Ochanomizu University,
2-1-1, Otsuka, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, 112-8610

ROOM 807, Faculty of Letters & Education, Bldg. 1
OFFICE HOUR 10:40-12:10, Mon.


  • - 2024-11: Visiting UTS & UNSW (#127)
  • - 2024-10: A Public bath (#126)
  • - 2024-9: Hannah Arendt (#125)
  • - 2024-8: Restarting (#124)
  • - 2024-7: Covid-19 (#123)
  • - 2024-6: 13th International Student Forum (#122)
  • - 2024-5: Reflecting on My Life as a Teacher (#121)
  • - 2024-4: Going abroad (#120)
  • - 2024-3: The Enemy Has a Face: The Seeds of Peace Experience (#119)
  • - 2024-2: Registered Japanese Language Teachers (#118)
  • - 2024-1: The old year and the new year (#117)
  • - 2023-5: Graduation Theses (#116)
  • - 2023-4: Invited visit to Seoul, Korea (#115)
  • - 2023-3: A Visit Poland and Germany for a research project (#114)
  • - 2023-2: Diversity and Inclusion (#113)
  • - 2023-1: The 12th International Student Forum (#112)
  • - 2022-6: Visit Korea (#111)
  • - 2022-5: Reconsideration of Peace Education: World War II and the relationship between the US and Japan (#110)
  • - 2022-4: Got up at six for a jog (#109)
  • - 2022-3: Declaration of Peace by Shinjuku (#108)
  • - 2022-2: Pharrell Williams - Happy (#107)
  • - 2022-1: For remaining years (#106)
  • - 2021-1: Japan's responsibility for causing the war (#105)
  • - 2020-13: The Japanese government should prioritize human lives, not economy (#104)
  • - 2020-12: Teleworking (#103)
  • - 2020-11: An An unparalleled disaster (#102)
  • - 2020-10: The seventh Overseas Japanese Teacher Training Program (#101)
  • - 2020-9: A general comment on the 9th International Student Forum, (#100)
  • - 2020-8: Keynote Speech for the 9th International Student Forum, (#99)
  • - 2020-7: The 9th International Student Forum (#98)
  • - 2020-6: Citizenship education for East Asian countries to live together harmoniously: An educational practice based on ABC model (#97)
  • - 2020-5: Japanese language education as education for intercultural citizenship: The transformation of Korean students at the 10th Japan-Korea International Student Seminar (#96)
  • - 2020-4: Tokyo: a multicultural city (#95)
  • - 2020-3: Momotaro (#94)
  • - 2020-2: A restaurant near my home (#93)
  • - 2020-1: Only the left half of Mt. Fuji (#92)
  • - 2019-18: Visiting China (#91)
  • - 2019-17: One of the strongest typhoons ever (#90)
  • - 2019-16: My first visit to Mongolia (#89)
  • - 2019-15: Beyond what they expected, again (#88)
  • - 2019-14: The Plurilingual and Pluricultural Education Program (#87)
  • - 2019-13: Visiting Korea for eight days (#86)
  • - 2019-12: Prejudice is born from a lack of interaction (#85)
  • - 2019-11: The current relationship between Japan and Korea (#84)
  • - 2019-10: My long journey to master English (#83)
  • - 2019-9: The 1st meeting of the Association for Language Education in Northeast Asia (#82)
  • - 2019-8: The necessity of dialogue (#81)
  • - 2019-7: The 8th International Student Forum (#80)
  • - 2019-6: The opposite of war is dialogue (#79)
  • - 2019-5: International citizenship education through foreign language learning (#78)
  • - 2019-4: The 8th International Student Forum (#77)
  • - 2019-3: A plurilingual and pluricultural education program as intercultural citizenship education in East Asia (#76)
  • - 2019-2: The relationship between Korea and Japan (#75)
  • - 2019-1: Association for Language Education in Northeast Asia (#74)
  • - 2018-18: Human rights have becom threatened in Japan (#73)
  • - 2018-17: My international on-line classes (#72)
  • - 2018-16: A Japanese language teaching program at BUFS (#71)
  • - 2018-15: A Japanese language teaching program at UNSW (#70)
  • - 2018-14: A difficulty (#69)
  • - 2018-13: ICJLE 2018 (#68)
  • - 2018-12: My class, "Language & Culture" in 2018 (#67)
  • - 2018-11: First Language Acquisition (#66)
  • - 2018-10: The 100th Meeting of KASLA (#65)
  • - 2018-9: Friendship between Nao and Sanghwa (#64)
  • - 2018-8: A Handicapped Pigeon (#63)
  • - 2018-7: Greetings as the Director of Center for Int'l Education (#62)
  • - 2018-6: My class, "Language and Culture" in 2017 (#61)
  • - 2018-6: Traveling around the World (#60)
  • - 2018-5: Super Blue Blood Moon (#59)
  • - 2018-4: The 7th International Student Forum (#58)
  • - 2018-3: Online World Cafe for Japanese Teachers (#57)
  • - 2018-2: My Ambition for This Year (#56)
  • - 2018-1: How Should a University Become? (#55)
  • -- Previous essays --
  • - 2017: #35-54
  • - 2016: #28-34
  • - 2015: #22-27
  • - 2014: #20-21
  • - 2007: #18-19
  • - 2006: #13-17
  • - 2005: #12
  • - 2001: #6-11
  • - 2000: #4-5
  • - 1999: #1-3

#28 The 11th Japan-Korean University Students International Seminar(2016)

The 11th Japan-Korean University Students International Seminar has been successfully completed.
I started these seminars in 2004 and continued to hold them in either Korea or Japan every year. This year, it was held in Japan and I invited 20 students and one professor as their supervisor from one of my university's partner universities.
This time, I left most of the jobs we had to do for the seminar to the students, in order to give them the experience of organizing an international seminar, because I believe that it would be one of the best opportunities for students to foster an international mind, which is needed to live in such a globalized world. Especially, this experience of holding a joint seminar between Japanese and Korean students would provide them with confidence to live together in the future. There have been various problems and conflicts between these countries, which have not been solved by political powers. Therefore, I made up my mind to make efforts to solve them through education, through holding a seminar and discussing these problems with students from both countries.
Last year was the memorial year of celebrating not only the 70th anniversary since the end of World War II, but also the 50th anniversary of the restoration of diplomatic ties. Therefore, I decided to announce a joint statement by the students of both countries. The seminar ended very successfully, so this year, I set a goal for the seminar to have discussions about East Asia, including these two countries, to live together by establishing a community like the European Union.
On August 1st, the Korean students arrived in Tokyo and the opening ceremony was held with them the next day at the Yoyogi Youth Center.
On August 3rd, we held various events at my university. In the morning, the Korean professor and I gave lectures to the students. He addressed the intercultural differences and communication between Korea and Japan and I talked about how we can live together from now on, as a community.
After these lectures, students had a time to experience wear both Japanese and Korean traditional costumes. Japanese students experienced Korean costumes, and Korean students, Japanese ones.
In the afternoon, we had the first presentations on the topic. There are five groups and each group has their own topics, including establishing an international city where we live together, the education of history, cultural exchange, international exchange and gender issues, which both countries need to solve.
The Japanese students had their presentations in Korean, and the Koreans, in Japanese.
On August 4th, the students went to their field trips in Tokyo to study about their topics.
On the 5th, we left Tokyo for Kusatsu, one of the most famous hot spring spots in Japan.
We took a chartered bus at 9 in the morning and arrived at 2 in the afternoon. After we had a supper, each group had time to prepare for the final presentations for their topics together both with Japanese and Korean students.
On the 6th, we had the final symposium. Students presented and discussed their conclusions regarding their topics.
On the 7th, students enjoyed sightseeing in Kusatsu the whole day. In the evening we had a farewell party.
On the 8th, the last day of this seminar, we checked out the accommodation at 9 am and left for Tokyo. On our way, we had a brief stop at Kawagoe, which is famous for its beautiful and classic townscape from the Edo Era.
At 4 pm, we finally arrived in Tokyo. Students from both countries shed tears for a reluctant parting and promising to meet again.


#29 Sydney again, Christchurch for the first time (2016)

I am here in Sydney again to have overseas Japanese language teaching training, which has been held every summer for about two months, from August to September. This training started in 2012, and has continued to be held every year. This year, seven students are participating in this training, the most ever.
Actually, it is not summer, but winter in Sydney! The participants are graduate students at my university whose major is Japanese teaching as a second language, including three Japanese students, three Chinese students and one Korean student.
Students arrived here on August 5th and started the training at the University of New South Wales, which is one of the partner universities of my university, and is located in the suburbs of Sydney.
On March 11th, 2011, exactly the day that the big earthquake occurred in Japan, I was scheduled to leave for Sydney to discuss this program with one of the Japanese professors at UNSW. However, the earthquake stopped my flight to leave Japan and I was not able to come to Sydney on that day. Instead, the flight departed the next day. I managed to get to Narita International Airport, and had a meeting about this training with her. In 2012, the next year, the student exchange agreement, including this training, was successfully initiated between UNSW and my university, and the training started.
There are various levels of Japanese classes at UNSW: introductory, intermediate, advanced and professional, and my practicum students joined various classes last week to decide if one of the classes should have their own training. This week, their training started. Students stood in front of the classroom and gave instruction to students who are learning Japanese here. Some of my students got so nervous that their voices became quiet or they made some mistakes in explaining Japanese grammar.
At UNSW, there are lecture classes on Monday and Tuesday where basic linguistic knowledge is introduced. Then on Wednesday, tutorial classes are held and students have exercises to master skills to use their knowledge. On Thursday, seminar classes are held to apply their knowledge and put it into practice.
On Friday, there is another class, called capstone where students organize into several groups and each group decides on one topic about Japan or Japanese culture. My practicum students also joined this class to help their research.
During the weekdays, my students are busy preparing for and practicing teaching. However, on the weekend, they have free time to enjoy sightseeing in Sydney. It is the first visit to Sydney for most of them, so they enjoyed it last Sunday. We started our sightseeing from Hyde Park, the central park in Sydney, and then went to Saint Maria Cathedral, Mrs. Mcquarie's Chair, and the Sydney Opera House in the morning. In the afternoon, we went on a ferry to Manly Beach. After seeing the beautiful beach for a while and having lunch, we then went to North Head by bus. We could enjoy the beautiful view of Sydney Bay, including South Head and the Sydney Opera House.
My students started teaching Japanese training in earnest from August 15th. They decided the classes to take charge of, and some of them had already stood in front of the classroom to take the teacher's place.
Furthermore, we also visited a couple of places besides UNSW. On Tuesday, we visited North Sydney Girls High School to attend a Japanese class which started at 11:30 in the morning. In the beginning, I greeted the class after which my students gave a presentation to the high school students about the high school girls' life in Japan, including their life, their uniforms, their belongings in their bags and their words. They introduced some of the Japanese young people's words, but I was unable to comprehend even a word.
We also paid a visit to the Japan Foundation on Friday. UNSW students went there along with their teachers to go to the library in order to gather information for their research. The library is one of the places in Australia, where there are various resources such as books, journals, DVDs on Japan or Japanese culture.
After that, we had a meeting as usual and looked back on the training activities that were performed during this week. My students expressed their impressions and asked the professors at UNSW various things they wanted to know.
Once the meeting was over, they went to the 100 yen shop which is located in the same building, and purchased all that they required in their daily life. In the evening, they went to have dinner at Darling Harbor, but I headed back home because I had a headache and wasn't feeling good.
On August 21st, I met four of my Chinese friends at a Chinese restaurant in Sydney. They are my friends who learned academic English with me together two years ago. At that time, I was in Sydney on sabbatical, and I attended an academic English class which was held at UNSW Global. They were also students learning English in order to enter UNSW. Most of the students were Chinese, and the other students were from various countries such as Iraq, Korea, Thailand and Japan. We learned English from 9 to 13:30 every weekday. Most of them successfully entered university, but I had to go back to Japan because my sabbatical ended. They were so friendly, even though I was much older than them and my nationality was different from theirs. I used to spend time with them and we sometimes discussed the political relationships between these two countries. Last year, I came to Sydney again to hold Japanese teaching training at UNSW as usual, and I met them again after one year's absence. They also had time to meet me and we enjoyed eating a Chinese lunch together. This year, there were only four students who met with me, because some of them have already gone back to China, and others are busy doing their assignments or things like that. We enjoyed eating very hot and spicy Chinese cuisine together and chatting about various topics in English. Although my English has improved a little, I thought it was still not good enough to discuss difficult topics, such as the political relationships in East Asia and the economy in Japan. Three of my university students also joined in on the lunch to meet my friends and enjoy eating the spicy food.
This training continues until September 25th.
I am staying here until August 24th, and leaving for New Zealand to do research at a university in Christchurch for a few days. I will return to Sydney on the 27th, stay here one night and then go back to Japan the next day.
Before going back to Japan, I went to New Zealand for four days. It is my first visit to the country, and the 26th country I have ever visited ever.
On 24th, I took an Emirate's flight which left Sydney International Airport at 9:15 a.m., and arrived at Christchurch at 14:20 at the local time. It was about a three-hour flight because there is a time difference of two hours. Professor Ogino came to see me at the airport, and drove me to the hotel where I was going to stay. The temperature was a little colder than that in Sydney, and he got his thick window-cheater for me! Actually, I did not imagine the cold temperature in New Zealand so I was very grateful for his kindness. His kindness warmed not only my body but also my heart. Christchurch was the second largest city in New Zealand and the largest in South Island. However, the population is only 350 thousand and so my first impression of it was a calm, local city in the countryside. Arriving at the hotel, I put my luggage in my room and soon I went to a restaurant in front of it to discuss the schedule I would spend while staying in New Zealand. Professor Ogino is a professor at the University of Canterbury and has been teaching Japanese for 6 years there. I have seen him once in Sydney when I attended an international conference on Japanese language teaching as a second language. There was a special dinner party at Sydney University and we happened to sit at the same table. As I already mentioned, I hadn't visited New Zealand before, but I have been interested in the country and the Japanese language education provided there, so I decided to go there. The main purpose of this visit was to collect data about a Japanese Learners' dictionary which I published a few years ago. In addition to it, I was asked by him to have a special lecture on my research at his university. Of course I willingly accepted his request. At the restaurant, I gave six dictionaries to use for the investigation and explained about the procedure. On the first day, he invited me to dinner at one of the famous restaurants in Christchurch, where James Bond once came and had a meal. I enjoyed eating New Zealand cuisine, especially the lamb cuisine.
On the 25th, the second day, I had a schedule to have a lecture in the afternoon, but I was free until then, so I went to the downtown to enjoy sightseeing. Christchurch is the place where a big earthquake occurred in 2011, just before the East Japan Big Earthquake occurred in the same year. So there still stood many buildings left broken, including the famous cathedral which stands at the center of the city. I like walking, so at first, I left my hotel, walked across Hagley Park just behind the hotel and along Armagh Street. But I happened to see a tram approaching the nearest tram stop, and I jumped up to it without hesitation. The ticket costs 20 dollars for a whole day and the tram took me to various famous sites in the city. It moved slowly almost as fast as people's walk but it was pretty good for a foreigner like me, who has little knowledge about the city. The driver continued to introduce about the city while driving, and I could understand the city much deeply than before. If compared with Japan, I felt everything was slow. The recovery from the earthquake damage was running behind and I felt as if the whole city was still under construction. However, I also felt it rather calm and peaceful. On my way to the hotel, I dropped by the Christchurch Botanic Garden. Spring was just coming around the corner, and various beautiful flowers, such as crocuses, were starting to bloom. I also enjoyed the typical plants, flowers and gardens in New Zealand. After eating lunch, Professor Ogino picked me up at the hotel to his university. It was located near the hotel, just ten minutes' drive from there. After a short campus tour, my lecture started. About thirty professors and instructors of Japanese in New Zealand, English teachers who came from Japan to have an English teaching training there, and graduate students in New Zealand gathered to attend my lecture. The title of the lecture was the second language education as a kind of education for intercultural citizenship. I introduced three of my educational activities for intercultural citizenship and language education policies in Europe to establish the European Union. After the lecture, we went to a Japanese restaurant to foster closer relationships with each other.
On 26th, unfortunately it started raining. I went out for a walk to Mona Vale early in the morning, which is located about 10 minutes' walk from my hotel. It was also beautiful in nature, but the rain started to fall heavier, so I came back to my hotel soon. In the afternoon, he picked me up and drove me to Sumner Beach. The rain still continued to fall, and so we went to a café near the beach to discuss about various things, such as my research and the future relationship between his and my universities.
On 27th, the last day in New Zealand, Professor Ogino came to pick me up in the morning. I checked out the hotel at 10 a.m. and I had a few hours left until the departure time, so we went at first to the CTV memorial site where over a hundred of people were killed by the earthquake in 2011. When I got there, there was only an open space left with a sign of CTV site which stands for Canterbury Television with some explanation about the damage and victims of the earthquake. I also visited another space near there, where there were 185 white chairs, which stand for the number of the victims. Among them Japanese were 28 people, the maximum among the victims besides people of New Zealand. These Japanese came here to have an English lesson. We then also visited a cathedral which was built just in front of the site. The building was made by corrugated papers because they are strong against earthquakes. At the entrance there were folded paper cranes made and presented by Japanese visitors. We then went to a farmers' market near the airport. Even though it was a rainy day, a lot of tents to sell vegetables were there. There was also a bush, where we could enjoy the nature of the country. Until my departure time, we dropped in at Professor Ogino's house. His wife welcomed me even though our visit was sudden. She served me her handmade sweets and sandwiches as our lunch. For a few hours, I talked with him and his wife about various things, such as the possibilities of the co-operation for our future research and education projects. At last, the time came. We left his house and headed to the airport. The flight to Sydney left the small and lovely city at 3:55 in the afternoon. After arriving at Sydney at 17:00 by the local time, I went to see my students who were having a Japanese language teaching training at UNSW.
This time, I was really impressed by his hospitality. I have never experienced such a warm hospitality other than those I have had in Korea and in Poland. Korean people welcomed me so warmly that I was surprised at it. This is the reason I got to like the country. I have also experienced such a warm hospitality in Poland, at first by Professor Okazaki, who has been teaching in Poland for more than 50 years and also by professors at Jagiellonian University and so I got interested in the country, too. And this time, I also got interested in this small country thanks to his hospitality. Thank you Masa, I won't forget your warmness forever and see you again in the nearest future.
I left Sydney International Airport at 8:15, on flight JL772. During the flight, I watched a few movies, including "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" and its sequel. These are stories about a Greek-American heroine Toula, who is getting married with an American despite her parents' various oppositions due to racial differences. The 2nd part is a sequel film made after 14 years. In this film, her parents discovered that they were not properly married due to a priest's mistake. But in the end they got married again and their families and neighbors became happier than before. If you watch these movies, you would be able to know about Greeks' characteristics, although they were a little bit comically exaggerated. While watching them, I enjoyed them so much that I was laughing and crying throughout them. I know a Greek woman who moved to Australia when she was young, and she somehow resembles the heroine's mother, so the films were more interesting for me. And there were several wedding scenes, which reminded me of my daughter's wedding which was held a year ago. Moreover, the stories drew the relationships and differences between Greeks and Americans through the process of raising children and getting married. The former are much more intimate and have closer relationships with each other than the latter. I felt they were somehow similar to those between Koreans and Japanese. And we can also deepen our understanding of the difficult situations of minorities, such as immigrants in the US or Australia. On the way to Narita, I could see the Great Barrier Reef just before leaving the east coast of Australia, beautiful Butterfly Island and Guam Island while heading to Japan across the Pacific Ocean.


#30 Japanese language teaching program in BUFS(2016)

I am waiting to board at Kimhae Int'l Airport in Busan, Korea. This time I came to Korea for several purposes, the most important one of which was to observe the Japanese language teaching training at Busan University of Foreign Studies (BUFS). It started on August 8th and will continue until September 9th. Two students from my university are attending the program. In this program, participants learned Korean language and culture for the first three weeks, followed by two weeks of attending a program about teaching Japanese. I came to Korea four days ago and during my staying, I have met with various important people in charge of the program, and we discussed the future of the program. I also attended a class where one of my students was teaching Japanese as training.
An academic exchange agreement was reached between BUFS and my university about two months ago, so this is my university's first time sending students to BUFS.
I have conducted in various academic activities with BUFS for about a decade, such as international joint classes via video-conference system, and an international student forum, which started in 2012 and is held once a year. At first, I invited students from seven universities in seven countries around the world for four years at my university, I discussed the Great East Japan Earthquake that occurred in 2011. However, last year, in the 5th forum, instead of inviting students from all over the world, I decided to send Japanese students to Korea to discuss the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and the future relationship between Korea and Japan. BUFS is one of the participant universities at the forum. Moreover, I came to Korea to have a special lecture on the establishment of an Asian Union half a year ago. Approximately two hundred students gathered and listened to my lecture, and we discussed the relationship between the Asian countries.
Now, BUFS is one of our partner universities, so I would like to have more various events including the Japanese language teaching program.


#31 Visiting Korea(2016)

I recently visited Seoul to collect data for my research. However, just before leaving Japan, I caught a cold and had a sore throat. I did not care about this at first, but it did not improve at all; rather, it became more serious day by day, so I went to a hospital at last to get medicine on the day before my departure, so that my cold would not get worse. I arrived at Incheon International Airport and took a shuttle bus to my hotel, located downtown in Seoul. Unfortunately, the bus got stuck in a traffic jam and it took more than an hour and a half to get there. When I finally arrived at my hotel, I was exhausted and my condition was worse. I even had a bad headache. I had a light dinner at the first floor of my hotel and as soon as I entered my room I took the medicine and went to bed. However, my headache kept me awake and I took the medicine again at midnight. After that, my headache got a bit better, and I was able to fall in sleep.
The next morning, I was feeling much better, so after eating breakfast, I went out to take a walk for a change. While I was walking around Mt. Namsan, which is located just in front of my hotel, I felt my condition improved. The leaves, which started turning yellow and red, were beautiful and made me feel refreshed.
During my stay in Seoul, I visited three of my university's partner universities. I met and asked several professors to cooperate with my investigation on Japanese language teaching and they accepted. I published a Japanese learners' dictionary about polysemous basic verbs in 2012. It was edited using the theory of cognitive semantics. The theory explains that all words constitute prototypical categories and a radial network, in which all meanings are extended from a central, prototypical meaning. This dictionary shows not only the structure centering on the prototypical meaning but also the relationships between the central meaning and the other extended meanings. I am now conducting this investigation in several countries including Korea, China, Australia and New Zealand. Therefore, I am also planning to go to Australia and New Zealand beginning the 10th of November.
After the meeting, I also had meals with some of them and discussed future cooperation, not only for my research but also for the educational interactions between our universities.
This time, I flew on an LCC airplane for the first time. The space between the seats was a little narrower, and there was no free meal, just a cup of water.What's worse, the LCC terminal at Narita International Airport is really far away from the train station. I had to walk for more than 10 minutes to get there. However, there was no such inconvenience at Incheon. I think that the location of the terminal at Narita should be reconsidered for customers' convenience. In a sense, it could be considered discriminatory treatment to LCC companies and their customers.


#32 Visiting Busan and Fukuoka(2016)

I went to Busan and Fukuoka this weekend.
At first, I went to Busan for the purpose of collecting data for my research on the semantic structures of basic polysemous Japanese verbs, which was adopted as a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research.
I arrived at Busan on the night of 15th and the next day, I went to a university in Busan. I met eight monitors, who had used a Japanese polysemous verb dictionary for learners published by me a few years back. Seven Korean students and one Japanese teacher were included in the monitors, and I had interviews with them one by one to know what they felt about using the dictionary. I published the dictionary on the theory of cognitive linguistics. There are figures of semantic networks which displayed the semantic structure of each Japanese verb, and illustrations which show not only the each meaning of these verbs but also schematic meanings which was shared by all of the meanings of each verb.
The all provided different answers from one another, and I learned a lot from their answers.
In the evening, once the investigation came to an end, I caught up with a Korean friend of mine and went for dinner with him to a place close to the university. While eating one of the popular Korean traditional cuisines, we talked about various things, not only those about my research, but also other things, such as various exchange programs which would be held between his university and mine, and perfectly private matters.
The next morning, I woke up early, checked out of my hotel and headed to the airport. I took a flight to Fukuoka at 9 a.m. and it arrived at the second destination, Fukuoka, only in forty minutes. During the flight I could see Tsushima Island and Iki Island from the plane which are both located between Korea and Japan.
I headed to the Ito campus of Kyusyu University, where the annual conference of Japanese association of Second Language Association was held for two days. This time, all I did was attend the conference and did not make any presentation. There was a panel discussion on the oral communicative competence on the first day. Four panelists had their presentation about the topic, and after that, there was discussion time about it. I asked all of them one question whether the goal of the second language learners should be the competence of the native speakers or not. Three of the panelists answered no, and another said partly yes, because most of the assessments which assess the Japanese language competences make their criterion on the native speakers.
Nevertheless, my answer is somewhat different from theirs. I think that there are two different criteria when learning a second language. One is the competence and knowledge which the native speakers possess. Learners have to learn how native speakers know and use the language. However, there is another competence, which I think is more important than the former one in such a globalized era like this.
If learners' goal or criteria would be the competence of native speakers, learners have to continue to make their effort to improve their competence until it reaches the native speaker's and it would only be learners and not native speakers who have to make these efforts. But I think not only non-native learners, but also native speakers who have to make effort to understand what their partner, who has different value and culture from their own, would think and say.
I think that it is important for both of them to possess the competence to understand each other inter-culturally.
After the panel discussion, I attended a get-together meeting, and I had a great time chatting and eating with the participants.
Next day, I attended some presentations in the morning and a special lecture in the afternoon.
I took a evening flight and arrived at Tokyo at 9 p.m.


#33 2016 in Review (2016)

The year, 2016, is coming to an end soon. This year I visited several countries. New Zealand was the country I visited for the first time. To my surprise, I went there twice this year. I felt that the country has some similarities with Japan. For example, it is a small island country. Its shape is a little bit similar to Japan's, and earthquakes frequently occur there. Just after I visited there for the second time in November, a big earthquake occurred near Christchurch. Fortunately, I had left there and arrived in Sydney just as the earthquake occurred, but had I stayed there for several more hours, I would have been there when the disaster struck and I wouldn't have been able to depart.
In Christchurch, I have a Japanese friend, who is the kindest person I have ever known. Without him, I would never have visited there twice. He always picked me up and took me to my hotel, and spent time with me sightseeing. He also helped me collect data for my research and also invited me to his university for a lecture.
I have been to Korea four times, three of which at the university in Busan to give a lecture on the establishment of Asian Union, collect data for my research and visit a Japanese language teaching training two of my university students attend. I also discussed various exchange program between that university and mine.
I stayed in Sydney in August to visit a Japanese language teaching training held at UNSW, as usual. This year, seven graduate students attended the training. They participated as hard as they could and learned a lot. The atmosphere of the training was very good.
I also visited Dalian, China for the first time. One of my ex-students is there; she got her PhD degree, graduated from my university and became a professor at one of the universities in Dalian. I spent a few days collecting data for my research, and gave lectures at two universities there. During my stay there, I went to Lushun, where the Japanese army fought with the Russians. I also visited the prison where An Jung-gun was executed; he is one of the most famous heroes to have assassinated Hirobumi Ito, the first Prime Minister of Japan, and the Minister of the Government-general of Korea.
Because this year was the last year of Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research, "An empirical research on the semantic structures of basic polysemous Japanese verbs and adjuctives and their acquisition and education", I was busy investigating my research and had to go abroad for collecting data. However through interviews I conducted in Korea, China, Australia and New Zealand, I learned a lot and came to know what have not been realized until now.
I am now reviewing the master's theses which three of my graduate students wrote, and I found that there still left many things to be corrected.


#34 Many surprising things have happened this year(2016)

Many surprising things have happened this year. Most of all, the secession of Great Britain from the European Union and Trump's election as the next president of the United States were the two biggest pieces of news for me. If I had to add one more, the impeachment of the Korean president was the third. (Of course I think that she should resign as soon as possible!) These were not happy pieces of news for me, or for all people on Earth either, I believe.
Countries in North-eastern Asia are in conflict with each other now. I hope that they can solve their conflicts by getting over their nationalism, and that they can establish a union, like the European Union, as soon as they can. Therefore, the news that Great Britain left the EU seriously shocked me. I hope countries in the EU can manage to overcome this difficulty and maintain their union forever.
My university's Japanese students had a seminar with Korean students in August. We discussed the future of East Asia, including the relationship between Korea and Japan in the seminar. Both countries' students continued to discuss the topic for a week and finally, they were able to find the answer for living together and announced a joint statement.
Before the seminar, many of the students from both countries were worried about being able to reach an agreement successfully, because the governments of Japan and Korea have not been able to solve their conflicts for over 70 years. Moreover, the relationship between the countries is getting worse. However, they succeeded. This experience gave them the confidence to solve any problems by communicating and discussing things with each other without reserve.
What shall we do in the next, coming year? What will I be able to do as a person who engages in educating students who bear the future? I really hope that the coming year will be much better than this year.


#35 A Happy New Year (2017)

2017 is finally here. I got up at 6 a.m. in the morning so as to witness the sun rise. I saw it from a small hill near the beach, where I was able to see even Boso Peninsula. Unfortunately, there was a cloud just above the horizon, so I was unable to see the sun rise just from the horizon. The sun eventually appeared over the cloud after a couple of minutes, just before 7 a.m. This is how I started the new year. I am scheduled to go to Germany in March to have lectures on applied cognitive linguistics for teachers who are teaching Japanese in Germany. And in the month of August, Japanese language teaching training will be held both in Australia and in Busan as always. While the former will be held for graduate students, the latter will be for undergraduates.
There is not any other schedule so far, but there is a possibility of going to New York in May in order to have a presentation about my practices of language teaching education for peace which I have continued to conduct these years. But it is hard to say if my presentation will be accepted.
I am trying really hard to use English as much as I can to get accustomed to it, particularly, reading books on my specialty, listening 6 minutes English by BBC's podcast while going to and coming back from work, and writing Facebook entries in English as often as I can. I intend to make more effort to master it this year. Promoting students' exchange, including not only accepting more international students, but also sending more Japanese students abroad, is one of my missions at my university. And so, I want to do my best to increase the number of both the students. My specialty in research and my classes in my university are also related to students' exchange, such as teaching Japanese as a second language, and fostering the intercultural competence and citizenship by learning foreign languages or going to study abroad. As a result, I am also keen on making efforts to promote both my research and education this year. I have a considerable number of graduate and undergraduate students, not just of Japanese but also of international students. I am perhaps the professor with the maximum number of students as a supervisor. I also should educate to help them obtain their degree successfully. To one thing to another, I am going to recontribute a paper to an association which I was requested by the reviewers to correct. I wish it would be accepted and printed in the journal of the association.


#36 Facebook entry in English (2017)

For the past three years now, I have been posting on Facebook in English as much as possible. However, when I was net-surfing today, I happened to see someone having written on an internet page that he/she was not be able to understand the people who are writing things in English on Facebook even though they are non-English native speakers. S/he also said that s/he felt it as an impertinent behavior. Nevertheless as far as I am concerned, there is a special reason behind it.
When I had a chance to live in Australia as a sabbatical leave for half a year in 2014, I had a chance to learn academic English and also made many friends there with whom I did communicate only in English. After that, I tried to make it a habit of writing my situations on Facebook not in Japanese, but in English to make these friends understand them. In addition to it, after I finished my sabbatical leave and I came back to Japan, I wanted to create a circumstance where I am able to continue to use my English. That was the Facebook for me. Therefore, I will keep in mind to write up my comments on Facebook in English, and so it would be happy to understand my mind.


#37 A new year has begun (2017)

A new year has begun, and the season not only of submitting dissertations and theses, but also of university entrance examinations in Japan, has come.
I have three undergraduate students, three graduate students in the Master's program and two graduate students in the Doctoral program who all submitted their dissertations or theses. Actually, the two Doctoral students are not my own students, but I am a member of their judging committees.
It is, therefore, one of the busiest seasons of the year. I have to read and review their theses every day and night.
The National Center Test will be held this weekend, and many high school students in Japan will do their best to pass the exams to enter their chosen universities. Unfortunately, the weather forecast says that it will snow heavily this weekend.
Moreover, the examination for entering the Master's program will be held in February, and in March, that for the Doctoral program. Many students are graduating from my university in March, and fresh students are entering in April, the season of cherry blossoms.
I hope that all the students will do their best to pass their examinations successfully.


#38 Dear all the graduates (2017)

Looking back on last year, 2016, so many events took place in the world that it can be termed as the year of difficulties. The Brexit, the Britain's exit from the European Union, Trump's victory, and the list goes on. The Brexit in particular shocked me to a great extent, since I have been concentrating on EU's development as the reference of thinking the way to the union of Northeastern Asia, where exist a number of conflicts between countries such as Korea, China and Japan, along with the confrontations between South and North Korea, and Mainland China and Taiwan.
EU countries have been overcoming their national identities by establishing the European identity ever since the World War II ended. Nevertheless, a huge number of refugees and immigrants were flowing into European countries from outside of Europe, which compels people in Europe to overcome the European identity into international identity which includes Asian, especially the Middle East countries.
I started the year 2016 by having the opportunity to deliver a lecture to Korean students in Busan. I was invited to a lecture, titled "Comments on Asian Union" and addressed the Korean students in their language. In the year 2015, I had conducted several practices for the harmony in Northeast Asia, including the 10th Japan-Korean Students Seminar, the 5th International Student Forum and the joint classes with students in Korea and in China via the video conference system, and the lecture in Busan made me go forward a step further.
As always in the month of August, I held Japanese teaching training in Australia, and seven graduate students, which was the highest ever, joined. Apart from this, I started another Japanese teaching training in Korea for undergraduate students, and the same was attended by two students.
As far as my research is concerned, it was the last year of a research project on applied cognitive linguistics, and I visited four countries, including China as a Chinese speaking country, Korea as a Korean Speaking country, and Australia and New Zealand as English speaking countries, for the purpose of collecting data for the project.
Where are we headed to henceforth? I hope that students who are graduating from my university this spring will be active and contribute to the harmony of the world in the globalized society. I pray for the success of all the graduates so as the history not to go backward.


