June 2010


Hello, friends!!

Thank you for supporting Japan on last Thursday!! It was a thrilling game, wasn’t it?

I was watching the game with my colleagues at the home party and it was the occasion for me to be reminded the extreme joy to watch football match with as many friends as possible.

Especially, when Endo made the 2nd point by his FK, I stood out and screamed ‘Ooooooh!!’ loudly and found out that my 2-year-old daughter was clinging to my knee, too much scared by MY NOISE.

Now, Japan is among the best 16, who are going to fight the final tournament.

Tomorrow, tune yourself to Japan-Paraguay at 17:00!!

Well, today’s topic is one of the most popular weekly comic magazine, called ‘Shonen Jump.’

From this April, we started its subscription for our library. I think it is useful for learning non-standard Japanese language, which is diverse in generation, gender, historical setting, locality, and so on, as you have recognized in JF’s ‘Japanese in Anime & Manga’ website.

Almost all the contents of the magazine are strange to me, who enjoyed reading ‘JUMP’ more than 20-30 years ago. The one which is familier even to my generation is ‘NARUTO,‘ which is globally popular thanks to the broadcasting of its Anime version.

However, what I would like to recommend most is not ‘NARUTO,’ but ‘KOCHI-KAME,’ whose full title is ‘Kochira Katsushikaku Kamearikuenmae Hashutsujyo.’ It can be translated as ‘Here we are at Police Box in front of Kameari Park at Katsushika-Ward.’

  • You know how the Police Box is like?
  • You know what is implicated by the location of Katsushika-ward for the story?

Police Box (either Hashutujyo or Koban) is unique local police station in Japan, where 2 or 3 policemen/women are working, not only as protectors of security but also as guides for the people in needs. Whenever I visit unknown towns or areas of big cities, I always get lost and rush to the police boxes asking for the way to the destination. Most of them are truly kind and guide me correctly (Of course, there are always exceptions, sometimes, though).

In other words, the Police Box represents the one aspect of Japan’s local traditional culture, where there are human bonds in towns and local police officers played important roles to mediate or enhance this human networks, together with many other social functions like OMATSURI (local festivals).

And the second keyword, ‘KATSUSHIKA-KU’ is representing one of the areas of Tokyo where such kind of traditional human bonds are still active, compared to others. I think this is partly because there haven’t been gigantic scale investment for modern construction or business entrepreneurship incurred on this area, which has been changing the landscape of Tokyo drastically since its beginning of modernization.

KATSUSHIKA-KU is also the location for one of the most popular movie serial in Japan, called ‘TORA-SAN.’ (Actual title is ‘OTOKO WA TSURAIYO.’) TORA-SAN is only one adult vagabond among his families who is always out of his home, touring around the country. The rest of the families are enjoying their peaceful, sometimes boring status-quo without him. Then many troubles and incidents start to occur right after his sudden return from his journey. What is most important is that the families or the community always accommodate him with affection, however being troubled by his ‘out of common sense’ behavier. Actual Japanese society has been changed so much and we have lost this kind of deep connection between people where you live your day to day lives. That is why the viewers would cherish what we are about to lose, represented by the plots of the movies.

“OTOKO WA TSURAIYO” Official Website: http://www.tora-san.jp/

And the same can be told about this comic book, ‘KOCHI-KAME.’

The protagonist, ‘Ryo-san,‘ is far from diligent, strong policeman, whom people expect to be. On the other hand, he skips his duty and is always playing around. However, he loves the town he has been brought up, the good old friends who keeps living in the same town, and all kinds of old and new cultures, which have enriched his life.

For example, the latest issue which I have just finished reading, deals with the plastic models which he used to make in his childhood, and small factories and proud artisans who were the foundations of this rich culture.

Every time the latest ‘Shonen Jump’ comes to my desk, being scared to be seen skipping job like Ryo-san, I enjoy reading ‘KOCHI-KAME,’ which makes me feel happy with so much sympathy and nostalgia.

‘KOCHI-KAME’ Official Website: http://www.j-kochikame.com/

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Hi, Friends!!

Today, from 18:00, our library will be open for IGO lesson.

Please join us for this wonderful board game.

And, after the IGO,  at 21:30, please tune the channel into !Japan-Demnark football match!

If Japan win or draw, we will go up to the final tournament,  in shah allah.

Alla fikra, it is very hot, isn’t it?

From tomorrow, I am planning to go for the beach for 3 days.

See you on the blog on next Monday!!

Hi, friends!!

Today, I want to introduce you to my favorite J-pop music.

