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”63th Afternoon Tea   “Affluent life in Caspian sea area, Russia”

Date: July 15 (Sat), 2017 from 2pm to 4pm

Place: Aoba Community and Cross-Cultural Center

Host: Yokohama Aoba International Lounge
Guest speaker; Mrs. Yulia  Stonogina ( Mrs. Yulia Ichino)

Mrs. Yulia Stonogina was born in Astrakhan City where Volga flows into Caspian sea.  She studied at Department of Journalism, Moscow University and finished the post graduate course. She worked as a journalist and a researcher in the field of cross cultural exchange between Japan and Russia.  She came to Japan in 2011 and has been staying in Japan.  We invited Mrs. Yulia Ichino from Astrakhan, Russia on July 15 (Sat) and had her lecture, “Affluent culture of Caspian sea area”. 
Astrakhan where Volga flows in to Caspian sea is a multiethnic city of 173 ethnic groups such as Russian, Tartar, and Kazakh and of 14 religious groups.  People live together peacefully.
Since it is located in the Southern part of Russia and the climate is milder, many people from Moscow and Saint Petersburg visit here for fishing and camping.  Caviar is famous and Catfish called Camas is popular.  Water melon is also famous.  It is two hours flight from Moscow to Astrakhan.
At teatime, Russian chocolates and Russian traditional cookie, сушка was served to us by Mrs. Yulia.  We all enjoyed them.There were samovar (water boiler), matrioshka (Russian nesting doll), Balalaika (Russian stringed musical instrument), and ethnic costumes in the room, which gave us Russian atmosphere.At the end, Mrs. Yulia and her husband who always support her sang for us a Russian folk song, “Степь да степь кругом, Unending wild field”, which all of us gave a big cheer. The voice was very beautiful and touched our heart. 

36 participants including class members, their families, and volunteers enjoyed the social event of Saturday Japanese class on June 24, 2017.

We had fun time looking around the exhibitions of models and old materials related to Edo and Tokyo.  

Brief comments by students
Ms. Ha phuong Thuỷ from Vietnam 
I was interested in the diorama of a town in old days. It was a good chance for me to know the old days’ life.
Ms. Wan Laimui Mona (温 麗梅)from Hongkong
I went to Edo-Tokyo Museum together with classmates of Saturday Japanese class.
I could see the daily life of Edo era and of 1960s.  
I could have better understanding of Japan.
 I want to find another chance to visit there again.
 Ms.Yu  Ronghua (于荣華) from China
I could learn culture, history, business and architecture of Edo era.  I also experienced common people’s life of those days. I found a doll of Guān Yǔ (関羽)a feudal warlord in Shu-Han dynasty of China) on the Kanda Shrine’s float of Edo era. It was a fun to see the influence of Chinese culture.  There was an acrobatic show from 12:30. We could try Japanese traditional entertainment using an umbrella.  It was an unforgettable experience.  
Presented by Edo-Tokyo Museum.

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15th “Lecture in plain English”

Lecture in plain English”Lecture for improving your English conversation skill by Prof.Takahashi
“Study method useful for improving English conversation skill”

Date: July 2 (Sun) from 2pm to 4pm

 Place: Aoba Community and Cross-Cultural Center Room 5

Host: Yokohama Aoba International Lounge

This was the fifth lecture by prof.Takahashi of Toyo Eiwa University.We learned so much from the lecture; “Anyone can instantly improve English conversation skill with junior high school level English”   We all nodded in many English expressions of daily conversation. It was a very interesting and fruitful two hour lecture   It was so interesting that we all felt as if it was a very shot lecture. Prof.Takahashi taught us not to take it too seriously to study English conversation but to study English conversation with fun, We could understand the approach very well through the lecture, which made us understood the reason why this lecture had full of applicants.  44 people including 2 students and two families attended the lecture. The lecture of Prof. Takahashi, specialized in English education, is very useful especially for young people and young students studying English now.

We will continue to plan various lectures for young people in our project.

Click here for our coming events

Note: For details and applications for the events, please see each page of events.