#39 Study tours in 2016 (2017)

China, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand are the 4 countries that I visited last year to be able to collect data for my research. The reason why I visited these countries is that my research is on the effects, not only the strong point, but also the seakpoint, of the learners' dictionary which I edited for learners whose mother tongue is English, Chinese or Korean. I have met approximately thirty participants in these countries, and some of them were students learning Japanese, and the others were Japanese language teachers. The cost and the time needed for the research were considerably much, but I managed to learn a lot. I became aware of a number of things through it, which I would not have been able to realize if I had not conducted it.
The dictionary was published about five years back and it was edited on the theory of cognitive linguistics. The dictionary has various characteristics based on the theory, including figures that show the structure of meanings of each word, pictures which were illustrated to show the schematic image each meaning of the word has. It offers learners a variety of tips too, such as the motivations of how and why each word's meanings were extended from its central meaning, the encyclopedic, cultural information the words imply, useful tips to differentiate between words carrying similar meanings.
Yet, there isn't any guarantee that the users always feel that the characteristics I adopted for the dictionary are beneficial and effective. For that reason, I planned this investigation in order to confirm these effects.
As a result, the characteristics I adopted were generally useful and effective for the most participants, however, a few responded that some of the characteristics were not as valuable as I expected, and rather, they were a little complex or hard for them to comprehend what they would show.
The analysis is yet to finish, however the results will be applicable for the development of the cognitive linguistics theory besides improving the dictionary.
My empirical research on the semantic structures of basic polysemous Japanese verbs and their acquisition and education is expected to be concluded in a couple of months. I intend to upload the results on my website. I hope my research would be able to contribute to develop the materials for language learning and teaching, as well as the development of the academic field.


#40 The Trump Administration has inaugurated (2017)

I heard Trump's address to the nation online on the Washington Post. It was very beneficial for me in terms of improving my English listening skills, but only for that. As far as the content was concerned, it was worthless for me, which made me feel sad.
I still think that the United States of America is the most powerful and leading country in the world. Trump emphasized "America first" again and again in his address, appealing to people's patriotism and nationalism. However, I believe that the more power a country has, the more altruistic it should be, and should work for other countries that need its help. If he was a leader of a colony, or of a powerless country, he might be permitted to resort to people's patriotism, but he is the leader of the most powerful country, so I don't think that this is good for world peace and safety as well as for his own country. If the US would pursue only their own interests, the other countries will also pursue their own, and as a result, countries in the world will struggle to retain their own interests. The world wars that occurred in the age of Imperialism were the direct result of conflicts where countries, especially the strong ones, were eager to exclusively possess their own wealth. He has become a president of a powerful country, not of a company. He should pay attention not only to the happiness of his country, but also of the whole world.
I really hope that the other countries will not also pursue their own interests exclusively, along with his country. I am really afraid that this will pave the way to another world war.


#41 English acquisition (2017)

Whether we like it or not, English has become the international language of the world, and especially, as a researcher and a professor, it has become one of the most indispensable tools to promote research and education. My specialty is Japanese acquisition and education as a second language, and therefore, English is not as useful as some of the other specialties, such as English acquisition and education, however, to foster my research, I need to know previous studies, and most of them are written in English, especially those papers or books on language acquisition or applied linguistics.
At first, before coming back to Japan to become a professor at a university, I taught Japanese in Korea for a decade from 1991 to 2001, and received a master's and a doctoral degree in Korea. Therefore, I am able to give lectures and write papers in Korean, but am not good at doing them in English. I always did my best to get used to it after coming back to Japan in 2001, nevertheless, it was not enough. So I made up my mind to take a sabbatical to go to an English-speaking country to improve my English to a level where I can write or speak fluently.
In 2014, I was in Australia, for five months. I spent most of my time learning academic English, rather than conducting my research project. Five months was not long enough to master English to write or speak fluently, but I was able to gain the confidence to use it more than before.
After coming back to Japan from Australia, I then made efforts to continue to use English as much as possible. For instance, I tried to read books written in English every day, and further, while reading I made a habit to note the abstract in English. I also listen to the podcasts by BBC English while going to and coming back from work. Moreover, I started to use this service to improve my writing skills, and recently, I began to post on Facebook in English. However, I have not had enough time to improve my speaking skills until now, but I believe that brushing up my writing skills will also help improve my speaking skills.
I still do not have the confidence to give lectures or write papers in English, but now I do not think it impossible for me to write papers in English. I hope to write and apply a paper in the near future.


#42 Spring has come! (2017)

Spring vacation started and the people who passed the entrance examinations for the Master's course at my university were announced. Some of the students successfully passed and others were not successful. I hope that those who passed the examination are preparing for the new academic year, including reading not only books that teach how to commence with one's own research, or how to write one's thesis, but also ones that will be used in my upcoming classes. Next semester, I have a class that will deal with applied cognitive linguistics, as well as second language learning and teaching. The former introduces the basic concepts of cognitive linguistics as well as the methodologies for doing research in the field, through the reading of various books and articles. The latter will demonstrate recent trends pertaining to second language acquisition research from the cognitive perspective, through a book entitled "A Cognitive Approach to Second Language Acquisition".
I also have a message for those who unfortunately failed to pass their exams: It will surely be hard for you to accept this result because you have all been studying for the exams as hard as possible. You'll also need to continue studying for at least another year to enter graduate school. There must be reasons for not passing the exam, so I advise that you review the studies you've been conducting in order to discover which issues you need to overcome before you start your studies again. If you do so, you will be able to pass the exams next year!
Spring is just around the corner, and I am now busy preparing for the upcoming academic year, including selecting materials which will be used in my classes and establishing course syllabi, hoping that my classes will help to develop my students' research.


#43 The 26th Advanced Training Seminar in Germany (2017)

I was invited by the Association for Promoting of Japanese Teaching at Community Colleges to their 26th advanced training seminar in Stuttgart, Germany. This association was established by teachers of Japanese as a second language, most of whom are native Japanese speakers living in Germany.
On March 9th, I left Narita for Frankfurt. President Numasaki was waiting to pick me up at the airport. We took a train to Stuttgart and arrived there about 7. We changed trains twice and it took about two hours to get there. I fell asleep as soon as I arrived at the hotel without eating dinner because of jet lag. It was midnight in Japan.
The next morning, I checked out of the hotel and moved to the arranged accommodation, where the seminar would be held for the following 3 days. The natural surroundings were so beautiful and the weather was so lovely that we went for a walk. The gentle spring sunshine was refreshing. Then we came back and had lunch at the beautiful glassed-in cafeteria.
The opening session was held at 3. The president gave a greeting to the participants gathered from all over the country and introduced the lecturers, including me. Then my first lecture started. The theme of this seminar was teaching Japanese from a cognitive linguistics perspective. In my first lecture, I introduced cognitive linguistics as a theoretical framework. At first, I quoted Slobin, I explained the difficulties of learning a second language. According to Slobin, when people learn their first language, their minds are also trained by particular points of view for the purposes of thinking for speaking, and further, it is exceptionally difficult for them to be retrained when learning a second language, which has points of view that differ from those of their first language. Then I also explained that Japanese differs in perspective so much from European languages including English and German. The former has a more subjective perspective, seeing events from my point of view; and the latter, more objective. I demonstrated these differences using various examples. The lecture continued for 3 hours and finished around six, and we had dinner at the same cafeteria.
After dinner, there was a get-together party and I enjoyed chatting with other participants about the topics, including those dealt with in my lecture. However, because of jet lag, I got so sleepy that I left a little earlier than others. I got back to my room and soon fell asleep.
The lecture the next day started at 9:20 in the morning. I continued the lecture on teaching Japanese from a cognitive linguistics viewpoint in the first lecture, followed by the next lecture, which dealt with teaching basic polysemous verbs. I also introduced a Japanese learners' dictionary on polysemous verbs to them as a teaching material for vocabulary learning, which I published a few years ago. I also held a workshop about the strengths of the material to be evaluated, as well as issues to be solved. We had time for group discussions and then each group introduced the results of their discussions.
After lunch, two lectures were given by another lecturer, Dr. Jung, who teaches Japanese at Waseda University. She addressed the construals of Japanese in comparison with those of Korean and English. She also dealt with the acquisition of the Japanese passive voice by Korean learners, using the data she collected for her doctoral thesis. After the lectures, two groups of the association presented reports about their research. In the evening, a general meeting was held by attending members of the associations to elect the next president. I went to bed earlier as usual.
I got up 3:30 a.m. the next morning. I took a shower and prepared for the last lecture. As the morning was coming, the sky outside of the window was getting red, birds' began singing beautifully, and the church bells rang at 6:30 to let me know the morning had come. I took snaps and videos and posted them on Facebook.
We had breakfast, checked out and then I gave my last lecture that addressed second language acquisition and teaching from a cognitive language perspective. In the last part of this lecture, I introduced my recent activities, which, strictly speaking, may not be related to cognitive linguistics, but with second language teaching in Europe, including intercultural education through plurilingual and pluricultural education. Recently, I have been holding seminars every year with Korean and Japanese students, as well as classes abroad using a video conference system that connects classes from Korean, China and Japan. These dealt with international coexistence in East Asia, including discussions on various topics, such as the establishment of the East Asian Union, publishing a common history textbook between Japan and Korea, and the historical issues of "military comfort women". I started these activities about five years ago without noticing the existence of plurilingualism and pluriculturalism, however, I happened to learn about them from a book written by Byram a few years later. I learned a lot of things from him, and I improved my activities from the theory born in European Union. I started teaching the Korean language to Japanese students, followed by plurilingualism in Europe, and as a result, the relationship between Japanese and Korean students became better through it. I passionately talked about it to them, which seemed to leave a considerable impression on the participants because they also, like me, teach Japanese as a second language in Europe.
The seminar finished successfully. We had lunch and then left the accommodation. One of the staff drove me to the nearest railway station, and I moved to Heidelberg. One of the participants took me sightseeing with her German husband. We met him at Mannheim, and we moved to Heidelberg together. We got to the hotel I booked at 5.
It was located near the Neckar River. After the check-in finished, we went sightseeing. At first, we walked along Haupt Street to the foot of Heidelberg Castle. I bought them dinner at an Italian restaurant to thank them for their kind help.
The next day, March 13th, I spent all day sightseeing in Heidelberg by myself. After eating breakfast at my hotel, I went to Philosophenweg, where many philosophers walked, including Goethe. I could see Heidelberg Castle on the other side of the Neckar River. Then I went down to the riverside, crossed the river using an old bridge, and climbed up to the old, half ruined castle. There was also a long terrace beside the old castle, where I could enjoy a panoramic view of the traditional city of Heidelberg. It was a warm and lovely spring day and there were many flowers such as various colors of crocuses, one of my favorite, yellow golden bells that always reminds me of the spring in Korea, and yellow daffodils on the roadside of Philosophenweg and the Neckar River. On my way back to the hotel, I bought some souvenirs too, such as bread and chocolates for my wife, coworkers and students. I walked almost 20 km, so I got a little tired and went to bed earlier.
The last day in Germany has come! I woke up at 3:30 as usual, and wrote this diary. I had breakfast and checked out at 9. I walked to Heidelberg Railway Station and took a train to Mannheim. I stored my suitcase in a coin-operated locker and spent a few hours sightseeing there.
At first, I went to the information center in front of Mannheim Station and got a city map. Then I went straight to the main street to Wasserturm, which is an old and famous water tower and a landmark of Mannheim. Then, I went along Planken Street, the busiest shopping street in the city. When I arrived at the central park, called Parade Platz, I was so exhausted since I had walked about 20km the previous day. Not only lying down on a bench and having a nap for a while, but also taking lunch in the park refreshed me a little, so I stood up and started walking again, to a palace, a church and Mannheim University. I came back to the railway station at 2 and took a train that left Mannheim at 14:06 for Frankfurt Airport Station. I arrived there and moved to terminal 2 of the airport, so much earlier than I scheduled that I had to wait for about an hour for the check-in counter to open. I left Germany for Narita on flight JL408 at 7:10.
In Germany, one of the most inconvenient things for me was having to look for a public lavatory when needed. When I arrived at Mannheim Station in the morning, I went to the lavatory for the first time, but I did not have a 1 Euro coin, which was needed to enter.
When I was walking around the city, I sometimes wanted to use one, so once I went into a H&M shop, but there wasn't one there. I finally found one in Mannheim University.
It has been my first time back in Europe since I came to Austria 3 years ago. This time, I came here to teach cognitive linguistics to teachers of Japanese as a second language. However, with respect to Europe, I am now much more interested in the citizenship education in Europe that aims to develop an intercultural citizenship and an international identity so as to maintain the European Union. In East Asia, as you know, countries including China, Korea and Japan are still in conflict, and have not overcome their historical relationships. People in this area will need to overcome their nationalism and seek a community where all people in East Asia live together. I think that the citizenship education provided in Europe might also give a solution to establishing a co-existing community in this area.

photo: my presentation


#44 The 23rd Princeton Japanese Pedagogy Forum (2017)

I'm in Princeton, NJ, for the first time to attend the 23rd Princeton Japanese Pedagogy Forum. I left Narita on the 12th of May on a United Airlines flight. After a 13 hours flight, I arrived at Newark International Airport, which was so crowded that it took more than two hours to finish the immigration check. I took a train to Princeton Junction, and then a taxi to my hotel.
Because of jet lag, I got into bed as soon as I arrived, and woke up at midnight. I spent time preparing my presentation and reading a book on second language acquisition.
The reason why I made up my mind to attend this forum was its theme: how Japanese language education can contribute to world peace. I have been continually working on several activities regarding language education for world peace, especially that in East Asia, and including the relationship between Korea or China and Japan, for over a dacade. This time, I gave a presentation on the first day, titled "Plurilingual and Pluricultural Education Towards Peaceful Coexistence in East Asia". In my presentation, I introduced the history of Europe, particularly the establishment of the European Union after World War II ended, focusing on the idea of language education policy, and then I also introduced three activities I had been pursuing: the Japan-Korean students' International Exchange Seminar, since 2004; the Multilingual and Multicultural Cyber Consortium, since 2007; and the International Student Forum, since 2012.
These are the daily activities held in my classes, sometimes through a video conference system to connect with classes abroad, and sometimes holding a seminar or a forum to gather not only Japanese students, but international students from Korea, China and other countries around the world. After my presentation was finished, one of the Korean participants, who was born in Japan and now is teaching Japanese language at a university in New York, commented to me with tears in her eyes, saying, " I was so moved by your presentation because I have been hoping that the day will soon come that Japan and Korea will come together".
My presentation was successfully completed, even though the time of 20 minutes given to me was a little bit too short for me to introduce all of my activities.
There were various presentations where people introduced their classroom activities for world peace. I was very grateful to have the opportunity to gather so many Japanese language researchers and teachers all hoping to contribute to world peace with their daily pedagogical activities. Furthermore, I had a chance to connect with people who share the same sentiment, and to have a world-wide network to develop Japanese language pedagogical activities.
In the evening, there was a dinner banquet on campus, where I enjoyed talking with the other participants.
It was a rainy, chilly day here on the first day, but the campus and buildings of Princeton University were so beautiful in the rain. I arrived at my hotel around 9 and I slipped into bed.
The weather on the second day of the forum turned to be nice. When I took a walk around the hotel, the air in the morning was still chilly, but the sun shone warmly and squirrels appeared in front of me. I arrived at Princeton University around 8:30, had breakfast in the lobby and then attended the second day's presentations, such as a study on voice expressions in Japanese language textbooks from a cognitive linguistics perspective; a report about a tele-collaborative project between universities in Japan and the U.S, and a keynote speech on Japanese voice.
After all the presentations and speeches were finished, one of the Japanese professors from Princeton University led us on a campus tour for an hour. The university is one of the most famous universities in America, with a long history of 270 years, as well as a beautiful campus. There were many buildings founded by the alumni.
After the tour, I made up my mind to go back to my hotel, not using a taxi but on foot. The distance was about 5.6 miles and it took about two hours. I caught a heavy shower on my way, but I managed to get there successfully.
The next and last morning, I woke up at 4 and am now writing this essay. I am going to Princeton Junction Station by Uber and will take a train to the Newark International Airport. My flight leaves there at 10:55 and arrives at Narita at 13:55 tomorrow on schedule.
It was a hard tour for me because we are still in term and I had to cancel several classes. However, it was a fruitful and priceless opportunity for the future development of my educational practices.
I would like to express my gratitude to Professor Shinji Sato, who planned and coordinated this forum.


#45 The Second Elementary School Reunion (2017)

Last Saturday, I went to an elementary school reunion; we all graduated 46 years ago. It was the second reunion; the first was held 6 years ago. 45 graduates and 5 ex-teachers attended, and we all had a great time. The elementary school that I graduated from is Nishikaijin Elementary School, located in Funabashi, Chiba prefecture. I was born and raised there, and moved to Tokyo as a university student. My parents continued to live there until they passed away several years ago. I arrived at Kaijin Station, the nearest station to my home, and walked around my hometown, including the place where my family used to live. A new house was built where I grew up as an elementary school student, and the house where my parents lived until they passed away was also still there. Another family bought it 6 years ago and they live there now. The cherry tree I planted for my mother grew much bigger than it used to be. Although my hometown has changed a lot and most of the houses and shops were rebuilt, there still remain many places that remind me of my school days. Then, I went to the place where the reunion was being held on foot, enjoying looking back on my memories. The gathering started at 3 in the afternoon. I could recognized most of my friends, but a few I could not. One of the girls was seated just beside me when we were in the third grade, but I could not remember her at all. The party ended at 6, but the second party continued at the same restaurant. Eating and drinking, we enjoyed chatting about our school days. The next reunion will be held in about 5 years. We will be over 60, and most of my friends will retire. I won't because my retiring age is 65. I will definitely attend!


#46 Joint classes with Busan Universities of Foreign Studies (2017)

Joint classes with Busan Universities of Foreign Studies were held four times this semester, via a video conference system.
The topic of these classes was "the conflicts between individuals or nations". As individual conflicts, students dealt with various topics such as romantic relationships; "Honne" and "Tatemae", meaning real intention versus superficial expression, and politeness when speaking. As national conflicts, on the other hand, we addressed several unresolved problems between Korea and Japan, including the problem of the comfort women used by the Japanese army during World War II; the Japanese Self-Defense Forces; anti-Korean/Japan sentiments, and the Japanese colonization of Korea.
The essential points in discussing and solving such difficult problems were to allow for diversity or difference of opinion, and to try to understand the other persons' opinions, even if they were different from the ones we held.
Students on both sides exchanged their opinions with open minds. A Chinese student also attended these classes, and we successfully finished the classes. I really hope that this will be a valuable step forward so that the people of East Asia can live together in harmony.


#47 The On-line World Cafe (2017)

The On-line World Cafe was successfully held in June, and almost 50 people from all over the world had a chance to connect together via a web conference service called "ZOOM". This cafe was established by Mr. Ogino, who is a professor in New Zealand and it was the first trial meeting. We talked about Japanese language education as a second language. I got to the cafe at 13:30 and people began arriving one by one; most of them teach Japanese in certain countries, including Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and so on.
At first, there was a brief orientation on how to use this system by Professor Ogino, and then the other professor gave us a keynote speech. After that, we were divided into groups of three or four members, and we talked about the speech we had heard. After this first sectional meeting finished, groups were reconstructed with other members and we continued talking. Groups were organized three times and each time, members from all over the world were able to exchange and deepen our opinions and knowledge.
Of course, there are still some issues to be resolved because this was the first trial, but everybody, including me, got so excited. Although I have experienced remote exchange programs via video conferencing many times, I have never used this system. It was an epochal event because people from all over the world are able to meet each other simultaneously. I want to utilize this system, but there is a problem for me in using it. My university does not have a deal with this system, so if I use it, I have to pay the user fee by myself. Of course there is a free course , but we can only use it for 40 minutes.
Anyway, it was a good experience for me to attend this cafe. I hope Professor Ogino will continue, and develop this endeavor. I will participate and cooperate with him as much as possible.


#48 The Olympic Games (2017)

Sports are, in a sense, so cruel. It always, without exception, makes you happy, but also makes someone sad. Depending on which side you stand, it will take you either to heaven, or to hell.
As you know, the Olympic Games are held every four years, and various sports competitions are held every year. In 2020, the next Olympic Games will be held in Tokyo. When a game is held, one team wins and the other team has to lose. The people living in a country whose team has won the game feel happy, meanwhile, the people whose team has lost have to feel sad. It is impossible, in general, that both teams, or both countries, share happiness at the same time. People sometimes call the Games a festival for peace, but I cannot think it is.
The modern Olympic Games started in the 19th century, just during the age of imperialism. The age disappeared when World War II ended. However, the games still continue until now. During the age of the Cold War, the U.S. and USSR competed with each other to get as many medals as possible. The time has come, I think, to reconsider whether we should continue to hold the Olympic Games for all people on this planet to live together peacefully.


#49 Sightseeing in Yamanashi (2017)

We had a three-day weekend last week, and I went to Yamanashi with my wife last Sunday. We had not been able to enjoy the last two weekends because of big typhoons passing by Tokyo twice. However, the weather was extremely beautiful last weekend, it was neither hot nor cold. The sky was blue without any clouds, and Mt. Fuji could be seen all day long. We first went to Oshino Hakkai, one of the world heritage sites around Mt. Fuji. There were eight clean spring ponds, which are fed by snow and rain water from the mountain. They were once the part of Lake Yamanaka, but the mountain erupted. The outflow of lava cut the lake, and ponds appeared about a few hundred years ago beside the lake.
We took many pictures of the peaceful folk village around the ponds with beautiful Mt. Fuji. We then went to a restaurant near the village and enjoyed eating Hoto, one of the famous local cuisines in the area. I have eaten it once before, but the one we ate this time was much more delicious.
After the good lunch, we went to Lake Kawaguchi, where the autumn leaves were so beautifully colored red and yellow. We had a special time walking, looking at red maple and yellow ginkgo leaves. Yamanashi Prefecture is famous for fruit including grapes and wine made from the grapes harvested there. Therefore, before returning to Tokyo, we dropped by a vineyard and experienced grape picking for the first time. Then, we went to a winery nearby to sample the wines.
On our way home, we got caught in a heavy traffic jam due to traffic detours for Trump's Tokyo visit . We were not able to move at all for half an hour. Apart from that, we perfectly enjoyed the weekend, with good weather, beautiful sites, and nice meals.


#50 An invitation to the 30th anniversary symposium of the Korea-Japan Cultural Exchange Association (2017)

I went to Busan again. This was my third visit to Busan this year. This time, I was invited to the 30th anniversary symposium of the Korea-Japan Cultural Exchange Association as one of the panelists at Bugyeung University. The symposium started at 3pm, and my speech was the last of the four panelists. The title of my speech was 'The Cooperation for the Future Collaboration between Youths from Korea and Japan'. I first addressed the process of establishing the European Union for the last 70 years, because I learned a lot from it for my activities that I will mention below. In Europe, foreign language education has been used not only to improve language skills, but also to develop intercultural citizenship and to establish international identities, such as European identities, since World War II ended. I also consider foreign language learning to be extremely important to foster the international or intercultural relationship, and therefore, I have provided opportunities for youths to learn foreign languages, including Korean and English. This is because, as we establish our national identities by learning our mother tongue, we may establish an international identity by learning foreign languages. And then, I introduced several kinds of international students activities which I have continued to develop comprehension, cooperation and collaboration between students from these two countries. I concluded that collaboration between youths may foster the good relationship between the two countries much better than that between politicians. After our speeches, we first had time to discuss the topics provided by the panelists, and then we tried to obtain any possible answers to foster a better relationship between Korea and Japan for the next 30 years.
The next day, there was an annual meeting of the Japanese Language and Literature Society of Korea at the same place, Bugyeung University. My presentation started at 10am, and I introduced the plurilingual and pluricultural program, which was held for six weeks last summer as one of my activities for the collaboration between Korea and Japan.
Fortunately, I finished these two speeches successfully. After the meeting, participants had a get-together-meeting at a Korean restaurant near the university. We enjoyed chatting and eating shabu-shabu for a while.

photo: my presentation


#51 An international collaboration class (2017)

During this term, I conducted an international collaborative class as usual, with one of my university's partner universities in Korea, using a video conference system. The topic for this semester was "An international dialogue for East Asian countries to live together harmoniously". Contrary to what we see on the mass media, or the political opposing relationship between governments of Japan and Korea; I saw students from both countries connectin a harmonious relationship with each other, and discuss sincerely the future of this area. Students worked on various topics, such as the history of education, the development of common historical textbooks by countries in East Asia, an economical partnership of gaming industries in these countries, and the establishment of the East Asian Union. Actually, I have been disappointed at the politics of Japanese and Korean governments, but I did feel hopeful about the students' friendly attitudes in this class.


#52 My favorite pastime (2017)

Reading a book written in English in my specialty field has become one of my favorite pastimes recently. It provides me not only with knowledge I am interested in, but also with an opportunity to improve my English reading skills. If I wrote down a summary while reading, it would be better, because I would be able to learn writing skills including vocabulary, sentence construction as well as skills that are needed when paraphrasing the context for what I am reading.
Even five years ago, before staying in Australia for five months on my sabbatical, it was considerably harder than now for me to read and write in English. I made up my mind to learn academic English again while staying there with students who were going to enter graduate school there, and my English skills were much improved. Since then, after returning to Japan, I have continued to read and write in English as much as possible every day, which gives me confidence for using English much more than ever before.
Now, there are always books written in English at my bedside, and I read from one of them before falling asleep. I also make every effort to continue posting on Facebook in English.
I'm still much slower than Japanese when I read in English. Furthermore, it stresses me out if I continue reading for a long period. Therefore, I read little by little, a few pages at a time, and take a pause when stressed. It is one of my strategies for continuing to read in English.
On the other hand, it is still hard for me to speak in English, therefore, instead of speaking, I write as much as I can. Writing is much easier than speaking, because I have time to prepare and monitor my English as I'm writing it.
I now have confidence to read and write, so I want, if possible, to be able to speak in the near future by continuing my practice of reading and writing.


#53 One of my classes was reported on a newspaper (2017)

One of my classes was reported on a newspaper.
This was a joint class conducted with a university in Korea, via a video conference system. A Korean student who attended the class from the Korean side was interviewed by the newspaper reporter, and he mentioned our class. The article says that even though the relationship between Korea and Japan is serious, especially with respect to the problem of the military comfort women who were forced into prostitution by the Japanese military during World War II, we had a harmonious class, where students from both countries sincerely discussed the problem to reduce the distance of recognition regarding the history between the two countries.
Yesterday, the Korean government announced that there had been several problems in the process of establishing the Japan-Korean agreement for solving the problem of the Military Comfort Women in 2015. The Japanese government, on the other hand, did not accept the announcement. I have become more seriously worried about the two countries' future relationship, and I think it's even more difficult for the two governments to solve it. Therefore, I have made up my mind to do my best as an educator without having expectations about what the governments can do.


#54 A major house cleaning (2017)

In Japan, we have a custom of doing a major house cleaning at the end of every year. This year, my wife caught a cold and was in bed all day long, so I had to do it all by myself. I did several things, such as cleaning windows, wiping floors, and so on.
Someone said that when he asked wives how much their husbands take part in the cleaning, most of their answers were that they did not help at all. However, when he talked to husbands about the result, most of them said that it was not true, and when he asked the same question as he asked the wives, their most popular answer was that they take part in half the cleaning.
Then, what is the reason for the difference in their answers? The reason, I believe, is that both wives and husbands view it from their own standpoints, and are not able to see it from their partner's viewpoints. Some of the husbands might have done their best in their own way, but it might be different from what their wives were hoping for, and so they made nothing of what their husbands did. Otherwise, some husbands did not work as hard as they could, without thinking about what their wife wants them to do.
If they view it from their partners' standpoints, they would be able to feel thankfulness, rather than dissatisfaction.


#55 How should a university become? (2018)

Recently, I've often been considering how a university, as an institution of higher education, should become. Since I have plenty of opportunities to interact with Korea, I feel that Japanese people show less positive attitudes towards politics than Koreans. However, the less positive they are, the more possibility that the politics will do in an undesirable direction.
Moreover, people in Japan do not manifest their own opinions very easily. Instead, they let the mass media speak for them, or they passively and uncritically accept what the media is saying.
If the opinions of politicians and media were not able to go beyond national interests, and I feel they actually are, such negative and passive behaviors would inevitably force people to pursue national interests, like what their government and media do, and as a result, problems between nations would also become problems between people from different countries.
I read a book recently. The author says that although higher education has considered criticality as important, it has dealt with criticality only toward knowledge. However, we live in a globalized era when various values and thoughts live together, not just the criticality toward knowledge, but also those toward self-reflection, and the world must be included. He also mentioned that higher education has a responsibility to help students become critical beings who can reflect on their own thoughts and perspectives, as well as to take critical action in the world. I agreed with his opinion, so I introduced it to my students in my classes. Second language teaching, which is my specialty, provides an opportunity to reconsider their knowledge, self and behaviors to the world that have been developed during national education, including national language education, by learning others' language and culture. I held various classes over this academic year, such as "Practicum of Inter-cultural Communication", which was conducted in Korea; and "Language and Culture" and "Language Education in Globalizing World", which were held with Korean students via a video conferencing system. I conducted these classes in order for the students to reconsider their selves and develop their ability to take critical actions in the world. I hope that many students will go out, after graduation, into society to become a driving force for changing the world.


#56 My ambition for this year (2018)

In Japan, when we greet the new year, we have a habit of telling our ambitions for the year. What on earth is my ambition for 2018, then?
I had a chance to talk about it today, and I discussed it as below.
I hope that this year will, or must, be an year when I will be able to develop my projects.  Actually, I submitted a subsidy application for my project last year. If it is accepted, I would like to develop my projects one step further.
First, I would like to make my classes better opportunities for my students to discuss and solve various problems that exist between East Asian countries, with students from these countries, or to experience some sort of practice in a foreign country, such as a Japanese teaching training in Australia or Korea.
Second, in March, three professors, including myself, have a plan to invite professors from Korea, China, and Taiwan to Japan, and have an international conference to discuss what we can do as language teachers to establish transnational and harmonious relationships between the countries in this area.
As you know, in Europe, after World War II, countries in this area decided not to repeat such tragedies as world wars again, and they tried to establish a transnational union. The European Union finally appeared half of a century later. Through this process, language education policies were vital for European people to develop their European identity, and for European countries to form such a transnational union. Their history provides us with various teachings and suggestions in order for countries in East Asia to establish good relationships, as well as for people of this area to live side by side in harmony.


#57 Online World Cafe for Japanese Teachers (2018)

An online meeting, called "Online World Cafe for Japanese Teachers" was held today via Zoom, one of the most modern online systems that provides us with platforms for video and audio conferencing, and more than 60 people from all over the world joined in. This event was established by Professor Masa, who teaches Japanese in New Zealand. The first meeting was held last year, and this was the second one. After a brief orientation for how to use Zoom, Professor Sato, who teaches Japanese in the US, provided us with a keynote speech. The title was, "For what purpose are we teaching Japanese in this era?" He said, in short, that we are teaching Japanese not just for learners to improve their language skills, but also to help work toward world peace. He is one of the most famous professors, and held an international conference at Princeton University last year, the topic of which was also Japanese language teaching for world peace. I am also interested in this topic, and am conducting several classes where both Japanese students and Japanese learners abroad are provided chances for discussing various topics about world peace. I participated in the conference and met him there.
After the speech, participants were divided at random into groups of 4 or 5, and we had time to discuss the topic introduced by the speaker for 20 minutes. Then, we all gathered and were divided again into other groups. At this second group meeting, we first had time for a brief self-introduction, and we shared with each other our results from what was discussed at the first group meeting, and then members in the second groups further discussed the topic for about 20 more minutes. We all gathered again, and then came back to the first group, reported about the discussion held in the second group, and finally, each member introduced his or her own purpose for teaching Japanese.
My answer was that I am teaching Japanese so that countries in East Asia can get along with each other.
At the end of this meeting, a harvest session was held, and each participant introduced a brief comment at the meeting. I said that no matter trivial what each of us is conducting in our classes are, if we build such a world network as one being built today, it may eventually contribute to establishing world peace.
Therefore, I really want to express my gratitude to Masa, and all other members who prepared for the meeting.


#58 The 7th International Student Forum (2018)

Key Note Speech
The International Student Forum is based on the Multilingual & Multicultural Cyber Consortium (MMCC). It was established in 2009, and consists of students from eight universities in eight countries around the world.
The Forum was initiated in 2012, one year after the Great East Japan Earthquake unexpectedly occurred, and aims for students to discuss and think about world-wide issues from a global perspective beyond their national borders, languages, and cultures. This year we are holding the 7th Forum, or the 9th if those ones which was held overseas are included. Fortunately, the Forum was accepted as one of the short-stay programs by JASSO this year such as the previous Forums. Thanks to the financial support of JASSO, we were able to invite 14 students from nine universities in eight countries. As a result, we were able to increase the number of participants from our partner universities in South America and North Europe. In addition, this is the first time for us to hold the Forum in English, instead of Japanese, as the ruling language.
On a daily basis, the MMCC has been conducting various virtual exchange programs via a video conferencing system. It is significant in order to globalize the environment of our campus. However, a virtual environment has limitations on developing our students' global minds and their international viewpoints. Therefore, I determined to provide an opportunity and invite students from overseas to meet, discuss, and work with our students directly once a year. I hope that it works in a good way not just to foster our students as global citizens, but also to provide them with a chance to take the initiative to organize and operate an international event by themselves. I believe that it will become a valuable experience for reflecting on and working together for world peace with students from all over the world.
The keyword of the 7th Forum is "movement". Unfortunately, there are children who were bullied by their classmates because they moved from Fukushima, where nuclear power plants exploded because of the great earthquake. These children were forced to evacuate their hometowns, but there are cases where they are not been welcomed. We recognize this "movement" as a forced mobility and relate it with emigrants and refugees around the world who had to leave their hometowns for any number of reasons, such as war, disaster, political oppression, and religious persecution. Not a few of them suffer from discrimination.
If we want to solve these problems, a citizenship education for living harmoniously beyond borders, including languages, cultures, races and religions, will be necessary. The 7th Forum will, I believe, provide students with an opportunity to discuss and think about this issue. This Forum has been established not only by faculty members, but also Derek Matsuda Associate Fellow, and our students, who have voluntarily prepared this forum. I really want to express my gratitude to them.
In the end, I hope all the participants who are going to join the Forum get a new point of view and foster their abilities to work as a multicultural group during the program.

February 8th
The 7th International Student Forum opened today.
Most of the students from abroad arrived in Japan yesterday, and checked in at my university's dormitory.
The opening session was held at 13:30 p.m. All the students from overseas gathered, and my students warmly welcomed them. At the session, one of the vice-presidents in charge of the international division gave them a welcome speech, and then I provided them with a keynote speech for this forum.
The topic of this forum this time is "Disaster and Movement of Population". I introduced students who were evacuated from their hometown, Fukushima, where nuclear power plants exploded, who get bullied by their classmates. There are also a considerable number of refugees and emigrants who were forced to leave their home countries and who suffer from discrimination where they have been evacuated to. This forum is being held to discuss and solve these problems with students who have different languages, cultures and values.
After my speech, an orientation was briefly held, and my students took invited students on a campus tour.
In the evening, a welcome party was held. While eating and playing games, students had time to deepen their friendships. Most of the events were hosted and performed by students.

