Japan@Strathclyde 2014/15

As part of its Japan-themed workshops, Japan Desk Scotland delivered a series of workshops on Japan, Japan@Strathclyde, at University of Strathclyde throughout the academic year 2014/15, under the title of ‘Japan Multicultural Homecoming Events‘, in cooperation with the university’s Equality & Diversity Office and Chaplaincy Centre.

The workshops from September till December – (1) to (8) in the list below – were funded by BEMIS Scotland, through Homecoming Scotland 2014. Multicultural Homecoming was a partnership between BEMIS Scotland, Visit Scotland and the Scottish Government.

The workshops were free and open to the public.

Venue: The Chaplaincy Centre, Level 2, Graham Hills Building, University of Strathclyde, 50 George Street, Glasgow, G1 1QE

Time: 2 to 4 pm unless stated otherwise

(1) Glasgow Chai Party: Wednesday 24 September from 2.30 to 4.30pm

This was the first of three parties to be held on the theme of chai.  Japan’s three different kinds of chai, namely, maccha (powder green tea used for a tea ceremony), sencha (the most popular green tea in Japan), and amacha (tea made from a kind of hydrangea, which doesn’t contain sugar but is sweet) will be introduced and provided.

(2) Other cultures  (A Japanese view on Scotland and Glasgow): Thursday 25 September

Japan Desk Scotland’s two documentaries were screened: ‘Our Scotland: A Japanese perspective‘ and The bird, the tree, the bell and the fish of Glasgow, with discussion afterwards. How do the Japanese producers of JDS see Scotland and Glasgow?

(3) Other cultures (A Romanian view on Japan and a Japanese view on Romania): Friday 26 September 

Japan Desk Scotland’s two documentary, Our Japan: Bucharest students’ views and Live a tradition in Maramureş, Romania were screened, with discussion afterwards.  How do the students at the Department of Japanese Language and Literature, University of Bucharest, Romania, see Japan?  How do the Japanese producers of JDS see a traditional living in Maramureş known for its wooden churches, wooden curved gates, and music?

(4) ‘Environmental radiation in Fukushima’: Friday 10 October

This was a part of Japan Matters public lectures, and Mr Kimiaki Saito, Japan Atomic Energy Agency, talked about the current situation in Fukushima Prefecture, following the nuclear accident in March 2011.  This lecture was supported by the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation.  Mr Saito kindly allowed us to make his slides available:

Mr Saito slides

(5) ‘Teaching English in Japan’: Wednesday 29 October

Teaching English in Japan is one of the popular choices for new graduates, and this workshop aimed to provide insight into linguistic, cultural, social and economic issues making it problematic for people in Japan to improve their English. Understanding of these issues would make teaching English there more effective.

For example, the number of syllables in Japanese is said to be about 100, while it is more than 1,000 in English. What would be implications of this for Japanese learners of English? To experience this difference, Japanese sounds were practiced during the workshop.

(6) ‘Equality and Diversity in Japan’: Friday 14 November 

Equality of opportunity in education, work and society in Japan was discussed together with issues on diversity and inclusion

Both ‘inclusion’ and ‘diversity’ are difficult topics to be discussed in Japan. Before talking about these, we may need to talk about ‘individuality’, that is, you can be different from others.

As for equality the wage gap by gender and by type of employment (regular staff vs non-regular staff) was discussed, together with social expectation for women in the workplace. As for diversity, three individuals voicing their views in public were introduced: Akihiro MIWA, Aya KAMIKAWA and Hirotada OTOTAKE. Discrimination in Japan was also discussed. We are equal as a human being, and we celebrate our differences.

(7) ‘Origami’: Wednesday 26 November

This workshop was for people to enjoy folding papers in origami style.  Ideal for absolute beginners.  Origami papers were provided.

(8) ‘Glasgow Chai Party’: Wednesday 3 December  

Chai from the Middle East, Czech, and Japan were introduced and shared among the participants.

(9) Workshop 1 – Cultural traits among people from Japan: Friday 16 January

Several cultural traits found among people from Japan, especially those relating to inter-cultural communication, were presented for further discussion.

(10) Workshop 2- A Japanese view on Scotland and Glasgow: Friday 23 January  

Japan Desk Scotland’s two documentaries were screened, with discussion afterwards.

Our Scotland: A Japanese perspective‘ and The bird, the tree, the bell and the fish of Glasgow

(11) Workshop 3- Scotland-Japan Historical Relations: Friday 30 January

Scotland, especially Glasgow, occupied a unique place in Japan’s modernisation efforts from the middle of the 19th century, for example Japan’s first engineering college headed by a young Scot.

(12) Workshop 4- Peace: Friday 6 February

What is peace?  Japan Desk Scotland’s ‘Hiroshima in 2013‘ and ‘Make peace in the Philippines‘ were screened, with discussion afterwards.

(13) Workshop 5- Fukushima: Friday 13 February

Japan Desk Scotland’s two documentaries were screened, with discussion afterwards.

Our friends in Fukushima and 100 Bq/Kg, 0.23 μSv/h: The standard of living in Fukushima’

(14) Glasgow Chai Party: Wednesday 18 March 

Chai from Japan, South Asia and Middle East.

(15) Fukushima, Hiroshima, Fukushima: Thursday 23 April

Japan Desk Scotland’s two documentaries were screened.

Our friends in Fukushima‘ and ‘Hiroshima in 2013

(16) Fukushima, Hiroshima, Fukushima: Friday 24 April

Japan Desk Scotland’s two documentaries were screened.

100 Bq/Kg, 0.23 μSv/h: The standard of living in Fukushima’ and ‘Here and there in Fukushima‘.