Since 1995, the Coordinator for International Relations of Seika Town has published an English newsletter for foreign persons residing in Seika. This newsletter, then named “Seika’s Gaikokujin Gazette” was started with the purpose of keeping foreign residents “up to date with local town events and to provide help with daily living.”
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.
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.
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
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
Hello everyone, Mark from the International Affairs Division here.
I’d like to write a very quick post about an interesting event that was held here in Kyoto Prefecture on 26th and 27th March. Over the two days, the Kyoto Smart City Expo 2014 was held in Keihanna Plaza (26th) and at Kyoto International Conference Centre (27th), bringing together specialists and people from all over the world to discuss projects and technology surrounding “Smart Cities.”
For those of you who don’t know what a “smart city” is, it is a movement for cities to become more technologically “smart” by implementing new technology and introducing new ways of thinking to urban planning and development issues. The Keihanna Science City, in the south of Kyoto Prefecture and on the border with Osaka and Nara prefectures, is one of Japan’s 4 smart city model areas, and there are many projects and trials ongoing in this area. (http://jscp.nepc.or.jp/en/)
The Smart City Expo World Congress has been held in Barcelona since November 2011, and this event in Kyoto was the first Asian edition. Kyoto was chosen for its significance in the Kyoto Protocol, and its ongoing efforts and trials, particularly in the Keihanna Science City area, towards creating an environmentally “smart” city for the future.
With Kyoto Prefecture as joint organisers of this Kyoto expo, I was involved heavily in the translation of many of the documents that were on show during the event, and I was there on the 26th to help with interpreting for all the guests that had come from abroad to participate in the discussions and lectures.
Overall, I felt that this was a very interesting event for Kyoto, and there are plans to hopefully hold it here in Kyoto again in the future! I look forward to seeing people come from all over the world sharing ideas again.