February 9th
Students visited Japanese Overseas Migration Museum, which located in Yokohama, in order to understand Japanese overseas migration.

February 10th
Students visited The Tokyo Rinkai Disaster Prevention Park in order to study disasters in Japan.

February 11th
Enjoying one day Tokyo tour with my university students. Three courses are prepared.

February 12th
A lecture, called "Philippine Nikkeijin Diasporas" was given by a professor at Sophia University. Nikkeijin means Japanese immigrants; this lecture discusses people who went to the Philippines and established a Japanese community in Davao, one of the largest islands in this country, before World War II. After the war, some people were forced to return to Japan with or without their Filipino wives and their children, while others reluctantly remained there. Students had valuable time to consider what is a nation, what is nationality, and what is home during this lecture.

February 13th-14th
An International Student Symposium was held over these two days. All the participating universities made their own presentations under the topic of people's movements beyond national borders. For example, Korean students dealt with North Korean Defectors and Europeans addressed Syrian refugees. Since the symposium was held in English, it seemed difficult for Japanese students to participate in the discussions, and as a result, most of the questions and answers appeared from students from abroad. It was of course mostly because of the problems of language skills, but in addition to it, there seems to exist another reason. It was nothing but their unfamiliarity of getting in on the discussions. In Japan, rather than two-way-discussion-style lectures, one-way-lecture-style classes are more popular, where teachers talk to their students one-sidedly, without being accompanied by students' questions against it, Japanese students are so used to it that they only hear someone speaking without any active involvement. What's more in such an English speaking situation, it should have been more difficult for them to improve their way of reacting to it. I think that it is one of the most important issues for Japanese students to overcome in order to become an active citizen in this global borderless world. That's why I provide them with such international communicative classes like this forum, using English, and discussing students with different backgrounds.
On the morning of the 14th, the Norwegian prime minister happened to visit my university and gave my students a special lecture, because the minister was a woman and my university is the most famous women's university in Japan. The participating students also attended this lecture and had a good chance to consider gender equality.
[Speech by Prime Minister Solberg]

February 15th
A closing ceremony and a farewell party were held on the last day of the forum.
At the closing ceremony, I gave the completion certificates to the participants one by one, and then I spoke to them, at first to all the students in English, and later to the Japanese students in Japanese.
This forum was completed almost successfully and in a satisfactory way. However, since this was the first time holding the forum in English, some of the issues have remained unresolved.
Firstly, there is room to improve the operations with faculty members including me, in particular, which roles are given to students, and which ones should be left to us. If we intervene too much with the students' activities, the operation might be improved and the forum runs more smoothly, but the students may become passive and lose their autonomy. However, if we leave all the roles to students, there might be trouble and the forum will not run smoothly. This issue must be reconsidered if we want to improve by the next forum.
Secondly, the advanced directions seemed insufficient. For example, we should have taught various skills that are necessary for operating the forum or having presentations done in English. These problems might be thought as originating with the students, but on the other hand, we can also think that the directions we gave the students were not sufficient.
However, the students looked satisfied. After the ceremony, a farewell party was held, and the students had a good time talking about the experiences they shared during the forum. At the end of the party, the Japanese students surprisingly gave collections of their messages to each of the foreign participants, and the party reached its climax. The students hugged and cried with each other, expressing gratitude and acknowledging that they would miss each other.
The party finished with us taking pictures all together.

A Message at the closing ceremony
Dear all participants,
I really had a useful time being with you and discussing the topic at hand. I am relieved since this forum has almost finished without any accidents. I believe that this forum provided all of you with a good opportunity and a valuable starting point for several reasons.
Firstly, all of you made good friends with each other from around the world. Without attending this forum, you would never be friends with the students sitting next to you now.
All of you, I wish, maintain this network, even after the students who came from abroad leave Japan in a few days. Such as a Japanese word, "ichigo-ichie", please maintain this friendship. And I also hope that this network, which was established through this forum, will work well whenever something, such as a disaster, happens and your help is needed anywhere on Earth. I think this is nothing but an international and intercultural citizenship we have to acquire in such a globalized, borderless world.
Secondly, I guess, most of you came to realize that various knowledge and skills are necessary to discuss various global issues with people from different backgrounds, who have different identities, languages and cultures.
For example, enough knowledge for dealing with the topic is needed to consider deeply.
Also, critical thinking skills are necessary to discover constructive and convincing ideas to solve these issues we discussed during the forum.
In addition, various communication skills are also indispensable, including language skills. I think communication is the most vital tool for solving various conflicts that exist around the world, and for building world peace. However, if you do not have enough communication skills, you are not able to deal with the topic, for example, asking or answering questions, and to reach any solutions.
Lastly, through this forum, I wish all of you have acquired a mind to become global citizens who not only think about world peace, but also take action to achieve it.
In the end, I really want to express my gratitude to all students visiting our university from abroad, as well as all of the Ochadai students and faculty members who had prepared for this forum, and Dereck Matsuda, who has kindly supervised them.


#59 Super blue blood moon (2018)

We experienced one of the most dramatic astronomical shows on January 31th. It was a total lunar eclipse, but this time, it was special one, a super blue blood moon. "Blood moon" means that the moon becomes colored red like blood when the moon is totally eclipsed, and "super moon" is, as you know, the biggest moon that can be seen in a year. Moreover, it was a "blue moon", which is the full moon that can be seen twice in the same month.
The weather forecast had said that it would be difficult to see it from Tokyo because of the cloudy weather. However, just when the eclipse was to start, the weather cleared up, and we could see the special moon without any difficulty. I prepared (H)to take photos and took them every 15 minutes.
The moon was not red at the beginning, but when the earth perfectly blocked off the sunlight and the total eclipse started at 9:51 p.m., the moon became red like blood. The total eclipse continued for more than an hour. It started shining from the other side of the moon little by little, at 11:08. It was a very dramatic show and I felt happy that I could successfully watch it. I posted some of the photos on Facebook later.


#60 Traveling around the World (2018)

I had a chance to see photos that took while I traveled around the world as a student. So many years have passed that they changed colors and are now sepia. These were the days when I took pictures and developed them at a camera shop to see what pictures I'd taken.
During the trip, I first went to the US, visiting a few cities such as New York, one of the most central cities in the world; Washington D. C., the capital of the US; and Boston, where the Pilgrim Fathers settled. Then, I went to Israel, where I could visit various famous cites from the Bible, including Bethlehem where Jesus was born, Nazareth, where he grew up, and Jerusalem, where he died on the cross. I also went further out to places such as the Dead Sea, and the Sea of Galilee. I next moved on to Egypt, and saw the Pyramids and the Sphinx for the first time. I had an accident there. I was late for the bus, and I had to go back to my hotel by myself. In Italy, then, I visited Rome and Assisi. Rome is the most famous historical city there, and I visited various cites there, including the Vatican, where Saint Peter's Cathedral is located. The latter was the place where Saint Francisco built a church against the traditional Catholic churches of the Middle Ages. I came back to Asia and visited India at the beginning, where I went to some cities, among them Bodhgaya, where the Buddha achieved enlightenment under the Bodhi tree, my favorite place. I was shocked to see the serious disparity of wealth. The rich people lived in gorgeous apartments on the one hand, and the poor live on the road, on the other; many of them were handicapped, and begged for money from the tourists. It was so unbelievable that I got sick for a few days. I then moved to Nepal, visiting Kathmandu, the capital. I became familiar with children there. They were so friendly that when I took a picture, they came to me to have their pictures taken with me. I also went to China, where I visited several cities, including Hong Kong and Beijing. I visited the Great Wall, too. At last, I visited Korea for the first time. I went to Seoul, the capital city; Gyungju, the most famous historical city in Korea, and Busan.
These pictures reminded me of my school days. Thinking back now, this trip really provided me with international perspectives that are needed in this globalized era. After that I got interested in the world affairs, and later, I made up mind to work abroad. I scanned these photos and served in my Mac.


#61 My class, "Language and Culture" in 2017 (2018)

One of my classes this semester, titled "Language and Culture" successfully finished yesterday. This semester we discussed specific proposals for how people in East Asia, including Korea and Japan, could better live together side by side. This discussion was held with Korean students who study Japanese at Busan University of Foreign Studies, via video conference, in the first half of this semester, and then, in the second half, my students continued to discuss the same topics in order to foster their analyses into more specific and convincing proposals. My class consists of nine students, including five Japanese and four Korean students. At the end of the semester, each of them presented their own proposals in front of the class. Various topics were addressed, including:
Korean language education in Japan and Japanese language education in Korea; the influence of the media on the relationship between these countries; the future of history education in both countries; a proposal for a history textbook jointly produced by East Asian countries; an education program jointly produced in East Asia; the ERASMUS project in Europe and the Campus Asia Project in East Asia; Asian cooperation through the game industry; the problems affecting multicultural families in Korea and their solutions.
It goes without saying that these were only proposals by undergraduate students, however, each of them made a special effort during this semester to propose convincing solutions for people's collaboration in this area. Therefore, I learned a lot from their presentations, and moreover, I found their efforts encouraging because they are the generation to take responsibility for the future.


#62 Greetings as the Director of Center for International Education (2018)

The world is so rapidly becoming globalized day by day that it has become unsurprising for people to move beyond national borders. Tokyo has become a city where the Olympic Games are going to be held, and where more and more people will visit from all over the world. Therefore, our society is in need of people who are able to lead this globalizing world.
In order for students to experience international interactions on a daily bases, our university is making every effort to establish a global campus where you are able not only to collaboratively study with international students who come to our university from abroad, or with students living abroad via video conference, but also to teach various foreign language classes where international students teach their own language. This is the first step to becoming such an international leader. The next step is to attend various kind of short-term programs abroad that are held every summer or spring vacation. The third step is to study abroad at our partner university as an exchange student for half a year, or a year. According to the students' needs, you are able to choose these programs to improve global competence, as well as to raise a desired global member of society. The Center for International Education will support you as much as possible.
When we look at international affairs, the relationship between countries is becoming closer, and nowadays, these relations are headed, rather, in problematic directions, and these situations are making each country even more national and exclusive than they already are. As a result, heterogeneous minorities or fringe groups tend to be removed from society.
East Asia is no exception. The countries in this area are in conflict, as you already know, brandishing their own versions of nationalism. In order for people in these countries to get rid of these conflicting and exclusive relationships, and to go toward a collaborative and harmonious relationship, it is essential for each student to foster daily interactions with international and intercultural perspectives, in order to become a global citizen. We are promoting various educational programs on campus, or abroad, as mentioned above, in order for students to develop their international viewpoints and become just such citizen.
Let's become such a person and let's establish such a world with Center for International Education.


#63 A Handicapped Pigeon (2018)

When I took a walk in a park, located in the central part of Tokyo, I happened to see a pigeon coming toward me. I soon realized that he had lost his left foot and was not able to use it properly. Suddenly, I worried that even if I gave him some food, the other pigeons would get it and he would not be able to have any. However, when I actually dropped some, I was surprised to see him coming and eating faster than other pigeons who were not handicapped. He lives vigorously even though he's handicap. I hope that he will keep fighting to live well as long as possible. Keep going! Good luck!

photo: a handicapped pigeon


#64 Friendship between Nao and Sanghwa (2018)

Nao Kodaira finally won the Olympic 500-meter speed skating race over Sanghwa Lee, who was the two-time defending champion in this event. After the race, both the Korean and Japanese media reported their friendships on a large scale. I was also moved by their behaviors. To date, sometimes Sagnhwa defeated Nao, and sometimes vice versa. Both of them have experienced not only the delights of winning, but also the regrets of losing. During these processes over 10 years, their friendships have overcome their rivalry, as well as overcoming their national border, even though there have been sad episodes in history between their countries in the previous century.
I have also been providing my students with opportunities with various classes, such as International Student Seminar and cyber classes via video conference, to overcome the sad history between Japan and Korea. My students did and this time they did, too. I hope that the heads of both countries would be able to overcome various national obstacles, including those of history and nationalism to establish a good partnership between these two countries in the near future.


#65 The 100th Meeting of KASLA (2018)

The hundredth meeting of the Kanto Association of Second Language Acquisition (KASLA) was held on June 30th.
I invited Professor Nagatomo from Taiwan, who founded the association in 1993, and held a panel session with three professors including him.
The meeting opened at 13:00 and there were approximately 50 participants. After two presentations finished, and the audience grew, the panel session started.
At the beginning, as the president, I introduced the history of the association, as well as the purpose of the session.
At the end of my speech, I also mentioned where second language acquisition research in Japan is headed in the future from several viewpoints, like below.
Firstly, in this globalized era, second language acquisition research should change its focus to multilingual and multicultural learning. Secondly, our association has mainly taken the cognitivist approach, and many of our researchers have pursued universality and abstractness in SLA research rather than individual and situated differences. However, as diversity rapidly increases in this globalized era, we should also pursue these aspects. Thirdly, SLA research has called for a "social turn", and a number of alternative perspectives on SLA research have appeared recently, including socio-cultural and identity approaches. Therefore, I think that cognitivists also have to turn their eyes to the outer social world as well as what is happening in our brain. If we continue to look only within the brain, our contributions remain restrictive. In addition, we have to apply the results of the research to education as soon as possible.
After my introduction speech, the first speech was given by Professor Nagatomo, who introduced the history in detail. He returned to Japan from the U.S. after graduating in the 1980's, and he established the association in 1993, when he was a professor at my university. The activity gradually extended, and in 1997, the association developed into a national organization and a journal began to be published. The number of students under his direction also rapidly increased, and became competent researchers, who contributed the development of SLA research in Japan.
The next presentation was given by Dr. Oseki, who talked about the the learners' language. She received direct guidance from Professor Nagatomo, and became one of the most famous SLA researchers in Japan.
The last panelist was Dr. Nishikawa, who is now my colleague at my university. Her specialty is second language acquisition in young learners, particularly the influence of learners' age on their acquisition. She introduced her recent studies, as well as future possibilities in her research field. After their presentations, we had brief discussion time.
The association has now restarted its activities again, looking toward the two hundredth meeting, which will be held in 2050's if all goes well.


#66 First Language Acquisition (2018)

Three months have passed since my first granddaughter was born.
I am using an application, through which all her family and relatives can share her photos and videos taken by her parents, so I often watch them to watch her growing up day by day.
There was a video clip in which she repeatedly responded to her mother's talking to her. In a sense, she was only smiling at her mother's face, and was producing a voice with her tongue just after her mother was talking to her. However, I really felt that it was not. She was truly answering her mother! She has learned how to express her mind and feelings! I thought that through watching the video, I witnessed the moment where an infant began to answer his/her mother's access, and furthermore, it was nothing other than the start of first language acquisition. My specialty is second language acquisition, and therefore, I have various knowledge concerning how people acquire languages other than their mother tongue. This time, however, I really realized that the beginning of first language acquisition is so different from the beginning of second language learning. I want to continue to keep an eye on her further growth.


#67 My Class, "Language & Culture" in 2018 (2018)

One of my classes from this term, called "language and culture", successfully came to an end. In this class, I adopted the ABC's Model that was proposed by Schmidt (1993), and discussed how your identity, particularly your national identity, and the image of others, especially the image of your interlocutors' country, was established.
Firstly, each of my students reflected on the process of developing their own identity and the image of interlocutor's country during the process of growing up. This procedure is called "autobiography(A)". Then they interviewed their interlocutors about how their identity and others' images were built, on the basis of their awareness during the preceding process of autobiography. This is the second step of ABC, called "biography(B)".
Finally, each of the students compared and contrasted their autobiographies and biographies, and analyzed what they had in common and what was different between them. This process is called "cross-cultural analysis(C)". These three procedures together make up the model called the ABC's.
What was analyzed and discussed was presented via a video conference system with the class from Busan University of Foreign Studies; the students from there were the interviewees for the biography.
Needless to say, all of us are born without having any national identity or image of others. However, during the process of growing up, after being influenced by our parents and family, schooling and mass media, we gradually differentiate identities, and as a result, one national identity, such as Japanese, Korean and Chinese is acquired, and images of others are formed, including the anti-Japanese and the anti-Korean feelings. In the class, we confirmed, through the process of the ABC's Model, that these factors strongly influenced the establishing of their identities and their images of others. Their discussion also provided them with useful suggestions for overcoming the various boundaries between the countries in East Asia, including an exclusive nationalism.
This class included not only Japanese and Korean students, but also international students from China and Hong Kong, so we were able to consider the way in which not only people from Korea and Japan, but also all the people in East Asia live together harmoniously.
We tend to consider these issues as external, political problems, but we deal them as internal ones, and as a result, we reflect on them more deeply. Furthermore, through the process of biography, each student was able to contact the students abroad directly who have different cultural backgrounds, and opened their minds each other, which provided them with more intimate relationships beyond their national borders.
When the classes finished at the end of the term, they established their friendships so intimately that we had a farewell party all together. We went to a Korean restaurant and enjoyed chatting while eating Korean food.
It was one of my most successful classes ever. I hope their friendships will continue forever! This dialogue held in the class will continue in another of my classes, which is going to be held next semester, where the eighth International Student Forum will be held, and participants from abroad, including not only students from countries in East Asia, such as Korea and China, but also from Europe, will discuss the possibility of establishing an East Asian Union through learning various lessons from the European countries' establishing of the European Union since more than 50 years after the end of World War II.


#68 ICJLE 2018 (2018)

I attended the 2018 International Conference on Japanese Language Education (ICJLE 2018) at Venice, Italy.
This conference is held every two years for discussing Japanese language education as a second language, and the topic this time was "Dialogue for Peace". I have dealt with just the same topic recently, therefore, I decided to apply for it without hesitation. I applied to join two panel discussions, and both of which were accepted. The topic of the first one is "the plurilingual and pluricultural program as a citizenship education in East Asia", and the topic of another one is "the results of the Japan-Korean Student Seminar and the role of the teachers."

August 1st.
I left Narita for Madrid, the Capital of Spain. It took approximately fourteen hours to get there. It was my first visit to Spain, and my first impression of it was so good, because one of the staff members at the Madrid International Airport was very friendly and showed me the way to my hotel tonight in detail. I arrived at the hotel around 8 without any drama. The sun had not set yet, so I went out again to have some short sightseeing around there for an hour, including the Royal Palace.

August 2nd.
After eating breakfast at the hotel, which was very delicious, I enjoyed sightseeing for a few hours, until my next flight to Venice. There are a lot of sites worth visiting, including the National Congress, various famous plazas, churches, cathedrals, and parks, so I walked to them one by one. Such a walk around the town is one of my best pastimes when I go to a town for the first time. In the afternoon, I picked up my luggage from the hotel, and went to the airport by metro. I took a flight to Venice, my last destination, at 15:20. In a few hours, I arrived there. I took an airport limousine from the airport to the terminal of the main island in Venice, and then walked to a restaurant, where we were to gather. It was my second visit to Venice, but I realized for the first time that vehicles are not permitted except boats on the island. Furthermore, there were extraordinary complex and narrow mazy streets. I was worried about arriving at the restaurant without failure at first, but I successfully arrived, fortunately. After enjoying dinner, we went to our accommodation with two other professors from the same panel discussion together.

August 3rd.
I attended the opening ceremony, which was held at the Hilton Hotel. We walked to a wharf and rode a boat that took me to the hotel. At the ceremony, there were greetings from the organizer and guests, the introduction of representatives from various countries and areas all over the world, and the keynote speeches by two professors. After the ceremony, all the participants moved to Ca' Foscari University, where the international conference was held for two days. We ate lunch in the garden at the center of the campus. It was located just beside Santa Lucia Station and its front gate looks out on a canal, where boats are always coming and going. I took part in several presentations and went back to the hotel by boat. After taking a rest for a while at the hotel, I went out again to attend the dinner party from 8 p.m. We enjoyed the dinner chatting with participants from all over the world. In particular, I met Dr. Byram and introduced myself to him. Dr Byram is one of the most famous professors on language education policy in Europe. Both of my studies on second language education which were introduced at this conference are based on his work. Therefore, I not only sincerely expressed my gratitude and respect to him, but also introduced my international education programs which have been held between Japan and Korea to him.

August 4th.
I left my hotel at 7:30, since my first panel session started at nine. Because I got there without getting lost on my way to the university, I arrived there before 8, when all the gates had not been opened yet. I was the first person who came to the place other than the staff members.
I gave a speech on the Japan-Korean International Student Seminar for the purpose of Japanese and Korean people living together in the future, as well as the role of teachers.  In the afternoon, I also had another panel session, where I introduced and discussed a plurilingual and pluricultural education program started in 2016. Unfortunately, because the session overlapped with Dr Byram's speech, I could not listen to him. However, both of my panel sessions were successfully finished. We took pictures together after the session finished.

photo: The pawer point of one of my presentations

August 5th.
We got up early, checked out at 5:30, and rode a boat to Venice International Airport at 5:50. On the way, we discussed how the first annual meeting will be held in March. We arrived at the airport around 7, and while eating breakfast at a café, I reviewed the conference with one of the panelists until the boarding time. Each of us took different flights, and as for me, I took a Finnair to Helsinki. I changed planes to Narita at Helsinki Airport, I finally arrived at Narita at 8 a.m. on August 6th.

The three members, including me, are the ones conducting a joint research project. One of them is an expert in language education policy in the European Union, and the other has been conducting international exchange programs between Japan and China. On the one hand, I have learned a lot from the European Union when I thought about the educational policy and program in East Asia, and on the other hand, I have been conducting various programs between Korea and Japan but not between China and Japan. Therefore, both of them are valuable partners for me to fulfill my educational programs. Moreover, although we could not listen to Dr Byram's lecture, unfortunately, we did have chances to have discussions with him directly, this conference provided us with valuable opportunities to foster our research and educational activities.


#69 A difficulty (2018)

I love this country very much. However, there is a person with whom it is difficult for me to contact.
There are various immigrants in this country from all over the world, and as far as I know, most of them are friendly. I guess they experience difficulties while they live here. The person I have a hard time making contact with or understanding is European. It is hard for me to understand her English. I suppose that native English speakers probably understand her English without any difficulties. However, in the case of non-native speakers, especially those who do not speak English well enough like me, her expressions are difficult to understand. When she emailed me, even though I read the emails several times, I often could not perfectly understand what they meant. In my eyes, she does not look sociable in nature; therefore, I guess that she always uses logical and difficult expressions, even if the interlocutor is a non-native, foreign person. I hope she reconsiders her behavior, and makes efforts to realize how difficult it is for such a person like me to understand her English.
From these experiences, I firmly decided that I will master English more, so as not to have such troubles like this.I love this country very much. However, there is a person with whom it is difficult for me to contact.
There are various immigrants in this country from all over the world, and as far as I know, most of them are friendly. I guess they experience difficulties while they live here. The person I have a hard time making contact with or understanding is European. It is hard for me to understand her English. I suppose that native English speakers probably understand her English without any difficulties. However, in the case of non-native speakers, especially those who do not speak English well enough like me, her expressions are difficult to understand. When she emailed me, even though I read the emails several times, I often could not perfectly understand what they meant. In my eyes, she does not look sociable in nature; therefore, I guess that she always uses logical and difficult expressions, even if the interlocutor is a non-native, foreign person. I hope she reconsiders her behavior, and makes efforts to realize how difficult it is for such a person like me to understand her English.
From these experiences, I firmly decided that I will master English more, so as not to have such troubles like this.


#70 A Japanese language teaching program at UNSW (2018)

August 19th
I arrived in Sydney this morning with six graduate students from my university.
I came here to supervise a Japanese language teaching program at UNSW.
This time, all of the students who joined this program are not Japanese, but Chinese students. We gathered at Haneda Airport to take a Qantas flight. The flight left at 22:00.
The plane arrived at Sydney Airport at 8:00. We took a bus to New College Village, where I am staying during my time here. My students and I left all our luggage in my room, and went for a campus tour. As I come here almost every summer except last year, I can introduce the campus to them by myself. After the campus tour and lunch in the food court on the campus were finished, we came back to my room, and my students went to a share house that they booked for their accommodation.
After they left, I was exhausted so much that I fell asleep for a few hours. I woke up at five. I went shopping to buy some food that I will eat during my stay, including noodles, leaf vegetables, salad dressing, milk, cereal, dumplings and so on. I cooked dinner by myself in my room.
Tomorrow, an orientation will be held at 10 and the five-week training program will start.

photo: Sydney

August 20th
The training program started. We had the first meeting at 10 a.m. with five professors in UNSW. We introduced ourselves to each other, and one of the professors gave our students an orientation about how the Japanese language course at UNSW is organized and conducted. After this meeting, our students received their ID cards, as well as the ID and the password for accessing Wi-Fi.
Our six students were divided into three groups, each of which consisted of two students. One is in charge of the introductory level, one is responsible for the intermediate group, and the other is assigned to the advanced and professional classes. Each group had a brief meeting with their supervisors on how to conduct the training. In the afternoon, each training session started. The classes consist of two kinds of classes: a lecture, and a tutorial. However, as far as the introductory class is concerned, in addition to lecture and tutorial classes, there are seminar classes too. It was Monday today, so all levels held lecture classes, where useful grammar and vocabulary for the week's lessons were introduced to the students.
In the introductory class, I saw that more than 150 students attended the same class, I think it's a little bit difficult, at least hard, for students to master the language in such a large group. The class was held at one of the largest classrooms in UNSW. I agree that the professor did her very best for students to master Japanese, but the situation of the class seemed beyond her capacity. After the classes were over, I came back to my dormitory, and ate the dinner I cooked by myself.

August 21st
Today I took part in a professional class that was held for students who have the most superior Japanese competence. At first, the professor, who is in charge of the class, introduced both our trainee students and me to her students. I introduced not only myself, but also my university, because I wanted them to come to my university as exchange students.
The topic of today's class was Kanji, the Chinese letters being used in Japanese. She especially introduced their productivity. She said to them that even though Kanji is difficult to learn, if you combine them, you can produce various compound words which express complex concepts. She showed, through a video clip, an example of an extremely long compound word consisting of 100 letters. After her explanation, she asked the students to make a long compound word by themselves, connecting many Kanji words.
After lunch, I went to the library and did my work which has piled up these days, using email and internet. I also read some material of a special lecture given by Byram at the International Conference in Venice. He is one of the researchers I have focused on recently. He addresses foreign language education as intercultural citizenship education. I wanted to listen to his lecture, but unfortunately, it overlapped with my own presentation. So I got his handout and studied it. After spending a few hours in the library, I went shopping at a large supermarket near the university. I bought leaf vegetables and fruits. On my way home, I happened to meet my students. They were going to an Asian supermarket. As I know it in detail, I took them to a supermarket where various Asian foods, including Chinese and Japanese ones, are available at convenient prices. Since they enjoyed shopping very much, I came home earlier, leaving them there.

August 22nd
I went to meet a person who manages the exchange program between UNSW and its partner universities in the morning. Because this university is going to move to a new academic calendar in 2019, passing from two into a three semester system: the first term begins in February, the second, in June, and the third, in September. The person who is in charge of exchange programs in my university also attended through Facetime. The manager explained to us how their academic calendar works as well as the exchange program between UNSW and our university would change from next year.
After the meeting, I went to see four Japanese classes: those of writing, introductory, professional, and Japanese pop culture.
Between classes, I met a professor of UNSW who organizes this Japanese language teaching program in order to discuss next year's program. Especially, because as I mentioned earlier, UNSW will move to a new semester system, the period of this training program should also be moved.
Until this year, it has been held from August to September, but this term will be divided into two semesters, therefore, we have to change the period in which it is held. The most likely scenario is five or six weeks from February to March. However, if we move to this period, there are some difficulties for students. The participants must be a postgraduate student, in particular, a first grade student, but they may not be able to afford to attend such a long, two-month-program at that time of year, because they begin to consider their Master's thesis around this period. I think it will be a very serious and essential problem. Therefore, I should discuss this issue with other professors at my university after I go back to Japan.
I came back to my room a little bit earlier and am writing this diary before eating dinner.

August 23rd
After the Japanese teaching practicum, there was a study seminar held by graduate students and all of my students attended this seminar. They introduced themselves, as well as their topics which were going to be dealt with in their Master's theses. After that, there was a special lecture on film studies, and we all attended this lecture.

August 24th
I visited a high school in the morning. I know one of the teachers who teaches Japanese there. At first, I saw an exhibition where third grade students had created for over the course of a year. There were various works, including visual arts, music and computer programming. After that, I attended a Japanese class for the 2nd grade.
On my way home, I should have taken a bus back to South Sydney, but I did not but came back on foot. I walked across the Harbour Bridge, where Sydney Harbour, including the Opera House could be seen from the bridge. The rain stopped falling and the weather had cleared up, so I enjoyed the walk very much. I walked to Circular Quay, and then I took a bus to my dormitory. In the afternoon, I joined a class, where students were asked to prepare presentations. The students were divided into five groups, and each group had a topic. They are going to give presentations to visitors at an event that will be held in October. Most of the visitors are Japanese who live in Sydney. Our students joined these groups one by one and helped them with their preparations.
After the class, we had a meeting for reviewing this week with some UNSW professors. They reported their activities of this week and their goals which they are going to put into practice next week.
The first week of the training was successfully concluded. This week, they have only been attending various classes and observing how the teachers were teaching. But from next week, They will have to teach the classes instead.

August 25th
It was the first weekend. On Saturday, I stayed in my room and after lunch, I went to my desk at the university that was given to me during my stay. Three of my students were there and were doing their homework, and another student was also doing her homework in the library. She said that she had been up all the night finishing her homework and had not finished it yet. I saw them doing their own work so hard that I wanted to give them some help.
In the evening, I proposed that I go to the house being leased to them during their staying in Sydney because I wanted to see where to live and how they spend their days. They accepted my proposal and welcomed me. I found that it was a nice house with three bedrooms, as well as a living room and a kitchen. They prepared a gorgeous dinner for me. We all enjoyed eating together for a while. After dinner, there was a surprise waiting for me, my birthday party! I was so glad because it was not anticipated at all. They had prepared a birthday cake for me before I could become aware of it.
So many things have impressed me today. I want to express my gratitude to them.
They have been so busy that they could not go sightseeing at all. I hope they enjoy sightseeing all day tomorrow.

August 26th
It is the second Sunday since we arrived here in Sydney, but last Sunday was only the day we arrived here, so yesterday was the first Sunday for us to have free time. My students become busy for training from tomorrow, so I took them to the Sydney downtown for sightseeing.
I planned to meet at the lobby of the Sheraton Hotel at ten, and told them so, but they met at Hilton, not Sheraton, so we could not meet each other for almost an hour. This is because, the pronunciations of Sheraton and Hilton are similar enough to confuse - I definitely told them "Sheraton", but they definitely believed "Hilton". Unfortunately, I do not have Wi-Fi, I could not find out why they did not come there. But at last, I went to the hotel and asked whether there was any free Wi-Fi available, as I knew that there was one I could use. I found out where they were and why we could not meet each other. We met soon after, and our sightseeing started one hour later than our original schedule.
We started our sightseeing from Hyde Park, and then St. Mary's Cathedral near there, after that, Royal Botanic Garden and Mrs. Mcquaries Point, where the Opera House can be most beautifully seen with the Harbour Bridge. We took many pictures there, and then walked to the Opera House, the most representative landmark in Sydney.
Then we took a ferry to Manly, where we spent a few hours eating lunch and enjoying free time at the beach.
After coming back to Circular Quay, the largest wharf in Sydney, we moved to Town Hall by train and we spent about half an hour for window shopping at QVB, which is famous for its beautiful and traditional interior. We ate our dinner at a restaurant in Korean Town. At last, we dropped in at Coles near there, where they bought daily necessities. We got tired, but had a considerably good time today.

August 27th
Another new week started today.
There are four levels to the Japanese course at UNSW. Each level begins the week with a lecture where grammar and vocabulary are introduced to students. I only observed an introductory class, and two of my practicum students participated in this class.
It was a two-hour class from three to five o'clock in the afternoon, and at the end of the class, a short play was performed by five students, including my two students. The story they performed was a short love story, where a boy happened to find out his girl friend's birthday, and he organized a surprise party at a Japanese restaurant with two other friends, played by my students. The party was successfully finished, and his romance with her deepened. Performing plays is an habitual way to learn Japanese comprehension in this introductory class, and after the performance, their diaries appeared on the screen; this is another lesson, this time for reading. Various ideas are devoted in the class so that beginner students can become interested in learning Japanese.
There are other two classes and other four of my students joined as practicum students.

August 28th
There was an intermediate class, where two of my practicum students had to stand in front of the other students as a practicum teacher. In the class, they dealt with two kinds of expressions: expressions for completion of an action, and those for the duration of an action. As for the former, there are three similar expressions, including "intransitive verb + TEIRU", "transitive verb + TEARU" and "transitive verb + TEOKU". The first one focuses on the state after the action has finished, the second, on both the state after the action as well as the action itself, and the last one, on the action done by someone.
The latter one, an expression of duration, was not so complex for the students to master: they only needed to put "AIDANI" after a clause. It was their first performance, so they became a little nervous at first, but soon, they got used to it. Both of them are non-native Japanese speakers, so they made some small grammatical mistakes, but generally speaking, they did good jobs for their first performance.
In the evening, I was invited to a dinner by one of the professors from UNSW with her husband. We went to an ethnic restaurant, called Mekong, that is located in downtown near the Central Station. We ordered several dishes there: a creative cuisine, a salad, a beef curry, and a boiled fish. All of them were so delicious, but the creative cuisine was the most delicious for me among them. After dinner, we moved to an Italian restaurant just opposite the Mekong to have a desert. I ate too much at the former place, so I only ordered a hot chocolate. My birthday is coming soon, so they invited me for dinner, as well as a birthday party for me. I got familiar with the professor's husband, and so I promised him to meet tomorrow morning to take a stroll together along the waterfront.

August 29th
I got up early in the morning, at five, to watch the sunrise. David, the husband of one of the UNSW professors, picked me up near my dormitory and we went to Coogee Beach. Two of my students also came there to watch the sunrise. Just above the horizon there were some clouds, so we saw the sun rising from the clouds, not the horizon, at around 6:30. After watching the sunrise, we took several pictures together there, and the students went back.)David and I continued to walk along the seaside for another hour and a half.
I went back to my dormitory and had breakfast, and then went to university to supervise students' teaching practicum. There were two introductory class in the afternoon, and two students stood in front of the class as practicum teachers. I sat at the back of the classroom and observed them. It was their first practice, but they did considerably well. The professor in charge of the classes also highly regarded their performances.
There was another Japanese class, professional Japanese, that four of my practicum students joined. The topic today was onomatopoeia, which is vocabulary where the sound expresses the meaning. It is one of the most difficult kinds of vocabulary in Japanese. The professor in charge of the class introduced various vocabulary to the students. Professional Japanese is a class for students who are interested in Japanese, and have chosen it as their major, and so the professor in charge organized it to introduce various resource for students to increase their interest and curiosity.
I came back in the evening and began packing for my departure tomorrow. Looking back over my stay here, various feelings welled up.

