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Lounge for the Members

(2016.04.01) Japanese Language Class “Ribbon”― Fellowship in language

The Ribbon started in Oct. 2000 as “Japanese Language Class for foreigners” established by Sofuke Community Center and passed 16 years already.
Through participating with Inzai City International Friendship Association (IIFA) and acting as NPO, we have now classes with 4 places in the city and have 50 learners from 16 countries including Taiwan and 22 teaching staffs. We set up classes for working people on Saturday night and day.
Learners consists of house wives, students and business person, and their objective is not only listening, speaking and writing Japanese but also making friends and enjoying life in Inzai City. They strongly require relationship with Japanese citizens and join the party and the bus tour held by IIFA.
Words are important tool for communication. If you have any foreigners who want to study Japanese, please let them know the Ribbon.
(Japanese Language Class “Ribon” Haruta)

(2016.02.25) February 29th in leap year

Let me introduce an interesting article I found on the magazine published by Thai Airways.

Leap of faith
2016 is a leap year in case you didn’t know. So boys, be prepared for the appropriate response if you’re lucky enough to get a marriage proposal from your better half.

A leap year occurs once every four years, and involves an extra day being added to the month of February. Girls also get a special deal, as according to either an old Irish legend or possibly history, St. Bright had stuck a deal with St. Patrick that allowed women to propose to men on 29th February –a leap year. This custom was supposedly introduced to balance the traditional roles of men and women.
                                           (by BKK)

(2016.01.28) Happening in Xian, China

This is the story when we, three Japanese, visited the temple called Hohsohji located near Xian on holiday during our business trip to Xian.
First, I saw the board there on which four Chinese characters(知know、足satisfied、常usually、楽enjoying) were written. I understood it as follows; be satisfied with ourselves and don’t be greedy too much, which makes your life happy.
I happened to know there is the stone-bowl for hand washing, carved four characters(吾I・唯only・足satisfied・知know) , at the garden in Ryouanji temple in Kyoto and visited there to see it in a few years. The meaning seemed to be same as the board at Hohsoji. It may be the effect from China.
During our walk in the precincts, the old woman selling souvenirs rushed into me and asked to buy a carved bird at ¥1,000. When I refused, she offered two bird at the same price. Every time I said no, she added the number of the bird at the same price. We repeated the same thing again and again and she finally begged me to buy all birds she owned in her bag at ¥1,000. Nonetheless, I flatly refused and left there for climbing up the pagoda.
When we came back from the pagoda, the woman rushed into me again. And she repeated the same negotiation. Finally I had no choice other than taking ten carved birds and made them good souvenirs for my fellows in the company.
However, why was she persistent to me? Other two Japanese told me that I looked like a person who she could easily handle, but I still don’t understand it.   (by Hope)

(2015.09.01) Old memories of my stay in the USA -driver’s license#2

I had my purse stolen at the sports gym when it passed about one year since I had been transferred to the subsidiary company in Los Angeles. My driver’s license was in it and it was necessary to be reissued it. The man in charge at the office kindly said to me “Your driver’s license should be renewed within three months. Even though you would be reissued now, you have to renew soon and pay another charge for renewal.” That made me decide to renew the license. The condition was that I had to take an exam which if we missed more than five answers out of twenty questions we would be failed.
I was not confident for the exam because I had taken it after remembering the predicted questions and their answers without understanding and gotten a license. It was to the target. I missed five. But it surprised me that he asked me to try again, of course, with the other question paper. Next time I somehow passed it. At that time I was impressed by his attitude who let us get the license and heartily felt something different from Japanese system.

(2015.07.06) Recipe for curry cooking by Mr. Tuna

#1 Curry Rice
♦Ingredient (6 servings)100kcal/serving(excluding rice)
Rice and water  adequate quantity for servings
Curry roux ……1/2 box of curry roux
Beef/Pork……150g/150g
Onion…… 2 medium size onions
Potato………2 medium size potatoes
Carrot…… 1 medium size carrot
Zucchini(or Egg plant)…1 medium size zucchini or egg plant
Butter(or Salad oil)………1 tbsp. butter(or salad oil)
Water………800ml water
♦Preparation
①Cook rice for servings
② Cut as below
Onion: arch-shaped
Potato/Carrot/Zucchini: chunks
Beef/Pork: a bite-sized chunks
③ Put butter in a pot then stir-fry the above ingredients①(except Zucchini)
④ Take out potatoes from a pot.
⑤ Pour water into a pot and simmer. Bring to a boil, remove the scum and cook at low/medium heat for about 10 minutes.
⑥ Turn off the heat. Break up the roux and put into the pot and mix well until it is dissolved. Bring potatoes back to the pot.
⑦ Again, simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the curry become thick.
⑧ Add Zucchini 4-5 minutes before turning off the heat.

