January 06, 2010

 January 2010 Newsletter: Yumi's Monthly Note

A happy new year!

It's been bloody freezing recently in Kyoto. No snow yet, but when I return to my home after work, I always feel frozen and immediately turn on the oil heater which I bought in the last year. It's a bit costly but I cannot stop turning on it. This Christmas, people seem to experience tightfisted mood due to the cut off of bonus in Japan. We, Pangaea, originally haven't got any bonus so no impact by this situation. Is it good or poor? However, the financial report of Pangaea ends in the black a little bit in this September which is the first time from its foundation. Although it's been still financially agonizing, Prof. Ema, the one of the board members, somewhat praised us.

We had the board meeting on 17th December. Board members, Mr. Nagahisa who is getting famous for the governmental sorting operation for austerity, Mr. Sanada who is moving from country to country in Asia even in the recent history boom, Mr. Okano helping the agricultural related project and Prof. Ema being in charge of organizer, gathered in Kyoto from difference places. Prof. Ishida, providing Langrid to support the Pangaea's multilingual backbone, also attended the general assembly. All the board members, experts in each area, were extremely busy but there were lots to talk and discussions were so exciting. Especially, the focus was on how to manage the membership and we got the various advises towards it.

Other than above, in December, we were mainly preparing for newly starting two sites. Pangaea activity will start at Kyoto International School from the middle of January. And also at Bario, in the jungle area of Malaysia! Since we hadn't any idea about how to prepare for the trip to there, we interviewed people having experiences going there. The answers were... no shower (of course bath neither) / hot water can be obtained if I make it (perhaps I need to boil by a pot) / we must have mosquito coils (I have to have two of insect deterrent with battery) / sleeping bags can be got by option (what does it mean by 'option'?!) / the mosquito net will be prepared if we hope (please do!!) The most terrified information was that to get on the mini plane to near there we have to measure not only luggage but also our body weight! (I've started to try to loose weight immediately after I'd heard this information but it might be too late...) Then talked to Toshi that 'we and our luggage will be measured nearly equal to four of Malaysian, won't we?' and he plainly said 'it's gonna be five I guess.' Oh NO! I just remembered Prof.
Ishida had told us 'Is Pangaea Kawaguchi expedition?'

To support these new activity sites, the e-training system will be activated in its operation. I've been not good at moth and butterfly from my childhood. My mother has been like this and I was imprinted by mom since she always screamed out to escape from moth or butterfly. My younger brother too. So I am tremendously anxious and frightened by it since I've been told by Gary from UNIMAS that the scale of a huge moth is so heavy! Surprisingly, Gary had been clung by leeches when he brought equipments going through mountain or bog. I think moth or butterfly are better than leeches... anyways, marbled Japanese blood should be delicious for them so I will beware enough. We will depart from 26 of this month.

Well, I introduce Mr. Ando Yasutoshi a.k.a Andu as a Pangaea ring writer for this month. He was participating in the research project at Sweden's Karolinska Institute. He's already appeared in this series but he again writes about what he felt during away from Japan.

Have a great new year!
Please keep on watching what will be going on in Pangaea this year as well!


Posted by: kumakinoko | 3. Newsletter | Permalink

 January 10 Newsletter: Pangaea ring - Mr. Yasutoshi Ando

Well, I introduce Mr. Ando Yasutoshi a.k.a Andu as a Pangaea ring writer for this month. He was participating in the research project at Sweden's Karolinska Institute. He's already appeared in this series but he again writes about what he felt during away from Japan.

Hello everyone.

I'm Andu. My full name is Yasutoshi Ando and I am a Tokyo-based volunteer for Pangaea. This is my second time to post my message on the Pangaea ring. I am currently in Sweden, as a researcher at the Karolinska Institute. This institute appoints the laureates for the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medecine and is a very active institute. It is my first time to experience a long-time stay overseas and I would like to write about my thoughts living here in Sweden.

As there is no direct flight to Sweden from Japan, I came here through Austria. I had never been to Austria before, yet, I somehow felt congenial about Austria from the beginning. I presume that is because Austria is one of the countries Pangaea has its branch. I was, therefore looking forward to my travel and I felt excited when I landed the airport in Austria. At that moment, I felt the importance of 'the sense of affinity' when you meet with people from other countries. The children who participate in Pangaea activities communicate with and interact with their friends overseas through PangaeaNet on a daily basis, therefore, I believe they know what it is like to hold the 'sense of affinity' toward each other. This 'feeling of affinity and the sense of knowing' the other will eliminate the wars and bring peace to the world.

I also realized the importance of picture letters since I have come to Sweden. assume many people think of the picture letters as the tool for the children only. (I used to think that way myself.) Having come here, I realized that they were not. In Sweden, the official national language is Swedish and everything is written in Swedish at the stations and the supermarkets etc. (Almost everyone speaks fluent English here, though.) As a non-Swedish speaker, I do not understand any of the writings. One time, I was trying to buy some frozen food at a supermarket, and wanted to learn how to prepare the food and so I looked the bottom of the box. I saw a picture of a microwave and the number '6'. I read and understood the instruction as 'please microwave this dish for 6 min.' There was also a picture figured like a human being drawn on the box. First, I used my own imagination to read this picture would mean that this food was suitable for a single person. Being so curious, I asked the clerk at the supermarket. Then I learned that the picture of the human being meant that the food did not contain much chemical seasoning. It meant that the food was health conscious frozen food. "How could I know?" I just murmured myself however I also realized my misunderstanding could have brought about a serious issue if it were the medicine.

The number of people who visit Japan from overseas has been increasing. Picture letters could convey the message in a more direct and powerful way compared with the letters as people do not have to read pictures. I do hope that more attention will be paid to the picture letters and that they will be used more in our daily lives.

Yasutoshi Ando

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