August 30th
I checked out the New College Village at ten, and went to UNSW as usual. At 11, I had lunch with my students at a Chinese restaurant on campus. After lunch, I joined two Introductory classes with six of my practicum students.
At four, I went to a professor's study class that was held by her graduate students. I joined only the first few minutes to express my gratitude and to say good-bye to them. I went back to the NCV to get my luggage and headed to the International Airport by bus. I am now waiting for boarding. In about ten hours, I will be back in Tokyo. See you again soon, Sydney!

August 31st
My flight left Sydney at 20:50. Soon, we were served the first meal with something to drink. I asked a cabin attendant, whose name was Andy, for a bottle of wine. He looked very friendly toward customers, so I also said to him, "Actually, my birthday is coming soon!" He asked me when my birthday was. I answered, "In a few hours!"
Later, when I was watching a movie, he suddenly appeared again, saying, "Happy birthday! This is a present for you!" The presents were sweat pants and a shirt with the Qantas logo. I was very surprised and glad to see them. I thanked him, saying, "Really, thank you!" It was the second time I had my birthday celebrated on board, and both of them were celebrated by Qantas on my way home from Sydney.
The movie that I watched during the flight was "The Breadwinner", which depicts the difficulties in Afghanistan, especially those of women under the Taliban regime.
I have heard a little about their difficulties, but I learned a lot from the film.
After watching the movie, I slept. The plane arrived at Haneda at 5:10 after a nine-hour flight.  After getting home, I tried to wear the sweatsuit, but unfortunately, they were too big for me. However, I was glad for his warm heart.


#71 A Japanese language teaching program at BUFS (2018)

September 6th
Now I have arrived at Busan. I am here to supervise a plurilingual and pluricultural program at a partner university in Korea. This is a university where there are approximately six hundred students who are learning Japanese. I think that this number is the most among universities in the world. There may be several reasons for this.
Firstly, this university is located in Busan, which is the nearest major city to Japan, and has historically been connecting Korea with Japan.
Secondly, this is a university of foreign studies and so, there are various courses associated with the Japanese language, including language and culture, translation, business, and information technology.
I chose this university because not only of these reasons, but also of other reasons:
(1) Their teaching methods are based on CEFR, which was established by the Council of Europe. This method was developed for integrating countries in Europe with the power of foreign language education, and these thoughts perfectly correspond with my aim for the training. I have conducted various students' activities between the two countries in order for them to overcome their historical relationships and to engage (I)in a partnership. I hope that these methods will provide students with opportunities for acquiring international identities.
(2) There are two kinds of summer programs which are held back to back: one is a Korean language and culture program in August, and the other is a Japanese language teaching program in September. I connected them to organize a plurilingual and pluricultural program. Plurilingualism and pluriculturalism are thoughts that have a deep relationship with CEFR which I mentioned above. According to the Council of Europe, people may acquire an intercultural identity by learning other's language and culture. For these reasons, I expect that by learning Korean language and culture, and by teaching Japanese language and culture, the participating students might overcome their nationalism and conflicts between Korea and Japan, and to develop international identities.
Students had previously arrived here a month ago, and had already completed the Korean language and culture program. Last week, the second one, the Japanese language teaching program started. I came here to observe students' teaching until next Tuesday. I arrived at a hotel about two hours ago. I am going to prepare for a forum which is scheduled tomorrow.

photo: banner of the Japanese language teacher's training

September 7th
The second Korea-Japanese Student Forum was held at BUFS. Students from Japan are those who came to attend the plurilingual and pluricultural program and are now practicing their Japanese language teaching. The participants were not only students from our university, but also those from BUFS. At the beginning, I gave a keynote speech to them. The title was "From Japanese or Korean language education as a foreign language to citizenship education for harmoniously living with our East Asian neighbors". In this speech, I introduced the relationship between BUFS and my university at first, and then explained why I chose BUFS as a partner to pursue my aim, as well as what I want to pursue together. Next, I introduced the history of Europe after WWII, where they deeply reflected on the two world wars which occurred in Europe, and decided to live together beyond the national borders. They finally established the EU after five decades of efforts. I emphasized their language education policy where learning more than one foreign language is essential for overcoming their nationalism and for acquiring an international, European identity.
However, I continued, in East Asia, especially in Japan, such a deep reflection was not done after the last war, and there has not been any movement to overcome the past and live together with other countries in this area. This is nothing but the reason, I explained, why I began this plurilingual and pluricultural program. In this program, not only teaching Japanese language and culture, but also learning Korean language and culture at first. Through learning other Asian language, I hoped that the participating students would acquire an international identity and open minds to live together.
After the introduction, I depicted the result of this second program that was held last year. I analyzed the reports of participants and categorized effects and limits mentioned in these papers.
In conclusion, the program held last year was considerably successful, there are also a few limitations, however:
(1) The opportunities for students to use Korean were limited. Therefore, the purpose of pluriculturalism was almost achieved, but the purpose of plurilingualism was not accomplished sufficiently.
(2) The relationship between the Korean language and culture program and the Japanese teaching program was not close enough.
(3) Not all students were able to acquire an international identity. This means that the purpose of this program, to establish an intercultural citizenship education, has yet to be satisfactorily concluded.
After this speech, the students from Korea and Japan were divided into seven groups and had time for discussion.
In the evening, I attended another event, a university reunion.
Approximately ten graduates, who are living in Korea, gathered together and enjoyed dinner at a Korean restaurant. Some of them graduated from my university more than a decade ago, and the others were exchange students who studied at my university recently.

September 8th
The "Study in Japan Fair" was held in Busan today. My university also participated in this fair and five of us had a booth, including a Korean translator and myself. A considerable number of students and their parents came to my booth to get information about entering my university. Most of them were high school students who were planning to study in Japan. Unfortunately, the gateway to enter my university as an international student is so tight that only a few students can pass the entrance examinations every year. Therefore, when I, or other staff members, explained this fact to the visitors, most of them were disappointed. I also think it's too bad, and that this situation must be improved as soon as possible. However, the majority of professors at my university do not feel positively about this idea, and do not think more international students to come. Recently, the number of Korean students who come to Japan has been decreasing.
However, a considerable number of people visited our booth and the fair was successfully finished at four. I really hope that the students who are eager to enter my university are actually able to pass the examination and study at my university, as they wish.

September 9th
I went to Seoul on the KTX train to attend my university reunion. KTX is a bullet train that connects Busan and Seoul in a trip that takes two hours. We arrived at Seoul at noon, and there was an hour left until the reunion started, so we visited one of the old imperial palaces. After sightseeing for a short while, we went to the Korean restaurant where the reunion was being held. We all introduced ourselves and enjoyed chatting over food. The party concluded at 3:30, and then I met a professor from a partner university to discuss how to extend various exchange programs between his and my universities.

September 10th
A Japanese language teacher's training course started last year, but my students actually did not teach at all, instead, they just observed how their supervisors taught. From today, however, they began to stand in front of students to teach Japanese on behalf of their supervisors. I attended five classes to observe them teaching today, where each of my students was teaching in accordance with their teaching plan that they had prepared for the class. Although all of them did not have any experience of teaching Japanese, they did teach it considerably well. I do not know the exact reason why they were able to give instruction so well. It might be because their supervisor had guided them so well, otherwise, they prepared properly for their classes. In any case, I was surprised at their ability.
After the students' training finished, I had dinner with three of the university professors at a nearby restaurant. They all are very important partners for me to promote various exchange programs between their and my universities. They were so busy that it was almost impossible for us to have a meal together, however, as I was visiting their university, they managed to make time to be together for me.

September 11th
I observed two of my students' training today. In the evening, I was invited to a dinner by professors of the university. I finished everything that I have to do during my stay in Korea. I am leaving for Japan early tomorrow morning.
My students were able to conduct Japanese classes considerably well this time. I suppose that there may be various reasons for this. Most of all, however, it's because they are interested in teaching Japanese more than the students who attended the training in the last two years. The training concludes this Friday, and they will come back to Japan.


#72 My international on-line classes (2018)

article I have been conducting international on-line classes for more than a decade, since 2007. I started them with a partner university in Korea, BUFS. At that time, the program was considerably pioneering, so one of the newspapers in Korea covered my class. Since then, these international on-line classes continued to be held every semester. Various topics were dealt with in the classes, not only those pertaining to cross-cultural understanding, but also historical or political issues which still exist between the two countries, with the aim of solving them through open dialogue on the part of students. In 2015, which was the 70th anniversary since World War II ended, dialogue was conducted between China and Japan, as well as between Korea and Japan, in order to overcome our past. Our classes were covered again by Japanese and Korean newspapers last year.
In 2009, I called for seven universities from the seven countries in the world, including Vassar College in the U.S., to establish an international cyber consortium called "Multilingual and Multicultural Cyber Consortium (MMCC)", and started international on-line classes every semester.
In 2012, the International Student Forum began, and it has been held every year at my university, where students from these universities were invited to participate in this forum. Joint seminars and on-line lectures were also held using the video conference system. In addition, an international student seminar has been held every year with one of our partner universities in Korea, where a video-conference system was also utilized in the advanced classes. At the 10th seminar, students from the two countries made joint statements in order to reflect on the past 70 years since World War II ended, as well as to discuss a future of living together harmoniously.


#73 Human rights have becom threatened in Japan (2018)

Needless to say, human rights are the most essential thing in the world, and therefore, they should be equally guaranteed for all kinds of people. However, I feel recently that they have become more and more threatened here in Japan, when I look at two kinds of current political topics that are originally, perfectly independent from each other: the government's constructing of the U.S. military base in Henoko, Okinawa, and Japan's employment of foreign workers. The former concerns the Japanese government's ignoring the will of the people in Okinawa who oppose the construction, which was shown in the last prefectural election. The latter was caused by the serious recent issues of the aging population and lower birthrate in Japan, and the government manages to accept more workers from abroad at considerably lower wages and with more risks. A survey by the Japanese Ministry of Justice showed that at least 69 workers have died during their attending internships these past three years. Unfortunately, these issues share, I think, a commonality of great defiance against the most fundamental human rights.


#74 Association for Language Education in Northeast Asia (2019)

article I and two of my esteemed colleagues established the International Association for Language Education in Northeast Asia last year. Target languages include Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and any other language that is taught in the area. This association aims to provide all language teachers with opportunities to meet, communicate, and deepen their understanding of each other without any linguistic, cultural, or political barriers. It is our sincerest hope that harmonious relationships can be established between all nations that make up Northeast Asia. The first meeting will be held soon.
>>In detail, see [here]


#75 The relationship between Korea and Japan (2019)

The relationship between Japan and Korea seems to have become its worst since World War II ended. As far as I understand from the information I gained from the government and the media in Japan, the responsibility for this worsened relationship should be on the Korean side. However, if we acquire information from the Korean government or newspapers, the situation would turn into the perfectly opposite direction. This complex situation, where two conflicting facts seem to exist at the same time, must, I believe, be just the most essential cause of this worst conflict between the two countries.
When we analyze this relation, there are a few things that we should keep in mind. The first one is the relationship between the two countries was once the one between an assailant and a victim country before World War II ended. And the second one is that Korea, which was the victim of Japan at that time, has now become as strong as Japan. In 1965, when the two countries normalized their relations, the power difference between them was so large that Korea had to say that issues which had existed between the two countries were to be resolved if there had still left any complaints. But now, Korea can voice anything to Japan which they were not able to say fifty years ago. Of course, I think the responsibility also exists on the Korean side because part of the war compensation paid by Japan to Korea at that time had to be paid to the victims in Korea, but the Korean government did not use it for them, and only used it for restoring the country. For this reason, the Japanese government confidently says that compensation was already paid and the things had been perfectly resolved.
There is another issue that we should never forget. In the previous century, problems between countries were solved only on the national level. However, the situation is gradually changing these days, and problems, especially if any individuals are affected by any other country, can, or should, be solved not only on the national level, but also on a personal level. Reignited problems such as those of the comfort women, or those of the forced labor are typical instances. Both have been said to have been already resolved, but recently, they have not been resolved, especially from an individual's perspective. Henceforth, we have to consider international issues not only from the national level, but also individuals' perspectives.


#76 A plurilingual and pluricultural education program as intercultural citizenship education in East Asia: Results and Issues (2019)

This study deals with a plurilingual and pluricultural education program, and aims at determining the results and issues surrounding intercultural citizenship education, as well as verifying the possibility that plurilingualism and pluriculturalism are able to become theories that can be applied to intercultural citizenship education in East Asia, which can lead to a harmonious existence.
Reports submitted by participants were qualitatively analyzed. As a result, we determined that the pluricultural purpose was considerably achieved; however, the plurilingual one was not satisfactory enough, because of insufficient opportunities of using the Korean language and the lack of participants' active behavior in using it. In addition, the goal of intercultural citizenship education was considerably accomplished. However, there still exists room for improvement, including the problem of insufficient opportunities when it comes to political education.
In conclusion, in terms of overcoming these issues, the theories of plurilingualism and pluriculturalism may become a framework for an intercultural citizenship education in East Asia.
>>In detail, see [here]


#77 The 8th International Student Forum (2019)

We are now living in a globalized era, and the relationship between nations has been getting closer gradually and steadily. However, Japan and its neighboring countries, such as Korea and China, are unable to maintain a positive relationship; rather, things have been getting worse recently. It has been seven decades since the World War II ended; however, even now, a solution to the enduring conflicts is yet to be found. Although everyone in each of these countries is more than willing to live together, it is not likely that the political powers will make this possible. One of the obstacles to solving these conflicts may be the political attitude of each government, which holds the national interest as top priority. Consequently, all the nations' interests are in conflict with each other. In the field of education, however, it is not power, but truth and justice, which control everything. As a person involved with education, I would like to find a solution to this problem by means of the powers of truth and justice; to this end, I started three events:

The Japan-Korean International Student Seminar,
The Multicultural and Multilingual Cyber Consortium, and
The International Student Forum.

The first one was held with Dongduk Women's University and Busan University of Foreign Studies (BUFS), and the second one, with various universities, including BUFS, Dalian University of Technology, and Vassar College. The last one is this forum.
The Forum was initiated in 2012, one year after the Great East Japan Earthquake unexpectedly occurred, and aims for students to discuss and think about world-wide issues from a global perspective beyond their national borders, languages, and cultures. This year we are holding the 8th Forum, or the 10th if we include those held overseas, at Vassar College in 2014, and at Dongduk Women's University, Keimyung University and BUFS in 2015. Fortunately, the Forum was accepted as one of the short-stay programs by Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO) this year, like the previous Forums. Thanks to the financial support of JASSO, we were able to invite 15 students from 6 universities in 5 countries, not only from East Asia, but also from Poland, the United States and New Zealand.
The keywords of the 8th Forum are "Harmonious relationships in East Asia". We would like to learn the wisdom of how to live harmoniously, from the experience of establishing the European Union in Europe, the use of leadership skills to think about worldwide peace in the US, and the multiculturalism we find in Oceania.
I hope that this Forum works in a good way not just to foster our students as global citizens, but also to provide them a chance to take the initiative in organizing and operating an international event by themselves. I believe that it will become a valuable experience for reflecting on and working together for world peace with students from all over the world.
This Forum has been established mostly by our students, who have voluntarily prepared this forum. I really want to express my gratitude to them.
In the end, I hope all the participants who are going to join the Forum get a new point of view and foster their abilities to work as a multicultural group during the program.
(A message from the founder, at the opening ceremony)

photo: the opening ceremony


#78 International citizenship education through foreign language learning (2019)

The relationship between nations in East Asia has become more and more confusing these days. Korea and China, which were heavily damaged by Japan before and during World War II, are becoming much stronger than they were in the past, and now, they finally broke silence to demand damages for problems that had been said to be "already resolved". Because of these allegations, the government of Japan is also reacting in opposition. These situations evoke serious and fundamental problems that the war compensations provided by Japan were not sufficient, or appropriate enough, to appease them.
Then, I recently have been thinking a lot what I can do for them as a person who teaches intercultural exchange and multicultural coexistence to Japanese students, and Japanese language and culture to international students, including those from Korea and China.
For these reasons, I have continued several educational practices since 2004, one of which is this "International Student Forum", where students gather from all over the world to discuss world-wide issues from international perspectives. During this forum, by using foreign languages learned and increasing channels of communication, we must try to have a dialogue and understand the minds and situations others live in in order to reach an answer that is internationally conceived.
If we turn our eyes to Europe, after the second World War, European countries took a firm resolution never to repeat such a terrible conflict between nations, and started taking steps towards living together harmoniously. They finally reached the establishment of a transnational organization, the European Union, in the 1990's. Through the creation process of this establishment, they concluded that learning foreign language is vital as a citizenship education. Byram, one of the researchers specialized in language education policies in Europe, proposed that, in order for foreign language education to develop as an international citizenship, foreign language education must deal not only with language and culture education, but also with political education. His claim coincides with the ideas which exists at the back of my educational practices, including this forum.
What are, then, the reasons for these conflicts in East Asia? And why are nations in this area not able to live together even after more than seven decades have passed since World War II ended? The first reason is that Japan has not reflected on its past behaviors deeply enough even though it originated those conflicts. Of course, I know that there are also arguments on Japan's side. However, as harassment always demands responsibilities from assailants, seen from the point of view of those who suffered from their hands, so are conflicts between nations, I believe. Unfortunately, international politics mostly still view the relations from the stronger side and try to solve the problems from their perspective, but I think that the time has come to turn the tides and to reflect on the problems from the weaker side in order to solve them. This logic has not yet passed in international relations. The Japanese government would not agree with it either.
The second reason is that national relations have prioritized the national interests. In other words, all nations have considered their own interests as the top priority rather than thinking about others' interests.
School education and mass media also see the affairs and the history from their own side, in other words, from a national perspective. As a result, they lead the people to think that their own view is the only one that is valid and that other perspectives are baseless. This nationalistic perspective may be useful to exclude others and to unify a nation, however, it might gradually become obsolete in this internationalized era.
Thirdly, in this globalized era, when the structure between nations is gradually eroding, it seems that problems should be solved at the individual level, not at the national level. The so-called wartime "forced labor" problem between Korea and Japan is a typical incident in which this change was displayed.
In such changing times, our viewpoints for solving international problems should also be changed. Instead of trying to solve them from the national structure mentioned above, we should focus on each individual. In other words, not prioritize national interests, but individual human rights.
We, as individuals, should also overcome nationalism and have an international posture on the matter. As are the education and the media. And on the top of that, we, those who belong to universities, should lead the way.
As you know, universities are institutes of higher education, and those who belong to them have as a mission to view existing things critically and discover the knowledge which is most useful for all of humanity. Moreover, in this globalized era, we also have to critically reconsider ourselves to overcome our selfishness, as well as critically see and reconstruct the existing society. We should become such critical beings with critical knowledge and perspective for looking at our own self and the world, and should have missions to lead the world, or East Asia, to a more harmonious direction.
In this forum, students have gathered not only from East Asian countries, such as Korea and China, but also three other countries in the world, including Poland from Europe, New Zealand from Oceania, and the United States from North America. We would like to learn how European countries have overcome World War I and II, as well as the Cold War; how Oceanic countries have overcome the white supremacy reasoning and have developed their multiculturalism; how the United States of America have led the world. Of course, all of them have limitations and issues to be improved. Furthermore, you must not forget that the successes in these areas are not always applicable to the issues in East Asia.
This forum started in 2012, after the disaster of the Great East Japan Earthquake occurred, the topics of which, at first, mostly dealt with natural disasters. Recently, we also addressed disasters caused by people. This is because it may be difficult, not to say impossible, to avoid natural disasters, but I believe that it could be possible to circumvent disasters caused by people if they would make as much efforts as possible. Among these disasters, the most tragic one must be war.
In this forum, in order for all human beings to avoid wars or any other conflicts, and instead, to live together harmoniously, we would like to hold a significant dialogue and discussion by means of overcoming each one's own nationalism.
(A keynote speech, the 8th International Student Forum)


#79 The opposite of war is dialogue (2019)

Teruoka (2017) says that the opposite of war is not peace, but dialogue. According to her, dialogue is the most human communication tool. The relationship in a dialogue is not one-sided, but bidirectional, and guarantees equality. They feel something in common as human beings, even though they feel differently about what they think of each other. Therefore, through dialogue, they will be able to live together harmoniously, as well as respect each other. There is nothing but citizenship education to develop the skills of dialogue.
However, it is not a dialogue if they think that they themselves are only in the right and others are not. Such an exclusive relationship makes people hate one another, and, in the end, may cause a war. She also said in her book that the behavior of the Japanese government towards people in Okinawa, where the government is building a military base without hearing the voice of the inhabitants, lacks dialogue. Otherwise, they do not even have the ability of engaging in dialogue with them.
The relationship between the Japanese and Korean governments recently also lacks dialogue. They only assert themselves without trying to understand each other.


#80 The 8th International Student Forum (2019)

The 8th International Student Forum has finished successfully. I invited students from six universities in Korea, China, the United States, Poland and New Zealand, and dealt with the topic of how people in East Asian countries can live together harmoniously.
Students from abroad arrived around February 7th, and students from my university met them at the designated place, and took them to dormitories.

February 8th
The next day, all the participating students gathered at my university and attended the opening ceremony. I gave a welcoming address to them as the founder of the forum, which I have held every year since 2012. I also presented a keynote speech, and mentioned that the various conflicts that exist between nations in East Asia now are the worst since World War II ended. These problems seem impossible to solve politically because all governments see them from national, not international, perspectives. Therefore, we, as people in higher education, where problems are to be solved according to truth and justice, not politics, must solve these conflicts through open dialogue unrestricted by nationalism. After my speech, the students introduced themselves and their universities to each other.
In the afternoon, lectures were presented by two visiting professors and there were talks about the topic. Professor Komatsu dealt with the conflicts that exist in Belgium and Canada, and the important role that language education plays in solving these problems. Professor Yamamoto addressed the meaning of living together harmoniously in an East Asian context. She first gave examples of two children who came to Japan from overseas, whose parents chose different ways: one chose the way of differentiation and the other, of assimilation. She then asked students about national uniformity, and explained the difference between nationalism and patriotism from the perspective of equality. She finally emphasized that we should avoid division, because we are variously influenced by others or other countries, and so the inclusion, not exclusion, of others with different backgrounds is essential for harmony in East Asia.
After their lectures, a welcome party was held by our students. They got to know each other through ice-breaking games and chatting.

photo: the opening ceremony, 8/2/2019

February 9th
We went on a study tour. Firstly we went to Edo-Tokyo Museum in order for students from abroad to deepen their understanding of Japan's modern history. During the past 200 years, Japan opened itself to diplomatic relations, followed Western imperialism, and invaded neighboring countries to colonize them. Japan at last started the Pacific War against America, which caused the various conflicts which still exist in East Asia.
We then enjoyed Chanko-nabe for lunch, a dish traditionally served to sumo wrestlers. In the afternoon, we visited a nearby park, and saw some memorials for the Great Kanto Earthquake, including a monument for victims who were killed by Japanese people in the aftermath, and some for the Bombing of Tokyo during World War II.

February 11th
A symposium was held, where all participants gave presentations about the topic of East Asian countries living together harmoniously.
Firstly, students from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, gave their speech. They introduced multiculturalism in their country as a solution for the conflicts in East Asia.
Next, a student from Vassar College explained the United States' global leadership, including problems such as the America First attitude of the current President Trump.
In the afternoon, there were three presentations.
The first presentation was given by students from the University of Warsaw. They talked about the history of Poland, which has been divided or lost to invaders several times; integrated into communism after the war; and joined the European Union recently. They emphasized the benefits of EU membership, as well as the importance of separating the attitudes of the past and future, without dwelling on the past.
The next presentation was given by students from the Dalian University of Technology.
They introduced a concrete plan to establish a student union in East Asia.
Then the last presentation was provided by students from the Busan University of Foreign Studies. At first they introduced the international joint classes with my university, which have been held every semester, using a video conference system, and proposed an idea for East Asian countries to live together harmoniously.

February 12th
The symposium continued, and in the morning, there were two presentations.
Firstly, students from Dongduk Women's University presented their message. They introduced the International Student Seminar that had been held with my university. In the seminar, students from both Korea and Japan dealt with serious problems which still exist between our countries, such as the military comfort women and territorial problems. They also gave joint statements together at the 10th seminar. Based on these experiences, they proposed several ideas for East Asian countries to live together.
The final presentation was given by three of my students. They dealt with how to establish international citizenship in this area by referencing the success of the European Union, by comparing the affairs of Europe and East Asia. They finally presented three proposals: holding an East Asian Conference, establishing an educational institution, as well as building an information institution.
In the afternoon, the students held a general discussion to address how a harmonious relationship could be established, particularly by the hand of students. Various opinions and ideas were proposed which participants listened to intently, and then solutions were successfully discussed.

photo: the general discussion, 12/2/2019

February 13th
The students went out for cultural study tours. They could one of two courses: Odaiba, or Ginza.

The former went to one of the famous television studios at first, and then visited the takoyaki museum, one of the most popular Japanese foods. After lunch, they went to Hamarikyu Gardens, to enjoy the beautiful traditional Japanese gardens.

The latter went to Kabukiza, which is the famous Japanese kabuki theater. They then enjoyed Japanese food for lunch, including tempura, sashimi, and soba. In the afternoon, they visited a toy park, to see various traditional toys.

February 14th
Students had time to spend together in order to deepen their friendships. Students from overseas also bought souvenirs.

February 15th
The closing ceremony was held in the morning. I presented a speech for the participants. I was moved and had such a meaningful, special time with them, so I expressed my gratitude. At the end, when I saw a slide which said, "See you soon, again", I was unexpectedly moved to tears and could not talk for a moment. 
After that, presents were given to the visiting students by their buddies, followed by a farewell party. At the party, while eating lunch, a video clip was shown to them, featuring various photos that were taken during the forum. Then they were asked to write their memories on tags, which were put on the whiteboards at the front of the room. We checked them one by one, asking each participant to explain their special memories.

photo: the closing ceremony, 15/2/2019

February 16th
The visiting students checked out of the dormitory with the help of my students. The time came for them to reluctantly part from each other and go back to their own countries.


#81 The necessity of dialogue (2019)

When people become a majority, they may think that dialogue is unnecessary for them. They might feel that it is nothing but a waste of time. However, there could be a misunderstanding that only they are right and the others are not. With a humble mind, they would feel that the others might be right, and reflect on their own position and think again from the other person's point of view.
This is also true of domestic and international politics. The relationship between Japan and Korea has become as bad as it's ever been. The biggest reason might be that neither of them put themselves in the other's shoes.


#82 The 1st meeting of the Association for Language Education in Northeast Asia (2019)

The Association for Language Education in Northeast Asia held its first meeting at Kyushu University on March 2nd and 3rd and it was a success. Language teachers from China, Korea, Taiwan and Japan who teach Chinese, Korean or Japanese, participated in the meeting. Most of the associations generally only deal with teaching one language, so we do not have a chance to meet teachers of other languages. However, this meeting aims at creating meeting and discussions beyond these language borders.
As you know, there are a variety of conflicts between countries in Northeast Asia, and it goes without saying that many people living in this area hope to live together harmoniously. Therefore, a year ago, two of my colleagues and I made up our minds to establish this association for language teachers in this area to gather and open dialogue beyond their various borders, including national borders, identities and the languages they teach. In Europe, language education paved the way to living together as citizens of the transnational community the European Union after World War II ended, so we also hoped Northeast Asia would be like that.
There were nine presentations that addressed one language taught in this area. Two of the languages were used for each of the presentations. For example, a Korean professor used Korean for his speech, as well as Japanese on his slides. Moreover, if there was someone who understood neither of the two languages, someone in the meeting translated it into the third language.
After all of the presentations on the first day finished, there was a dinner party in order for all of the participants to get together, and when everything ended on the second day, we, the founders, had lunch together at a restaurant nearby to reflect on the first meeting. Even though we found several points to improve, we were all generally satisfied with the results. In the evening, we were invited by one of us to a party at her house, where we made Chines dumplings by ourselves together. We enjoyed eating and chatting with each other very much.
it has been decided to hold the second meeting in Korea, at the Busan University of Foreign Studies next year. The next morning, I went back to Tokyo by plane.

photo: the meeting, 2/3/2019


#83 My long journey to master English (2019)

Needless to say, mastering English is one of my top priorities as a researcher in this globalized era.
Most of the valuable research products, such as papers and technical books, are written in English, and in addition, when we are to share our research findings with the world, and if we consider them valuable enough, we will write them in English so that many researchers are able to understand them.
Unfortunately, however, I graduated from my Master's and doctoral courses in Korea, not in an English-speaking country, and so, it was not easy for me to handle this indispensable tool. Therefore, since I started graduate school in my thirties, mastering English has been one of my most important goals that I want to meet as quickly as possible.
Despite the importance of this, mastering a language is, as everybody knows, not an easy task. It will take a considerably long time to master it. I have improved my English steadily, step by step. Sometimes, my speed of improvement was so slow and irritating that I almost came close to giving up. Sometimes I envied coworkers who studied in English-speaking countries so much. However, to abandon my English improvement also means abandoning my career as a researcher, so I made up my mind again to overcome my barriers regarding English in various ways. For instance, I have continued to read technical books written in English every night before bed. I listen to BBC English podcasts on my way to work every morning as well as on my way home every evening. I also do shadowing while listening. I watch English lectures on YouTube while taking a bath every night, write essays in English and post them on Facebook, and so forth.
Looking back on my continued efforts over these past decades, my English has, fortunately, been considerably improved, but I'm still not satisfied. I have become used to reading much more than before, and I've improved considerably at writing words in English, but with my listening, as well as speaking, in particular, there is still much room for improvement. What shall I do in order to overcome these barriers? Are there any useful suggestions and comments?


#84 The current relationship between Japan and Korea (2019)

Seeing the current relationship between Japan and Korea, I do realize that a war might begin through the process like this. I have believed that wars were something that occurred long ago, before we were born into this world; therefore, I am not able to imagine one would happen just in front of us. I feel unfortunate and sorry about that. Both the Japanese and Korean governments only announce information that is favorable to their own side. Furthermore, they are blind to their own faults and mention the ones of the opposite side. They also stimulate their people's nationalism and involve them in the conflict. Most media also report information that supports their own government's behaviors as well as criticize those of their counterpart. However, if you deeply reflect on the fact that both sides insist on themselves being only right and the opposite side being wrong, it proves that neither of them must be entirely right. It will be necessary for us to have the ability and the attitude to critically judge both sides and accept what their administrators and media say. We must also view the affairs from an international perspective beyond our own national interests. Both sides need an attitude of dialogue to solve these conflicts. These are the things that democratic citizenship education regards as essential.
Viewed in this way, both governments do not have such qualities at all. I recall a wise expression, "The antonym of war is not peace but dialogue." I want to teach my students dialogue as a teacher of language. Dialogue, instead of violence, is what builds a harmonious relationship and solves this problem between Korea and my country.


#85 Prejudice is born from a lack of interactions (2019)

Five days have passed since I came to Korea. After coming here, I realized that everything was the same and peaceful as before and that only the relationships between the Japanese and Korean governments and media are at the worst level since World War II. I have lost more trust than ever in them. Of course, the people in both countries are seriously influenced by what their governments or media say; however, when I talked with Korean students or walked along the streets in Korea, I did not feel any change due to the recent conflicts between the two countries. I found that Korean people recognize that there are problems not only with the opposite side (the Japanese government) but also their own side (the Korean government). I did not see the "No Japan" or "No Abe" flags, as the Japanese media had reported, when I visited Busan, Seoul and Daegu, which are the biggest cities in Korea. I only felt that the countries are in a strained relationship when I took a flight on my way to Korea and saw less than twenty passengers were on board, as well as when I visited a Uniqlo shop and saw fewer customers were there. But Sony headphones were on sale in a shop I happened to visit the other day.
I cannot stand it anymore. How long are people in both countries to suffer from the political conflicts made by their governments? As the story of Romeo and Juliet, no matter how bad the relation between their countries, people who like Japanese culture or people like them as much as before. I even saw people being kinder than usual to Japanese visitors. In such situations, the interactions and dialogue between them are more important and mutual experiences are also indispensable. What's more, spreading information by those who have directly experienced the situation will be useful and a good solution for the conflicts. Therefore, I am writing these words. Let's continue interacting, and let's visit each other's country without being involved in the conflicts. If you stop contact or dialogue and only hear what your government and mass media say, you might go the wrong way. Prejudice and preconceptions are born from a lack of interactions.