#2 Chinese pickled vegetables(Sichuan style Pao Tsuai)
♦Ingredient (4 servings)  17kcal/serving
Young corn(packed in pouch)      … 8 pieces
Carrot ………………………………… 50g
Eringi mushroom …………………  50g
Cucumber ……1 medium size cucumber
Vinegar ……… 1/2 tbsp. vinegar
(A)
Water …………………… 3/4 Cup water  Japanese Sake ………… 1/4 Cup sake
Salt ……………………… 1/2 tbsp. salt   Sugar …………………… 1/2 tbsp. sugar
Chinese Pepper Fowa Jao …… 1/2 tsp. Fowa Jao
♦Preparation
① Cut Eringi to a half length then split lengthwise into quarters. Cut carrot into 4cm length pieces then after make stick with about 1cmx1cmx4cm size. Cut cucumber also into 4cm length pieces then split lengthwise into quarters.
② Put (A) and Eringi to a pot. Cook at medium heat. Once it boils, cook at low heat for 1 minute.
③ Take a ball and put in it young corns, carrots, cucumber and above ② quickly while it's still hot.
④ Add Vinegar to ③ and cool.

#3 Pear in Ume syrup
♦Ingredient 4 servings(61kcal/serving)
Canned Pear in light syrup………1 can(400g)
Ume Shu(plum liqueur) ‥‥‥‥ 2 tbsp.
Kuko No Mi(Lycium fruit)……… 1 tsp.
(A)
Water ……………… 0.5 Cup water
Sugar ……………… 1.5 tbsp.
♦Preparation
① Open a can and drain liquid(syrup). Take out pears and cut it in a comb shape with 1.5cm width size. Wash Kuko No Mi quickly.
② Boil (A). After sugar dissolving add cut pear. Once it come to a boil again, turn off the heat then add Ume Shu and Kuko No Mi.
③ Chill it.
(Canned white peach can be used as a substitute for pear.)

(2015.05.26) Enchanted by young Chinese people !!

After I reached the age of mandatory retirement in September 2001 ,I decided to go China for teaching Japanese. First 5 years in Nanjing ( at Nanjing University and Nanjing Normal University ) I got job as a Japanese –language teacher. After that from September 2006, for 8 years at Ocean University of China at Tsingtao in Shandong. And then last Summer I came back to Japan. Some my friends ask me, “ Why are you so feel happy living in China? ” But my answer is quite simple. A number of young Chinese people who have curiosity to Japan and having highly motivation to learn Japanese are almost enthusiastic and have a lots of guts. So I’m very happy to going out with them. Before I retire the company I spend 3 years for working in Beijing. At that time I contacted lots of young Chinese people who work with fervor and trustful . Now we have been contacting with each other since we got aquainted.
Today there are lots of governmental difficult affairs between Japan and China. However , if we could effort to build up the mutual understanding the friendly relationship between two countries will make sure to be reconstructed good relation. Because the roots of Japanese culture go back to the old China . First we should get rid of mistaken prejudices and make effort to talk in all sincerity, lots of problem will be vanished soon. I would like to effort contributing myself for the friendship between Japan and China.
(Japanese language teacher Masayasu Hayakawa)

(2015.05.08) Old memories of my stay in the USA -driver’s license#1

I started the on-the-job training in Chicago, USA in April 1983. After arranging the apartment and car the only thing left was to get a driver’s license. It was necessary for me to get the local license though I brought the international one with me, since it seemed to be disadvantageous when having the traffic accident. The officer I asked the procedure requested me to get social security number. Soon after that, I went to the public office but I was denied to get it since my B1 visa was not eligible. And two or three offices nearby told me the same thing.
Though I had no choice but to drive with the international driver’s license for the time being, one day I got the information of the office issuing it. I doubtfully applied for it and they issued it with the word “NOT VALID FOR EMPLOYMENT”. My understanding about the USA had been that each state was independent but that even the each office differently acted for the same thing within the same county impressed and confirmed me it was the USA.
I had got accustomed to drive in Chicago and thought continuing with international license until the end of my stay. But I changed my mind to take a local driver’s license and get it back to Japan. The rumor some of Japanese residents failed to get the license at the first challenge let me think it was better to try on the day with relatively bad condition. And I finally got it on the almost year- end snowing day. It already passed nine months since I had entered into the USA.  (by MESAMELA)