Event to make Star Festival decoration with your children
Date: June 24 (Sat) from 1:30pm to 3pm
Place: Aoba Community and Cross-Cultural Center, Rm5
Host: Yokohama Aoba International Lounge
Lecturer: Ms. Miho Sasamoto and Ms. Junko Maeda, NPO Flower Club Nanayume
We had the event to make Star Festival decoration with children in preparation for July 7, Tanabata.
39 people including 5 groups of foreign families and 8 groups of Japanese families participated.
Following the easy instruction by the lecturers, all of us including children worked very hard to make flower arrangements for Tanabata decoration.
We were very happy to put paper decorations and complete the flower arrangement that showed the story of Orihime (Vega) and Hikoboshi (Altair) on the milky way background.
After that, we enjoyed exchange game between foreign families and Japanese families. All of us including small children eagerly listened to the picture story of Tanabata. Candies were presented to children as a participation award.
We, staffs, were very touched to hear that most of the children answered “Mother” to our question “Whom do you present the flower?”,

This is the report by Mr. Heap (TIT student from Vietnam, a person on the right of the photo)  Mar. 5, 2017.

We visited Yokohama Disaster Risk Reduction Learning Center on Mach 5 (Sun) as a social event. We experienced artificial earthquake, fire extinguishing drill, and training of escaping from smoke.

Of course we have fire extinguishers in Vietnam, but I have never used it. It was a very interesting experience. I could meet not only Japanese, but Chinese, Koreans, and Indonesians. We took many photographs. I enjoyed the event very much.

I want to visit this facility again with my friends. Thank you very much. 





“Arpa Duo spring concert”

Date March 11 (Sat), 2017 from 2pm to 4pm

Place: Aoba Community and Cross-Cultural Center room 5

Title: Arpa Duo Spring Concert

     ~ Beautiful South American music of Arpa, a folk instrument of Paraguay~

Performers: Mr. Enrique Carrera and Ms. Arisa Matsuki

We had Aoba International Lounge Concert for the first time in a while. We invited two Arpa players, Mr. Enrique Carrera and Ms. Arisa Matsuki. Arpa is a folk instrument of Paraguay. The concert program started with “Coffee rumba” and wide range of music from classical to Japanese songs such as “Cannon” and “Sakurasakura” followed, which all audience, regardless of age and gender, could enjoy. At intermission, we enjoyed “MATE”, tea called “salad to drink”, with Chipitas, typical Paraguayan cookie. The second part of the concert started with Q and A session. The custom of Paraguay which we are not familiar with was introduced. We were all comforted and moved by the Arpa sound of famous songs that everyone knew such as “El Condor Pasa”, “Sakura”, “Hanamizuki”, “Tren Lechero”, etc. After the performance, we were allowed to touch Arpa, which gave us a wonderful experience to pluck Arpa.



 At the tea party on January 28 (Sat), the students of the class made “an Origami talking lip”..
They all looked joyful and we realized so many people liked Origami. 
After the Japanese class of Feb.18(Sat), we, together with 14 students, enjoyed making “Hina Doll “Origami, since it was “Doll’s festival” season
It seemed to be a little difficult for the first-timers, but they had good hands and were very enthusiastic.  They all looked very happy when they could complete Origami dolls beautifully.  



Each of supplementary class children made presentation about what they studied, what they worked hard, what they are good at, and the works they made in front of audience.  Presentations were readings of picture stories they made, composition, picture diary, Haiku, and tongue twisters. 
After the presentation, we enjoyed “Tell me about you” game, in which fathers, mothers, and volunteers drew cards and answered to the question written on the card. Questions were about favorite foods, sports, and countries where one lived. This gave us a good chance to get to know each other. 
The works of all children will be exhibited on the bulletin board of the center in April.
Please come to look at them.