#86 Visiting Korea for eight days (2019)

I stayed in Korea for eight days. The primary purpose of the visit this time was to supervise seven of my university students who participated Japanese language training at a university in Busan. They arrived there a month ago, and before teaching, they learned the Korean language and culture for three weeks. This is because I developed this program not only for students to teach their language and culture, but also to learn those of the learners. These bi-directional characteristics got a hint from Plurilingualism, which developed in Europe through the establishment of the European Union. Europe has been considering, since World War II, how countries could overcome their national conflicts, and how people could overcome their national identities and acquire a transnational one. They finally concluded that learning others' languages and cultures would help them achieve this aim. This idea provided me with a good hint, and through not only teaching their language, but also learning that of their learners, the Japanese students would be able to grow into people with an international identity. Of course, you can say that three weeks was too short for them to master a language, and that it would be difficult for them to change their identity, but learning their students' language before teaching, I felt, could show them how difficult it is for their students to learn Japanese, and realizing such difficulties can foster a sense of respect for their students. This technique also provides them with the opportunity to form a deeper, which might lead to a broadening of their identity. During the teacher training, which started on August 31st, they first observed how their supervisor was teaching Japanese, as well as preparing for their teaching. They then started the teacher training on behalf of their supervisors in the latter half of the period.
I also held the 3rd Japan-Korean Student Forum, where I dealt with the recent worsening of relations between Japan and Korea, and let them discuss what would be necessary for the countries to overcome the difficulties. Even though the topic was sensitive, and there could have occured a conflict between Japanese and Korean students, they consistently discussed things in a friendly way.
During my stay, I also implemented several other of my missions.
Firstly, I visited a partner university in Daegu last Wednesday, located an hour from Busan by KTX. I met several professors, some of whom work for the development of Japanese language and culture, and another was a director of the International division. I discussed several issues pertaining to our exchange programs between their and my universities. Secondly, I went to Seoul by KTX, a superexpress in Korea last weekend. I left Busan at 6:30 in the morning, and arrived in Seoul around 10. There was a reunion with my university students there. Unfortunately, because a typhoon was approaching Seoul, only ten people gathered there.  Before eating lunch, we listened to two presentations: one was by my ex-student, and the other was by the current president of the reunion. After these lectures, we enjoyed lunch together, chattering with each other about what had happened recently. After the alumni meeting, I met a professor, with whom I have been conducting the Japan-Korea International Student Seminar for more than a decade. Over a coffee, I discussed our future exchanges between his and my universities at a cafe near there. In the evening, I returned to Busan by KTX again.
Recently, the relation between Japan and Korea has become extremely problematic; therefore, during my stay, I discussed these issues with a few of my Korean friends. This problem is historically so complicated, and the opinions of each government are controversial to the other, so I wanted to listen to what my Korean friends were thinking about. I also watched TV news as much as possible to understand the political situation in Korea. The situation has become more and more complicated, and this affects the relationship between the two countries, so I tried to listen to them and understand that; however, I could not find any easy solution.
I'm now on the way to Japan. My students are continuing their training. There are several important meetings tomorrow, so I had to return earlier than them.

photo: Japan-Korean Student Forum


#87 The Plurilingual and Pluricultural Education Program (2019)

The Plurilingual and Pluricultural Education Program, which has been held every year since 2016 at Busan University of Foreign Studies successfully came to an end, and seven of our participant students with two teaching assistant graduate students came back to Japan last Thursday. Before the program started, we carefully considered whether we should send our university students there due to the recently worsening relationship between Japan and Korea; however, when we actually sent them, we, as well as the participants, found that there was no problem at all. They played an essential role as private diplomats on behalf of their government. The program lasted for six weeks, from August 8th to September 12th. Through learning the Korean language and culture in the former half, as well as teaching their language and culture as a teacher training in the latter half, they did their best to go together beyond national borders and establish an intercultural and international identity to become East Asian citizens. Although the political relationship between the countries was the worst ever, we can feel the possibility of improving it.


#88 Beyond what they expected, again (2019)

Japan is renowned for being a country that is likely to experience various natural disasters, including earthquakes, tsunami, typhoons and floods. We cannot forget the Great East-Japan Earthquake that occurred in 2011, and a considerably big tsunami attacked the nuclear power plants in Fukushima Prefecture, which exploded and enormous radioactivity leaked out from them. A large number of people living in Fukushima had to evacuate out of the damaged area and some of them have not returned to their home town yet. The radioactivity extensively damaged farm and marine products in the area and reputational risk remains inside and outside Japan. In their interview, the Tokyo Electric Power Company defended themselves stating that the scale of the tsunami was so vast that it was beyond what they expected.
A few days ago, a typhoon hit Japan, and the power went down in the area of Chiba Prefecture. The blackout continues, and thousands of residents are still living without electricity. After the typhoon had passed, the weather became too hot and humid, and people had to suffer from it without using air conditioners. A few people even lost their lives due to the unavailability of electricity. The Tokyo Electric Power Company apologized and explained that the typhoon was bigger than they had expected. What was the lesson they had learned from the accident that occurred just eight years ago? Have they already forgotten about it? There are still people suffering from the damage caused by them. Nature is more powerful than people expect and is becoming more potent than before due to several reasons, such as global warming. They should learn a lesson this time so as not to inflict the same harm on people again.


#89 My first visit to Mongolia (2019)

I established the Association for Language Education in East Asia with two professors in Japan a few years ago. Generally speaking, East Asia indicates the subregion of Asia that includes China with Taiwan and Hong Kong, South and North Korea and Japan. I also have been using the word like that. This time, however, I visited Mongolia for the first time in my life to extend the scope of the region of East Asia. There is an ex-graduate student in Mogolia, who had studied in the graduate school of my university. This time, she planned all of my itineraries in Mongolia.
I left Narita for Ulan Bator, the capital of Mongolia on the 17th. It was approximately a five hour flight, and finally, I arrived at the destination. The Ulan Bator International Airport was particularly small, especially for an airport located in a capital city. When I went out of the gate after picking up my luggage, my ex-student should have been waiting for me. However, I could not find her, no matter how hard I looked for her. I had still not exchanged my money so did not have any Mongolian cash, nor was there a bank for money exchange. Neither could I catch free wifi there, so I could not call and ask her what had happened. Such a situation was entirely beyond my imagination. What I could do was just wait for her to come. In half an hour, she, with her colleague as a driver, finally appeared, saying that they were stuck in a traffic jam. In Mongolia, two-thirds of the people gathered in the capital city, and besides, there are not any train there yet. Therefore, the traffic was so heavy in the rush hours every morning and evening. We arrived at my hotel at nine, and after I checked in, we had a late meal at a Korean restaurant near the hotel.

On the second day, I woke up at six in the morning and ate breakfast at a restaurant in the hotel. My ex-student came to pick me up at 8:30. First, we went to the Mongolian University of Science and Technology to observe some Japanese classes. The students were preparing to go to Japan to study for two years there. They were learning Japanese so religiously that they had already mastered it considerably. Then we moved to Mongolia-Japan Center. It was an office of the Japan Foundation, which belongs to Mongolia National University. I met a Japanese member of staff there, who welcomed me and explained how the Japanese language is taught and learned in the country.
After that, my ex-student took me to the Parliament House, which was located just a few-minute walk from there. There was a big statue of Genghis Khan in front of the building, who is the most famous Mongolian emperor of China. We then went to a Mongolian restaurant near there to have lunch. The director of her department invited me to lunch, and we enjoyed Mongolian cuisine very much. At four, I went to Mongolian State University of Education to have a lecture for professors, teachers and students who were teaching or learning foreign languages, including English, Japanese, and Chinese. More than 30 people gathered to listen to my lecture. The title of my speech was "Foreign language education in the Globalized era." I do not speak Mongolian, so I talked in Japanese, and my ex-student translated it into Mongolian. In my lecture, I explained the purposes of the visit to Mongolia, and then I emphasized that language teachers in the global era should teach not only language and intercultural understanding skills but also the attitudes of living harmoniously with others who have a different nationality, language and culture. I also highlighted the importance of learning others' languages and cultures to broaden our identity from national into international, which may overcome the conflicts between nations. After the lecture, I dropped into a supermarket to buy some food. I ate so much as my lunch, so I decided to have a light meal as my supper.

On the third day, I visited two schools where the Japanese language is taught. First, I went to Harumafuji School. Harumafuji is Mongolian, but is very famous not only in his country but also in Japan, because he once became a yokozuna, the highest level of Sumo wrestler. After being retired a few years ago, he began to live a second life. He started studying education, entering graduate school in Japan, and established this school last year. The motto of his school is written at the entrance, saying "Quest, think and leap." He hoped to provide Mongolian people with world-class level education. He introduced the Japanese education system, including teaching the Japanese language from elementary school, to his school. One of the staff, who teaches Japanese there, showed me how the school is managed, taking me to various institutions and classrooms. I was surprised at its well-established school system. I realized that Harumafuji was once a good Sumo wrestler, but now he has become one of the most excellent educators in Mongolia. I found the students wearing Japanese-style uniforms. All of them who, without exception, passed in the hallway bowed to us politely. After being at the school for an hour, I moved to another school. On my way there, I went to a hill, where the whole of the city can be viewed. As the weather was so fine, I could clearly see a panorama view of the town. On the hilltop, there was a monument of a Soviet soldier, as well as a mosaic tile mural. It depicts the Soviet and Mongolian army, who are trampling the flags of the Nazi and old Japanese army. Japan has another sad history relating to the country, which I had not recognized until then. I then visited Shin Mongolian School, which is famous for being a unified elementary and secondary school. Also, a kindergarten and a college were established afterward there. First, a Japanese staff member explained the school to me in detail at the office. Then she took me to every floor of the building, from the kindergarten, the primary and secondary school, and to the college. I was also moved to the school being systematically arranged. The students learn Japanese from elementary school, and when they become high school students, many of them begin to prepare for going to study in Japan. There were many crambooks to pass entrance exams in the library. They were studying various subjects, such as physics, chemistry, and mathematics, using crambooks written for Japanese students. After that, I ate lunch on the way to my hotel. In the afternoon, I stayed at my hotel to have a rest. I felt that Mongolia is still a developing country, however, people make efforts to develop their country as much as possible through the power of education.

On the fourth day, My ex-student took me to the countryside of Mongolia, with one of her colleagues who teaches Chinese language. We visited two famous spots: one was the Equestrian statue of Genghis Khan and the other was Terelj National Park. They are located about a three-hour drive from Ulan Bator. The former is a 40-meter tall statue of Genghis Khan, who is world-famous for being the founder of the Great Khan. Visitors can climb up to the top of the statue, and enjoy a beautiful panorama view from there. The latter is one of the most popular camp resorts in Mongolia. We went to the most famous landmark of Turtle Rock, a big rock in the shape of a turtle. Since it was autumn, it was the best time to enjoy the beautiful trees covered in yellow leaves.
Compared with Ulan Bator, where the streets are so crowded with cars and people, the suburbs of the city were so calm. Animals, such as cows, horses, and sheep are sometimes slowly walking across the country roads. Mongolian drivers are so impatient with other drivers driving infront of them, but no matter how anxious they were, they could not help but wait for the animals to cross. My ex-student's colleague was also a reckless driver and often drove past other cars, and so I was very scared of sitting on the side seat.

On the fifth day, I gave a speech in the morning titled "Japanese language education in the globalized era" at the monthly meeting of Japanese teachers association in Mongolia. More than thirty members gathered to listen to my lecture. First, I addressed CEFR, or Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, compared with Japanese education grammar, which was developed by a few professors on Japanese linguistics, comparative linguistics, and Japanese as a second language. In the end, I proposed what is required for Japanese language education in this globalized era. After the meeting, we went to a Chinese restaurant to eat Chinese noodles.
In the afternoon, I visited a Tibetan Buddhist temple near my hotel. It is a sect of Buddhism, but was considerably different from the ones which exist in Japan.
On the last day, I woke up at 4:30 and left for the airport. I departed Ulan Bator at 7:40, and after a five-hour flight, finally arrived at Narita International Airport in the afternoon.
My first visit to Mongolia for six days and five nights was successfully complete.

photo: Terelj National Park


#90 One of the strongest typhoons ever (2019)

One of the strongest typhoons ever recorded is approaching Tokyo, so strong that I have never experienced one like it before. Another typhoon also hit the same area a month ago, which was severely damaged. Thousands of houses had been without power for a few weeks after the typhoon hit. However, the typhoon coming this time is enormously more powerful than that. People started preparing to reduce suffering from it as much as possible, and I also did, including buying things that would be needed in case of emergency. I decided to postpone today's regular research meeting I organized as the president.
Most of all transport facilities in Tokyo stopped their services. All stores, including convenient stores, fast food shops, which open year-round, specially closed, except for a convenience store located just in front of the apartment where I am living. All items of bread had sold out there. The typhoon has not landed in Honshu, the main island of Japan yet, but heavy rain started from the morning. A large number of people have already taken refuge to secure property, especially those living near a coast or a riverside.
The typhoon is coming to Tokyo this evening. I hope that nothing will happen to all people.
-the next morning-
It is not anywhere near as stormy as it was yesterday. It has cleared up without any cloud in the sky today. A typhoon passed through Tokyo at around nine o'clock last night, and strong winds and powerful rain frightened me for a moment. Besides, an earthquake even hit Tokyo the previous night, which was fortunately not so powerful.
However, once it had passed over, the winds and rain suddenly weakened considerably.  When I woke up in the morning, the air was clean from the winds and rain so I could see even Mt. Fuji, which is located 100 km away from Tokyo. Stores and shops, which specially closed yesterday because of the abysmal weather, opened from the morning as if nothing had happened yesterday. The press said that the typhoon had gone far away, but it left several massive floods here and there. The typhoon was so large, more than 1000km across in diameter, that it covered almost the whole of the Japanese Islands. The record-breaking heavy rain associated with the typhoon increased the water flow of rivers, which broke their banks and the river water flooded into riverside villages. Most of the residents had evacuated before the floods occurred. Hoever, the toll of dead and missing was close to a hundred, and the number of flooded houses was as tremendous as ever before. It is often said that we Japanese are accustomed to suffering from disasters, such as typhoons and earthquakes, but it was the first time for me since the East Japan Big Earthquake occurred in 2011 that I felt the terror of natural disasters.
Rugby World Cup games are being held now at many places in Japan. A few matches were called off this weekend. But the game between Japan and Scotland will be held as scheduled tonight. I hope that both teams will do their best so it becomes a good game.


#91 Visiting China (2019)

I attended the China Education Expo 2019. It was held at the China National Convention Center in Beijing, located in the northern part of the city, near the main stadium of the Beijing 2008 Olympics.

I left Tokyo the previous day, the 18th of October, and arrived in Beijing at night. We had planned to take a taxi to our hotel; however, so many people were waiting for one. A sign also mentioned that we would have to wait for about an hour. We gave up and used the airport express train and subway. We arrived at the hotel at ten.

The next morning, we left for the place where the expo was being held. The Convention Center was so large, and a considerable number of countries, including Japan, had booths. From Japan, approximately 20 universities opened their booths to show and introduce their information. When the fair opened, many students, parents, and university staff in China gathered to collect information about studying abroad.
The expo closed at 4 p.m. We had dinner on our way to our hotel. We chose a Chinese restaurant that a student recommended, who helped us with the translation. We ordered a Beijing duck with several side dishes and enjoyed the Chinese cuisine very much. At the end of the dinner, ice cream was served as a desert. It was so delicious, but we couldn't figure out what taste it was. We could not speak Chinese well, nor could the clerk speak English, so I managed to ask him, using my poor Chinese, "What is this?" and asked him to write down the answer, because we could easily understand what he was writing, even though we could not understand what he was saying, since Japanese and Chinese use the same Kanji characters. When I saw the answer he wrote for us and then translated it into Japanese with a translation application, we could not help but laugh at it. The answer was not about the taste of the ice cream, but about ice cream itself. Our effort to communicate finished in failure. We realized again that learning languages is so crucial for mutual understanding in this international era.

On the third day, two of our members went to the expo like the previous day, but I went to an alumni meeting of our university with one of our staff members. I met one of my ex-students in the hotel lobby who studied at our graduate school from 2009 to 2013. She organized the party on our behalf, including gathering participants, and selecting a restaurant to have lunch. The meeting opened at 11:30, and 12 graduates came to join the event. At the party, I gave a welcome message as a representative of our university. Our university has changed very much recently; therefore, I introduced it to them in my speech, for instance, our university's 140th anniversary, the main gate and the central library renewal, and the International Student Plaza opening. Most of them were meeting each other for the first time, but we had a good time meeting and chatting with one another. We also opened a chatting room for the reunion, and they joined it during the session.
Once the party was done, my ex-student took us sightseeing. First, we headed to Jingshan Park by taxi. It is located on the north side of the old palace, and is 45 meters higher than the city, so we enjoyed a panoramic view of the capital city, such as the view of the old palace, and the government house. We then walked to Tiananmen Square, the symbol of the country. I have been there several times before; however, China just celebrated its 70th anniversary this year, and a big national memorial parade was held there at the beginning of this month, so decorations for the ceremony were still there.
Many visitors were gathered there. Firstly, we had to have our bodies checked to enter the square. We saw the gate, square and the Diet building, as well as soldiers pulling down the national flag at sunset. In the evening we went to a nearby shabushabu restaurant for our last dinner in China. We enjoyed it very much. As for me, however, I had eaten lunch too much, so I only chatted with them without eating anything. Others, who are young and ate as much lunch as I did, ate dinner as usual without hesitating at all. I realized that my light eating was not only the result of my diet, but also my age.

Today was the last day of our visit to Beijing. We checked out at 11:30 and headed to the airport by taxi.
As I mentioned earlier, I am a light eater and eat less than before these days, in particular. Chinese cuisine was so delicious but too much for me. I always had to ration how much I ate during staying in China. Fortunately, as I made efforts to go on a diet, I did not gain my weight.  One thing was that we could not use Google, Facebook, and even LINE, which bothered us a lot during our stay in China. I hope this improves soon.


#92 Only the left half of Mt. Fuji (2020)

I can see Mt. Fuji from my home; however, I can see only the left half of it because of a tall apartment building standing between the mountain and my house. It is a considerably unhappy thing for my family, because Mt. Fuji is so beautiful and shows a variety of beautiful features each season. For example, in winter, we can see its snow-clad features, particularly being covered in a blanket of pure white. Nevertheless, we can enjoy only half of it and feel so unhappy about not seeing the other half of it.
We can consider the building that blocks our view to be obstructive and harmful; however, objectively speaking, it is not its fault. The fact is that it merely stands between the mountain and my apartment. It does not deliberately block our view at all. Considered in this way, what I can see is not always what it objectively appears to be.
We can apply this to an understanding of history and the conflicts between countries. What we think is right or wrong is not always the case. It might only be the case from our standpoint. Likewise, what others feel is not always true. What we consider harmful is not always harmful to others, nor is it objectively so. It can even be harmless or beneficial to others. That is why conflicts occur between people, as well as between countries. An attitude of putting aside one's thinking in all the ways we've taken for granted and thinking from an objective viewpoint is essential for all troubles to be solved peacefully.
All nations have provided national education from a nationalistic and ethnocentric perspective. However, in this globalized era, where relations with other countries are becoming closer and more indispensable, we need to reconsider the national education we've been taking for granted. It is imperative that we develop an alternative education from an international and cosmopolitan perspective.


#93 A restaurant near my home (2020)

There is a restaurant near my home. It's my favorite restaurant ever, so I often, about once or twice a week, go to eat lunch or dinner there, since I moved here the year before last. The food they serve there is not so luxurious, but is tastes good, and especially, their bread is delicious, and you can get free refills. Moreover, the people working there are so kind and friendly that I can even ask for food that is not on the menu. For instance, I often asked them to order a kind of hamburger with minced meat cutlet that has already disappeared on the current menu; or I ask them to change the French fries to a salad for my health. Furthermore, they sometimes give me extra pieces of bread when I leave there, so I call it my second kitchen, which is also one of the goals they are pursuing as their motto. Whenever I go there, I post some pictures on Facebook and Instagram. Last month, when I posted an article as usual, one of my friends looked at it and asked if I live there, because I post pictures of this restaurant so often.
A new year, 2020, has begun. I went there today for the first time this year to have lunch. When I was looking at the menu to choose what to order, the chief told me that he could cook the hamburger for me. Since I didn't expect this, his proposal made me so happy, and I willingly accepted his kindness. The burger was bigger and more delicious than ever and it pleased me so much that after eating, I paid a tip for his service, which is not the custom in Japan.
There are a few other shops in Tokyo, and the staff rotates around these shops regularly. But I remember their names and call them by their names. I want to treasure my encounters with them. If things continue like this, I will use the restaurant a hundred times within this year.

photo: Baba Flat hanare


#94 Momotaro (2020)

"Momotaro" is one of the most well-known folktales that most Japanese children heard from their parents when they were very young. The hero of the story is called Momotaro, who is born from a big peach and goes to an island of demons with three animals as his retainers when he grows up. In the end, he wins the battle and punishes the demons and comes back to his homeland, with many spoils acquired along the way. Through this story, most Japanese people recognize him as a hero with a sound body and a sound mind.
Recently, I have discovered that he was once used as a role model for an excellent Japanese subject who had loyalty to Japan and the Japanese Emperor until World War II ended. I have also found out that in the original story, which was written more than several hundred years ago, he was not drawn as a role model at all. Instead, he was seen as a selfish and aggressive man who went to the demons' island not out of a righteous spirit but from his motivation of only trying his strength.
However, about 130 years ago, when Japan was heading towards imperialism modeled after European countries, the story was entirely modified by the Japanese government, and he became a role model for an excellent Japanese subject who lived and fought for his country. This tale was also included in the elementary school textbook, and children were taught to become a good person like Momotaro. The three animals who followed him were symbols for the Japanese subjects obeying Japan, and the demons' island, as China, which was a hostile country in the 19th century. Then, later, after World War II began, the animals were drawn as Asian countries under the control of Japan, such as Taiwan and Korea, and the demons, as hostile countries, such as European countries and America.
I have also heard that the story "Jack and the Beanstalk" was also utilized to justify colonization on the part of Great Britain. I felt the fear of national education, which utilized even folktales to educate people to become good subjects. I know that things much improved after the world wars ended; however, the government still contributes to developing people's sense of nationalism and national identity. We are now are living in a globalized era, where nations often clash with each other, I think the time has come to reconsider how national education works.


#95 Tokyo: a multicultural city (2020)

In Japan, there is a holiday called Coming-of-Age Day in January, and Japanese people celebrate young people who became 20 during the year. I am living in Shinjuku, where a lot of foreign people are living and working. According to the statistics, they account for approximately 12 percent of the residents. However, in the younger generation, around 20, the percentage increases dramatically. A Coming-of-Age Ceremony was held this year as usual, and some foreign people who became 20 also attended, and they made up almost half of all participants. It is because the Japanese young are decreasing in number year by year because of a declining birth rate. Instead, more and more people are coming to Japan for various purposes, such as studying and working. In particular, the Okubo area, which is located in Shinjuku and has been famous for the biggest Korean town in Tokyo: therefore, many Koreans are living or working there. Recently, the area is gradually changing, from Korean characterized town into a multiethnic village, not only Koreans but also Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, and Indians. There are also many Japanese language schools and universities in Shinjuku, which also gather young people from a variety of countries.
The Olympic and Paralympic Games will be held in Tokyo this year and many foreign people will visit this year. As a result, Tokyo will rapidly become a more multicultural city and we as Japanese need to possess a heart of welcoming them and live with them harmoniously.
The worker shortage is also severe in Japan. We often see foreign people working at convenience stores or fast food shops near my home. They sometimes do not speak Japanese well enough to work there; therefore, various accidents occasionally happen; however, Japanese society needs their help to combat the severe shortage of workers.

photo: Shinokubo, Tokyo


#96 Japanese language education as education for intercultural citizenship: The transformation of Korean students at the 10th Japan-Korea International Student Seminar (2020)

The Japan-Korean International Student Seminar has been held every year since 2004 between my university in Japan and our partner university in Korea. This study aims to clarify the effects of the 10th seminar as a kind of intercultural citizenship education, as well as the role of teachers.
A previous study (Moriyama, 2019) dealt with Japanese students as the subjects and found that the seminar functioned as international citizenship education. However, it did not address the students from Korea. The Japanese participants were originally interested in political issues because of their majors; in contrast, the Korean students had mostly belonged to the Japanese language department, and therefore, were originally more interested in Japanese language and culture rather than political topics. So, did the seminar, where such sensitive and political issues were dealt with, also provide them with the effects of intercultural citizenship education? This is the aim of the current study. This study also analyzes the role of language teachers as the previous study did.
For these reasons, the subjects of this study were the Korean participants. Their reports submitted after the seminar were used as data and compared with those of the Japanese participants.
As a result, Korean students learned about the language and culture of the opposite side more than Japanese students did. As for the political or citizenship education, even though their effects were less than those of Japanese students, they also learned considerably. Through discussing the various political or historical issues with Japanese students, overcoming the history, and acquiring the solution to living together, they also benefited from political or citizenship education. Besides, our specialty as language educators was rather beneficial for them. They did not seek the answer of the political issues from us; instead, they sought solutions by considering and discussing for themselves. This situation gave them the mind of independence. Furthermore, we, as specialists of communication, provided them with a good opportunity to have dialogue.
To conclude, this seminar gave, not only the Japanese side but also the Korean side, an excellent opportunity for intercultural citizenship education along with language and intercultural education. Furthermore, the language teachers also gave them a confident and independent mind to discover solutions for such complicated and sensitive problems by themselves.


#97 Citizenship education for East Asian countries to live together harmoniously: An educational practice based on ABC model (2020)

This study discussed the outcomes of international joint classes using a videoconference system based on the ABC model, particularly the effects as a kind of international citizenship education for people in East Asian countries and live together in harmony.
In the classes, participant students were initially engaged in the Autography step, where they reflected on how their own (national) identities and the images they had of other countries developed. Secondly, they interviewed their partners, of different nationalities, in the next Biography step. They then compared and analyzed both of their autography and biography, and presented the results in the last stage of Cross-cultural analysis. In addition, they discussed how people in East Asian countries might overcome the conflicts that exist between them and live together harmoniously.
After class, they wrote reports and submitted them, and they were qualitatively analyzed to unwrap the effects and the limitations of the practice as international citizenship education. As a result, their identities and their image of others were passively influenced by both education and media. Moreover, they overcame their negative images of other countries through open dialogue. This indicates that these classes and the ABC model were considerably effective in overcoming the national conflicts and living together harmoniously, and useful as a kind of international citizenship education.


#98 The 9th International Student Forum (2020)

The 9th International Student Forum was held at Vassar College from February 16th to 24th, and 12 Japanese students participated from my university.
We departed from Japan on the 16th and arrived at Albany Airport at 15:50 via Chicago. There is a time difference of 14 hours, so it took more than a day from the time we left our homes. One of the reasons why we took such a long time was that we had a five-hour layover in Chicago. At Albany Airport, the last destination, two vans were waiting for us, and they took us to our hotel located near Vassar.
In the evening, Professor Tsuchiya, one of the Vassar professors, invited us to her home to enjoy a welcome dinner with her family.

February 17th
The next morning, we went to the Vassar campus. First, we had a campus tour, including the main gate, library, Sunset Lake, and so forth. After that, we went to the museum on campus to see the collections of art, especially those related to our topic: environmentalism, which we were going to focus on in the forum. Then, we met senior students who are learning Japanese and helped them with an interview task for their Japanese language class.
In the afternoon, there were two lectures, one was my keynote speech for this forum, and the other, a talk by a professor from Vassar on environmental problems for the coral reefs. The title of my speech was "Establishing a global environment for all world citizens to live together," and I first addressed the relationship between the two universities, and then the history of the forum that has dealt with various worldwide problems, such as natural disasters and (P)man-made calamities. Then, I introduced the topic for the current forum - environmental issues. I also talked about the attitudes for all students to attend this forum not only as opportunities to use the language they were learning but also as a transnational citizenship education as Byram and Odley insist.
After these lectures, there were music performances by Vassar students learning Japanese. Then a reception was held, where the president of the college gave us a welcome message. I met her a month ago at my university, where she gave a lecture to our students.

February 18th
In the morning, we had two lectures: one was by a professor of my university on biofuel production, and the other was by a Vassar professor about an environmental project that was conducted in China last year.
In the afternoon, we went out for an excursion to Franklin Roosevelt Memorial Library, which In the afternoon, we went out for an excursion to Franklin Roosevelt Memorial Library, which is located about 20 minutes from campus. He is one of the most famous presidents in the US, in particular, who is famous for the New Deal Policy. However, for us as Japanese, he was the president when the Japanese army attacked Pearl Harbor. He died just before the end of World War II. He had been president for more than a decade to develop his country into the top leading country. Observing the library, I felt that his policy became much more successful as a result of the special procurement of the world war, similar to Japan receiving the same supply when the Korean War occurred in the 1950s. Without the war, his success would have been smaller.  I got tired, and went to bed earlier than usual.

February 19th
I got up at three because not only did I go to bed earlier, but also I had jet lag and my work piled up. Mainly, I had to decide precisely how to spend the weekend in New York City as well as transportation from the hotel to the JFC Airport. I finally decided to use a private shuttle bus for 14 people. If we use public transport, such as the subway and the airport train, it would be cheaper. However, students have big suitcases and so suffer from having to go up and down stairs on their way to the airport. If we use the yellow cabs, the most popular transportation, students have to separate into pairs for each car. Besides, I found the cost too expensive at about 40 dollars per person. However, when we use the private shuttle, it costs only 15 dollars per person, and is much more convenient than other ways, because it will pick us up in front of the hotel and take us to the airport. I have not yet gotten used to the big city, so it was not so easy to decide which transportation is the best, and I wasn't confident about getting there without any problems. But thanks to my planning, everything went smoothly.
It gave me a lot of confidence.
In the morning, our students spent time preparing for their presentations. So I had time to do my own work. I left the hotel early and went to the college library. It is one of the most beautiful and classical buildings on the campus. In fact, I have been there several times, but it was the first time for me to do something in the library. I could not go abroad when I was a university student, but I could now briefly enjoy the experience of studying on such a beautiful campus, in such a beautiful library.
I also held the same forum at this college six years ago, but at that time, it snowed so much that the campus was covered white with snow. This year, it was as warm as early spring; therefore, through the windows just beside my seat, I could see another beautiful campus view filled with green. Sometimes enjoying the view, I felt happy writing this essay in English.
In the afternoon, student presentations started, and in the first session, six students from the Vassar side presented their studies in Japanese. They dealt with topics such as over-fishing, e-waste, environmental vegetarianism, the Great East Japan Earthquake, arts festivals, and local organizations from various environmental perspectives. I acted as a moderator of this session.

February 20th
In the morning, while students were preparing their presentations, I had a meeting with related faculty staff from the Vassar side to discuss how to promote a global campus that supports the same issues of the two universities, We also discussed exchange interactions between us in the following academic year.
Then, after briefly spending time in the library, I met one of our students to supervise her presentation.
In the evening, after dinner, we had the second session, where students from our side gave presentations in English.

February 21st
I attended students' presentations all day long: One session in the morning and the other in the afternoon. Our students presented their speeches on the multicultural community in the morning session and those on ecology in the afternoon.
In the evening, we were invited to a farewell party by professors and students from Vassar. Eating a special dinner, we reviewed the forum entirely, which finished successfully.
I also gave a message to them like this:
I was pleased to be here with all of you and also happy that all of the forum events scheduled finished successfully. Of course, I am still concerned about the weekend schedule in Manhattan, but I believe it will also be done successfully.
We learned a lot from the lectures by professors, presentations by students from both sides, discussions, and various interactions between the students. I hope all of you keep in touch with each other from now on, and forever, if possible, using Zoom, Facebook, and other social media. And I hope Vassar students will visit us and that we will also again visit Vassar.
Lastly, I would like to express my gratitude to all the Vassar members, especially Professor Qiu and Tsuchiya, and all the students who prepared and participated in this forum. Thank you so much.

February 22nd
In the last two days, we scheduled an excursion to experience Manhattan, the most developed city in the world, as well as a typical feature of American culture. We checked out of the hotel near Vassar at seven and went to Poughkeepsie Railway Station. Some Vassar students were also coming to stay with us for the weekend. The train left there at 7:52 and went along the Hudson River for about two hours. It arrived at Grand Central Station a few minutes before 10. We rode a taxi separately to a hotel near Central Park, checked our suitcases, and divided into three groups to go sightseeing in Manhattan: One for Yankee Stadium and Columbia University, the other two for watching broadway musicals, one group for Aladdin and the other, the Lion King. I joined the first one. We went to Yankee Stadium, Columbia University, and Barnard College, taking pictures and shopping for some souvenirs. We also went to a famous Hungarian restaurant to eat sweets with coffee there. Students then went to Soho to enjoy dinner, but I parted from the group halfway and went back to our hotel earlier. On my way to the hotel, I walked to Times Square, took some photos, and went back. The students seemed to enjoy sightseeing in Manhattan, so most of them came back a little later than the curfew, 9 p.m.

February 23rd
We went sightseeing at two famous landmarks of New York City: The Statue of Liberty and the 9.11 Memorial. We left our hotel at eight and arrived at Battery Park at the south head of Manhattan, where the ferries to Liberty Island to leave. We stayed on the island for about an hour, spending time buying souvenirs and taking photos with the statue. I have been there several times, but it was the first time to land on the island.
Then we walked to the 9.11 Memorial via Wall Street. The sad, unforgettable attack took place almost two decades ago, and I came to this memorial after six years of absence, I still felt sorrow. I was moved to tears, especially when I saw one of the suffers names with "an unborn child". I touched some of the names inscribed there with my fingers, thinking that if it was the name of someone whom I know well, I could not have my tears repressed. I bought a magnet as a souvenir as well as for donation, which says, "Love is stronger than hate." This time, we came to the country to discuss the environment, including disasters and man-made calamities. I might be able to say that for my students these excursions can also teach as much as as listening to lectures or presentations in a classroom. After visiting the site, we separated into a few groups and continued sightseeing. My group, consisting of three students and me, went to an American BBQ restaurant. We enjoyed eating lunch, such as salad, spare ribs, and chicken. They were so delicious that I could not help changing my image of American cuisine.
After eating lunch, we walked to Times Square again to enjoy the night view in New York, and then we came back to our hotel.

February 24th
We checked out early in the morning and took a private shuttle to JFK International Airport. The traffic was not so busy that we arrived more shortly than we expected. I am now waiting for my flight, looking back on this forum and writing this diary. Our plane left the airport at 11, heading to Narita.
I am now on board. Frankly speaking, I felt it was one of the hardest events I have conducted abroad. It was because I did not get used to the U.S., especially living in English speaking circumstances. I often go to Korea with my students, but it was not so hard for me, because I got accustomed to the country, its language, and its culture. To become really international, I need to become not only Asian, overcoming my nationality, but also cosmopolitan, comprehending diversity and several languages, including English.


#99 Keynote Speech for the ninth International Student Forum (2020)

Establishing a global environment for all world citizens to live comfortably: Consideration of environmental problems from a global perspective

I am happy to see all of you, and also honored to be here again at Vassar College, one of the leading universities in the United States of America, for the ninth International Student Forum.

The relationship between the two universities
For a moment, I would like to review the relationship between the two universities. In 2004, Professor Qiu and Professor Tsuchiya visited my university, and I came to your university the following year for the first time. We discussed an academic exchange, and our relationship began. We finally concluded an agreement for exchange in 2006, and a Japanese program for Vassar students started at our university.
In 2009, I also launched joint international remote classes via a video conferencing system with Vassar students. It was not so easy for us to conduct because of the time difference: we had to have a class early in the morning, and Vassar students had to gather at night.
In 2012, the first International Student Forum was held at my university, where two Vassar students joined. The forum then continued to be held every year and Vassar students always attended. In 2012, we started a summer program every year and students gathered from partnering universities around the world. Vassar students also participated. In 2014, the forum was held for the first time outside of Japan, at Vassar.
In 2018, the two universities were selected as those promoting COIL, which stands for Collaborative Online International Learning, and our interactions became intensified.

