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First Panel Discussion

〜What do foreigners think about Japan?〜

Date: 15 June 2019 (Saturday), 2PM to 4PM

Location: Aoba Community and Cross-Cultural Center, Meeting Rooms 2 & 3

Hosted by Yokohama Aoba International Lounge

We invited 7 foreign residents from 7 different countries to participate as panelists in a new kind of event. They took part in a discussion and voiced their opinions about Japan, including what they think about Japan, how it compares to their own countries, and more.
The panelists, who are fluent in Japanese, were joined by 33 other participants. The discussion focused on education, discipline, food, living environment, and other topics for a total of 7 themes which the panelists spoke about freely.
An example of one of the discussions: “Japan has a strong sense of Omotenashi (hospitality), but in the West African country of Senegal, ‘hospitality’is the norm. In fact, the name ‘Senegal’ means ‘hospitality’”. Many of the participants were surprised to hear this.
The panelists were able to ask each other questions, and also took questions from the participants about differences in customs and culture between Japan and their countries. This opened up a great discussion about a variety of topics.
The cultural exchange between panelists and participants continued into the break over tea, as well as after the event had officially ended, as participants had many lingering questions from the previous discussion. It was a great opportunity to experience cultural exchange.

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6th International Exchange Event for Children

“Let’s Design a Kaleidoscope”

Date: 29 June 2019 (Saturday), 2:00PM to 3:30PM

Location: Aoba Community and Cross-Cultural Center, Room 5

Hosted by Yokohama Aoba International Lounge

Instructor(s): Kumiko Nishikawa and Noriko Morooka (from St. Cecilia Women’s Junior College)

The 6th Cultural Exchange Event for Children, “Let’s Design a Kaleidoscope”, was held on Saturday, June 29th.

It was raining that day, but we had the pleasure of hosting 20 children, ranging from 3 years old to 5th grade elementary school students. We were also joined by a 5th grade student from China. The aim of the event was to let the children design their own kaleidoscope. The event was led by Kumiko Nishikawa and Noriko Morooka from from St. Cecilia Women’s Junior College.

The process started by drawing on a paper cylinder, and once complete, it was set on the kaleidoscope.

The children were free to create what they wanted, so each design was unique. Once reflected in the kaleidoscope, the designs look quite different, so the person viewing can constantly make new discoveries in their designs.

The children added the finishing touches to their one-of-a-kind kaleidoscopes by using stickers and decorative paper. Although there was a scheduled tea time, it was cut short because everyone was so interested in completing their creations.

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Yokohama Aoba International Lounge foreign language class hosted an event.

“The first recitation contest”
How about memorizing a speech by a famous person and presenting it to audience?

Date: March 13 (Sun), 2019 from 1:30pm to 3pm
Place: Aoba Community and Cross-Cultural Center Room 5
Host: Yokohama Aoba International Lounge

5 students from English class and Chinese class challenged at the first recitation contest to memorize a passage of a famous person’s speech and present in front of audience.
5 challengers chose passages of the 2013 Olympic invitation speeches by Ms Sato Maumi, Paralympian, and Ms. Christel Takigawa, a freelance announcer.

They all participated with gestures at their best and finished all sentences well, even though they should have been nervous. There was warm applause from the audience to their courage and challenge spirit.

After the tea time, two teachers of lounge English class gave their comments, which were very good advices for students studying English as the followings..
“Your challenge sprit was great. Very good speech.”
“English is one of communication skills. Please enhance your communication skill through many challenges.”

After the comments, 5 participants were awarded with certificates of commendation, prizes of participation and the most impressive speech award.
At the end, there was a surprise that there were “TOKYO” letters on the envelop a teacher took out of the pocket!!
Yes, this was as if the moment that 2020 Olympic game was decided to be held in Tokyo thanks to the wonderful Olympic invitation speeches by the five participants!!! 

The event of 31 people (including staffs) finished with flicker of excitement and big hand.

 

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International exchange event

What is “Iai Battoudoh”?   What is Bushidoh?

〜Let’s  study Japanese culture through “Iai”

( a Japanese martial art of quickly drawing the sword and responding to a sudden attack)~.

Date: March 9 (Sat), 2019 from 2pm to 4pm

Place: Aoba Community and Cross-Cultural Center  Room 5

Host: Yokohama Aoba International Lounge

On March 9, we had International exchange event inviting four swordsmen and a presenter from Yokohama branch of all Japan Toyama Ryu Iaido Renmei. 27 Japanese (including staffs) and seven foreigners attended the event.

Followings are impressions of Japanese participants.

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A grandmaster and three swordsmen were in a black costume and participated in dignified attitude.

First, each person showed us “Iai” forms. Holding a real sword on his waist, the action of drawing a sword looked exactly like that of Samurai. We felt the atmosphere changed at the performance.

