March 26, 2007

 Mar 2007 Newsletter: Yumi's Monthly Note

I flew to Vienna at the beginning of February to visit the youth center, where the new TL(technical leader) is leading the activity. To my surprise, they held as many as 4 activities in just one week while we were there. Many participants were boys and few girls.

The youth center is located in the area where many immigrants live. Many of the children made their profile on the PangaeaNet that the listed language they spoke included Arabic. Everyone is at least bilingual, some are trilingual. English is not commonly used there, and in fact, no one speaks English except for the new TL and just one child. Using our body language, Picton, or other self-created picture letters, we tried our best to communicate with the children. At the beginning, things didn't work out well. After a while, though, I kind of stopped struggling to communicate desperately and instead, I started drawing with the children keeping myself silent, in the same space, breathing the same air with the children. One of the children who was about in the 3rd grade was peeping at me. He was rather short and had to stretch himself so hard at the briefing on the PangaeaNet. Pangaea now has a new menu to 'draw an original character Mr. A'. I drew my Mr. A with his clothes the same as the child who was peeping at me was wearing. When I finished with my work, he looked very surprised to see it, and then put on a BIG SMILE!! After that, he and I tried creating a piece of work together, which was truly a great fun.

By the way, the children fill out their height on their profile. The tape measure we had was only 150cm long. What we did was to raise the tape measure 30cm above the floor, as we would always do in Japan. For the children, however, the height is a big issue. Everyone goes to take the measurement and comes back shocked that their height is 30cm less! We tried to explain in English that the tape measure was 'not touching the floor but it's a little bit up in the air.' This didn't really make sense to the children and they looked all so shocked. We kept trying on explaining saying things like, 'plus 30cm!' pointing the floor.. What was funny to me was that the twin boys were tangling over 'which was was taller.' To me, they looked exactly the same...

We hold monthly meetings and report our activities in the beginning of each month chatting using the Language Grid. The FL in Vienna speaks German only and we cannot use English, which has been making it rather difficult for us to communicate with each other. The Language Grid, however, helped us communicate with her while we were there this time. I have finally come to use it handy.

I find the Language Grid program on the combination of Japanese/ Korean and English/German is very useful. Although, Japanese/German is not so smooth yet, it still works as we had not been able to communicate with the FL in Vienna without it. She was very pleased, also. The technology is amazing. It is truly the 'peace' engineering!

Yumiko Mori

Posted by: kumakinoko | 3. Newsletter | Permalink

 Mar 2007 Newsletter: Toshi's Monthly Note

February has been a month attending activities in Mie, Japan and Vienna, working on system development and academic papers. I flied to Vienna in early February and I saw a new technical staff, Kornelius, who is dependable and skillful engineer. He is good at computer doing programming, developing software and designing Web pages, moreover he gives us constructive feedback and advice. Most participants of Vienna are elementary school students. They were very energetic to take part in Pangaea activity spontaneously. At a Pangaea activity, I was glad to see that they were enthused about expressing themselves by drawing their favorite things and sending messages with excitement.

By the way, one of the most impressive things in Vienna at this visit was a cell phone. Compared with Japanese cell phones, most of them were very small and simple design. It made me think that cultural and social difference affects to its process of cell phones' evolution. There were so many sophisticated and cool designs that I almost purchased one of them impulsively..

After visiting Vienna and coming back to Japan, I went to Tsu city in Mie prefecture to have a Pangaea activity at Mie University in mid February.
Then on a next day, we had a rehearsal with staffs for a coming big event, the Japan-Korea simultaneous activity. Even though it was on Sunday, a student volunteer and a technical leader, Morimori, and a facilitator, Megu-chan, came to join from Kyoto. Thank you all for your great support! This event will be held on 10th March to connect the MIZY center in Seoul, Korea, and Mie University, Japan, via Webcam. It will be the first experience for children in Mie to feel connected with Korean children simultaneously beyond language and distance. I will participate from the MIZY center in Korea and technical staffs including me are going to work on technical rehearsals over and over for success.

Vienna Youth Center:
MIZY center:
Mie University:

Toshiyuki Takasaki

Posted by: kumakinoko | 3. Newsletter | Permalink

 Mar 2007 Newsletter: Activity Report- Mariko Yamazaki

At the end of the last year, I had been worried about lacking of activity menu because children could make up their own work very quickly. After coming this new year, children enjoy new activity which has newly installed. We launched a new activity like designing the new logo mark; A of Pangaea. As you know, in our logo, children hold up their arms.

Every time we showed each base of works to other children by posting on the board. Even though some children finished designing logos quickly, they seemed to be stimulated by other works of different bases and created new design one after another.

"Cut'n'paste fashion show" is in vogue at the base of Ogikita. Children paint the latest style, cut and paste colored papers on the common format. A child said " I'd like to connect Pangaean net, but now I adore to enjoy Cut'n'paste fashion show". Some children used to have a quarrel in order to occupy few personal computers, but now we have a very peaceful time.