The history of the International Student Forum
This forum that is now beginning was born about eight years ago, just a year after the sad, unforgettable accident, the Great East Japan Earthquake that occurred on March 11, 2011. The tragedy took the lives of more than 20,000 people, and everyone in Japan was distracted by grief every day and night. However, support from all over the world encouraged us to stand up again. At the first forum, which was held in 2012, just a year after the earthquake took place, students from eight countries around the world gathered at Ochanomizu University, including two students from your college. Participants from all over the world introduced to us various support activities that were conducted in their countries for the reconstruction of Japan after that great disaster, which moved us enormously. Vassar students, especially those learning Japanese, voluntarily held charity concerts for Japanese restoration just after the accident took place. Three students sang a song titled "Kokoro no Koe," which means "voice of the heart." They also produced and presented to us a video clip, where many Vassar students were holding placards with words encouraging the sufferers in Japan. I still have this video clip stored and sometimes listen to it, which always makes me feel the deep, heartwarming relationship between the two universities. The first forum gathered not only from the U.S. but also from Thailand, Germany, Czech, and Poland, and people in their countries also held various charity events for us. Countries in East Asia, such as Korea and China, which usually have undesirable relations with Japan because of the history, also extended special help to us at that time, and students from these countries introduced various supportive activities to us that were held in their countries. We listened to their presentations, sometimes with tears in our eyes, and got the power to live again thanks to their heartwarming support.
Because of this forum being borne of such a sorrowful disaster, it has dealt with various worldwide problems every year. The forum has also discussed what we can do as a younger generation in the case of global accidents occurring anywhere on this planet, including natural disasters, such as earthquakes, tsunami and hurricanes, as well as human-made calamities, including nuclear power problems, environmental issues, refugees and immigrants moving over national borders, and how we overcome World War II and various conflicts between nations. Each time the participant students who gathered from abroad discussed these serious issues sincerely, they began to work toward overcoming differences in nationality, language, values and beliefs in hopes of reaching the same goals for world peace. They also considered what they should do or can do as young people and moved to action as hard as they could.
At the 8th forum, which was held last year, even though the topic was how the East Asian countries can live together harmoniously, overcoming their past histories, we invited not only students from the East Asian countries, such as China and Korea, but also from outside of East Asia, such as the U.S., Poland, and New Zealand. A Vassar student mentioned the importance of the attitude of shifting their attention to world affairs with an international perspective, not with exclusive, nationalistic ones such as "America First" hailed by the current president in the United States. Students from Poland, a country that suffered from various kinds of difficulties, such as losing their homeland during the first and the second World Wars, in particular, insisted that we adopt an attitude of looking to the future rather than clinging to the past.
New Zealander students introduced their multiculturalism to the East Asian students and emphasized that they should live with others, accepting diversity and differences. Hearing these presentations, students from East Asian countries, including the Japanese, reflected on their narrow viewpoints, and made up their mind to have a broader, transnational world view.

Foreign language education as education for intercultural citizenship
Although my specialty is Japanese language pedagogy as a second or foreign language, I have recently been focusing mainly on one aspect: education for intercultural citizenship. From this viewpoint, students in my classes not only learn a language and its culture but also embraces political topics, using the language being learned. I even adopted various sensitive issues. Using learning languages, students try to understand others' cultural or political viewpoints. If they want to understand others deeply, they have to listen carefully; they are also required to have competent listening skills. If they want others to make sense of their own opinions, they have to speak accurately, with qualified conversation and dialogue skills. Furthermore, they also have to put aside their own ways of thinking that they take for granted, and make efforts to develop an understanding of the thinking that others take for granted; it's generally challenging to become familiar with things others take for granted. However, the more deeply they grow to understand what others are taking for granted, the wider their perspective and identity will become. They could develop their identity beyond the national and into the international. Based on this theoretical framework, I am conducting this international student forum, as well as various other international exchange events. I would like to introduce some of them here.

The Japan-Korean International Student Seminar
For instance, every year I have conducted an international student seminar with students from one of my partner universities in Korea, since 2004. In the beginning, the workshop dealt only with cultural topics; the differences between Korean and Japanese culture, ways to understand each other's cultures, how to overcome stereotypes, and so forth, without dealing with sensitive, political topics. Students from both sides became familiar with each other through the seminar to some extent; however, once any political conflict took place between the governments, their friendship fostered during the seminar seemed powerless, and ruined before the battles. There was a reason why we could not address the politically or historically sensitive topics. That is because I am only a language educator and researcher, not an expert on politics or history. Therefore, if any students would question the topics, I could not have the confidence to answer their questions correctly. In spite of this situation, I decided to adopt those sensitive issues from the seminar held in 2012 to foster mutual understanding to overcome the conflict. In the beginning, I was concerned about any quarrel or dispute that might take place between them. However, they instead noticed where they had misunderstandings or engaged in stereotypes, removed them, and ultimately deepened their mutual understanding.
We dealt with problems such as:

- territorial issues,
- the Japanese military comfort women in World War II,
- history education,
- anti-Japanese or anti-Korean sentiments, and
- forced workers during the colonial period.

On the contrary, they actively discussed these problems, which have been taboo to address in most Japanese language classes.
They deepened their friendships, even though they discussed such serious topics. I gained confidence through these experiences and extended this method to other events.

Joint international remote classes
I have also been conducting joint international remote classes every semester, using a video conference system, with students who learn Japanese at partner universities in Korea and China. In these classes, I also adopted sensitive topics, for instance, dialogue between Korea and Japan or China and Japan in 2015, the 70th anniversary after World War II ended. These were also among the most successful classes I have ever conducted. Other topics included:

- developing a Japanese-Korean common history textbook by themselves to overcome their past,
- the similarities and differences between national conflicts and individual conflicts,
- our proposals for Korean and Japanese people to live together harmoniously, overcoming our history, and
- thinking about national conflicts from an individual identity development perspective.

All these classes were very satisfying not only for me, but also for all participating students, as they deepened their mutual understanding, and developed their international, cosmopolitan identities.

Plurilingual and pluricultural education program
Since 2016, based on the success of the International Student Seminar, I newly started a plurilingual and pluricultural education program at another partner university in Korea, where our students teach Japanese language and culture, as well as learn the Korean language and culture beforehand. During the seminar, they also discuss sensitive issues that have existed between the two countries.
Last summer, we held the fourth program, despite the worst relationship between the nations ever since the Second World War ended. However, the program was more successful than ever. Students realized that even though the political relations between the governments were not pleasant, the relationship between people from both countries does not necessarily have to be bad. People can or have to maintain a good relationship even though the political relations are not so good.

Michael Byram's proposal for European integration
The integration of foreign language education and political or democratic education has also been proposed by Michael Byram, who has contributed to establishing the language education policy in the Council of Europe. This is the policy of plurilingual and pluricultural education for developing a European international identity. He insisted that one's national identity formed through national education, including teaching national language, culture, geography and history, but in particular, national language education influences one's development of national identity. In a similar vein, by learning a foreign language and culture, people learn the ideas others take for granted, and this influences their identity. In other words, learning two or three languages helps people establish international and intercultural identities. Therefore, the EU adopted the three-language policy in 1995 to create a European identity, which integrates countries in Europe into the transnational European Union.
I discovered his ideas in 2014, and his framework encouraged the educational activities I am introducing to you today. Actually, I established my framework through various educational practices, but his ideas provided me with a theoretical backbone. So, my practices in 2015, an important milestone for East Asia, the 70th anniversary since the end of World War II, were much improved through his ideas.
Environmental issues from a global perspective
Following the proposal from the Vassar side, this ninth forum is going to address environmental problems, which can only be solved from an international viewpoint. All participants are required to go beyond their language differences, as well as beliefs and nationality. If you possess an exclusive nationalism, you will not be able to reach a common goal. I sincerely hope that all of you from the two countries will successfully surmount these barriers and discuss ways to reach a satisfying goal that both sides can accept.
I would like to interpret the term "environmental issues" in a broader sense, and we want to discuss in this forum how we can build a global environment that is suitable for all cosmopolitan citizens to live together. Therefore, we have to consider not only the natural environment, which is essential for our comfortable life, and natural disasters, which cause considerable damage and hardship, but also human-made hazards, such as problems caused by worldwide movements of refugees and immigrants. I think it is unavoidable in this globalized era; rather, we should not exclude accepting them. We should also accept multiculturalism and sincerely discuss multicultural coexistence.

Forum as citizenship education
Audrey Osler, a famous researcher and advocator of the style of cosmopolitan citizenship education, proposed that citizenship education is best achieved if it is based on four components: acquiring knowledge, reflecting on identity, living in a community, and developing skills for participation. According to her:
First, students are required to acquire enough knowledge to see themselves as citizens. This includes knowing about human rights, democracy, diversity, and inclusion. The knowledge has to be based on reflection and experience.
Secondly, citizenship education encourages students not only to reflect on their own identities, but also to explore and develop new identities, such as transnational and cosmopolitan ones. Thirdly, citizenship education must contribute to producing a society that ensures inclusion and equality and encourages students to participate as active citizens.
Lastly, citizenship education requires the development of skills for democratic participation. These skills include those related to political literacy, cultivating a cosmopolitan world view, and skills for effecting change. It encourages not only effective participation and active engagement with others, but also the development of multiple identities.
I recognize this forum as a kind of transnational citizenship education; therefore, I hope it will be equipped with these four features.
Specifically, you are expected to achieve, through the forum, four kinds of outcomes that will be mentioned now.
Firstly, whether or not you will acquire various knowledge about environmental issues through the presentations and discussions, besides, you are expected to deepen your understanding of democracy, human rights, diversity, and social inclusion, which are the basic knowledge of education for citizenship.
Secondly, you are expected to develop the attitudes of actively participating in global issues, including environmental problems, as a citizen with a cosmopolitan worldview.
Thirdly, your identities will be transformed through the forum. In other words, in addition to your current identity or identities, another transnational or cosmopolitan identity will be developed.
Fourthly, through the presentations and discussions, you are expected to acquire not only plurilinguistic and pluricultural skills, but also various skills for democratic participation: specifically, political literacy, a cosmopolitan worldview, and skills or motivation to effect a change in the world.
These are the outcomes this forum is expected to produce.

Our mission as people in higher education
In his book, "Higher Education: A Critical Business," Ronald Barnard discusses the role of higher education in our globalized era. According to him, for now, institutions of higher education developed students' criticality in knowledge and have contributed to the creation of knowledge. However, in the globalized era, where various languages, cultures, and values coexist with each other, the criticality in knowledge is not enough. It is also required that we develop a criticality that targets ourselves, as well as the world so we can move into action and create a desirable society. This means that by reconsidering our thinking that we take for granted, one can accept the things others take for granted, and therefore, become more tolerant toward diversity and coexistence and, besides, by viewing the world critically, we can translate this into action and create a more desirable world. Higher education has this essential mission to develop these criticalities, and people living there must take the lead in this mission. In other words, we are given the extra time of four years or more to study how to achieve world peace and people's happiness. I recognize that Vassar College leads the universities in the U.S., and Ochanomizu University is the leading women's university in Japan. I hope all of you from these leading higher education institutes rack your brains, reflect on yourselves, aggressively pursue self-recreation and ways to recreate this world. There still exist many obstacles that prevent all of the cosmopolitan citizens from living together harmoniously, and it can be difficult to know where to begin. However, this cannot be a reason for not looking on with folded arms. We have to look for what we can do as today's youth, and work on our own to establish a desirable world.
Later, when you will grow up and are reminded of this forum, I hope you will say, "Some of those dreams we created back then have come true because of the efforts that began at the conference."
During this forum, please study, have meaningful discussions, and enjoy as much as you can to reach a desirable destination. I wish you many successes.


#100 A gereral comment on the 9th International Student Forum (2020)

This International Student Forum, which started in 2012, has reached the ninth time this year. Our endeavor was adopted as a project of the COIL, which stands for Collaborative Online International Learning, and this year we held this forum in Vassar College, one of the participating universities of COIL, as well as a partner university of our university. It was also the second opportunity to hold the forum at Vassar.
COIL is a program which encourages universities in Japan and the United States to utilize online tools for cooperative learning between the countries. The aim is, by using these instruments, students are urged to go abroad and foster various international studies. For this forum, from December 2019 to February 2020, we also used zoom for interactions between classes from these two universities, as well as social media, such as Facebook and LINE, for exchanges between buddy students.
In particular, international joint learning that is held for a short period, is difficult for participants to gain enough benefits because a considerably long period is required to foster a deep relationship and to exchange dialogue and discussion. However, when we utilize online facilities before meeting directly, we could deepen our mutual relationships even though we are not able to have direct contact. Therefore, by using online tools, we can overcome the weakness of short-term events. Using online tools also extends international interaction on a daily basis. For these reasons, we could conduct this forum more successfully than ever through the COIL project. This time, Vassar College held this event as a Student Forum on Environmentalism; therefore, we also adopted this as the main topic. Students from both universities discussed, considered, and tried to solve various environmental issues. Eleven students from our university and 17 students from Vassar participated and presented their studies in English or Japanese, their languages that they are learning.
The environmental problems include not only the preservation of natural environments and natural disasters but also the human-made calamities and conflicts in communities, which have rapidly globalized and has become multicultural recently. All students dealt with these complex problems sincerely and actively and tackled them as those that they should be able to solve by themselves as a youth.
In my keynote speech, I talked about the mission of higher education institutes. According to R. Barnard, higher education should stand at the front of dealing with existing knowledge, self, and the world by solving these issues critically to develop the more innovative ones. The two universities are known as a leading liberal arts college in each country. It was my great pleasure that students from these universities gathered, discussed, and tried to solve the problems as people in higher education.
Moreover, environmental problems are interdisciplinary issues that need interdisciplinary interaction beyond the disciplines of natural, human, and social sciences. For such a reason, not only professors and students from human and social sciences but also those from natural sciences gathered and learned from international and interdisciplinary perspectives. Each participant presented a study about the common issues of environmentalism, and besides that, this forum provided them with an alternative perspective. They taught and learned from each other.
Dealing with questions, including environmentalism, in a different way or from another perspective, accompanies a variety of difficulties. This means that environmental problems should be approached in various ways, and that is the sole solution to it. That is why we, as people belonging to liberal arts universities, should tackle this problem. All participants realized that environmental issues have to be approached together beyond the borders of nationalities and disciplines.
Our planet is suffering from various unprecedented problems. For only a few months this year, large-scale fires occurred in Australia, the coronavirus is spreading all over the world. These global problems are also able to supervene rumors and hatred for the weak, which encourages national and racial conflicts. I hope the students who learned in this forum will become aware of these problems as their own, develop themselves, and head the endeavors to live together harmoniously in a better world.
Finally, I would like to express my gratitude to Vassar faculties, especially Professor Qiu and Tsuchiya, for inviting us to this event. I also appreciated all the participants who gave a speech or a presentation for our learning, as well as the international staff from the two universities who also made their efforts for success.


#101 The seventh Overseas Japanese Teacher Training Program (2020)

The seventh Overseas Japanese Teacher Training Program, from February 12th to March 18th, has all but successfully concluded. The pandemic of COVID-19 caused the difficulty.

Eight graduate students attended this training program this year: three Japanese and five international students. I joined this program from March 12th. On that day, I arrived at my hotel at about 11 am and joined the program beginning at a graduate school seminar at 4 pm. Two of my students introduced their study plans to the participants and received feedback. After the study, I had dinner with some of my students near the campus. Listening to them talking, I found that the students were suffering various difficulties before my arrival. Some of them were internal struggles, such as their performance that was not going as well as they expected; the others were between them as a group. Even though I could only listen to them sincerely, they got much better as they related their difficulties to each other.
On the 13th, I observed a variety of classes at different levels. At 10 am, I joined an intermediate course, where two of my training students had their training. Give and take expressions were taught to students by one of my students in that class. Then I attended an introductory seminar class where four of my students conducted their teaching.
Only ten students participated in the class. It was because of the influence of COVID-19. Quite a number of students have not come back to Sydney from their home countries, and many students abandoned the idea of returning this semester. In the first half of that class, students were learning intonation, after which the expression for visiting their teacher through a role-play was taught.
In the afternoon, I observed two advanced classes. Two of my training students were teaching Japanese. The first class was for composition and the second, for reading comprehension. The students attending the advanced classes developed their Japanese competence considerably, compared with introductory and intermediate students; however, there still seemed to be various difficulties in writing what they want to express.
After the classes, I ate dinner with three of my students at a Chinese restaurant. We talked about not only their training but also their research. They all belong to the first grade of a master's degree course, and after this training, they will need to start collecting data for their master's theses. However, they still have many issues to solve for progressing their research and beginning data collection.
On Saturday, it was a rainy day, so I came to the campus to prepare for my speech which was scheduled on the next Monday. However, for my students, it was their last Saturday, so they went shopping to buy their souvenirs.
The next day was the last Sunday for them. They had wanted to go to the Blue Mountains, one of the best sightseeing spots near Sydney, however, it had been rainy every Sunday. Even though the weather forecast said that there was a possibility of a shower, we decided to go there. I recognize the characteristics of the weather forecast in Australia a little better than my students because I was living in Sydney for five months in 2014. In this country, the climate is drier than that in Japan, and rainfalls are much fewer. Therefore, if there is a possibility of a shower during a day, the forecast represents the rainy mark. Japanese students recognize the weather would be rainy, not a temporal shower.
For this reason, I decided that even though the sign said that it is cloudy with rain, I dared to go. We met them at a bus stop near their sharing house, and while I walked there, some rain fell on me, but it soon stopped. We all gathered and went to the Central Station by bus and left there at eight. Our train went out of the city and headed to the Blue Mountain for two hours. We arrived at Katoomba Station at ten. The weather was not bad, cloudy, but sometimes the blue sky appeared behind the clouds. However, it was a little bit chilly for the early autumn weather because of the height.
I bought a sweatshirt at a shop in front of the station and firstly went to an Echo point where the famous view of Three Sisters can be seen. I have been there twice before, but the view was so impressive that every time I see it, I move. We took a lot of pictures of it and our photos with it. We took a hike to the next sightseeing point, the Scenic World, where we enjoyed riding Skywalk, Cableway, and Ropeway. After that, just when we finished sightseeing there, the rain began to fall. Fortunately, we did not get caught in the rain. We took a train again and came back to Sydney. In the evening, we had dinner at a Korean restaurant. We enjoyed beef and pork, as well as various Korean foods.
The last week began. On Monday, there was a general meeting to reflect on the training in the previous week. My students and I, as well as UNSW supervising teachers, gathered and discussed what was good and what should be improved. However, we heard that one of the UNSW students caught the coronavirus, and because of it, the situation entirely changed. UNSW decided all of the face-to-face classes would end on Tuesday and transformed into online courses. We could not continue our teaching training anymore. The UNSW professors had to participate in training to utilize applications for online classes and did not have enough time to take care of us. Therefore, we decided to change our schedule and come back to Japan three days earlier than our original plan.
In the evening, I had a chance to give a speech at the office of the Japan Foundation, Sydney. My speech was also influenced by the COVID-19 problem, and my lecture was held online, using zoom. In this speech, I introduced my various practices for international understanding and intercultural citizenship education. I also added some of the practical theories, including Byram's plurilingualism and intercultural citizenship education, Barnard's critical education to become a "critical being" in the globalized era, Osler's education for cosmopolitan citizenship, and Council of Europe's competences for Democratic culture. It was my first experience of the online lecture using zoom and was a good chance for me to experience online facilities.
On Tuesday, we had a farewell party at a sky lounge on the top of the main library, where we could see a beautiful panoramic view of south Sydney. After eating and chatting for a while, my students talked about what they learned through the training, as well as their thankfulness to the UNSW supervisors. Some students were so emotional that they could not stop tears dropping from their eyes.
On Wednesday, each student spent her time on the last day in Sydney. We gathered at Sydney International Airport at 19:30 and departed there at 21:35.
Our plain continued flying for nine hours and finally arrived at Haneda the next morning. We have conducted this training from August to September. However, from this time, the academic year of UNSW had changed, and we could not continue this training at that period of the year. From February to March was the only possible period to hold, so we conducted it at this time of the year for the first time. However, reflecting on all of the training this year, I felt that some of the aspects should be reconsidered and improved if we continue to have this program at this duration. Besides, the problem of COVID-19 made our program far more difficult.
Generally speaking, the training successfully finished. I felt happy all of my students safely came back to Japan. I came home at seven and went to bed for a while because I could not sleep well because two customers seated just in front of me were chatting until late at night.


#102 An unparalleled disaster (2020)

An unparalleled disaster has engulfed our planet. The coronavirus is rapidly spreading to every corner of the world, and a large number of people have been infected, and some of them are dead. The Olympic Games, scheduled to be held here in Tokyo this year, were decided to be postponed until next year.
All schools and universities in Japan start their academic year in April. However, they have not been able to begin their classes yet. Most international students who were going to come to Japan gave up on their schedule, and Japanese students who are going abroad are also waiting for this disaster to finish. As for my university, the orientation for freshmen students was held online, using zoom. We are busily preparing for and getting used to these instruments and are managing to utilize them.
Fortunately, I have used them several times before, but most of the faculty members are using them for the first time. Last year my university finally locked down, and most of our faculty members and students cannot gain access to it for at least a month. Even though our classes are scheduled to begin next month, there is still a possibility of them being conducted online, not on the campus, unless the situation improves.
This week, from last Wednesday, I have stayed at home and held all of my jobs from my room through zoom. I had my seminar class for my graduate students, Interviewed some of them, and had an orientation for the freshmen through the internet. Twice a day, I went out for a walk in a nearby park. I think that Japanese people have been doing considerably well, refraining from going out as much as possible; however, I cannot believe that the Japanese government has set out its mission well enough to solve this problem.
Anyway, I really hope that this terrible situation will conclude as soon as possible.


#103 Teleworking (2020)

Our university started telecommuting this week because of the influence of COVID-19, and I worked from home for a whole week except going to my office briefly to take everything needed for me to telework.
I attended five meetings on Monday and Wednesday, personally talked with five graduate students about their research, had a seminar meeting with more than 20 graduates on Tuesday, joined an international joint class with one of our partner universities in Korea on Thursday, and held an orientation for 14 newcomers to my program for Applied Japanese Linguistics on Friday. However, I participated in all of these events through zoom without needing to go to work at all. Even though they were unique, unprecedented experiences for me, and I enjoyed them very much, I finally hit the wall and went to bed at eight on Friday.
We have to continue this method of working for the time being. Our university is planning to reopen our campus on May 7th, but there is a significant likelihood that online education has to be continued. I hope that this worldwide spread of this coronavirus will be under control as soon as possible, and we can return to our typical day of life.


#104 The Japanese government should prioritize human lives, not economy (2020)

The COVID-19 pandemic broke out a year ago and has continued spreading all over the world. In Japan, the third big wave attacks us these days. The Japanese government strongly recommended people never to go across prefectural boundaries, nor never to go or eat out as hard as possible when the first wave attacked this country half a year ago. However, they recommended us to travel domestically across prefectural boundaries or eat out through the "go-to-campaign" recently. We all realize that the pandemic is killing not only a large number of lives but also the Japanese economy, and therefore, we have to relieve both of them. However, I am afraid that the current reversed recommendation provided by the government shows their poor judgement concerning the question of which they should prioritize human lives or economy. This issue seems not so difficult for them to answer correctly.
Unless medical matters take precedence with saving human lives being prioritized over economic recovery, COVID-19 will become more serious and take more time to resolve, and as a result, our economy will suffer more and more damage from it. I hope they will realize their error and rectify their decision.


#105 Japan's responsibility for causing the war (2021)

Perpetual peace in the world is a common wish of all humankind. As the only citizens in the world to be hit by nuclear bombs, and as residents who had experienced serious war damage, we have a responsibility to appeal to everyone in the world about how devastating wars are, to build eternal peace, and to hand over a planet rich in nature to the next generation. In the year of international peace, we appeal to all countries in the whole world for the abolition of nuclear weapons, which pose serious threats to the survival of humankind, to sincerely seek the realization of permanent peace in the world, and to declare Shinjuku a city of peace.
I read this Declaration of Peace by Shinjuku in a publicity paper and felt it was somewhat unacceptable. If someone in the US were to read this declaration, what would they think about it?
I feel it omits Japan's responsibility for causing the war. I think this must be included. Phrases like this should be added: "as citizens of a nation who caused World War II and brought huge damage to the other countries, we have to feel responsible for it and reflect on it," as well as "we declare that we never repeat this behavior again."


#106 For remaining years (2022)

Last year was officially commended by the president for my twenty years' service with my university. During this period, I accepted 182 international students as my students from 19 different countries and regions from around the globe. I accepted the most, 62 students, from Korea, because I was there as a professor for more than 10 years before coming back to Japan in 2001. The next is from China, and the number of students from China has rapidly increased, and Chinese students have become the majority of the international students, also more than the Japanese in my seminar.
I now have three years left until my retirement. Until now, as an educator or a scholar-practitioner, I have mainly tried to contribute to rebuilding a harmonious relationship between Japan and Korea. The relationship between these two countries is still not desirable, rather even worse than before; however, I have continued to conduct various educational practices to overcome the historical conflicts and have had a sense of fulfillment to some extent. During the remaining three years, I want to do my best to contribute to establishing a harmonious relationship between Japan and China. Compared to Korea, where I lived for a decade, I do not have enough confidence in understanding China. Between the two countries, there is not only a barrier of historical conflict caused by Japan's aggression and colonization of the northern part of China but also a difference in the social systems. Therefore, starting with having a dialogue with Chinese students and reading papers and books on China and the relationship between Japan and China, I want to understand the nation as much as possible to consider what I can and should do as a Japanese educator in my remaining years.


#107 Pharrell Williams - Happy (2022)

This song reminds me of my travels across the Australian Continent from Melbourne to Darwin for just over three weeks in 2014. I was in Australia for my sabbatical leave. I had lived in Sydney for five months, and finished the trip by traveling across the continent. I did not know this song at that time, but most of the Western members who traveled with me knew and loved it. We rode a 4WD car and continued our traveling. A guide from a travel agency was also our driver, and when he/she turned on the song, or somebody requested the song, everyone started singing and dancing excitedly. Sometimes, we traveled more than 1000km a day and we had to spend most of the day in the car. It was quite boring, but the song made me feel happy and excited. We finally arrived at Darwin, the terminal of our tour, and enjoyed dancing to the song again.
Before starting this tour, I did not anticipate this tour to be such an adventurous one because I had imagined it compared to my experience of group tours in Japan. However, this tour was incredibly adventurous. If I had known it beforehand, I may not participate in the tour. For example, we often slept in the open with sleeping bags and no electricity. At night, the guide warned us to be careful not to lay our sleeping bags across the path of snakes' crossings. We always made our meals by ourselves and after eating, we washed dishes together with as little as possible water. We sometimes got up at 4 to see a beautiful sunrise. It was so hard for me at that time, but looking back on it, it was the most unforgettable and priceless trip of my life. I have visited Australia almost every year on business, but recently, because of COVID-19, I have not been there for two years. I am looking forward to visiting there again as soon as possible.


#108 Declaration of Peace by Shinjuku (2022)

Perpetual peace in the world is a common wish of all humankind. As the only citizens in the world to be hit by nuclear bombs, and as residents who had experienced serious war damage, we have a responsibility to appeal to everyone in the world about how devastating wars are, to build eternal peace, and to hand over a planet rich in nature to the next generation. In the year of international peace, we appeal to all countries in the whole world for the abolition of nuclear weapons, which pose serious threats to the survival of humankind, to sincerely seek the realization of permanent peace in the world, and to declare Shinjuku a city of peace.

I read this Declaration of Peace by Shinjuku in a publicity paper and felt it was somewhat unacceptable. If someone in the US were to read this declaration, what would they think about it?
I feel it omits Japan's responsibility for causing the war. I think this must be included. Phrases like this should be added: "as citizens of a nation who caused World War II and brought huge damage to the other countries, we have to feel responsible for it and reflect on it," as well as "we declare that we never repeat this behavior again."


#109 Got up at six for a jog (2022)

As usual, I got up at six this morning and went for a jog in the park near my house. On my way there, I found a man lying on the sidewalk. It was chilly, around 0 degrees Centigrade! When I saw him for the first time, I passed by (as others did), but I did not want to regret that I should have called him, I went back to him. I asked, "Can you hear me? Isn't it chilly?". After a little while, he opened his eyes and tried to stand up, but his body did not work as he wanted it to do, he fell down. I found a whiskey bottle next to him, so I asked, "Are you drunk?" He managed to stand up, saying, "I'm freezing. I tried to move my body to keep warm." I told him whilst pointing to a near by subway station, "If you enter the station, you can warm up a little. Come with me." He managed to move his body and disappeared into the station.
Including him, many people are living around the park, and I can see a variety of facets of life in the morning. It was quite different from that in the daytime. They are all living struggling against the reality of their own. Some came to do gymnastics or to walk for their health, and some came with their pets, friends, or partners. I met a man with a dog who had physically disabled legs. The dog was paralyzed in both hind legs. So he made a walking assistant cart for it. Because the park is located near Korean and China towns, foreigners also came by, including not only Korean and Chinese, but also Myanmarese, Nepali, and Vietnamese. There was a Myanmarese person, I happened to know and got familiar with little by little. He lives there even though he has a room to live in. He always says to me, "I'm lonely if I live there, but here I can live with my friends." I can see such a beautiful view if I wake up early in the morning. I am encouraged by them, I started my day as usual.


#110 Reconsideration of Peace Education: World War II and the relationship between the US and Japan (2022)

The relationship between the two universities
It is our great pleasure to hold the eleventh International Student Forum.
For a moment, I would like to review the relationship between our two universities. Since the first meeting with Professor Qiu and Professor Tsuchiya in 2004, we continued to discuss academic exchange initiatives, and finally concluded an academic exchange agreement in 2006.
In 2009, we also launched joint international remote classes via a video conferencing system with Vassar students.
In 2012, the first International Student Forum was held on our campus. The forum then continued to be held every year and Vassar students always attended. In 2014, the forum was held for the first time outside of Japan, at Vassar College.
In 2018, our universities decided to promote COIL, Collaborative Online International Learning, and our interactions strengthened.
In 2019, we held the ninth forum at Vassar College, participants discussed the environmental issues from a global perspective. And last year, we conducted the tenth forum with Vassar College, we addressed COVID-19 as the theme.

The history of the International Student Forum
This forum was born in the aftermath of the sad, unforgettable disaster, the Great East Japan Earthquake that occurred on March 11, 2011. Everyone in Japan felt devastated by grief every day and night. However, support from all over the world encouraged us to pick up ourselves again. At the first forum, which was held in 2012, students from eight countries around the world gathered at Ochanomizu University, including two students from Vassar College. Participants from all over the world introduced to us a variety of support activities that were conducted in their countries for the reconstruction of Japan which moved us enormously. Vassar students, especially those learning Japanese, voluntarily held charity concerts for Japanese restoration. Three students sang a song titled "Kokoro no Koe," which means "voice of the heart." They also produced and presented to us a video, where many Vassar students were holding placards supporting the victims in Japan. I still keep this video and it always makes me feel the deep, heartwarming relationship between our universities. The first forum gathered not only from the U.S. but also from Thailand, Germany, the Czech Republic, and Poland, and people in their countries also held various charity events for us. Countries in East Asia, such as Korea and China, which usually have undesirable relations with Japan because of history, also extended special help to us at that time, and students from these countries introduced to us various supportive activities held in their countries. We listened to their presentations, sometimes with tears in our eyes, and got the power to live again thanks to their heartwarming support.
Because of this forum being borne of such a sorrowful disaster, it has dealt with a wide variety of worldwide problems. The forum has also discussed what we can do as a younger generation in the event of natural disaster or human-made calamity occurring anywhere on this planet, including nuclear power problems, environmental issues, refugees and immigrants, COVID-19, and how we overcome World War II and conflicts among nations. Each time the participating students sincerely discussed these serious issues, they began to work toward overcoming differences in nationality, language and value in hopes of reaching the same goals for world peace. They also considered what they can do as young people and moved to action vigorously.
And now, we are able to hold the eleventh forum.

World War II and Education and Declaration of Peace in Japan
As you know, during the previous century, we human beings experienced world wars twice and created various sacrifices and sorrows. We deeply reflected on them and decided never to repeat such a tragedy again; we established international institutions, such as the United Nations and the European Union to overcome conflicts between nations. In 1982, the UN established 1986 as the International Year of Peace, which was the fortieth anniversary since the UN was built. After that, countries all over the world started various kinds of peace education.
Shinjuku, where I'm living, also announced the Declaration of Peace in that year. This is the declaration.

Perpetual peace in the world is a common wish of all humankind. As the only citizens in the world to be hit by nuclear bombs, and as residents who had experienced serious war damage, we have a responsibility to appeal to everyone in the world about how devastating wars are, to build eternal peace, and to hand over a planet rich in nature to the next generation. In the year of international peace, we appeal to all countries in the whole world for the abolition of nuclear weapons, which pose serious threats to the survival of humankind, to sincerely seek the realization of permanent peace in the world, and to declare Shinjuku a city of peace.

What do you feel when you read this declaration? When I read it, I could not help but feel it was somewhat problematic and unacceptable. Needless to say, perpetual peace in the world is nothing more than a hope shared by all humans. However, the Japan that was described in this declaration was leaning toward portraying Japan as a victim, as in, "the only victim country in the world" and "a country seriously damaged in World War II".
Is Japan really able to maintain its status as a victim in front of countries around the world? I have visited Asian and Oceanian countries and regions, including South Korea, China, Taiwan, Singapore, Saipan, Hawaii and Australia, and witnessed a variety of scars inflicted by Japan's attacks during the war in most of them. Can Japanese people declare their victim status in front of the people there?
As you have already noticed, Japan was nothing other than an assailant country that invaded and colonized Asian and Pacific countries rather than a victim attacked by others.
Japan and the US once had a hostile relationship. We often think that the Pacific War began in 1941, initiated by the Japanese attack of Pearl Harbor. However, according to Professor Carol Gluck, who will give a lecture on the last day, it started much earlier than 1941, at least 1931, when Japan launched an attack on Manchuria, China. Moreover, we cannot understand why Japan caused those wars without going back further to the late 19th century, when Japan invaded China and Korea in earnest. In other words, Japan already initiated wars at that time. If peace education in Japan continues to look away from the cause of the wars and history as an assailant and only to mention the damage in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan's oath never to cause a war will not be believed by others around the world. People in Asian or Pacific countries, especially in countries victimized by Japanese colonization, would consider the pledge as deceptive. It would also be unpersuasive for those in the US, even though they should assume responsibility for dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Furthermore, if Japan continues with such peace education and oath, it does not possess the right to lead the movement of abandoning nuclear weapons.
If we, not only those in Japan, but also those in the US, are to mention peace or to promote it, adopting the attitude to sincerely reflect on our past is indispensable. Japan should face its past of colonization and warfare sincerely. The United States also need to confront the fact of being the only country to use nuclear weapons. Additionally, if we are to contribute to world peace, we need to acquire various values, attitudes, skills, and knowledge.