62th Afternoon Tea
”My homeland Bhutan”
Date: February 25, 2017 (Sat) from 2pm to 4pm
Place: Aoba Community and Cross-Cultural Center Room 5
Host: Yokohama Aoba International Lounge
Guest speaker: Mr. Tshering  Gyeltshen
Mr. Tshering  Gyeltshen was born in Bhutan and now is working as a freelance tour guide after working for a travel company.  He came to Japan in 2013.  He is skilled at mountain climbing.  His favorite Japanese foods are Sukiyaki and Ramen.  He, in Bhutan’s ethnic cloth “Gho”, introduced us Bhutan which is a new country not known well to us.  Bhutan has rich nature and it is protected by the constitution in which 75% of the land should be maintained as forest. It is also a wild birds’ kingdom. The area of whole country is nearly the same as Kyushu Island of Japan. It has undulating landscape with about 150m altitude southern part and high mountains of more than 7500 m in the northern part. It has 20 prefectures. The only transportation means had been on foot until 1960.  Their main foods are rice, pepper and vegetables. They don’t eat meat since killing is prohibited.  (They don’t kill even mosquitos, but drive off.)  Education and medical service are free.  His speech was very impressive.  They also pay great respect to Dasho Nishioka, a Japanese who helped Bhutan as an agricultural adviser. People of Bhutan are very faithful to Tibetan Buddhism and seem to have spiritually affluent lifestyles.  There were several participants who had visited Bhutan before. In Q & A time, they told us their good impression about Bhutan.  The Afternoon Tea was filled with warm atmosphere.




2017 New Year Party
We had annual “New Year Party”
Date: Jan. 8 (Sun) from 10:30am to noon
Place: Aoba Community and Cross-Cultural Center
Host: Yokohama Aoba International Lounge

Annual New Year Party to celebrate the year 2017 was held on January 8 (Sun). 70 people including staffs got together at the party even though it was the middle day of three consecutive holidays. 8 foreigners joined the event. Exhibition of fine calligraphies, traditional flower arrangements, and New Year decorations enhanced the atmosphere of New Year celebration. As a mini event, we enjoyed Mexican music by Ms. Sawaka and Mr. Alejandro. We enjoyed singing and dancing to the music. After the event, we had social time over Sushi, snacks and drinks. Pleasant chat lasted to the end of the party. We were also very happy to have received words such as “It was fun” , “Thank you, it was very good”. Thank you very much for your participation.


International Children's Art Exhibition sponsored by Aoba International Lounge started in October 1996, and celebrated its 20th anniversary  in 2015.
We have asked elementary and junior high schools  to participate, and have invited people of the world to join through press letters and websites.
Individuals can also take part in.
Works had been exhibited at Azamino Art Forum, Aoba Ward Hall, and Aoba Community and Cross-Cultural Center.

You can see the works from 2011 to 2015 on this site.

Supporting organizations:
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Yokohama Association for International Communications and Exchanges  (YOKE)

Theme Click a image to see the works of the year.
Smile 2011top
Vehicle 2012top
Holidays 2013top

My Favorite Food
Free 2015top
Tokodai Indonesian students played Angklung ( bamboo instrument), an World Intangible Cultural Heritage of Indonesia, on the stage of Aoba Community and Cross-Cultural Center Festival on November 23, 2016. 
Half of the students learned Angklung after their coming to Japan. Indonesian heritage is passed down to younger generation even in Japan.
They performed 3 musics.
1.Manuku Dadali (Indonesian national bird, Garuda)
2.Hana wa saku (Flowers keep blooming, a charity song for 311 earthquake victims)
3.Viba la Vida (English rock band, Coldplay's music) 

Please double click the left Youtube mark, then you can watch their Angklung performance. (15minutes)
Indonesian studens from Tokodai Suzukakdai campus are learning Japanese at Aoba international lounge's Japanese class.

54 students with their family and 16 volunteers took a tour of port Yokohama. 2016.10.26

We got on Marine shuttle, enjoyed sea breeze, going under the Bay bridge, and viewing Mt. Fuji covered with the first snow this year. After the cruise, we had lunch at the rose garden and went to China town.  We enjoyed a crystalline autumn day with fun.