(2015.04.13) A letter from Uganda by Madam Yamamoto #2

Dear, members of Inzai City International Friendship Association.
Yamamoto in Uganda again. I heard the place we live is the camp built by Italians together with the dam in the Nile. The structure with a swimming pool and tennis courts is excellent. However, it is a pity that the facilities have been seldom used and maintained since Japanese-related enterprise had taken over it. The condition of infrastructures like water, electricity and inter-net is not good due to the limited budget. After my endurance for ten days, I tried to use tethering of my husband’s Uganda smartphone Airtel. It was easier to connect to my phone than I expected. However, if he brings it to his office, my phone will not be connected again. It is no way other than getting my special Xperia.
It probably has passed 10 days since my first report after arrival, and I have got accustomed to life cycle. The weather, in spite of directly on the equator, is comfortable with low humidity and 25 degrees C at the 1200 meter’s highland.
The character of Uganda people is good and they get good reputation from Japanese. Many people are likely to be honest. There are some young engineers graduated from the excellent university like Tokyo Univ. in Japan. Yesterday, I happened to talk with the engineer, Annsony, at the restaurant and felt him courteous and apparently sharp. That kind of people are in the camp.
Bellow shows a picture of Matoke I cooked under the instruction of Ms. Margarett, housekeeper and my friend. It is made of matoke-bananas peeled, boiled and mashed and looks like mash-potatoes. People in this area eat them as staple food like rice for Japanese.
Finally I had my NET connected and sighed three times. It’s time to say good-by.  Michiko Yamamoto

(2015.04.07) Joined International Friendship Cafe (IFC)

Good evening!
On March 26th, I joined IFC and talked with the people from Belgium and Peru. That gave me meaningful time and convinced me that this is just international friendship.
I could confirm the thought of the people studying English conversation was the same as what I think, which encouraged me.
I hope this kind of cafe last long and would like to express my thanks to the efforts of the people who are concerned. Thank you.
                                                                            (KAZUO)

(2015.03.16) A letter from Uganda by madam Yamamoto

Dear, the members of Inzai City International Friendship Association
How have you been? I am Yamamoto taken care by you when I came to Uganda. Since about two weeks before my departure, sudden news on Mr. Goto had run throughout Japan and I was wondering if I could safely come. I was under some uneasiness at my departure, though, I finally came here.
I took the overnight flight on Feb. 13th, made a transit at Doha and finally arrived at エンテベ airport at around noon. My husband who picked me up and I headed for ジンジャ passing through the capital. Due to the unprepared circumstances for NET, it is sorry to be late for writing you. I am fine now in Uganda.
Today is the fourth day after my arrival. I felt tired yesterday than the arrival day or the following day. It’s because of age just like muscle-ache happened in three days. Now I am fine today. Nothing happened through the trip and many people around the world vividly walked in the airport. I heartily felt the value of peace.
On the evening of the arrival day, Saturday, we enjoyed Uganda dishes at the restaurant nearby and went to the sailing house at Lake Victoria over sight of the bridge site with the Japanese couple of my husband’s colleague. There, local residents were enjoying cool air and we leisurely saw the lake and spent our time until sunset.
In general, Uganda is a magical place-friendly people, good weather and beautiful scenery. Big birds I haven’t seen are picking around the company house.
I would like to make a report when I find something interesting. See you then.       Michiko Yamamoto

(2015.02.20) CONE or CORN

This is the stupid mistaken story I made in the USA. On my way back to the office from Berlitz English school, I dropped by Burger King. I was not hungry and would like to take a snack. I saw the letter “CONE” on the menu and misunderstood it with “CORN” which was popcorn or something like that and ordered it with a shake: though the combination might seem to be strange.
The salesgirl made a strange face, which I didn’t care the reason at that time. But what she gave surprised me. They were a shake and soft cream. Then I understood the meaning of her strange face. She surely thought it was strange that a man over thirty years old ordered two kinds of sweet. Later I confirmed with the dictionary “CONE” included the meaning of soft cream. Period. (by DesPlaines)

(2015.01.12) Sociable of Japanese class

On Wednesday the 17th of December, we finished the Japanese class a bit earlier than usual and had a party with the teachers, students and children of the Wednesday Japanese Class, 31 people in total.
We had a buffet lunch together and everybody introduced themselves. We also enjoyed a magic show by teacher Ono.
 