Children have astonished at communicating never seen friends who live in very far countries and have been absorbed in communicating them since Pangaean net is installed. They sometimes got their nerves because they were not able to receive replies from oversea. Atmosphere is now changing due to newly installed activity. Some children expect they can receive responces from oversea by creating a wonderful works. Now they make an effort to create works so much. A boy noticed that folding paper was Japanese original works and oversea children would be surprised. He is absorbed in folding papers by making use of a text book. Furthermore, he took some photos and asked us to be reported to "Pangaeam". The other boy change opinions for the latest style, cooperate with friends and create works. We cannot create this wonderful atmosphere by only using PCs.

I live in western part of Tokyo now. We rarely have caught in a shower which occurred in this season. At the center part of Tokyo, it is little bright.

A whole year of Pangaea has a dazzling variety of things, but it's very ordinary one. If we have a forward-looking style, we can look at a beautiful blue sky after catching a shower. By the end of March, all activities of this year in Tokyo will have been finished, but I hope we enjoy them very much as the end of the year.

Mariko Yamazaki

Posted by: kumakinoko | 3. Newsletter | Permalink

 Mar 2007 Newsletter: Pangaea Ring - Ms. Kayo Umegaki, Pangaea Volunteer

Hi, Pangaean! My name is Kayo Umegaki. I was called "Ume" by Pangaean. I'm glad to have this opportunity to introduce myself in the Pangaea newsletter.

I joined Pangaea as an internship from my university, and then helped the office work and activities as part-time until last year. Now, I'm studying Child Development in a graduate school in Boston. The experiences in Pangaea affected me in many aspects, so I'd like to share them in this letter.

In the activities of Pangaea, I could learn a lot of things: the pleasure and importance of working hard for one goal, the current situations of the non-profit organizations in Japan, how to facilitate children and so on. Especially, the importance of "the interpersonal encounter and connection" was the most precious one for me, because through the sharing many things and experiences with Pangaean whose age and jobs vary, I could know various kinds of life and values of people. They influenced my own value and I could decide to study abroad after graduation from my university in Japan. In this regard, I also could have a lot of support from Pangaean, so I really appreciate Pangaea to have me.

In addition, during eight months since I came here, I learned the importance of "knowing the differences among people", because people are really diverse in the United States and knowing differences provided me a kind of comfort in such a society, while I was bewildered by differences in people's appearance, language, the way of thinking and expressing, and manner, between in the United States and Japan at first. I became able to enjoy such differences since I know that people also have similarities such as smile and sadness, and we can share such joy and sad for the same interest.

The importance of "interpersonal encounter and connection" and "knowing the differences among people" is the one, which Pangaea is now promoting to the world now. I finally can realize their real meanings here, while I couldn't figure out in Japan because most people have the same appearance and language. I consider that this realization will spread more in the next generation with the diffusion of the Internet and globalization, thus I really hope the growth of Pangaea.

That's all! Thank you for taking time for this reading. Hope to see you all soon!

p.s: I'm doing an internship in a program in the United States. The supervisor is really similar to Yumi, the president, thus I also can realize the people's universality here. The similarities are that they talk and laugh with big voice, react nervously to each things, and think seriously and considerately about followers, while they pretend to be cool, and so on. That's so fanny, but I really feel that people are the same, regardless of culture, ethnicity, language and appearance.

Kayo Umegaki, Pangaea Volunteer

Posted by: kumakinoko | 3. Newsletter , 4. Pangaea Ring | Permalink

 Mar 2007 Newsletter: February 2007 Events

  • 2007.2.7 Pangaea Activity at the Youth Center, Vienna, Austria
  • 2007.2.9 Pangaea Activity at Ogikubo-Kita Childrens'House in Suginami, Tokyo
  • 2007.2.10 Pangaea Activity at COCON Karasuma, Kyoto
  • 2007.2.17 Pangaea Activity at Yoyogi Elementary School, in Shibuya, Tokyo
  • 2007.2.17 Pangaea Activity at Mie Site (Mie University)
  • 2007.2.23 Pangaea Activity at Ogikubo-Kita Childrens'House in Suginami, Tokyo
  • 2007.2.24 Pangaea Activity at COCON Karasuma, Kyoto
  • 2007.2.28 `Mitoh-project` Kick-off Meeting

Posted by: kumakinoko | 3. Newsletter | Permalink

March 10, 2007

 Tsu, Japan Meets Seoul, Korea

20070311_mie_douki.jpg Pangaea activity was held on Saturday March 10th, connecting two sites of Tsu, Japan and Seoul, Korea live with Web camera and microphone. It was reported by two local papers, with pictures and comments from participants.

Comment from yumi, President of Pangaea
This is the best shot from our simultaneous activity today, when we played “Koetsuna”. 20070310_mie.jpg It talks about an excitement of the day’s activity. This is what our staffs are waiting to experience at the end of the day, after a lot of works and efforts required in the process of the preparation.
Pangaea is aiming to create the place where everyone can get together, regardless of the languages and the national borders. This is still a small place, but we can start from here. This photo makes me forget about my fatigue.

Posted by: kumakinoko | 1. Activity Report | Permalink