Competence for Democratic Culture
A few years ago, the Reference Framework of Competence for Democratic Culture was established in Europe. This framework was built to provide various competences required to take action to protect and promote peace, human rights, democracy, and rule of law, to join democratic culture, and to peacefully live together in culturally diversified societies.
In this eleventh International Student Forum, I adopted this framework to develop participants' competence for democratic culture as much as possible, and to realize a discussion for peace between the two countries.
This framework proposes 20 kinds of competences in four categories related to democratic culture.
The first category is "values", including those pertaining to understanding the importance of concepts such as human rights, diversity, democracy, rule of law, and peace.
The second category is "attitudes", like those of openness, respect for others, possessing responsibility and civic mindedness, and tolerance of ambiguity for overcoming differences in opinion.
The third category is "skills", including autonomous learning skills, critical thinking skills, skills of listening to others, empathy, flexibility and adaptability, linguistic and communicative skills, and those of co-operation and conflict-resolution.
The fourth category, "knowledge and critical understanding" includes those of the self, language and communication, and various global topics.
I hope that all of you will develop into global citizens, utilizing these competences, becoming people of democratic culture, and resolving various worldwide conflicts and problems.

Our mission as higher education institution
In his book, Ronald Barnett discusses the role of higher education in our globalized era. According to him, to date, institutions of higher education have developed students' criticality in knowledge and have contributed to the creation of knowledge. However, in the globalized era, where wide variety of languages, cultures, and values coexist, the criticality in knowledge is not enough. It is also required that we develop a criticality that targets ourselves, as well as the world so we can move into action and create a desirable society. This means that by viewing the world critically, we can translate this into action and create a more desirable world. Higher education has this essential mission to develop these criticalities, and people living there must take the lead in this mission. In other words, we are given the extra time of four years to study how to achieve world peace and people's happiness. I hope all of you rack your brains, reflect on yourselves, aggressively pursue self re-creation and ways to re-create this world.
Later, when you grow older and recall this forum, I hope you will say, "Some of those dreams we created back then have come true because of the efforts that began at the conference." During this forum, I expect each of you to learn and have meaningful discussions to achieve desired outcomes. I wish you many successes. (Keynote Speech)


#111 Visit Korea (2022)

I visited Korea for the first time since Covid-19 started spreading all around the world. I went there for my research on intercultural citizenship education in East Asian countries. I scheduled five lectures, in which I introduced my educational practices and studies that I have continued since I returned from Korea to Japan 21 years ago. The title of the lectures was "Overcoming the Past to Conciliation between Japan and Korea."
The first lecture that I gave was held at Ewha Woman's University in Seoul on September 24th. There was an alumni meeting for the Korean graduates of Ochanomizu University, and an international conference was also held. I presented my lecture at the conference. I introduced several theories to resolve intractable intergroup conflicts, including Gaertner and Dovidio's Common Intergroup Identity Model, Brown and Miller's Personalization Model, and Hewstone and Brown's the Mutual Differentiation Model. I also introduced my educational practices, and proposed what Japan and Korea should do in order to move over the past. After the conference, we enjoyed dinner together at a cafeteria on campus. Two of my students also gathered there, one of whom has already graduated, and the other of whom went back briefly to Korea to write up her doctoral thesis.
The next lecture was held at Dongseo University, in Busan. I traveled there by KTX, the super express train that connects from Seoul in about three hours. More than 20 participants gathered to hear my lecture, including professors in Busan, business persons, and journalists. After the speech, there was a Q&A session, and some of the questions were difficult to answer. For example,there was a question about how to connect my educational practices to political change, especially changing the attitudes of the Japanese government. I answered, "I think it is not so easy to achieve, but I want to help the next generation by educating students." Another one was, "A resolution of the conflict is not so difficult. Only an apology by the Japanese governor is needed." I answered, "Of course I also want them to do that. But, this is almost impossible, because most leaders around the world have not and will not easily admit their, or their collective, fault. So, I think we have to create circumstances that make them apologize."
The third speech was given to graduate students at a class in BUFS, followed by one at Kyemyung University in Daegu, and Dongduk Women's University in Seoul. My lectures were almost the same as the previous one, and the questions after the lecture were also very similar. Most Korean people easily consider that the cause of the conflicts between Korea and Japan should be attributed to Japanese colonization, and that therefore, the responsibility to solve the problem is only on the Japanese side. In other words, only if the Japanese government sincerely apologized for its past, the historical problem between the two countries will be solved without any difficulties. I agree with the conflict occurring in terms of Japanese colonization, so Japan was the perpetrator and Korea was their victim. However, through the speeches, what I wanted Korean people to understand was that the reality is more complex and difficult to solve. I also emphasized in my speech that there is something to do not only on the perpetrators' side but also on the victims' side. The perpetrators have to apologize first, but it is also required for the victims to accept their apology and forgive them. Neither of them are easy to move into action. Only if both conditions are met, may we solve the intractable conflict between the two countries.


#112 The 12th International Student Forum (2023)

The 12th International Student Forum was held online this year with Vassar College starting on February 23rd. The theme of this Forum was, "Diversity and Inclusion". The topic includes not only racism, which has become one of the most important and intractable issues in the US, but also the gender gap, which Japan has not yet overcome.
The opening ceremony was held on the first day. First, as the founder of this Forum, I gave a keynote speech to students from Vassar College in the US, and my university in Japan. In my speech, I introduced the relationship between the two universities since 2004; the history of this forum that started in 2012; the reason why I selected this topic, and the purpose of this Forum. Then, two Japanese professors from Vassar College briefly greeted everyone. After that, the vice president of our university gave us a special speech, also titled, "Diversity and Inclusion", but different from my speech, she dealt with gender gap issues in Japan from (N) the perspective of family sociology.
The Forum went on for three days, the 23rd, 25th and 28th.

On the 25th, two groups gave their presentations. Group 1 dealt with Asian discrimination both in the US and in Japan. In the US, on the one hand, there have been various instances of Asian discrimination, particularly to immigrants from China and Japan. Regarding Japan, on the other hand, even though Japan is one of the Asian countries, it considered the Imperialism of Europe and America as a model for Japanese modernization, and colonized China and Korea like the European countries did. Therefore, Japan discriminated against Asian people, similar to Europeans discriminating against Asian people. Interestingly, both American and Japanese students focused on their perpetrators' position, not their victims': The US students reviewed their discrimination of Asian people in the past, and Japanese students, their discrimination of other neighbors. Looking back and finding their own culpability is important for overcoming intergroup conflicts from the past.
The other group, Group 2, addressed language education for inclusion. They especially dealt with English and foreign language education in America, and Japanese and foreign language education in Japan. While listening to their presentation, I thought that English education in the US and Japanese education in Japan may contribute to foreign people's assimilation, rather than inclusion. In addition, English education as a second language in Japan may also contribute to discrimination against people from non-English speaking countries, such as Asia and Africa, by seeing the English speaking countries in a special light. However, unfortunately, they did not mention such concerns in their presentation.

On the 28th, the last group, Group 3 gave their presentation, which addressed immigrant children's self-realization, centering on supporting their career path and protecting their identities. They first introduced the present circumstances surrounding immigrant children as the most vulnerable people in Japan and the US, following what the two governments and the majority of people had to do to resolve these problems.
After their presentation, the general discussion session was held. I gave the three groups further questions to deepen their contemplation. The questions I cast on them were as follows: Both countries have their own history of discrimination against other races / ethnic groups in the past. What can we do today to overcome and reconcile them to live together harmoniously?
Is there any possibility that English education in the US / Japanese education in Japan will result in assimilation of minorities rather than their inclusion? Also, does learning foreign languages inevitably lead to the inclusion of other people?
Children of immigrants have two options: local schools and ethnic schools. But doesn't the former lead to assimilation and the latter to separation / marginalization? How can we achieve diversity with inclusion?
The participating students answered respectively and fostered their research, looking into what they can or should do to resolve these issues and to establish diversity and inclusion in both countries.
Then, we had a closing session. Each student and professor from both universities talked about their impressions about the Forum and what they had learned there.
The 12th Forum was successfully concluded. All the students discussed important but difficult problems, using their learning languages: English for Japanese students and Japanese for students in the US. As the topic we dealt was very sensitive and difficult, it was not so easy for them to answer all these questions. Using English to conduct this Forum was also difficult for me. "Improving my own language skill" was another feeling that the participants, including me, felt during this Forum.


#113 Diversity and Inclusion (2023)

The relationship between the two universities
It is our great pleasure to hold the twelfth International Student Forum.
For a moment, I would like to review the relationship between our two universities.
Since the first meeting with Professor Qiu and Professor Tsuchiya in 2004, we continued to discuss academic exchange initiatives, and finally concluded an academic exchange agreement in 2006.
In 2009, we also launched joint international remote classes via a video conferencing system with Vassar students.
In 2012, the first International Student Forum was held on our campus. The forum then continued to be held every year and Vassar students always attended. In 2014, the forum was held for the first time outside of Japan, at Vassar College.
In 2018, our universities decided to promote COIL, Collaborative Online International Learning, and our interactions strengthened.
In 2019, we held the ninth forum at Vassar College, participants discussed the environmental issues from a global perspective.
And last year, we conducted the tenth forum with Vassar College, we addressed World War II and peace education as the theme.

The history of the International Student Forum
This forum was born in the aftermath of the sad, unforgettable disaster, the Great East Japan Earthquake that occurred on March 11, 2011. Everyone in Japan felt devastated by grief every day and night. However, support from all over the world encouraged us to pick up ourselves again. At the first forum, which was held in 2012, students from eight countries around the world gathered at Ochanomizu University, including two students from Vassar College. Participants from all over the world introduced to us a variety of support activities that were conducted in their countries for the reconstruction of Japan after the disastrous earthquake which moved us enormously. Vassar students, especially those learning Japanese, voluntarily held charity concerts for Japanese restoration. Three students sang a song titled "Kokoro no Koe," which means "voice of the heart." They also produced and presented to us a video, where many Vassar students were holding placards supporting the victims in Japan. I still keep this video and it always makes me feel the deep, heartwarming relationship between our universities. The first forum gathered not only from the U.S. but also from Thailand, Germany, the Czech Republic, and Poland, and people in their countries also held various charity events for us. Countries in East Asia, such as Korea and China, which usually have undesirable relations with Japan because of history, also extended special help to us at that time, and students from these countries introduced to us various supportive activities held in their countries. We listened to their presentations, sometimes with tears in our eyes, and got the power to live again thanks to their heartwarming support.
Because of this forum being borne of such a sorrowful disaster, it has dealt with a wide variety of worldwide problems. The forum has also discussed what we can do as a younger generation in the event of natural disaster or human-made calamity occurring anywhere on this planet, including nuclear power problems, environmental issues, refugees and immigrants, COVID-19, and how we overcome World War II and conflicts among nations. Each time the participating students sincerely discussed these serious issues, they began to work toward overcoming differences in nationality, language and value in hopes of reaching the same goals for world peace. They also considered what they can do as young people and moved to action vigorously.
And now, we are able to hold the 12th forum.

Diversity and Inclusion
The topic of this Forum is "diversity and inclusion". The United States and Japan have somewhat different issues to resolve from one another. The top-priority issue is racism in the United States, as well as the gender gap problem in Japan.
America has, from a historical perspective, addressed racial issues as one of the most essential issues in need of resolution. Historically, the country has an ongoing civil rights movement to overcome slavery and racial discrimination. However, this problem has never left us. Of course, explicit racial problems that frequently occurred in the past have decreased gradually, but implicit ones such as aversive racism, for instance, still exist, even now. In other words, in a sense, more serious and more difficult to resolve.
To prepare for this speech, I read various books and papers, including Allport's "The Nature of Prejudice"; Gaertner and Dovidio's "Reducing Intergroup Bias", in which they addressed aversive racism; Steele's "Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do"; James, Dovidio, and Vertze's "The psychology of Diversity: Beyond Prejudice and Racism", and DiAngelo's "White Fragility". All of these books especially focus on racial issues in America. In my speech, I would like to deal with this issue by citing DiAngelo's "White Fragility".
What I am going to talk about now may go without saying for Vassar students; however, for Japanese students, it may not. So, please bear with me for a moment. According to DiAngelo, the idea of race is socially constructed, like gender. If this is true, both racism in America and the serious gender gap issues in Japan are common problems in our minds, which stem from people's prejudice and its social institutionalization. She writes, "People of color are confined and shaped by forces and barriers that are not accidental, occasional, or avoidable. These forces are systematically related to each other in ways that restrict their movement". There is also another words, "glass ceiling". This means that there is an invisible barrier to social advancement when it comes to gender or race. She also says that "the dimensions of racism benefiting white people are usually invisible to whites". The same can also be said of gender issues. It is not so easy for men, including me, to recognize the glass ceiling that exists in our society today.
In addition, citing Martin Barker, a famous film director, she writes, "Racism has adapted over time so that modern norms, policies, and practices result in similar racial outcomes as those in the past, while not appearing to be explicitly racist". She also believes that "white progressives, who, at a glance, seem to have little relation to racism, cause the most daily damage to people of color".
What she mentioned refers to racism being visible for minorities, but not for the majority. So, how about in Japan? There are also various racial problems, including with indigenous groups such as the Ainu people, and foreign residents called "oldcomers". In the age of globalization, "newcomers" are also coming to Japan from all over the world, and contacting and living with them without any bias is particularly difficult for Japanese people who are not used to diversity. As a result, not a few Japanese people unconsciously encounter them with the attitude of aversive racism. They may be unaware of such problems, and may not consider them seriously.
Moreover, as you already know, Japan has one of the widest gender gaps among nations, and solving it is imperative. To use DiAngelo's words, if gender is, as with racism, socially constructed and invisibly and unconsciously surviving to this day, we should more earnestly tackle these problems that are deeply rooted in our society, and build a more inclusive society. I heard that Vassar College has been one of the most pioneering higher education institutions to overcome these issues, and my university also has been proud of being the longest-running women's university in Japan that has been tackling the gender-gap problem.
Therefore, both universities have a very essential mission to solve these problems.

Our mission as higher education institution
In his book, Ronald Barnard discusses the role of higher education in our globalized era. According to him, to date, institutions of higher education have developed students' criticality in knowledge and have contributed to the creation of knowledge. However, in the globalized era, where wide variety of languages, cultures, and values coexist, the criticality in knowledge is not enough. It is also required that we develop a criticality that targets ourselves, as well as the world so we can move into action and create a desirable society. This means that by viewing the world critically, we can translate this into action and create a more desirable world. Higher education has this essential mission to develop these criticalities, and people living there must take the lead in this mission. In other words, we are given the extra time of four years to study how to achieve world peace and people's happiness. I hope all of you rack your brains, reflect on yourselves, aggressively pursue self re-creation and ways to re-create this world.
Later, when you grow older and recall this forum, I hope you will say, "Some of those dreams we created back then have come true because of the efforts that began at the conference". During this forum, I expect each of you to learn and have meaningful discussions to achieve desired outcomes. I wish you many successes.
(Keynote speech)


#114 A Visit Poland and Germany for a research project (2023)

I went to Poland and Germany for a research project I've been working on. I've been interested in reconciling East Asia, including Korea, China and Japan. European countries have had two world wars and countless losses of human lives. However, after the end of the World Wars, they were determined never to repeat such catastrophes again, and made efforts toward the establishment of a transnational union ever since. In the end, they formed the European Union in the 1990s. However, East Asian countries have not yet overcome their past. The main reason for this was the attitude of the Japanese government, which did not feel guilty or responsible enough as a perpetrator. Japan's position in Asia is the same as Germany's in Europe, and Korea's and China's are the similar to Poland's. That is why I planned to visit Poland and Germany to experience their negative heritages today. This was the purpose of this tour.

September 22nd
I left at 1am on a Qatar Airways flight to Warsaw via Doha.
Due to the inability to fly through Russian airspace, it took almost a full day from the time I left home to Warsaw via Doha.
On board, after a quick meal, I took a nap for a couple of hours. I arrived in Doha just after 6am local time. This was my first visit to Qatar, even for a transit. About two hours later, I was on a flight to Warsaw. On the way, my flight passed over the Black Sea, so I could see Ukraine in the distance. I prayed that peace would return to the still war-torn Ukraine as soon as possible. I arrived at the Warsaw International Airport just after 1pm local time. We met a driver provided by the travel agency at Gate 2 and arrived at the Novotel Hotel in front of Warsaw Central Station.
At 15:15, I met a Japanese guide who lives there, and she took me to see a variety of the negative heritages of Warsaw. The first site was the Monument to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, famous for German Prime Minister Brandt kneeling and apologizing in front of it. We then visited the POLIN Museum next to the monument.

the Monument to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

After that, we went to several memorials of the victims, including a memorial to those sent to Kachin and Siberia, the Umschlagplatz Monument, where Jews from the ghetto were put on a train, a memorial to the Wola massacre.
We went to the place where the Warsaw Ghetto was, including a memorial where a bridge connected the large and small ghettos, a building where Wainberg's house used to be, the only remaining building from the war, and remains of the ghetto walls. We walked past the Palace of Culture and Science, which was famous as a gift from Starlin, and returned to my hotel.

a memorial where a bridge connected the large and small ghettos

In the evening, I met Professor Okazaki in the lobby. He is still a professor at the University of Warsaw and is teaching Japanese there for about 50 years. I first met him in Warsaw 15 years ago. With his support, I was able to conclude the academic agreement between my university and his. We were delighted to see each other again and had a good time for an hour.
The most negative heritages of Warsaw are the invasion of the Nazi-led German army and the initial devastation of the Second World War, and the establishment of the Warsaw Ghetto, where many Jews were interned. They were later sent to concentration camps, including Auschwitz. The Jews interned in the Warsaw Ghetto led to the Warsaw Uprising, which is commemorated by the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Memorial. Some Poles, such as political prisoners, were also killed or sent to concentration camps. Poland was also ruled by the USSR after the Second World War, and many people were sent to Siberia and other places. It also suffered under the rule of the Soviet Communist Party for half a century.
I have visited Warsaw many times before, but this time, I traced the negative heritages of Germany, which I had not paid attention to before, and I realized that everyday life in Warsaw is built on these darker sides of the city's past, negative heritages, and people live with them.

September 23rd
I took the 6:44 express train to Krakow, arriving at 8:54, and checked into the Vienna Hotel in front of the station, accompanied by my guide waiting on the platform. After leaving my luggage at the hotel, the tour of Krakow's negative heritage began with her.

What makes Krakow different from Warsaw is that it was bombed by Soviet troops. One Polish king in the past was relatively tolerant of Jews, which led to many Jews settling down in Poland. This would later led the country to these great tragedies. The museum, built in Oskar Schindler's former factory, traced the negative history of Krakow. The tragic past of the Jews and Poles was presented through various artifacts and photographs. Poles became victims of Germany in the first half, and of the Soviet Union in the second half of the 20th century.

Oskar Schindler's former factory

I have visited Krakow many times before. I had been focusing mainly on the old town before; however, this time, I was able to look around the Kazimierz area, which I had not seen before, and, like Warsaw, I was able to witness the past that has continued to suffer under Germany as well as the Soviet Union.

We visited, first of all, the Grunwald Monument near my hotel and the nearby market, several buildings with shell marks from the Soviet war, and the Krakow Old Railway Station, where Schindler's List was filmed. We then went to the former Jewish area of Kazimierz, where I learned about Jewish culture at the Stara Synagogue. I then saw the neighboring Lem Synagogue, Okraglak Square, the Ghetto Heroes' Square with its chair objects, the Orwem pharmacy, known for providing sleeping pills to Jewish patients destined to be killed, and then visited Schindler's factory, famous from the film 'Schindler's List'.
Afterwards, they went to the area where the ghetto was located and visited where the ghetto walls still remain, and the ruins of the Plaszow concentration camp. Only a monument now remained there. Lunch at 2pm was at a Polish restaurant near my hotel, where I had borscht and Polish dumplings. After lunch, we had a 40-minute talk with my guide about Poland being both a victim and partly a perpetrator / accomplice, and why the government is now trying to hide it. She said it was probably due to their complex, she said. Without any complex, she said, they could take their own faults for granted. I arrived at the hotel at 4pm, tried to get some rest, but fell asleep and woke up at 3am the next morning.

September 24th
We visited the Auschwitz extermination camp, the main purpose of this tour.
After eating breakfast at the hotel and a 30-minute walk around the old town, I met my guide at 8 and we drove to Auschwitz.

Auschwitz camp I

Auschwitz camp II

The Auschwitz camp is about an hour away from Krakow, and we arrived at the entrance at around 9:30. We first visited Camp I and then Camp II. At the entrance, there was a group of three Koreans and I told them in Korean that I was Japanese and that I had come here to reflect on Japan's past. The gruesome, frame-by-frame images of Auschwitz were, to some extent, as terrible as I had expected them to be, perhaps because I had seen the Schindler's List film, a documentary program on Auschwitz and videos such as SHOAH beforehand. However, seeing it first-hand still made me realize that the greatest historical catastrophe, which took place on the other side of the world a century ago, was not a dream but an actual event that took place here on earth. On the other hand, I felt more pain and serious guilt when I visited Seodaemun Prison in Seoul, where Japan was nothing other than the perpetrator. Perhaps because Japan was not directly involved in Auschwitz, I was able to face the past with a certain degree of calmness, even though I witnessed unimaginable horrors. What I felt more than anything else was how human beings, who have intelligence, emotion and conscience, could have become so cruel. As a result of the perversion of Darwin's theory of evolution, terrible eugenic thought was created, and combined with racism, which is based on an ethnocentrism, people have attached superiority and inferiority to races, perceiving themselves as superior, and eliminating others as inferior. This may have been the end result of the idea that everything they did was in the interest of their own race and their own country. I heard that Japan once also had a eugenics protection law. In this light, Japan is by no means irrelevant, although the degree may vary. In fact, when you consider that Japanese people once believed themselves were superior and discriminated against their neighbors as inferior, you will realize that this horror that has struck Poland is not a strange phenomenon to us.
We finished our visit to Camps I and II a little after 2pm, had lunch at a nearby restaurant and then drove back to Krakow. As it was still light, we passed through the Wavalkan, Saint Florian's Gate, Saint Mary's Cathedral, the Old Town and visited Wawel Castle. These places were not so new to me, as I had visited them several times before, but I felt like I was back again in a place I had missed. After resting in my hotel room for a while, I went to the designated restaurant at 6:30pm and tasted a dinner of mushroom soup, cabbage rolls and cheesecake, thus ending a very important day.

September 25th
After breakfast at the hotel at 7am, I checked out at 9am. After buying small souvenirs with my leftover Polish zloty at the shopping mall in front of the train station, I headed for Krakow train station. However, it was difficult for me to find out where my train was, and my departure was delayed by more than 50 minutes. The train, which originally left at 9:56 am, finally departed at 10:46 am. While waiting for the train, I happened to see a group of three Korean ladies I met the day before, who were heading to Prague. The seven-hour train journey to Berlin began with a wagon of six passengers, all of whom were probably Polish or German, except me. We arrived at Berlin Central Station about an hour late. On the way, I spent time reading a book called / titled "Overcoming the Past", which describes the overcoming of Germany's Nazi past. The atmosphere of my reading the book, surrounded by Germans and Poles, was somehow special. Berlin Central Station is a magnificent glass-walled building, from which I walked to my hotel. Once I mistakenly went to a hotel with a similar name, but managed to reach the original hotel. I bought dinner at the supermarket next door and ate it in my room.

September 26th
Leaving the hotel at 9am, I first went to one of the remaining parts of the Berlin Wall along the nearby Bernauerstrabe. There was the Chapel of Reconciliation and the Statue of Reconciliation. Until then, people had been able to come and go freely between East and West Berlin, but in 1961, the Wall was suddenly built and some of the residents of the East Berlin flats on the border attempted to escape to the West by jumping from the upper floors of the apartment building. There were also traces of several tunnels dug by residents who had escaped to the west in order to rescue those who remained in the East. Many people were killed who were trying to escape over the wall, and their photos were also displayed alongside the wall. From Bernauerstrabe Station, we took subway to Moritz Platz, where we changed to a bus to visit the Topography of Terror, an exhibition center that recounts the history of German aggression. My tour then took in the ruins of the Fuhrer bunker, where Hitler is believed to have met his end, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, the Memorial to Homosexuals Persecuted Under Nazism, and then to the Brandenburg Gate, made famous by the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1990s. After having lunch with my Japanese guide nearby, I left him and visited the Holocaust Memorial again on my own, which I had not been able to enter earlier since it had been crowded, and then took a metro ride to see the East Side Gallery. The long wall was covered with various paintings, but the most famous was the one of a kiss between General Secretary Brezhnev and General Secretary Honecker of the former East Germany, which drew a large crowd. We took the metro again and returned to the hotel. I used the metro several times, and at first it was very confusing, but I gradually got used to it. In the evening, when I was sorting out the day, I discovered that the 5 Euro catalogue I had bought at the Holocaust Memorial had cost me 10 Euros. I went to get the 5 Euro refunded; by that time I was quite used to the subways. In the evening, I started to feel sick and went to bed early, at 7pm, taking care of myself.

the Topography of Terror

September 27th
After breakfast at 7, I had a few hours before check-out at noon, so I visited the Berlin Cathedral. I got used to getting on and off the metro and arrived without any problems. After a short walk around the cathedral and the TV tower nearby, I returned to my hotel.
It took about an hour to get to the airport, changing from the U6 Line to the S45 at Tempelhof station. The airport was not big, but it looked like it was newly built and clean. A long journey of 20 hours awaited me with a connecting flight. Even a direct flight is long enough, but the journey with transfers was too long and painful. This is even more so because I am not doing well, health-wise. I arrived safely at Narita at 18:30 and my study tour came to a successful conclusion.


#115 Invited visit to Seoul, Korea (2023)

Invited to Seoul by the Korean Association of Japanese Education, I arrived there on the 1st of December. The International Annual Meeting was held the next day at Korea University, which is known to be one of the three most famous universities in Korea, and where I studied as a graduate student in the 1990s. The theme of the meeting was, "Japanese Language Education as Education for Citizenship", and the title of my keynote speech was almost the same, with "intercultural" added to the top of the main title, and with the subtitle, "For Overcoming and Reconciling the Historical Conflicts between Korea and Japan". This was nothing other than the theme I set out to fulfill in my life. It was also the goal of my current Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research.
In my speech, I first introduced the theories of citizenship education, especially Byram's idea of intercultural citizenship education, because he developed citizenship education to integrate foreign language education and established intercultural citizenship education in foreign language classes using language learning, and I thought that his ideas would be most suitable for the participating Japanese teachers and professors who want to introduce the element of citizenship education in their Japanese classes. In the beginning, I talked about the background and history of his ideas, and then, briefly introduced his model.
Then, I also discussed several criteria to evaluate the extent to which their students succeeded in developing their intercultural citizenship skills through the language classes, including Byram's five levels, two pre-political and three practical steps. Barnett's criterion was also introduced, which has often been adopted as a criterion in various practices in his and his colleagues' practices. I also introduced the Reference Framework for Competence in Democratic Culture (RFCDC), developed by the Council of Europe, which his groups and I have often adopted as a standard of evaluation.
Next, I talked about the role of language teachers in their classrooms, especially how they deal with sensitive issues, such as political or historical issues between Korea and Japan.
I then introduced some of my main practices with university students, most of whom were from Japan and Korea, such as the Japan-Korea International Student Seminar initiated in 2004, the International Student Forum in 2012, and the International Online Remote Classes between Japanese and other university students abroad in 2007. Finally, I gave some suggestions to the participating professors and teachers in Korea on how to introduce the aspects of citizenship education into their Japanese language classes, based on the ideas introduced at the beginning of my lecture, especially on how to deal with the sensitive issues that still remain between these two countries, and lastly, I asked them to join me in the kind of education that will help the two countries to live together harmoniously.
I felt that the response from the audience was quite positive, as most of my practices were motivated by my experiences as a professor in Korea. I taught Japanese in Korea for about ten years in the 1990s. At that time, the relationship between Japan and Korea was much worse than it is now, but the students before me were eager to learn Japanese and friendly enough, so I decided that as a Japanese teacher and through teaching Japanese, I would do my best to reconcile the countries as much as possible. In addition, my practices with Korean universities, which I carried out after returning to Japan, were also motivated by the same dream to improve the relationship. Most Japanese teachers in Korea may also want to improve relations with Japan through their teaching, so they were moved by my lecture and agreed with my messages.
The next day, I visited the Colonial History Museum with a Korean professor who was the best partner in my practice with Korean students. This museum opened a few years ago, and neither he nor I had ever been there. It was not a big museum, but I found that it had various exhibits based on historical documents and archives, so that visitors could easily learn what happened during the Japanese colonial period from 1910 to 1945. On the 4th of December, I went to Sogang University to meet Professor Lim, who is well known for his latest book, "Victimhood Nationalism". I was so impressed by his book that I made an appointment to meet him. He accepted my offer and arranged the meeting. We talked for an hour about his book and the relationship between Korea and Japan, especially what we can do as university people to reconcile the two countries' relationship. I left Seoul that evening, having successfully completed my four-day tour.


#116 Graduation Theses (2023)

All five of my undergraduate students successfully submitted their graduation theses last Friday. The last person handed hers in just 15 minutes before the deadline. Until then, I was so worried that this last student wouldn't be able to submit her thesis before the deadline. One student, whose supervisor was someone other than me, said to me when she saw me looking restless, "You're like a father waiting for his baby to be born."
When I realized that all of them had submitted their theses without any incident, I was so relieved that all my efforts to help them complete their theses had been worthwhile, and I wanted to appreciate their efforts these days.
Their dissertations covered a wide range of topics. Two of them were about "victimhood nationalism", which is what I am most interested in these days: one about Polish victimhood and the other about Japanese victimhood. Polish citizens are well known as one of the worst victims of the Second World War, especially of Nazi Germany. However, she focuses on their perpetrator aspects. Since many Poles had originally had anti-Semitic feelings in their hearts, when they saw Nazi Germany sending many Jews to extermination camps, a significant number of them turned a blind eye to them. In her thesis, she discussed the socio-psychological reasons for this. The other was about peace museums in Japan, especially those dealing with the kamikaze suicide corps. Although the kamikaze corps was the most typical symbol of Japanese perpetration during World War II, these museums, as she mentioned, treat them not as perpetrators against other countries, but as victims of Japanese imperialism. She also discussed how visitors to these museums also recognized them as victims, rather than as perpetrators. She concluded that this was nothing other than the victim nationalism of the Japanese people, and that peace education as well as peace museums in Japan needs to correct these tendencies.
The other three students dealt with topics related to second language learning. One student raised the theme of, "How should Japanese as a second language be taught to young students from abroad without them losing their mother tongue and original identities". She mentioned that many young students from abroad are unable to maintain, but waver in their original identities when they go to school in Japan and learn Japanese. As a result, some of them become assimilated to Japanese culture, while some are isolated or separated from it. She interviewed some Japanese instructors and young foreign students, and discussed the appropriate Japanese language education for them to integrate their own and Japanese cultures, and not end up assimilated, isolated nor separated.
Another student discussed, "The influence of learners' motivation in face-to-face tandem learning." She investigated the ups and downs of learners' motivation for "tandem learning", particularly those of participants whose partners' native language is different from their initial desire to learn, impacting their motivation.
The last student analyzed, "The influence of second language learning on their identity formation". She experienced that when she was speaking English, her characteristics were somewhat different from her original ones, and therefore, she used a questionnaire and interview surveys to analyze the influences of learning a second language.
Their final presentation and evaluation will be held next month. I hope they will all succeed with their presentations, graduate from university without any problems and become active participants in the changing of the world in this globalized era.


#117 The old year and the new year (2024)

In 2023, I went abroad several times and visited seven countries in total: I went to Canada and England in January to visit my university's two partner universities in the two countries, and to Australia in February to visit another partner university. These are universities are connected to our newly-launched EDI (Equity, Diversity and Inclusion) program. While in Sydney, I also attended a graduate student Japanese language teaching training session at another partner university in Sydney. In September, I travelled to Korea to oversee the undergraduate Japanese teaching training there. I also coordinated a research trip to Poland and Germany, which was the most impressive trip of the year, and of my life. This was because I visited Auschwitz for the first time, the most negative heritage sites around the world known for its in connection to the Holocaust. I also visited various negative heritage sites, not only in Poland as a victim country, but also in Germany, which was the epicenter of the Nazi Holocaust. My main interest is relations among East Asian countries, but the relationship between Poland and Germany provides good lessons for East Asian countries about the ways in which we can overcome the past. In December. I was invited back to Korea to give a speech on citizenship education in foreign language classes to professors of Japanese education.
In total, then, in 2023, firstly, I visited three countries for the EDI program in the first half of the year, and supervised two Japanese language teacher training courses, and secondly, I furthered my own research by visiting Europe and South Korea, sometimes visiting negative legacies sites and sometimes giving a talk on the lessons I had learned from my research project. Thirdly, I was in charge of the training of young Japanese language teachers among graduate and undergraduate students.
I have finished the mission I set out for myself with the EDI program when I took it over last September, but my research on overcoming and reconciliation with the past continues this year. And the teaching trainings will also continue this year. I will do my best to have desirable results.
On New Year's Day, there was another major disaster in Japan: a major earthquake occurred, followed by huge fires and a tsunami in Ishikawa Prefecture. I have been there before, so my heart went out to the victims. I had just arrived at a Japanese restaurant for a New Year's dinner with my wife, my daughter's family and some of my relatives, when an alert warned us of an earthquake. I soon felt the building shake only a little as the quake struck as far away as about 500 kilometers from Tokyo. I did not think it was serious at the time, but later, I realized it was quite big: the biggest since the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. The next day, another, related accident happened: a JAL plane crashed and caught fire at Haneda Airport after colliding with a small Japanese Coast Guard plane that was flying to the disaster area to deliver relief supplies. Although the JAL plane was fired on, all the passengers, more than three hundred, disembarked safely without any casualties. I was deeply shocked by these disasters as they kept happening at the beginning of the New Year.
Five days have passed since the first quake occurred, but some people may still remain under debris. I pray that as many people as possible will be saved and that the deceased are at peace in heaven. This year, I already have several overseas trips lined up: to Sydney in March for a Japanese language teaching training course, and to Busan in September for another training course. I also plan to go to Taiwan in June for the third annual meeting of the Association for Language Education in East Asia. This year may be the last year for me to conduct this research project, "Foreign Language Education for Developing Competence for Democratic Culture: For East Asian Countries to Live Together."
Therefore, I will be happy to visit some countries or areas that I have never visited before, where there has been some negative history of being attacked or colonized by neighboring countries, such as Eastern European countries as victims of Germany or USSR, as well as some East Asian victims of Japan in the past. In addition, I want to visit Korea at the end of my research project and have an opportunity to present what I have discovered or realized doing my project.
When I read books written by Fisher or Kelman, famous scholars who are trying to improve the relationship between Israel and Palestine, I discovered a word, "scholar-practitioner": Not only do they do research but they also practice for peace, they have done their best to reconcile relationships. I also want to be such a person, if I can, and not only be a researcher, but a practitioner to improve the relationship between Japan and the neighboring countries. These are my resolutions for this year.


