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Japanese-Language Program for Specialists in Cultural and Academic Fields 2-month course

Japanese-Language Program for Specialists in Cultural and Academic Fields 2-month course
Period: June 7- August 2, 2017

1-Japanese Language Classes

Though these last two months have gone by very quickly, we found the course to be extremely helpful. Soon after arriving at the Japan Foundation Japanese-Language Institute, Kansai (hereinafter referred to as the Center), we sat a test and were placed in one of three groups according to our Japanese language level. One great thing about the course is being able to tailor the course to your needs by choosing which classes to take, such as kanji, grammar or conversation.
At the end of the course there is a final oral presentation, where each participant speaks about their research theme, and there is a special class in order to prepare for this. These classes were roughly 1.jpgorganized by theme and we were able to receive feedback from classmates which was great practice for the final presentation. This year's presentations included themes relating to history, linguistics, art, society and literature. We each received valuable input from our teachers and thanks to them were able to confidently introduce our research to everyone at the final presentation.

Another useful class was Computer Skills, in which we learned, amongst other things, how to write formal emails to specialists and professors in our particular research fields. This included how to write interview requests, as well as letters of thanks and apologies. We also learned useful skills like how to make electronic vocabulary lists based on relevant research articles.
It was also great being able to access the Center's library. The librarians were always willing to help us search for materials and make the most of the available resources, which included useful Japanese language learning sites and apps.

There are weekly group meetings with all participants to keep up to date with information about the course, to check in with each other, and hear about extracurricular activities. Classes run from Monday to Thursday, between 9am and 3pm, leaving Friday free for individual study, cultural events and exploring.
There is also a three day research trip to Tokyo, during which we were put up at the Japan Foundation Japanese-Language Institute in Urawa. During this time, we were able to visit museums and art galleries, meet specialists and professors, and collect various useful resources. This was a fantastic opportunity to access materials and establish connections with experts and professionals in our research fields.

2.jpgWe participated in a memorable cultural exchange with graduate students at Kobe University in which we were able to discuss our research topics, study experiences, and hear about life at a Japanese University. They showed us around their beautiful campus and library and were extremely kind hosts.

2-Cultural Experiences

The course goes beyond Japanese language acquisition by offering opportunities to participate in cultural events, such as tea ceremony, calligraphy, trying on yukata, and bunraku (traditional Japanese puppetry). Here are some examples listed below.

A-Home Visit
The home visit is a great opportunity to visit a Japanese family's home. It offers the chance to chat with a local family in Japanese, experience Japanese food and get a sense of Japanese home life. We visited families in groups of two, and were treated to delicious food, including Osaka specialties such as okonomiyaki, takoyaki and kushikatsu, and had fun listening to and trying to speak in the Kansai dialect.

B-Tea Ceremony
3.jpgWe enjoyed learning about the art of Tea Ceremony from two kind teachers. They introduced us to the fundamental concepts of the ceremony, and taught us basic etiquette such as how to enter the room, and how to receive the tea. We learned about the custom of eating a traditional sweet before drinking the matcha, to complement its bitterness and bring out the delicious flavor. We were also taught the importance of appreciating the many details, such as the beauty of each tea cup and the hanging scroll in the room's alcove. It was a unique experience being able to get a taste of this age-old ceremony. PS: don't forget to bring white socks!

C-Osaka Orienteering
This was the first event we all participated in, in order to get to know both each other and Osaka. We were split into four groups, each with a different itinerary, and spent the day exploring the city, taking photos, and chatting to Japanese people that we met. It was a good opportuning to break the ice and we later shared our experiences with the other participants and teachers.

Life at the Center

Being able to stay at the Center has been extremely useful in allowing us to concentrate on our studies.
For example, you can eat a delicious meal in the cafeteria on level three before going back to focus on your 34.jpgstudy and research. The Study Room on level two allows you to work late if you need to and print out your materials. There is also a karaoke room and a gym for when you want to have fun. The rooms are conveniently equipped with air-conditioning and Wi-Fi and have wonderful views of the ocean. We made use of our proximity to the beach by having a barbeque party, where we ate yakisoba, meat and shellfish and watched people lighting fireworks. It is also easy to go exploring as the Center provides bikes and offers a shuttle bus service to and from the nearby station.

The staff at the Center are very kind and generous and are always willing to help.

 Corinne D'Antonio (Italy)
 Florence Crick-Friesen (New Zealand)
 Norhan Diab (Egypt)
 Svyatoslav Polkhov (Russia)

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