Foreigner Bibliobattle “Why did you choose that book?”

img 1044Although events at the lounge continued to be cancelled throughout 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, a combined online/on-site event was held on February 27th, 2021 (Sat).

It was a bibliobattle using Japanese books for foreign residents living in Japan.

Foreign residents from 5 different countries including Russia, China, Iran, Indonesia, Senegal introduced their favorite Japanese books and explained their reasons for choosing them.

The 5 books chosen included “Totto-chan: The Little Girl at the Window” by Tetsuko Kuroyanagi, “How Do You Live?” by Yoshino Genzaburo, Fuji TV’s “Tokyo Magnitude 8.0”, “Kitchen” by Banana Yoshimoto, and “Message to you ‘For you who will live this future world’”by Oussouby Sacko.


 International Student Discussion
“Why did you choose Japan?”

topics202002se jpnDate: 2 February 2020 (Sun), 1:30-3:30PM (doors open at 1:00)
Panelists: 5 exchange students who are currently living in Japan
Location: Aoba Community and Cross-Cultural Center, Room 5
Hosted by: Yokohama Aoba International Lounge
In cooperation with Yokohama International Student House

Five exchange students who are currently pursuing their studies in Japan participated as panelists in a discussion about their own countries, their impressions of Japan, their experiences living in Japan as foreigners and as students, differences in culture and customs, and many other topics. The students, who come from Australia, Italy, Turkey, Ireland, and America, studied Japanese in their respective countries before coming to Japan, so they were quite skilled at speaking the language.


 Languages of the World , Session No. 4 - 1 Day Course 『Polish』

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 ・14 December 2019 (Sat), 14:00-16:00

 ・Aoba Community and Cross-Cultural Center, Meeting Room

Instructor: Ms. Bozena Machida

The 4th session of the Languages of the World series focused on Polish, the official language of Poland, a country which is now part of the EU and has seen remarkable growth after overcoming countless hardships throughout its history. The session was led by Ms. Bozena Machida, who has been living in Japan for a long time and is proficient in Japanese. She also appeared in one of our “Afternoon Tea” events back in 2013.

Ms. Bozena began by explaining where Poland is located and identifying the neighbouring countries, along with an explanation of the Polish alphabet, pronunciation, basic grammar, some easy greetings, and then encouraged participants to join in singing some well-known Polish folk songs.


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.

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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.



“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.

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.


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?”,


“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.




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.




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.



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.



Date; July 25, 2015
Place: Aoba Community and Cross-Cultural Center Rm. 5
We had “Senegal Night” in hot summer evening..
There are many students and business men from Senegal working for Japanese companies in Aoba Ward.
One of them, a young man working for IT company eagerly desired to have an event to show us the beauty of Senegal and supported the event together with his friends from Senegal.

International Exchange event

Date: July 5 (Sun) from 10:30am to noon
Place: Aoba Community and Cross Cultural Center Room 2 and 3

“International Exchange event, Tanabata (Star Festival) and Bon Dance” was held. This year we planned the event for foreign friends to wear Yukata (Japanese summer kimono) and to enjoy Japanese culture, star festival and Bon festival dance with local residents. We were very pleased to see many foreign friends taking their own pictures in Yukata, which was their first experience. 44 people including local residents and staffs enjoyed dancing to “Tankobushi” and “Kiyoshi’s zundokobushi” songs. Foreign friends could learn how to dance easily and enjoyed dancing together calling for encore several times. Many local residents were also in Yukata and the room was filled with Japanese atmosphere. We all enjoyed conversation over Japanese cake “mizuyokan” (soft adzuki-bean jelly) and drinks. We felt as if the time ran so fast to the end of the event. Thank you very much for your participation.