Ms. Janice Ann’s impression (Malasia, second from the left)

On 26 Oct (Wed), we had a half day cruise trip at the Yokohama Minato Port. The weather was fine with cool breeze air a perfect day for an outing trip. 70 participants including the volunteer staff boarded the cruise ship. It was an interesting day as we get to cruise around the Yokohama bay. We had fun especially the participants children. They were running and cheering around the ship. The adults were entertaining talking with friends and the staff. Some of us were busy taking photos of the scenery. We had the opportunity to see the famous Yokohama Rainbow Bridge, red light house, wind mill, sugar factory, a recycle factory and etc In the end of the activities we had a group photo in front of the cruise ship at Yokohama Port.



The 6th Lecture on Overseas affairs
“Life in Anatolia, Turkey”

Date: October 1, 2016 from 2 to 4 pm
Place: Aoba Community and Cross-Cultural Center, room No5
Host: Yokohama Aoba International Lounge

Mr. Inoue, the lecturer, worked in travel and event business for nearly 40 years. After retirement, he worked as a senior volunteer of JICA staying in Kirsehir, Turkey with his wife for 2 years from April 2014 to January 2016.  There he engaged in promotion and support of sightseeing industry at Culture and Tourism Bureau.    
Mr. and Mrs. Inoue told us about the dietary life, the manners / customs, education and culture together with many pictures which they learned during the stay.

They also told us brief overview of Turkey and the relation with Japan.  
The presentation was well accepted by all attendees since it was easy to understand and very interesting.
Daily commodities and accessories made in Kirsehir were exhibited in the room.
We enjoyed Turkish tea and sugary lokum at tea break. All 41 participants had a good time.



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Lecture in plain English No.14  “Syria at present”

Date: November 6 (Sun) from 2 to 4 pm
Place: Aoba Community and Cross-Cultural Center room No. 5
Host: Yokohama Aoba International Lounge

We had Mr. Hussam and Mr. Imaad as lecturers of “Lecture in plain English”.
The title was “Syria at present”.
Part 1: History and culture of Syria
The presentation was about the history and culture of Syria in Middle East which has long history and many world heritages, however it is not well known in Japan.
Part 2: Civil war and refugee problem in Syria
They talked about Syrian civil war and more than 5 million refugees. Also the hard reality was shown using the video broadcasted at NHK and slides.
Part 3: What can we do now?
Mr. Hussam presented us his activity to support Syrian refugees, which gave us a chance to think about what is necessary for those refugees and how we Japanese can support.
Their presentation using many images helped us to understand the Syrian civil war and refugee problem which newspapers and TV report almost every day.
The presentation about the present status of Syria and refugee problem by Syrian lecturers surprised us and gave us a chance to think what we can do for this problem.




The 61th Afternoon Tea
“Ecuador, a country of surprise and attraction”

Date: October 29 (Sat), 2016 from 2pm to 4pm
Place; Aoba Community and Cross-Cultural Center Room No5
Host: Yokohama Aoba International Lounge
Guest speaker: Mr. Akio Kobayashi, Mrs. Anna Kobayashi

Mrs. Anna Kobayashi was born in Cuenca, the third biggest city in Ecuador and got married to Mr. Akio Kobayashi who stayed there as an overseas representative of Japanese company.  When Mr. Kobayashi retired from the company, they bought a house in Cuenca and have been actively working as a translator and a language teacher, moving back and forth between Japan and Ecuador.

We had Mr. and Mrs. Kobayashi as guest speakers on October 29.   They told us about Ecuador, especially their daily experience there, where they spent half of their time after retirement.  They also showed us a rare video of ruins and markets.
Panama hats, folk crafts, and fabrics were exhibited in the room.   At tea time, we enjoyed Ecuador chocolate and Guava cakes.  Mr. Akio performed Zamponia (Bamboo instrument) and Quena, which gave us South American sound.



Event for children
“Children, let’s enjoy Halloween party in English.”
Date: October 22 (Sat) 2016 from 2pm to 3:30pm
Place: Aoba Community and Cross-Cultural Center Room 5.