Then a swordswoman, who is going to be a university student from April, showed us the performance to cut a roll of wet tatami straw. She started learning Iai sword drawing from February and could cut the roll of wet tatami straw in a standing positon, which, they say, showed that she had a good aptitude.

A young Japanese lady and a foreigner of the audience challenged to cut a roll of tatami straw. One needs to be very careful not to harm oneself when using a real sword.  After they were instructed how to use a real sword and what they need to be careful of, they could successfully cut a roll of tatami straw handling the sword beautifully, which brought us additional excitement.

After holding the sword up and bowing, they put the sword back to the scabbard at waist. It was the way Samurai behaved respecting order and civility. The figure of swordsman looked very nice even for the eyes of us, present Japanese.  Foreign people should have watched them with interest.

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Social event of Chinese class

We, Chinese class, had a social event on December 21 (Thu)

We invited 6 Chinese students who live in Aoba Ward.  We listened to Chinese geography, history, and culture.  We introduced ourselves in Chinese we have studied so far. We enjoyed exchange event in a cheerful and peaceful atmosphere

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8th lecture on overseas affairs, “Far East Russia”

Date: October 21 (Sun), 2018

Place: Aoba Community and Cross-Cultural Center Room 5

Far east Russia is located in short distance from Japan, but not well known to most of Japanese due to lack of information.

Though recent news say that Russian government is making big effort to social and economic development of this area and this area is developing rapidly, the detail is not clear yet.  Most of Japanese have few chances to take an interest and to recognize it as a neighbor country.

In this lecture, we invited Mr. Tosiji Maeda who worked many years in Russia as an expat worker of a trading company and is now promoting the exchange of economy and culture between Japan and Russia.

In this lecture, he told us the history of Russia, relation with Japan, the feeling of Russian people about Japan, and the situation of the far east Russia.  

This was a good chance to know far east Russia.

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Introductory event of Japanese culture for foreigners
“Classical Japanese Dance and Tea Ceremony”

Date: Dec.2 (Sun) from 2pm to 4pm
Place: Aoba Community and Cross-Cultural Center
Host: Yokohama Aoba International Lounge

We had Introductory Event of “Japanese culture for foreigners” to give a chance to foreign residents to contact Japanese culture.
We had 24 foreign residents to experience Japanese culture such as studying how to use a Japanese fan, dancing together in a ring, studying the manner of tea ceremony and enjoying Matcha, green powdered tea, prepared by oneself with a Japanese cake.

At the end of the event there was a chance to put on the Kimono for Japanese classical dance exhibited by the teacher and to take a picture. At Q & A time, there were many detailed questions about tea ceremony performance and tea-sets.
We enjoyed the event in a friendly and calm atmosphere.

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“Tasty summer” Enjoy making Wagashi, Japanese style cake, with parents and children.

Date: August 25 (Sat), 2018 from 1pm to 2:30pm
Place: Aoba Community and Cross-Cultural Center, Room 2 and 3.
Participants: 5 foreign families (Poland, Italy, China, and India)
13 Japanese families
Total 38 people and 13 staffs

We enjoyed making “Rakugan”, a hard, dainty sweet made of soybean and rice flour mixed with sugar, instructed by Ms. Atsuko Nanjo, the head of “Han nari Wagashi Lab”
One high school senior student voluntarily helped us as one of staffs.
We made four kinds of Rakugan dough, coffee-milk taste, Culpis taste, Maccha taste, and peach taste. Then we put them into wood molds of many shapes. .
Since making Rakugan needs lots of finger power, we first anticipated that this might be a little difficult for children. But they all, both adults and children, worked very hard and enjoyed making one’s own cakes.
We planned to have time to taste cakes at the tea service corner, but most of them took the cakes back home wrapping beautifully as a present.
This event seemed to be a last good memory in this summer.

 

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One day introductory class of world languages 

The second lecture, “Spanish”

Date: March 24 (Sat) from 2pm to 4pm

Place: Aoba Community and Cross-Cultural Center Room 5

Host: Yokohama Aoba International Lounge

Participants: 44

Lecturer: Ms. Carmen Yoshioka (from Spain)

This was “One day introductory class of world languages” to introduce world languages that are the entrance to international exchange and understanding of different cultures.

We chose “Spanish” for 2nd lecture.

We invited Ms. Carmen Yoshioka from Spain as a lecturer.  She gave us a fabulous lesson of Spanish starting from the origin of Spanish, alphabet, greetings, and conversation mixing quizzes. Many attendants left comments that they could learn a lot and they enjoyed fun time. We are planning to host lectures to introduce many foreign languages and touch the cultures and histories of the countries where people speak the languages.

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2018 New Year Event

Annual “New Year Event” was held.