(2014.12.17) Chinese tiny story

In China, we sometimes see a child whose lovely hip is repeatedly appeared or disappeared every time they make a step. Are they in tore pants? No, it’s a design opening the crotch. What is it for? It is for them to open the crotch by squatting and pee when they want.
The parents other than rich family in the urban area get the children over one year old wear such pants instead of expensive paper diaper.
A child fidgets when an adult at his side gets him squat. Small puddle appears right away. I was frightened and stopped walking at the first time I saw it. Furthermore, Chinese people look calm frightened me again.
For small children it is the toilet when they want and where they are. For example, a road, inside the car of the subway, a garbage can, washing-hand spot at the toilet and so on. You have to be careful when you find puddle at the unexpected place in China. It may be・・・? (by Rongzi)

(2014.11.25) Old memories of my stay in the USA-at the immigration#3

In November 1983, after the female official denied my reentrance into the USA from Montreal airport in spite of my hard trial, I left the airport and informed my situation to the subsidiary in the USA. They asked me to move to Toronto to consult the trouble with another subsidiary there. On the following day, a scene at Montreal airport I saw from a window of the airplane just before departure was thinly covered with snow, which made me feel bleak.
In Toronto, two people including a lawyer, were waiting for me. After my explanation, they told me that it would take two or three days to think of the measure and I had to wait for it at a hotel. On the next day, the lawyer contacted me and I was given the letter which the lawyer wrote over arranging with the subsidiary in the USA. I tried to reenter into the USA with the letter stating that my mission from the parent company in Japan was to do a on-the-job-training in the USA and my salary was borne by not the subsidiary but the parent company.
When I showed the letter and explained the situation to an immigration official, he suddenly stared and asked me “ Did you graduate from a university”. I stared back to him and said “Yes.” After such words exchanged, he gave me the stay permit for a half year. I have never understood why he did such question.
When I come back to O’Hare airport, I didn’t have enough money to pay for parking and that forced me to borrow money from the Japanese engineer staying the hotel near the airport. One day business trip turned into three days one. How terrible it was. (by MESAMELA)

(2014.10.21) Old memories of my stay in the USA -at the immigration#2

In November,1983, when it passed 6 months from the beginning of on-the-job training at the subsidiary in the USA, I went to Montreal in Canada with the engineer from Japan.
Although I had come back to Chicago from Toronto in Canada twice by airplane and bus, I had not had any trouble regarding reentrance into the USA so far.
But this time, to my request for the stay permit until the end of March in 1984, a female official suspected me and said “It is unreasonable for you to stay in the USA for total one year with B1 visa. Have you worked in the USA?” In spite of my hard explanation, she required me to open my bag and find the letter to the customer in Toronto written my title of the subsidiary with my signature. After exchanging some words like -“As expected, you have been working for USA company” “My title is for the convenience of on-the-job training and I haven’t worked for the company. I haven’t got any salaries from it” –a supervisor came and understood my situation. He requested the woman to give me the stay permit, however, she strongly denied. In the meantime, the plane’s departure time passed and that I had no choice but to give it up.
When it comes to the immigration of the USA, it was located in the Canadian airport. It was happy for me that it was OK to just leave the airport even though I was denied to reenter into the USA. I reaffirmed American women were strong enough not to obey their bosses.
After all, I could come back to the USA. The story will be introduced next time. (by MESAMELA)

(2014.10.21) Shanghai subway

It’s very noisy inside the cars of Shanghai Subway.
The radio wave of cell phone is in good condition. So big and light calling sound rings from place to place since no one sets a manner-mode(extinguish the sound) for it. And they begin to talk. They usually speak loudly, in addition to that, the voice on the phone gets bigger. I don’t know why. Also some people in Shanghai, though decreasing the number, bring disabled children and beg something over singing a song with microphone.
I stared the man listening the music and singing enthusiastically, on the other hand other people didn’t care. The scene was certainly China’s one.

