental values do not change. However, this should not be the cause for cultural clashes but rather raise interesting discussions enriching one’s view on the world. For successful cultural integration in a foreign country, holding onto one’s fundamental values while understanding different ones and adapting, up to a certain extent, is necessary. Achieving such a balance can be challenging but very rewarding.


No matter how different our values are, we are all human and all want to experience beautiful love. Fear of cultural differences should not prevent us to build relationships with somebody we like. In the end, we regret the things we didn’t do and not the ones we did, so go on and open your heart next time you meet that special someone!