December 10, 2007

 Dec 2007 Newsletter: Yumi's Monthly Note

Hello Everyone,

Konnichiha! Ahn-nyong-ha-se-yo! Hello!! At the beginning of our 3-location Webcam activity, taking place on November 24, all children exchanged greetings in three languages, Japanese, Korean, and German. Webcams offered real-time communications among three cities, Kyoto, Soul, and Vienna. In spite of the 8 hour time difference and language barriers, kids were energetic; rooms echoed with children's voices. We prepared some games and activities for this event. During a game, Tell My Name, both Japanese and South Korean children were impressed by Viennese kids and gave a big hand. Initially, those Asian children viewed that pronouncing Korean names might be difficult for Viennese children: Korean kids didn't expect to be pronounced their names correctly. For this event, we made our flip cards, Giant Pictons, bigger than usual. Kids were waving the cards to cheer on their team mates, which brought a lot of excitements. To be honest, we couldn't shake off our worries until we saw children playing a Color Matching Game. We were wondering if it would be a daunting challenge for them due to huge cultural differences between Vienna and two Asian countries, Japan and South Korea. Nevertheless, they played it very well. We surprisingly had a perfect match in three languages.

We were thrilled by the fact that there are similar ways of thinking among children regardless of cultural background. They tend to be reserved around those whom they don't know well, but they all stood up to greet and introduce themselves to other kids in foreign languages. As their names were called via webcams, their faces were lit up with a bunch of smiles.

It was a long way to get to this point. There have been many devoted volunteers helping with us in Kyoto. In order to carry out this project successfully, they attended rehearsals and webcam meetings, connecting Kyoto, Soul, and Vienna, every Saturday. We needed to overcome time differences among those three cities. Vienna was our biggest concern: those who used to work for Pangaea as a facilitator rushed into there from England and Italy to rescue us. There are some ingredients to make this event success, such as hard work, solidarity, and technology. Our powerful translation tool, the Language Grid Project, was a key component of effective communication. Of course, without technical volunteers and their capabilities, the machine would not be operated. They tested it over and over again in three languages. Indeed, it IS Peace Engineering! Kids fully enjoyed the event; they have no idea that we worked frantically to make the day exciting.

One of our facilitators, Sho, mentioned me that it will be great if we can have a social function with Vienna facilitators. Evidently, his comment shows all staff participants, as well as children, bonded as a team. It can be a big step toward exploring our new projects in Europe and Africa next year. Anyway, it made our day! I prepared myself to give speeches in German and Korean for this event. Because of my struggles with German, I was relieved that I could make myself understood in both languages. German is really, really, really difficult... But, I might want to take an advantage of this opportunity to learn German. We'll see!

The writer of Pangaea Ring of this month is Mr. Kouhei Kadowaki, a graduate student of Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan. His nickname is "Kadoppe" and he is a Technical Leader at Pangaea Activity in Kyoto. As a technical volunteer staff, he has been contributing a lot to us in modifying PangaeaNet and developing other Pangaea software system.

See you next month!


Posted by: kumakinoko | 3. Newsletter | Permalink

 Dec 2007 Newsletter: Pangaea ring - Mr. Kohei Kadowaki

Hi, I'm Kohei Kadowaki, a technical volunteer for Pangaea. Pangaean friends call me 'Kadoppe'. I am 23 years old. It is my great pleasure and honor to write for this Pangaea Newsletter.

I am a graduate student in computer science department of Doshisha University in Kyoto and my research area is computer network. I had an honor to play the role of technical leader on Kyoto side at the 3-location Webcam activity held the other day, with much support given by so many people. Today, I would like to note what I felt through my experience at the Webcam activity.

I have always regarded the greatest contribution the computer network plays is its ability to connect the places and the people despite their physical distance. At the 3-location Webcam activity as well, children from Kyoto, Seoul and Vienna, all from the different countries met with each other through Webcam, had communication among them, and had much fun playing together.

I have noticed then, however, the computer network does not only reduce the physical distance of the children but also the distance of their 'heart'. At the activity, the children were discovering the difference between their cultures by learning how to greet in each other's language, how they would call their names and how different the image of the colors is taken in different countries. They were trying to understand each other's culture and holding the communication based on that understanding, which did help shorten their distance between their hearts. I believe this would help eliminate the unnecessary bias for those who have different cultures.

I truly cherish this network technology and Pangaea which can shorten both the physical distance as well as the distance of the hearts of the people. I do hope, that as one of the Pangaeans, I would be able to contribute myself to facilitate children of the world to make bond among them by supporting technical side of the Pangaea activity as well as the development of PangaeaNet and other Pangaea software system. I am looking forward to getting to work with you.

Kohei Kadowaki

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