(2014.09.25) Shanghai subway #2

It is done at the airport when it comes to X-ray inspection of the baggage in Japan.
At the station of Shanghai subway, same kind of the inspection devices are placed near the entrance. There, passengers who have large baggage which include relatively large bag or backpack are requested to put them through the device. But it is true that some women in hurry pass through and also the inspectors don’t seem to seriously check the screen.
What I have in mind is that various kind of people take the subway with various baggage and they put something which doesn’t look like baggage through. I would like to recommend you not to bring wonderful bag with you.
Same kind of inspections are also done at some places like Shanghai museum or sightseeing pavilion. There, we have to put out the things from the pockets. We enter there after drinking one shot if we have something to drink. Lighters are prohibited to bring with you into the facilities.(by Rongzu)

(2014.09.25) enjoying the Chinese class

I am a beginner of Chinese but can easily understand the lesson since the teacher is very kind and teach us carefully. By touching the culture differences between China and Japan or the histories I am enjoying Chinese class with other students whose ages are various. (T)

(2014.09.04) Old memories of my stay in the USA-at the immigration#1

The company I worked for let me go to the USA for one-year’s on-the-job training in Chicago. On April 1st in 1983, I arrived in O’hare International Airport by JAL’s inauguration flight to Chicago and joined the line for immigration inspection.
My visa was B1 for business trip. The company asked me to get, first of all, the stay permit for a half year, and then get another half year’s one after going out and reentering into the USA. Due to that the company prepared the letter for an immigration official, however, I didn’t show it since the contents was different from what I would do in the USA. After some exchange of the words, the official said“Your stay for half year with B1 visa is not permitted. You seem to be suspicious. Wait in the inspection room.”I was waiting in the room and thinking of the case I was forced back to Japan. In two hours, JAL person came to listen to the situation and made an advice to just show the letter to the official. I did as advised and finally got the half year’s stay permit without any questions.
That experience enabled me to reenter smoothly into the USA with another half year’s stay permit after visiting some European countries in October of the year. It goes without saying that I made the same kind of letters in advance. I felt myself easy and thought what I had to do for half year left was to successfully accomplish the on-the-job-training.
But, same kind of trouble occurred again in next month…to be continued (by MESAMELA)

(2014.08.26)

Just like TV programs titled “People in XX prefecture…”“Ehhh…” show, favorite foods or customs are different from area to area even in Japan. It is natural that we encounter with more surprised and funnier things in countries other than Japan. Following is the story I experienced and was impressed during my stay in Shanghai, China. Subway (Underground) #1 Shanghai subway has eleven lines from number one to eleven and it is very convenient for us to move. The number of the line was given in accordance with the time opened, so the stations and trains of the lines with larger number are cleaner and more comfortable than others. Also, we are not necessary to be anxious about getting lost due to the distinct expression of changing train on the top and the floor with different colors as well. How nice Shanghai Subway is. However, I experienced surprise that the doors of the train unexpectedly and gracefully shut and never opened. There was no announcement like bell for departure. That is different from the service by Japanese railway which may be too kind. We sometimes see mutual friends are separated, one is on the train and another is on the platform. Even if you have such trouble, you don’t have to be panic. Both of you can meet at the next station, so the trouble is extinguished. (by Rongzi)

(2014.08.26)

The both students of morning and afternoon Korean classes got together and spent enjoyable time cooking Korean BBQ on the day first semester over. The second semester will begin in September. We can’t help thinking that it is so long until the next semester begins and are really looking forward to it. (Communication #2 for Korean class)  ⇒ Photo 

Impression of English class

The students are very good. They are cheerful, joyful and talkative. That makes me want to see them every time. (A)
The class seems to be perfect since the instructor is knowledgeable about various things like sports and movies, which is useful for us, and we also can understand what American people think.(K)

Impression of Korean class

The atmosphere in peace and harmony is enjoyable. The instruction enables the beginners to easily remember, so I could sweet off the anxiety. Although our ages are various, the attitude toward studying Korean looks brilliant.(M)

Spread experience of cross culture exchange overseas through Japan International Cooperation Agency(JICA)

There are various culture in the world. I had periodically stayed for long time in Thailand, Indonesia, Kenya, and Zimbabwe by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Different culture gave me good memories. Those uncountable affairs such us culture, people, atmosphere, meals and etc. would be treasure in my life. I would like to transfer those experience to people in Inzai city through various activities. I was accredited as a long-stay advisor and a foreign study advisor by credential organizations last year. Please consult me works in overseas, study in foreign countries and a long stay in other countries.
Tsunehiro Kawakita(Predecessor Representative of JICA Zimbabwe Office)
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