#118 Registered Japanese Language Teachers (2024)

Starting April 2024, Japanese language teaching will become federally regulated. Students majoring in teaching Japanese as a second language will be able to register with the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology as "Registered Japanese Language Teachers" as long as they pass the prescribed written examination and complete practical training in teaching Japanese.
If a university wishes to provide students with national certification, it must provide the required designated courses and training, and must be registered and approved by the government as a Registered Institution of Japanese Language Education. The courses must cover five areas: "Society, Culture and Area"; "Language and Society"; "Language and Psychology"; "Language and Education" and "Language", a total of 15 types of skills and areas of knowledge, consisting of 50 subcategories.
Once the teacher's qualifications and competence as a Japanese language teacher have been demonstrated through designated courses and training at a university, Japanese language school, or other Japanese language education institutions approved by the government, the teacher will be issued a national certificate to become as a registered Japanese language teacher.
Recently, more and more people from overseas have been coming to Japan. The Japanese government has not recognised them as immigrants, but only as temporary foreign workers. As a result, there is a considerable number of people who still need to learn Japanese. However, until now, Japanese teachers have not been officially qualified and certified. For this reason, the government developed the qualification and certification system. Since our university is also in the business of training Japanese teachers, we need to set up this kind of a system as soon as possible.


#119 The Enemy Has a Face: The Seeds of Peace Experience (2024)

I read a book called, "The Enemy Has a Face: The Seeds of Peace Experience." This book, as the title suggests, deals with the activities of the Seeds of Peace.
This group was founded by John Wallack in 1993 as an NPO group in the US and aims to educate teenagers from Middle Eastern countries, including Israel, Palestine, and their neighboring countries, such as Egypt and Jordan.
Every year, they gathered around 300 teenagers from these countries and held a summer camp in Maine, USA. This book introduced the purpose of the group, what kind of activities they did, and how the participants were changed by the experience of their stay at the camp. These students were nominated as representatives of their nations, so at first, they tried to represent the policies and opinions of their own governments. However, by meeting and interacting with members of their "enemy" countries, they gradually realized their prejudices and stereotypes of the other groups, as well as the fact that the education they were receiving was biased. Little by little, they tried to listen to others' opinions and feel their minds, and then they changed their minds and came to desire living harmoniously with the "enemies". They also developed friendships; Their former enemies became their best friends.
However, after the camp ended and they returned to their home countries, they faced different challenges from their friends and families. They tried to explain what they had learned in the camp, and the enemy had a face as human beings, just like them. When a certain conflict or instance of violence occurred between their country and their friend's country, they tried to think about how to understand the situation and what to do, and they did what they could. Sometimes they would hold a conference to discuss solutions, make a statement and send it to their government leaders.
I was moved by their activities. It was because the teenagers were doing what their governments could not and overcome various challenges. I was also moved because I have conducted similar events between students from South Korea and Japan every year. Of course, the scale between their activities and mine is different, and the severity of the conflicts between Israel and Arab countries is much more serious than that between Korea and Japan. I also hope that my students will realize that they can do something and put their answers into action.
Recently, I have been summarizing the practices that I have employed since I became a Japanese language teacher in the 1990s. In the 1990s, I was a teacher in Korea and realized that there was still some aftertaste of past conflicts in the minds of Koreans, so I decided to do what I could as a Japanese or language teacher. After returning to Japan in 2001, I established the Japan-Korea Student Seminar in 2004 and joint online classes between the two countries in 2007. I gathered students from both countries to discuss the relationship between the two countries. Since 2012, I have also held an annual International Student Forum, where I gathered students not only from the two countries, but also from China, the United States, Poland, Czech, Germany, and New Zealand to discuss conflicts and disasters that have occurred around the world.
I now have two questions that need to be resolved. First, how can I hold a seminar or forum that brings together students from Japan and China? I think there is a barrier that is difficult to overcome: we cannot openly discuss various political problems online and in person. This is a big problem: Students from Japan and Korea can openly discuss all kinds of issues, even if they were very sensitive. They can criticize their own government or their partner's government. However, between Japan and China, it would not be so easy. Students may not be able to express critical opinions. There is also another barrier. Both students get most of their information from their own country's media and school education, which is highly biased. Many Japanese students do not know deeply enough what Japan did to China before and during World War II, and how Chinese people feel about it, so they need to open their minds and listen to others to realize that what they know and what they take for granted is considerably biased.
Second, something we should do as postwar generations of Japanese. Japan has committed various crimes, including wars and colonization of neighboring countries, but these crimes occurred before we were born. Should we, as Japanese, answer for and be responsible for collective guilt? What should the present Japanese government do on behalf of the former Japanese governments both before and during World War II? These are very hard questions to answer. My students sometimes ask me whether they should answer for them and be responsible for them.
My preliminary answer is that the current Japanese government should answer for and apologize for past crimes on behalf of the former governments, and that current Japanese people are not required to answer for the collective guilt, but they have the responsibility to remember the past and teach the coming generation never to repeat such mistakes.
I will retire in 2025. I only have one year left to complete my efforts to reconcile the conflicts that exist between East Asian countries.
I would like to answer these questions and summarize what I have done during my life as a scholar-practitioner.


#120 Going abroad (2024)

I always recommend that my students go abroad for their four years of university.
I believe that such experiences provide them with invaluable experiences, especially for young people whose minds are still flexible enough to accept things that may be difficult for older people to accept. This was also my experience when I was a university student, although at that time I could not study abroad, only travel abroad. When I was 20, I traveled around the world for two months, from the U.S. to the Middle East, Europe, South Asia and East Asia. I learned a lot from this experience, which was much more priceless than anything I learned in the classroom. Of course, I was able to improve my English skills, intercultural understanding, and knowledge of the world during the trip. I had good opportunities to see the outside world. I went to the United Nations in New York and the White House in Washington D.C., both of which are the center of the international world. I visited Israel, where there have been serious conflicts with Palestine. I could also see the world from the Bible, and I also saw Arab people and their mosques right next to it. I went to India, where not only very rich people, but also very poor people, disabled people and healthy people cohabitated in the same city, although they were separated from each other. I also visited a refugee camp in Thailand, where a large number of "land people" had fled Cambodia at that time. I also visited a communist country, China, for the first time in my life. Although China has become one of the most developed countries in the world, it was still a developing country at that time.
In addition, I was able to see my own country from the outside, which gave me an international perspective instead of an exclusive sense of nationalism.
However, there are some disadvantages to studying abroad. First of all, it costs a lot of money, and if a student suffers from economic problems in her family, it would not be so easy for her to go abroad. When I recommend that my students go abroad, after the recommendation, some students often come to me and say that going abroad may be attractive, but it is difficult for them for financial reasons. Second, when you go abroad, there are various kinds of barriers to overcome, including those of language and culture. In addition, they have to live as a minority in a foreign country. They may experience loneliness, homesickness, and also discrimination.
However, these experiences will, I believe, make them intercultural individuals who are able to understand the values of diversity, equity and inclusion.
Therefore, in my opinion, it is not good for young people to only study in their home country and never go abroad. In this global, multilingual and multicultural world, going abroad is much more desirable and even indispensable at any cost.
Last year, I visited Poland and Germany to see the most negative heritage: the Holocaust. The Auschwitz extermination camps were the most impressive, and I felt that I should never forget and never repeat such a tragedy again. Berlin was also memorable because it was the center of Nazi Germany. Hitler lived there and issued various unbelievable orders to deport Jews and handicapped people.
So far, I have visited about 30 countries and regions. I also lived abroad twice. In the 1990s, I lived in South Korea for more than ten years. I realized that there was a sad history between Korea and my country. I felt very sorry about it and wanted to do my best to improve the relationship. In 2014, I took a sabbatical leave and lived in Australia for five months. I stayed in Sydney and met many Chinese students who went there to go to universities in Sydney. One of them became very close to me and once stayed in the same room with me for about two weeks. I talked with him, like father to son, about the future of each other and the country.
In the last month of my sabbatical, I took part in an adventure crossing of Australia, from Melbourne, the southernmost part of Australia, through Uluru, to Darwin, the northernmost point. It was one of the most priceless experiences of my life because the nature and life in such an environment were so different from those in Japan.


#121 Reflecting on My Life as a Teacher (2024)

Over three decades ago, in 1991, I received a visa to teach Japanese in South Korea, and started teaching Japanese at a foreign language school in Seoul. At that time, the relationship between Japan and Korea was worse than it is now, and the historical trauma caused by Japanese colonization was still lingering. For example, I saw an advertisement on a train that said, "Let's learn Japanese to overcome the Japanese." However, in my classroom, the relationship with my students was very intimate. I enjoyed the life of a teacher with them: teaching Japanese, listening to Japanese songs, and watching Japanese shows in my class. After my class was over, I would go out and have a good time with them, sometimes singing Korean songs in a karaoke room, and sometimes going hiking in the suburbs. Little by little, however, I realized that my ability to teach Japanese was not sufficient enough because my major at my university was not language education, but biology. I had been teaching Japanese only with the skills of a native Japanese speaker: I knew how to express something in Japanese, but I did not know how to teach Japanese well. That said, I decided to go to graduate school to learn Japanese language education: first I enrolled in a Master's program, and then in a Ph.D. program. In 1997, I became a faculty member at Hongik University in Seoul. In 1998, the Winter Olympic Games were held in Nagano, Japan, and I was watching the opening ceremony on TV, and saw a famous Japanese singer singing a song called "Homeland", with the lyrics, "Let's go back to my homeland when I reach my goal". I realized that the time had come for me to return home, as my parents were aging, and were now over 70, and I did not have much time left to devote to my parents. After several years of looking, I was finally hired as a professor at my current university in 2001. Since then, I have been teaching not only Japanese to international students, but also Japanese pedagogy to Japanese and international students whose major was teaching Japanese as a second language. I continued to interact with Korean universities, holding international student seminars and international online distance learning classes. I also gradually hoped to contribute to improving Japanese-Korean relations through language education. Therefore, I became interested in intercultural understanding and civic education, and began to address very sensitive issues that still exist between the two countries in my language classes. I was also a member of the International Education Center where our aim was to increase the number of partner universities abroad, such as Warsaw University in Poland, Dongduk Women's University, Busan University of Foreign Studies and Kyemyung University in Korea, UNSW and UTS in Australia, Chiang Mai University in Thailand, and Hanoi University in Vietnam. We have also tried our very best to accept as many foreign students as possible, and send our students to our partner universities abroad. So far, I have accepted more than 200 students in the capacity of their supervisor. Recently, I started my intercultural citizenship education project to overcome the past and improve relations between Korea, China and Japan. I also visited various negative heritage sites in Poland as a victim country, including Auschwitz and ghettos in Warsaw and Krakow, and I also visited Berlin, Germany as a perpetrator country.
This was because the improvement of relations between Poland and Germany provides us with a good model for East Asian countries to reconcile the past.
I now have three issues that I have been working on these days. First, what should Japanese people born after World War II do to resolve our country's past aggression against neighboring countries? Should we apologize on behalf of the previous generation? What should we take responsibility for? I have received a preliminary answer: we do not necessarily have to apologize to them, but we should look at the situation critically and take the responsibility of passing this knowledge on to our future generations so that such a tragedy will never happen again.
Second, I struggle with how to achieve dialogue between Chinese and Japanese students, which I gave up about five years ago. I was able to have a dialogue between Korean and Japanese students without hesitating to ask and answer questions. However, I could not have an open dialogue between Chinese and Japanese students. Five years ago, one of my Japanese students asked a question about China, but a Chinese professor interrupted the discussion and said that it would be difficult for his students to answer the question. Since then, I have not been able to find useful ways to overcome such barriers. That said, I would like to solve the problem and have a successful dialogue in the near future.


#122 13th International Student Forum (2024)

Last week, the 13th International Student Forum was held online with students from Vassar College. The theme of this forum was violence: not only external violence like wars(W) and invasions, but also internal violence like discrimination and gender or racial differences. Seven students from both Vassar and our university participated: seven mixed groups were formed, decided on their subtopics, and prepared their presentations for these three months. The students from Japan used English for their presentations, and the American students used Japanese.
On the first day, I gave a keynote speech on the theme of "Violence and Dialogue" and a special lecture by a professor from the US on the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Due to the pandemic, this forum has been held online since 2021. It was not good for the students' experience, but the online meeting makes it easier for all students to participate: especially those who have economic or health problems. Japan has a gender gap problem, and the U.S. has a racial gap. I hope that students from both countries will do their best to resolve these problems.
Also, it has been two years since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. At that time, we discussed peace education with Vassar students. I hope that peace will be restored as soon as possible, not only in the Ukraine, but also in Israel.


#123 Covid-19 (2024)

I got Covid for the first time in my life. Last Saturday, I felt sluggish. I thought it was because I did not sleep well the day before. I woke up at 4 a.m. and could not fall sleep again, because various thoughts kept waking me up. I had a usual day. I went to a hardware store, a public spa, and a large supermarket to buy things my wife and I needed. After dinner, I was in a bad mood and went to bed much earlier than usual. The next morning my condition worsened and I suspected that I had gotten Covid, even though I had no high fever or cough. I tested for the infection with a test kit I had bought in case of emergency, but the result was negative, so I understood that I had just caught a bad cold. It was the worst day since getting infected. I was sick in bed all day and didn't do much of anything.
The next morning, Monday, I felt much better, (N) though of course I could not go to work, but I had two online meetings that day. On Tuesday, I thought I had recovered, and decided to go to work. I checked again to see if I was infected, and unfortunately the result was positive. I sent an email that I couldn't come in to work for the time being.
COVID-19 has decreased a lot in Japan lately. There is much less news about the pandemic than before. However, Japanese people are still wearing face masks, not only because of the flu, but also because of hey fever. I was so sorry that I caught it at the tail end of the pandemic. There are important events like the entrance examination for Ph.D. programs and my trip to Australia, so I tell myself that this is a comfort in the sadness.


#124 Restarting (2024)

One week has passed since my COVID symptoms appeared. They have mostly disappeared, and only a little remains now. However, I restarted doing exercises with my wife in the early morning, which I've continued these days. Fortunately, she did not get COVID, even though we live in the same house. This was because we used separate rooms, beds and towels and dishes, with the exception of using the same toilet. I also ate every meal by myself; sometimes I cooked by myself and other times, she cooked something for me and brought it to my room. I did not go to work for the whole week; instead, I worked remotely, using Zoom for meetings and emails when I needed to send or receive information.
Last month, I rearranged my room. I have a room not only for sleeping, but also for working and studying. There used to be a big bed that took up so much space that I did not place a desk for working or studying. However, my retirement will come in about a year, and after that, there will be no place to study and work on campus. For this reason, I gave the old bed away and bought a new, smaller one. The new bed has a bookshelf on the right side where I can put all my stationery and books that I read before I go to sleep. Under the bed floor are four drawers where I can put all my clothes. The bed receives many parcels by and under it, so I do not need a closet for my clothes any more, so a larger space became available, and so I bought a desk. Now my room has become neat and comfortable, and I can do anything in this room, not only sleep in bed, but also study and work at the desk.
In general, when you open the door to my room and enter, there are four lines of bookshelves on the right side where many books and materials are stored. There is also a wide-screen TV on one of the shelves. On the left side, the opposite side, there is my office space with a desk and a chair on the nearer side, and a new bedroom next to the desk. You can see my bed right in front of you when you sit in the chair. On the left side of my bed, there are bookshelves ordinarily attached to the bed. Above the bed, you can see large windows, through which you can also see an apartment balcony and buildings in Shinjuku, Tokyo. Although this arrangement did not cost much, I am considerably satisfied with it because I have been uncomfortable until now, especially during three years of COVID-19, when most of my remote work and classes were done there without a comfortable workspace. I am looking forward to my new life that is now beginning.


#125 Hannah Arendt (2024)

I watched a movie, "Hannah Arendt" on Amazon Prime Video. As a Jew born in Germany, she experienced various instances of antisemitism and later, fled from Nazi Germany to France. While living in France, she was imprisoned once shortly, but she successfully fled again to the USA. After her immigration, she became a famous philosophy professor at an American university. The early 1960s was the background of the movie, when Adolf Eichmann, who was a famous Nazi SS official, was arrested in Argentina after more than ten years' life on the run. When he was tried in Israeli court, she volunteered to be sent to Israel to observe the trial as a Jewish philosopher, and wrote an article for a famous weekly magazine, the "New Yorker." However, her article caused great controversies, especially among Jews around the world, and she was severely attacked, causing her to suffer a lot. By observing Eichmann's trial and such a controversial aftermath, she, as a famous philosopher, deepened her thought about what absolute evil is, and how important humans' power of thinking is to maintain human consciousness. She discovered that even though he was so notorious, he was nothing but a normal person, and realized that the absolute evil that appeared through the Nazi era was made by never thinking about what is right and wrong by himself in the system of totalitarianism. She was criticized by Jews, mostly, because she wrote in the article that Eichmann was not an evil, but only a normal person, and because the responsibility of the Holocaust was partly attributed to Jewish leaders in the extermination camps: However, what she wrote was right and their criticisms of her perfectly reflected their misunderstanding of her thoughts.
Arendt was a disciple of Karl Jaspers in Germany, and both of them dealt with the Nazis' or Germany's crimes after Nazi Germany was defeated: Arendt was from Jews', and Jaspers from the German perspective, respectively, I recently read their books to consider the Japanese crime that were perpetrated on its neighboring countries during World War II, as well as how to reconcile the past as later generations. Through this movie, I could more deeply understand who she was and how she lived during her life.


#126 A Public Bath (2024)

I go to a public bath in the neighborhood almost weekly. Since this public bath is in the center of Korea town in Shin-Okubo, many people from other countries come to experience this form of Japanese culture. I do not know exactly, but I think that some of them live in Japan and work nearby, and others might be travelers from abroad. Most public baths in Japan do not allow those who have tattoos on their bodies to enter following public orders, but this neighborhood bath allows people with tattoos. Because of the location, half of the visitors are non-Japanese, and they enjoy Japanese culture out of their own interest. Most of them are used to it, and enjoy it as many Japanese do, but some people are experiencing it for the first time in their lives. They do not know how to behave in this situation. For example, there is an electric bath seat in the bathtub, but those who do not know what it is are surprised by it because they do not expect an electric wire to stimulate their body.
I also like to see how they behave in the bath. You can also see various tattoos on their bodies, some of which are painted all over their bodies.
Today I talked to a foreigner for the second time after a long time. He was sitting right next to me, but then he went out and got into a hotter bath, but suddenly he got out and came back into the normal-temperature bath. I asked him if it was too hot and he nodded. He was an American who came to Japan with his friends.
When taking a bath, staying in the bathtub for a long time is considered a Japanese style. When I lived in South Korea in the 1990s, I noticed that most people did not take baths at home, only showers. I think this difference comes from the difference in temperature inside the house. In Korea, it is warm inside because of their traditional, heated floors, but in Japan, as many people often say, it is quite cold inside because there are no heated floors or central heating. Therefore, it is much warmer outside, but much colder inside in Japan than any other country in the world. There are also public baths in Korea, and I went there sometimes. When I used one in the countryside, not in Seoul, I was surprised that a man sitting right next to me asked me to wash his back, even though he was a stranger. But after that, I realized that it was a kind of Korean culture that people sometimes ask other people to wash their backs, even though the person is a stranger to them. It is a characteristic of collectivism, on the flip of individualism. In the collectivist culture, people's relationships with each other are much closer and more intimate than in the individualist culture. Japan also traditionally belongs to the culture of collectivism, but through the influence of westernization after the Meiji era and especially after World War II, people's relationships in Japan have become considerably more individualized.


#127 Visiting UTS & UNSW (2024)

March 8th
I'm back in Sydney again! The reasons for this business trip are twofold: to supervise an underground-student short-term seminar at UTS and a postgraduate students' Japanese teaching training at UNSW. The postgraduate students already arrived in Sydney a month ago to start their training, and I came here today with 10 undergraduate students. Our flight left Haneda, Tokyo at 10pm last night, and arrived here at 9:30am. We headed to a hotel located in the center of Sydney.
They left their baggage there and moved to UTS. We met UTS students and faculty members in front of the main building, and had lunch at a food court in the UTS's library. The first event, where our students gave their presentations about Japanese culture in English to UTS students, started at 1:00 p.m. There were four topics: local foods in Japan; Japanese traditional food, including lunch boxes, seasonal, New Year's food, and traditional Japanese sweets; a Japanese anime "precure" and gender issues. Our students were previously divided into four groups, and they had prepared for their presentations. After all of their presentations, students had a Q&A session for a while. Their presentations were almost successfully finished; however, answering UTS students' questions in English was considerably more difficult for them. After the class, we had an orientation in the same classroom: we reviewed our timetable during this seminar and the UTS campus map, especially the facilities they were going to use. Then, three UTS students, who have been to our university for seven months as international exchange students, took our students on a campus tour, including UTS's beautiful hi-tech library and buildings we are using during this seminar. We came back to their hotel and all of the first day's schedule was finished. I then went to a supermarket to buy the things I need during this stay and took a tram to my accommodation near the UNSW campus. It was such a tough day that I was exhausted and sleepy. I took a light dinner in my room and went to bed a little earlier than usual.

March 9th
I woke up a little later to get some rest. In the morning, I went to meet five postgraduate students who live together in a shared house in the center of Sydney.
At 10 a.m., one of the students came to see me at the train station closest to their home, and took me to their house. All the students gathered in the living room and told me how they had been spending their time since they arrived about a month ago. Generally speaking, they spent their time productively learning how to teach Japanese from a socio-cultural approach, which the Japanese course at UNSW has adopted as a theoretical framework. They have also lived and studied together as "a Community of Practice", not only at school but also at home. The five students are different from each other in terms of nationality and age. Therefore, I think that living together harmoniously in a house might be much more difficult than teaching Japanese at school. Besides, even though they have studied intercultural understanding as part of their major, living and cooperating with members from different backgrounds might not be as easy as they think. We also talked about a variety of topics, including their schooling in Japan up to now and their schooling after completing this training and returning to Japan. I think it was quite an important time to talk openly about what they felt in their hearts that they could not hear from them in Japan.
Our meeting lasted almost four hours. Since they had to prepare for the next week's classes, I left and went back to my dormitory. It was near Circular Quay, where the Opera House, a famous landmark of Sydney, and the Harbor Bridge are located; therefore, I saw them on my way home. After having lunch in my room because I had an appointment with a Japanese professor from UNSW, I went out again. This time, instead of taking the tram, which is called "light rail" in Sydney, I decided to walk the whole 8km: I walked through Centennial Park, which is my favorite place in Sydney; Paddington Street, where foreign people can enjoy the classic cityscape; Hyde Park, which is in the center of Sydney; Queen Victoria Building, one of the most beautiful classic shopping malls in Australia, and finally arrived at the appointed Korean restaurant in Chinatown. She had already arrived there with her husband and we enjoyed Korean food there. "Melon bread" is her favorite but it cannot be bought in Australia, so I bought two in Japan and gave them to her. Because of the three-day trip, the breads had "gotten tired" and lost their original shape. But I hope and believe that despite their cheap price and broken shape, they are priceless gifts to her because she cannot eat them in Sydney no matter how much she wants to.

March 10th
Today is Sunday and I had nothing in my schedule. So I just walked around a few places in the morning. It is still hot in Sydney, but there was a refreshing breeze. I relaxed and enjoyed walking, sometimes sitting on a bench next to the Duck Pond, where various ducks and birds swim in troops. In the branches of the trees were also a variety of birds resting. I also went to a church called St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church. I visited it 10 years ago when I was on sabbatical. I saw the movie, "Brother Sun, Sister Moon" when I was young and I sympathized with his sentiments. He loved peace and tried to make peace. His most famous poem, "Prayer for Peace," says, "Make me a channel of peace." I also hope for harmonies instead of conflicts and want to do my best through education. When I entered the church, mass seemed to be finished, so I just entered to feel the peaceful spirit.
I also went to the Rocks where they have a flea market every weekend. I went there to buy a big photo of Sydney, but unfortunately, I could not find it there. I took the light rail back home and had lunch. In the afternoon I went to a UNSW library on campus; it was a law school library, and I took a seat and read a book about language education for a while.

March 11th
In the morning, I attended the undergraduate program at UTS. I met our students in their hotel lobby and walked to UTS. At 9 a.m., they attended a class focused on gender issues in Australia. Our university is a women's university that has the longest history in Japan, and we pride ourselves on being at the forefront of gender issues in Japan. However, Japan has the worst gender gap rate among developed countries, so the lecture offered by an Australian professor was very stimulating for the Japanese students. They learned a lot from her lecture, and asked her many questions afterwards. At 11 a.m., a welcome meeting was held in the same room, and some faculty members, including the Dean of the School of International Studies and Education, gathered there to welcome our visit.
In the afternoon, as soon as the events at UTS ended, I went to UNSW via light rail, and met my five postgraduate students who are participating in a Japanese language teaching training. Language classes at UNSW consist of a lecture, a tutorial and a seminar, and every Monday, a lecture is held to introduce new grammar and usages to be mastered during the week. I arrived at UNSW a few minutes before the class ended. After the class, I talked with my students in the teacher's room, and then, visited a UNSW professor's office to say hello.

March 12th
There was a tutorial class today, where our five students had a teacher's training. I sat in the back of the classroom and watched them teach. The class lasted almost two hours with a short break in the middle. The five students divided the class and took partial responsibility for it. Though the class was for beginners, they mostly used Japanese without relying on the use of English. Although the students had little experience in teaching Japanese, and their teaching skills were still developing, they spoke loudly and clearly without hesitation, and did fairly good jobs. After class, we had time to reflect on their practice in a faculty cafeteria on the eleventh floor of the main library building, where each of them reflected on her own teaching, and then, the other students commented on her. I commented on them too, but not that much.

March 13th
There were two more classes where they took responsibility for teaching. They had improved their teaching skills and, as a result, taught Japanese much better than the previous day.
In the evening, my four graduate students and I went to the Opera House, the most famous landmark in Sydney, to see a famous opera, "the Magic Flute". I have been there many times, but unfortunately, I could not get in. In 2012, I bought a ticket for a concert by the Vienna Boys Choir, but my wife got sick and had to return to Japan early, so I lost my chance to go. The performers spoke in English, and there were subtitles when the songs were sung, so I could understand the outline. To be honest, I am not much interested in opera or anything like that, so I did not look forward to it, but the play was much more interesting than I expected. I was moved to tears in the last scene. One of my Chinese students bought our tickets together, which were supposed to be for "La Traviata," but we found out at the entrance that the opera was not "la Traviata" but "the Magic Flute," so we were disappointed for a while, but we were able to do without it. However, after watching it, it was rather better because in the former, Italian was used, but in the latter, English was used so we could understand the story much better.

March 14th
There was an Intercultural Communication class at 9 a.m. at UTS. The class was about multiculturalism, mainly in Australia, but since our Japanese students were attending, it also included discussions of multiculturalism in Japan. Both Australian and Japanese students were divided into five mixed groups, and they discussed various topics related to multiculturalism. I also participated in the class, and sometimes gave my opinion in English.
In the afternoon, I left UTS and came back to UNSW to meet with UNSW Japanese professors and my postgraduate students. There was an online study class at four, and two of my students presented their research plans there. The participating members, some of whom were Japanese professors or lecturers and the other of whom were postgraduate students, gave their comments, which provided a useful opportunity to reconsider their research plans.
After the study, a farewell party was held at a Vietnamese restaurant near the UNSW campus. All the training was completed today, and the party was held to express their and my gratitude to the professors at UNSW. First of all, each student was given a certificate for completing the teaching training, and then they enjoyed dinner, and shared their thoughts and feelings during the training. At the end, each student expressed their feelings and gratitude to the professors. Many of them could not stop tears from falling from their eyes while talking their minds. The professors and I were also impressed by their words and felt happy to give them this training. This training started in 2012, and this was the eleventh training. We had to stop during the pandemic, but it resumed again last year. I think that the training held this year was one of the most successful trainings ever.

March 15th
My undergraduate students went on a Canberra bus tour and my postgraduate students had no training today, so I was free from both missions today.
In the morning, I stayed in my room because my fan is not working, and the staff of this dormitory promised me I could change rooms, and at 10 a.m., I moved from room G2 to G1. But when I turned on the stove to prepare lunch, the stove suddenly short-circuited. I asked the staff to fix it again, and I cooked my lunch, Korean instant noodles, in the microwave without using the stove.
In the morning, I emailed two former friends: they were very close Chinese friends when I stayed here as a sabbatical in 2014. I studied academic English with them. One of them once stayed in my room for two weeks because he had no place to stay while moving from one room to another. I found him to be a good, trustworthy boy and accepted his request. He always wore the Pikachu costume as his loungewear, so I always called him Pikachu. I spent two weeks with him like father and son, discussing his life and future with him as his real father. It was a very important time to understand his country and the Chinese people. The other was a student who studied in the same classroom. I had many Chinese friends at that time, but all of them except her went back to China, and they could not use Facebook anymore. She was the only student who did not go back and continued to stay in Australia.
To my delight, both of them responded to my messages. He emailed me after eight years of absence. I was so happy to connect with him again. In his email, he went back to his hometown to start his business. And she still lives in Queensland.
In the afternoon, I went out to do some exercise: I walked to Coogee Beach. I have been there many times, but since I have not been to any beaches around Sydney this time, I decided to go there.

March 16th
It was the last day for the graduate students in Sydney. I went to my office at UTS(B), and stayed there most of the day. Since it was close to the central station, the students came to drop off their luggage until they had to leave for Sydney International Airport. The students enjoyed their last day with the, and in the evening, they came to pick up their luggage and took a taxi to the airport. Their flight departed at 10 p.m., and they had successfully completed not only the Japanese language program, but also five weeks of living together in shared housing . The Japanese language program at UNSW was conducted under the Community of Practice framework, which emphasizes the importance of working together trying to achieve the same goal; therefore, they were successful both at school and at home.

March 17th
Following the five postgraduate students who participated in the Japanese Language Teaching Training at UNSW, 10 undergraduate students who participated in the short-term seminar at UTS left Sydney today. I stayed in Sydney only a few more days. Since both events were quite successfully concluded, especially the UTS seminar that was held for the first time this year, after sending all the students to Japan, I felt a certain sense of fulfillment for them; however, I also felt some loneliness: it may be because everyone went back to Japan satisfied, and no one is here except me.
It was an exceptionally rainy day in Sydney. I went to my office that was provided by UTS. I spent time reading a book that I brought from Japan. It is about German history education after the Second World War. My specialty is not history education, but language education; however, I practice language education as a kind of intercultural citizenship education in East Asia, so I want to take some cues from history education in Germany. How would it be possible for countries with intractable conflicts, such as Japan and Korea, to overcome their conflicted past? Germany's efforts provide me with useful answers to my questions.
After lunch, when the rain stopped, I left my office and went for a walk, first to the University of Sydney, and then to Sally Hills. I took the light rail to my dormitory.
My students' flight was delayed by more than two hours, and its arrival was also delayed. Although they were supposed to arrive at Haneda around 8 p.m., they had actually arrived at 10:15 p.m. Sydney time is two hours ahead of Tokyo time, so I could not fall sleep until midnight. I was worried that some of my students might have missed the last train and not be able to get home. No one sent me a message that they got home safely, and while I was waiting for their massages, I unconsciously fell asleep. It was only the next morning that I was able to confirm that all the students had returned home safely. I was relieved to know that.

March 18th
I had an early morning appointment to go for a walk with an Australian friend. I met him at 7:30 at Randwick Station, which is a 30-minute walk from my room. We then walked to Centennial Park. I heard that he used to walk in the park before the pandemic, but lately he walks along the seaside. We walked for about an hour and a half, and then we said goodbye, and each of us went home. I took a nap for a while because I did not sleep well last night. In the afternoon I went to the UNSW campus to read a book as part of my research. At first, I read my book in the law school library, but the weather was so good and comfortable that I went outside and read it on a bench next to a wide lawn. I felt somehow happy without worrying about anything in such good circumstances. I wanted to stay here forever without going back to Japan. I also felt happy, because the two events I was in charge of were quite successful. Sometimes I receive an e-mail that brings me back to reality, and my peaceful mind suddenly disappears for a moment. I can stay here for another two days. I want to feel relaxed and comfortable and resume my routine work after I get back to Japan.

March 19th
I spent a day on the UNSW campus, except for an hour walking around Randwick and shopping at Coles. I read a book related to my research and did my paperwork in the same place as yesterday because I liked it very much: it makes me feel very peaceful and happy. I said "paperwork" just now, but I did everything without using paper: everything was done on my Mac. I watched TV programs every morning and the news said that Finland appeared to be the happiest country in the world. On TV, a Finn said that it was because they have a lot of space and spend their time freely. Of course, this is the result of Finland's welfare policy, but it was also because of the people's lifestyle, which is so different from the Japanese one: the harder you work, the happier you live. This time, when I was only living in Australia for a while, I also felt that such a lifestyle could give me a happier life. Up to now I have lived so hard and been so busy, and that has given me a happy life. But now I sometimes want to live a different life going forward, especially after I retire.
Yesterday, one of my doctoral students sent me a part of her dissertation, from her introduction and previous research sessions. I read it in the morning at the above-mentioned place, and in the afternoon I came back to my room and attended a study meeting of my doctoral students. In the evening, I spent time completing work that had been emailed to me.

March 20th
Today was my last day in Sydney. I woke up at 6:30, showered, cooked and ate breakfast, and packed my suitcase. I checked out at 10am and went to UTS to do my last bit of work here in Sydney. It was to attend the Think Global Fair, a kind of Going Abroad Fair, to introduce our EDI program to UTS students. After that, I attended a review meeting with two Japanese faculty members. As I mentioned previously, it was the first time this short-term seminar was being held, and many UTS faculty members cooperated with us and helped us to hold this event. They also said that it was successful and we talked about the next seminar to be held at this time next year.
In between events, I went to downtown Sydney and bought souvenirs at Coles and Haymarket. The former is the largest supermarket group in Australia, and the latter is where a variety of souvenir shops are located. I bought several souvenirs for my friends, my wife and myself.
At 6:30 p.m., I left UTS and took the airport train to the Airport.
I really want to stay longer, but it is impossible because the graduation ceremony will be held on March 22nd. My flight left Sydney at 10 p.m. and arrived in Haneda at 6 a.m. the next morning.


#128 (2024)


# [Going to the previous essays]