That is; Tamaki Koji (vocalist of Anzen Chitai)!!

NOT because he has the same first name as I.

  • What a beautiful voice!!!
  • How emotional his expression!!
  • What beautifully songs he composes!!
  • What beautiful lyrics!!

I admire his as a born-to-be, genius, perfect musician.

He started his career with the band named “Anzen Chitai,” and all over their professional activities they have sold more than 5 million albums in total.

After 2000’s,  he mainly has been working as a solo artist, and also created so many beautiful songs. But for recent years, he stopped the music activities in public because of sickness.

And now, he overcame the disease and came back to us with this legend band, AnzenChitai!

Very kindly they officially uploaded main part of their recent songs on You Tube. So, I am happy to introduce them to you here!!

1. ‘Aoi Bara’ (Blue Rose) /released on March 2010

2. ‘Orange’ /released on May 2010

3. ‘Wine-Red no Kokoro’ (Wine-red-colored-mind)/

Their first big hit song in 1983 and re-recorded as a coupling tune for ‘Aoi Bara’ on March 2010

Last month they released their 11th new album, ‘Matane,’ and today released re-recorded their classic hit song collection, ‘Hits.‘ Both can be purchased through i Tune Japan.

I hope you will like them and enjoy J-music life!!

Official site of ANZEN CHITAI: http://www.universalmusicworld.jp/anzen_chitai/

1st and 3rd Thursday of the month, at the Japan Foundation’s library, IGO lovers gather to play this fantastic board game from East Asia.

It looks similar to CHESS in the west or SHATRANG (we call it ‘SHOGI‘ in Japan) in the east.

But, once you play it, you feel that it is completely different game which stimulates different parts of your brain.

If I am allowed to simplify to explain about it, it is a game played by two to compete wider space than the opponent. One party holds black stones, and the other holds white. On the board there are 19 vertical and 19 horizontal lines which constitute 361 dots. The contesters put their stone one by one on one of those dots so that they can create their own maximum spaces. Of course, you can (must) cut in other’s activities to secure their field, then severe battle breaks out!! Even though you make wider space than the opponent in particular area of the board, you may be in lesser position in the other area. That’s why you are required to train the grasp of whole situation to win.

There are many e-learning sites for IGO through which you can learn the rules and develop basic skills.

And we found a wonderful site for interactive learning in Arabic!! The owner who created this site, Mr. Mori was so kind to accept our link to the site.

http://playgo.to/interactive/Arabic/

Out of this interactive trial, you will get to know that it’s not difficult but very deep and philosophical game.

There are also many internet sites where you can actually play games on the net!

Here is an example: http://www.pandanet.co.jp/

However, no doubt it’s better and more fun to meet up with your Egyptian and Japanese friends and play games on real IGO board, using real stones.

We look forward to meet you at the Japan Foundation every 1st and 3rd Thursday at 18:00 (For June only, the 2nd meeting will be held on 24th., which is this Thursday!!).

Hi.

It was really hot last weekend. How did you cope with it? Stayed at air-conditioned home all day long? Or went to the sea? Or ate ice cream?

Or watching FIFA World Cup Football matches??

I hope that our friends know that JAPAN IS PARTICIPATING.

We belong to Group E, with Holland, Denmark and Cameroon. Mmmm, all of them are strong teams!

Japan won the match with Cameroon by 1-0.

But, we lost against Holland by 0-1 yesterday….

The next match will be ON THE 24TH. WITH DENMARK.

If we win or draw, we can go up to the final tournament.

So, please support Japan together with us!!

As for the succor, Japan was not visible before 1990’s. We did not have national professional league and just had several club teams which big companies owned.

It was in 1993, when the first professional succor league named ‘J-LEAGUE’ came out and thanks to their strong promotion, so many school kids turned into football from baseball, which was the king of the sports for the boys for more than 50 years. This national movement created many talented young professionals who are competent in the world. You may know NAKATA and NAKAMURA, who played brilliantly in Italy or U.K.

The ‘SUCCOR HEAT’ turned to its peak in 2002, when Japan and Korea co-hosted the FIFA World Cup. Japan won several matched to be best 16, while Korea did very well to be best 4!! This event also played a very important role to enhance friendship between these two East Asian countries, and since then the ban of introducing Japanese music and films has been lifted in Korea, where the reluctance against normalizing the relationship with Japan was very strong due to the sad experience at WWII caused by Japan’s militarism. Japanese people also welcome Korean contemporary culture, especially the films and TV dramas.

Korea is also participating in this World Cup and currently is ranked no. 2 following Argentine in group B. I hope that you will also keep watching their play!