Date: January 7 (Sun) from 10:30am to noon

Place: Aoba Community and Cross-Cultural Center

Host: Yokohama Aoba International Lounge

We had annual “New Year Event 2018” on January 7 (Sun) as the first event of Yokohama Aoba International Lounge. Though it was on the middle day of three consecutive holidays, 80 people including foreigners, local residents and staffs gathered and had a lively party. New year decorations including brush writing of the kanji character of the year were displayed in the room, which enhanced the mood of new year celebration. As a mini event, Yokohama Accordion Club members played “Soushunfu, Ode to early spring”, and “Miagetegoran yoruno hoshiwo, Look up to see the night stars” and we all sang together to it. Then we enjoyed a quiz to answer names of Japanese folk songs.

We also experienced Iranian dance instructed by Sia, a teacher of a foreign language class of the lounge. First Sia instructed the dance in plain English, then, we all danced together to Iranian music. After the event, we had joyful conversation over snacks, sushi, and drinks. Many participants told us that it was really fun. Thank you very much for your participation.  

 

 

Social event of Chinese class

The Chinese class, which is held every Friday from7pm to 8:30pm, had social event on December 15.

4 students from China were invited and class members introduced themselves in Chinese which they have been studying and enjoyed the event in a friendly mood.

 

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One day class of world languages for beginners 

The first lecture “Arabic”

Date: November 11 (Sat) from 2pm to 4pm

Place: Aoba Community and Cross-Cultural Center Room 5

Host: Yokohama Aoba International Lounge

This lecture series started for the purpose of providing opportunities to learn a little bit of foreign languages which can be the entrance to international exchange and understanding of foreign cultures. We will have this lecture regularly every year.  For the first lecture, we chose Arabic

The lecturer, Ms. Enezan Baraa is from Damascus, Sylia.  She came to Japan as an exchange student in 2015 and is a research student of Tokyo Metropolitan University Japanese language education department. She started from the origin and history of Arabic and presented Arabic letters, how to pronounce, and structure of a word using materials she prepared.   At the last half of the lecture, participants challenged to write their name in Arabic referring to the Arabic letter chart.  At the end, Ms. Baraa checked the writings comparing with the name card of the writer.

In the session to listen to the sound of Arabic language, Ms. Baraa read a poem of Syrian poet and we listened to Arabic sound, pronunciation, and intonation. , 

We had wide range of attendees were from 7 years old to 90 years old and we could experience Arabic in a joyful way.

Attendees were very delighted to have Arabic name cards of them written by Ms. Baraa. 

We got a comment that this was a very joyful lecture. 

We will continue to have this kind of lectures, not only to learn a language but to touch the world cultures and histories of the people who speak the language.

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7th Lecture on foreign affairs

“About Saudi Arabia”

Date: October 29, 2017 (Sun) from 2pm to 4pm

Place: Aoba Community Cross-Cultural Center  Room 5

Host: Yokohama Aoba International Lounge

Mr. Haruo Wada was sent to many developing countries such as Saudi Arabia, Brazil, and Singapore as a JICA specialist to support human development policy.  Based on his experience to communicate with people of those countries, he is working for promotion of understanding different cultures, multicultural living, and internationalization.

In this lecture, he focused on Saudi Arabia, which has two holy places and is called as the leader of Arab world.  Saudi Arabia is not familiar to most of Japanese and is one of difficult countries to enter.  Mr. Wada told us about the history, kingship, people’s life, and the situation of the capital Riyadh in the native dress of Saudi Arabia.  He also told us his new findings, surprises, and touching experiences in a plain way.

As for future events, click here

Note: For detail of each event and how to apply, please refer to the detailed pages.

000”International Exchange through making rice dumplings and a moon viewing party”
Date: September 30 (Sat), 2017 from 6pm to 8pm
Place: Aoba Community and Cross-Cultural Center Room 2 & 3
Host: Yokohama Aoba International Lounge
We had an international exchange event, “Making rice dumplings and a moon viewing party” in the evening of September 30 (Sat). More than 50 participants including Japanese, foreigners and staffs together with their children enjoyed the event. First we listened to the lecture about “Moon viewing of the harvest moon” and then we made rice dumplings all together. While we were waiting for dumplings to be steamed, participants from China and Senegal told us moon viewing in their countries. Then we enjoyed rice dumpling of three kinds of taste, sweet bean paste, sweetened soybean flour and sweet soy glaze. We also enjoyed drum and dance performance of Senegal which we were not familiar with. We were very excited. After that, we enjoyed conversation in many groups over drinks and cookies. It seemed the warm atmosphere wouldn’t end. We felt that two hours passed very quickly. All participants enjoyed making rice dumplings with their children, and for foreign people, this was a good experience to enjoy Japanese culture. We appreciate your participation.

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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.
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We, staffs, were very touched to hear that most of the children answered “Mother” to our question “Whom do you present the flower?”,

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“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.

 

 

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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.

 

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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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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.