We had Halloween party for children from 2 to 7 years old in the afternoon of October 2(Sat).
20 children got together in various Halloween costumes.  Students of Clark International high school helped us to decorate walls with Halloween goods and made Halloween original can badges for us.   
Ms. Angie, a teacher of our English class, talked about Halloween characters in English. Children actively responded to it copying the speech. They enjoyed songs, dancing, Bingo game and enthusiastically listened to the picture book reading.  They visited 5 places to enjoy “Trick or Treat” and got lots of candies. At the end, they got presents from Ms Angie.  Their smiling faces looked very charming.


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Discussion in Plain English No.38
Date: June 5 (Sun) from 2pm to 4pm
Place; Aoba Community and Cross Cultural Center Rm5
Host: Yokohama Aoba International Lounge
Subject: “Good Technique to study English”
Guest speakers
  Ms.Angie Nagam
                                              Mr.Mike Graff
We had two teachers of English conversation class of our lounge.   They told us technique of improving English conversation skill which they derived from their long experience of teaching English conversation to Japanese.  After the presentation, we had discussion about it.
Ms. Angie suggested us to broaden the conversation by picking up a theme related to one’s hobby so that one can enjoy talking.  
Mr. Mike suggested us to look at the mouth of a native speaker carefully while speaking and imitate it since English pronunciation is difficult for Japanese.  It is important to repeat it and remember.
Though the techniques that two speakers told us seemed to be simple, they were sobering points for those who are learning English conversation.


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Lecture in plain English #12

Date: July 3 (Sun) from 2pm to 4pm
Place: Aoba Community and Cross Cultural Center Rm5
Title: Let’s learn comprehensible English pronunciation practicing “Narikiri English”
Lecturer: Mr. Motoharu Takahashi, Professor of Toyo Eiwa University

In the first half of the lecture, he figured out why our English words in Katakana pronunciation doesn’t work in practical English conversation. He pointed out key points for both pronunciation and hearing.
In the latter half, we enjoyed practical English conversation getting into the role of flight attendants’ announcement in the plane.  In this lecture, same as always, we reaffirmed that studying English conversation with enjoyment is a very effective and practical way.



Let’s enjoy international exchange.  
“Enjoy making Japanese style cake and tea ceremony”

Date July 18 (Mon) from 10:30am to noon
Place: Aoba Community and Cross Cultural Center Rm 2 and 3
Host: Yokohama Aoba International Lounge

On July 18 (Mon), National holiday (Marine Day) we had an event, “Let’s enjoy international exchange.  Enjoy making Japanese style cake and tea ceremony”
48 participants including 28 foreigners enjoyed making Japanese style cake and tea ceremony.   In making Japanese style cake, we challenged to make a morning glory shaped Japanese style cake as if making a clay model.   After that, we made “Rakugan”, a hard, dainty sweet made of soybean and rice flour mixed with sugar.   After mixing three different taste powders, all we needed to do was to put the mix into a wooden mold and then flip the wooden mold to put out Rakugan.   It was so easy and fun that some people tried it many times forgetting the time passing.
Next we enjoyed tea ceremony with the cakes we made.   Once a lady in a traditional Kimono started making tea using formal tea set, it inspired solemnity.  Following the guest of honor, each participant tried to make a ball of tea.   It looked as if they are scrambling unsteadily rather than preparing.   However, we could enjoy unusual but joyous tea ceremony.  All attendants got a little bit familiar with Japanese culture.



60 of us visited Enoshima Shrine to prey and went up Sea Candle (Enoshima Lighthouse Observation Tower) to enjoy a panoramic view of the sea.

Unfortunately we couldn’t see Mt. Fuji because of cloud but we enjoyed a day of fun.      2016.6.25

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Impression of Ms. Ekaterina (Russia)

Thank you for excursion to Enoshima island. It is a very beautiful place near the sea.

We visited "Enoshima Sea Candle", "Enoshima Jinja shrine" and "Samuel Cocking Garden".

And number one place for my son was "Enoshima Aquarium" with Dorfin Show.

It was great impression for us about nice time which we spent together with Tana center people.