Frankly speaking, I belong to the old generation in terms of sports. I spent my childhood in 1980’s when it was baseball that boys must follow. Even though TV anime serial ‘Captain Tsubasa (Majd in Arabic)’ attracted our generation so much and many of our friends started to shift to football, still, in such rural towns where I lived, school club activities using the limited ground space were still dominated by baseball. ‘The Golden Hours’ of television (around 19:00-22:00, when all family members get together for watching TV at home) consisted of at least two professional baseball matches, one of which must be played by most popular team ‘Yomiuri Giants.’ Now J-LEAGUE replaced the role of the baseball and I think more than half of school boys go for football rather than baseball.

But, baseball in Japan is also changing its face recently and has been internationalized dramatically.

Some of the most brilliant players started to play in the Major League in the U.S., which could not be imagined in my childhood. The first one who marked wonderful records over there in the 90’s was the pitcher, HIDEO NOMO Later on, many followers challenged the Major League. The most successful player is ICHIRO SUZUKI. He made world record of the annual number of hits in 2004, and 9 consecutive year of hitting more than 200 hits, that is another world record.

I know that there is no baseball culture in Egypt and all of you are crazy about football.

But, if you have even slightest interest in it, I wish that you would dig in baseball in Japan, which still occupies very important part of Japanese identity. If you want to know more about cultural or social aspect of baseball, I recommend you read some of very interesting observation written in English.

“The Chrysanthemum and bat” by Robert Whiting

http://www.amazon.com/Chrysanthemum-Bat-Baseball-Samurai-Style/dp/0380631156

“You gotta have Wa” by Robert Whiting

http://www.amazon.com/You-Gotta-Have-Wa-Vintage/dp/0307455971/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpi_2

Well, we were talking about football.

PLEASE TUNE YOURSELF ON JAPAN-DENMARK, KICK-OFF AT 21:30!!

Hi!

I was amazed to see that more than 150 people got accessed to this blog yesterday.

This will encourage all our staff to keep the site updated with information of your interest.

Today, I’m gonna introduce you to 3 new e-learning site of Japanese language, created by the Japan Foundation. By utilizing all these sites at their maximum, I believe that you can learn Japanese language to certain high level without going to schools!

Besides that, they are all designed pop with many video images, photos, pretty characters, and even mangas. They should never get you bored and keep you stick to learning.

O.K. Now, let’s start from Erin.

No.1     Erin’s Challenge! I can speak Japanese. (Erin-ga-chousen! Nihongo dekimasu.)

JPN: https://www.erin.ne.jp/

ENG: https://www.erin.ne.jp/en/

This site is the web-version of the TV serial of Japanese language learning, which was broadcasted by NHK. You can learn the language while enjoying the stories centered around the Erin’s (a British girl who has joined a high school in Japan for half a year) encounter with Japanese people and culture.

No.2      Nihongo E-na

JPN: http://nihongo-e-na.com/

ENG: http://nihongo-e-na.com/eng/

This is a useful portal site which introduces very good (E=’ii,’ in Japanese), recommendable e-learning websites. You can search the sites you want with such keywords as Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking, Grammar, Vocabulary, Kana, Kanji, Tool, Dictionary/Translation, Culture/Society, and Others.

No.3      Japanese in Anime & Manga (Anime-Manga no nihongo)

http://anime-manga.jp/

Many of our friends may be familiar to Japanese language through Manga and Anime. And we know that you understand the styles and usages of the language differ in generation or social background which each person belong to. And I believe that it is the same about Arabic. Through this site, you can get the knowledge of the social and cultural background behind the Japanese language, which will enrich your understanding of Japan. And, of course, it will help you in enjoying Manga /Anime much better than before.

さあ、みなさん。この3つのサイトをつかって、日本語をたくさんべんきょうしましょう!

Hi, this is sukkar. One of my Egyptian friends suggested that ‘sukkar’ is female name and I had better change it.

Mmmmm, how interesting to experience this sort of cultural exchange! However, it is a pity to extinguish this new name just in one day. So, let me use this for the time being…

Well, I would like to invite you to a brand-new social networking site to promote friendship and develop new connections between scholars, students, business people and bureaucrats, who are related to or interested in Japan-Egypt relationships.

This is called ‘JEN,’ Japan Egypt Network.

http://www.japanegypt.net/home.php

Anyone can be a registered member from the site and start communicating with other members, and also obtain updated information about scholarships, research grants, and events.

Why not joining the site and enrich your ‘Japan-connected-life?’

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