May 06, 2010

 May 2010 Newsletter: Yumi's Monthly Note

Hello Everybody!

The month of April was a bit different this year, as we had a mix of very cold and hot weather. The difference in temperature was about 18 degrees centigrade in one day. Despite such weather, we still enjoyed beautiful cherry blossoms, which Kyoto is very famous for. I am pleased to report to you this month that we have successfully started Pangaea Activity at Mapo Youth Culture Center (MYCC), in Seoul, Korea in mid April. With our great partner, Seoul UNESCO MIZY Center's Sophia, we were ready for this exciting occasion. I was quite surprised to see

how big this youth center was, and impressed with the well equipped facility, which I rarely find in youth centers in Japan or other countries. I guess Seoul City is starting a budget to enrich youths lives through facilities like MYCC. TOTO, who will be in charge of running the program with Sophia, is a very nice woman. We had 9 people take the facilitator training session, which was run by us.
For MYCC, there were 80 applicants when the program opened, but only room for 25. It is nice to see children coming from many different locations. The children, of course, had a great time, and I found that there were four children who are very interested in Japanese, who can even write and read 'hiragana'!

One issue which we had to deal with was that there were no volunteers with a strong background in computers. Toshi trained two staff members, who must have been very tired after such a long day, to give them extra training on how to operate programs with PangaeaNet and community site, etc.

Prof. Kyoung Jun Lee, who helped Pangaea a great deal by starting the program in Kyung Hee University before we settled at MIZY Center, gave us a reply from UC Berkeley to recommend his Master student as Technical staff for Pangaea. This was a reply to our call for help in seeking a person who can run Webcam activities without Toshi. So we were able to meet Mr. Hong on the morning of our departure from Seoul. He said he had read our HP and was veryexcited. He has lived in Egypt and Malaysia, where his father's relocations took him. When we really need it, a road opens for us.

The UNIMAS team, from Malaysia, visited Pangaea HQ in April. We had meetings and enjoyed a traditional Japanese dinner. It was a day before our visit to Seoul, so I wished it could have been longer.

Kimberly, our intern from Guam, is in the office before and after her Japanese classes. She is very friendly and hardworking. I would like her to help me in operation of international activities.

Well, I introduce Ms. Saeko Tezuka, as known as Saechi, as a Pangaea Ring writer for this month. I met her when I enrolled in MIT Media Lab. She started to actively engage in Pangaea as a facilitator from last year.


Posted by: kumakinoko | 3. Newsletter | Permalink

 May 2010 Newsletter: Pangaea ring - Ms. Saeko Tezuka

I introduce Ms. Saeko Tezuka, as known as Saechi, as a Pangaea writer for this month. I met her when I enrolled in MIT Media Lab. She started to actively engage in Pangaea as a facilitator from last year.

Hello. My name is Saeko Tezuka. People call me "Saechi".
I am one of the Facilitators in Tokyo.

It's been quite some time since I first got to know Pangaea. I believe it was right after Pangaea had kicked off as a NPO. Yumi and Toshi, at that time, were working at the Media Lab, at MIT, in Boston, United States. I had the opportunity to visit the Lab through my work and they took very good care of me.I still remember when I first heard about the Pangaea project. It was at a fast food shop that we stopped at on our way to the suburbs of Boston.It is easy for me to vividly flash back to the scenery of the shop as well as my own self, deeply empathized with the story Yumi had shared with me. Soon after our meeting, Yumi and Toshi moved back to Tokyo and officially started the activities. As for me, it has taken much longer. It was not until last year, when my wish finally came true and I became a Facilitator for Pangaea activities. I believe the Tokyo branch is somewhat unique, compared with other branches, the number of which is expanding rapidly. We have many volunteer staffs who have been involved with Pangaea for a long time. In our branch, we hold lively discussions on what parts of Pangaea activities we need to keep as they are and what parts we wish to change. It is quite stimulating. Having the chance to work in the United States,where the cultural value was different from my own, allowed me to develop myself further as a person.

I have experienced both the difficulties as well as the joys of holding communications through that experience. I am therefore very much thrilled to imagine that Pangaea could bring about a completely new world for children in this era, when global communication has become so ordinary. At the moment, I work for a kitchen hardware manufacturer and I am a researcher of"The kitchen of the future". With regard to my work, I am very interested in "food culture". I hope that one day, I will be able to create a Pangaea activity through which the children of the world can share their ideas and experiences with "eating", as to what sort of things are common food in their area and what is not.

Cleanup Corporation
OISHII-KURASHI Living Laboratory

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