Thank you so much.              Martynova Ekaterina




The 60th afternoon tea
“Spain which everyone wants to know.”
Date: July 16 (Sat) from 2pm to 4pm
Place: Aoba Community and Cross-Cultural Center, room 5
Host: Yokohama Aoba International Lounge

Guest speaker: Ms. BEGOÑA  GONZALEZ  AFUERA.
She is from Madrid Spain. She studied archaeology at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, and then engaged in archaeological work in Galicia, north of Spain, for 6 years. She came to Japan in 2012 being interested in the language which is not in Europe.  Now she teaches Spanish at Yokohama Spain Association and at Japanese universities.
This time, she told us about “Spain which everyone wants to know”, such as the history of Spain, life and culture in Madrid using many slides.
The room was packed to the capacity with 50 attendees (including 2 foreigners), 14 staffs, and support students from USA, since Spain is the country which many Japanese are interested in.  As an archaeologist, she told us cultural transition made by migration of different ethnic people in detail.  We could understand the history of establishment of Spain well.  We also learned that some of our lifestyle habits today are originated in Spain, which we did not know.  We were very much impressed and satisfied to know them.  
After we enjoyed a break with tea and Spanish cakes, we had Q/A session.  She answered to every question politely.  With deeper understanding, our interest in Spain was enhanced.  We, host staffs were very happy to know that all attendees spent pleasant and valuable times.

日Date: February 27 (Sat) from 2pm to 4pm.
Place: No.5 meeting room of Aoba Community and Cross-Cultural Center.
Host: Yokohama Aoba International Lounge

AT590Guest speaker
Ms. Pawina Rapitak (Yuh-chan is her nickname)
She is from Bangkok, Thailand.  She studied economics at a university and came to Japan in 2007.  After studying Japanese at a Japanese language school, she studied at a college of social welfare for two years and got a nursing care worker license.  She is now working at a welfare facility in Aoba Ward.  She also got N1 degree of Japanese language proficiency test
She made a presentation titled “My struggles in nursery care work by Yuh-chan from Thailand”.  She told us her struggle and joy in the daily work, her future dream, and also about Thailand showing slides.
There is a big gap between the rich and the poor in Thailand.  She experienced volunteer works with her family since her childhood.  This experience made her take a job of nursing care.  The difficulty of nursing care is in communication, due to the difficulty of Japanese such as humble form, honorific expression, and dialect. However she was very happy when she was told “Thank you”
The formal name of Thai is Kingdom of Thailand.  Thai means freedom. It used to be called Sham. The total area of the country is about 1.4 times as large as that of Japan and the population is about the half of Japan. The capital is Bangkok.  The climate is tropical monsoon consisting of rainy season (May to October), dry season (from October to February), and hot season (from February to May).  In the hot season, the temperature in the daytime goes up to 35 to 40 C, so people need to be careful about heat stroke.  
King paean is played twice a day and people stop moving to pledge their allegiance and appreciation to the king.  LOI KRATHONG FESTIVAL ( similar to Japanese Toro nagashi; sending off the spirits of the dead on lanterns floated on the waters of ariver or the sea on the last day of the Bon Festival) is held at many places in the country once a year.  Native costume of Thailand was shown.  She brought traditional Thailand cake, Khanon, which we all enjoyed delectably.

Tokyo Institute of Technology students from Indonesia played Angklung, an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Indonesia, on the stage of Aoba Community and Cross-Cultural Center Festival on November 29, 2015.   
They also participated in ethnic costume show of the festival.
Half of the students learned Angklung after their coming to Japan. Indonesian heritage is passed down to younger generation even in Japan.
They played “Crayon Shinchan” (3minute), a theme song of a popular cartoon, and “Hanawasaku” (flowers keep blooming), a charity song for 311 earthquake victims (5minutes).
Please click Youtube mark mark below, then you can listen to Angklung. 
Indonesian students in Bali costume,
Ms. Chang feng from Vietnam of Thursday Japanese class in ao dai,
and Mr. Tse Ring from Bhutan of Saturday Japanese class in Bhutanese costume participated in the show.