July 2010

Hello everyone! This is Ayako Ochi.

I am sorry for not writing for a long time.

I have a good news today, “Basic Japanese-Arabic Dictionary” will be released finally!!!

This dictionary has about 3,000 entry words which is most important for beginners of Japanese and it has a lot of example sentences and explanations on the words. If you are studying Japanese or interested in it, please take a look! You can find it at Dar El Shorouk’s bookshops;


And if you have time please come over to the launch party for this dictionary, which will be held at Zamalek Shorouk Bookstore, on Tuesday 20th July 2010, at 8 pm. (Free Admission)

Address: 17, Hasan Sabri St., Zamalek. beside Vodafone.

Tel.: 27 359 418 / 27 359 419

We are looking forward to seeing you there!!


Hi, this is Sukkar.

In Japan, there was an election of upper house on July 11th., and the Democratic Party, which has been the ruling party after they won the last year’s lower house election, failed to gain the majority this time. We will have to face this long unstable political situation for some more years.

Our Egyptian friends who knows about this situation in Japan may be surprised to know the big contrast between our two countries. A couple days ago, I was asked by one of my Egyptian friend why  Japanese prime ministers should be changed so often and I could not find clear-cut answer for it.  I think I have to think about it more seriously.

Well, let’s go for today’s topic!!

Do you know the robot-anime called GUNDAM?

I enjoyed watching its TV serial when I was in elementary school.

And I got to know that this year celebrates its 30 year anniversary!!

So, you can guess my age, hahaha.

Recent news told us that there have been plans to make real size GUNDAM commemorating the anniversary, and just now they are showing their face to the public in 2 places, Odaiba in Tokyo and Shizuoka.

This site shows the images of GUNDAM in Shiokaze Kouen Park in Odaiba.


And you can see another GUNDAM in Shizuoka (which will be made public on July 24th.) at;


Last year, when the Japan Foundation organized lectures of cartoonist Mr. Go Nagai in Kuwait, Anman, and Cairo, I was surprised to know how much Arab people love Mazinger Z and Grendizer. As you know, it was Nagai-san who invented the idea to built in operator’s cockpit in the body of the robot.

And the followers of Nagai-san developed his idea into the concept called ‘Mobile Suit’ in GUNDAM. The idea of one good robot fights against one bad robot  turned into the idea of actual warfare which is fought by humans using mass-produced robot-like Mobile Suits. It seems to me that the robot anime after GUNDAM, because of the introduction of Mobile Suit concept, has gained more actuality and hallucinate us to be experiencing the real war. I can remember how much I sympathized with Amro Ray, the main character of the original GUNDAM, who was torn apart between his duty to fight and his hatred against the inhumanity of warfare.

The August issue of anime magazine, “NEWTYPE” has reached our office and it should be available at the library soon. It specially features the new robot anime titled “GOTHICMADE,” produced by Mr. Mamoru Nagano, one of the main creators of GUNDAM mobile suits.This anime film will be completed and screened in Japan next year.  Although I am not a serious anime-fan, still I am very much curious about if this story has relevance to the difficult age we are living in, which I believe GUNDAM had sharply.

You can come and enjoy the most latest idea of robot anime of Japan through the magazine.

The website of “NEWTYPE“: http://anime.webnt.jp/


Sorry not to upload new post for a week. How are you doing? Enjoining summer holidays in Alex, if you are students?

This week, I keep visiting other foreign cultural organizations to exchange information and ideas about running language courses. So far, I and Goro-san, Japanese language coordinator, visited Goethe Institute (German), Cervantes Institute (Spanish), and Italian Culture Center.

I was amazed by the fact that more than 1,000 people are learning the languages at each school per year, which is a bit larger number than Japanese learners.

At the Goethe and Cervantes, we saw many children coming in the building for the courses.

We did not have the courses for children. But we have just started ‘KIDS JAPANESE’ course for a month utilizing summer vacation season. About 20 children at the age of 5-9 enjoy learning new language while playing with music, craft-making, and so on. It is real fun to see the kids being excited with full of joy!!

We are visiting Chinese Culture Center in Giza today, and British Council tomorrow.

Learning from the experiences of other organizations, we would like to try our best to make our courses better and more attractive to more potential learners in future.

Today, 3-time ORIGAMI course at SAQIA will start with 32 participants.

If you are interested in ORIGAMI, think about applying for the next course, which will be announced both at SAQIA and the Japan Foundation.

Auf Wiedersehen!

Hasta Luego!!


Zai4 Jian4!

See you again!


Hi, friends!

The exciting festival of football was over for Japan. They played very well, much more than our expectation. Thank you very much for your support. Your voice must have been reached to South Africa, since Cairo is much nearer to South Africa than from Japan!!

Right now, I am in another kind of festive mode, by reading book 3 of Haruki Murakami’s “1Q84.”

I hope you know about Haruki Murakami, one of the most popular writer from Japan.

And I also hope that you have read some of his stories or essays either in original Japanese or translation.

“1Q84” is his latest novel, which made a record in sales, that is 3.77 million copies for all 3 books.

Translation has already been published in some foreign countries.

I read book 1 & 2 while I took a holiday in Japan in last September. And now, my boss came back from his holiday in Japan with the book 3, I have been spending sleepless, joyful nights recently.

What you may know about Murakami is, I guess, his courageous speech at the award ceremony of Jerusalem Award in Israel. Although there were a lot of voices asking or recommending him not to receive the award, specially because it was the time when Israel was severely attacking Gaza and his action may be taken as he tolerated it, he made the decision himself to go there, and made this famous speech of ‘wall and egg.’ He confessed that he would always be at the side of the egg.

The full text of his speech in English can be read at;


His earlier works in late 70’s and 80’s reflected the sense of cooling down of the political movement by the citizens, which reached its peak in 1968. People are disappointed with the fact that they could not change anything, and rather started concentrating more on economic activities which made Japan as 2nd economic power in the world. Murakami’s stance was called the literature of ‘detachment.’

However, after 1995, when a big earthquake hit the nation and a cult religious group AUM Shinrikyo committed disastrous spray of poison in Metros in Tokyo, he is said to have shifted his stance into ‘attachment,’ and stand against the big evil power, either natural or personal. He wrote “Underground,” the reportage of the victim of AUM Shinrikyo’s cultic crimes, and “After the Quake,” short stories hinted by the disaster caused by uncontrollable power such as earthquakes.

And in his latest novel, “1Q84,” he once again is trying to tackle with the religious cult in the form of best-written entertainment love story. I must confess that it is so much fun to read it and at the same time it is stimulating my subterranean consciousness to urge me to think deeply about self, communication, relations with the societies, and so on.

I have to ask you to wait for some time for the introduction of “1Q84” at our library. However, we have a serious of his good novels either in Japanese, English, and also Arabic. I strongly recommend that you should read Murakami to enrich your literary imagination and creativity. And I am sure that you may find strong relevance between his literary world and the world which surrounds you.