April 13, 2011

 Visit to Mizy Center in Seoul, Korea

Blogimg-mizy.jpgA facilitator training was held at Mizy Center in Korea last Thursday, April 4th with the participation of Yumi and Toshi from Japan as trainers. 15 volunteers took the course with two of them coming back to Pangaea after their military services. One of the returnee came all the way to Seoul by traveling two hours by bus just for one-way to participate in the training.

Also, an activity was held at Mizy Center on Saturday April 9th. Korean children and facilitators were sympathetic to the situation in Japan and gave us the words to cheer us up. Seoul site received more than fifty applications for the Pangaea activity, while the capacity was twenty four. They say that Korean parents are happy if their children are accepted to Pangaea activity, as they are into their children's education.

One of the mother of the participating children spoke to Yumi in Japanese to ask if she was Yumi as she went out of the hall to go to the lady's room. When she replied yes, she said she reads Pangaea blog, and that she did not know that she would be here today but she would like her to keep up her good work. Yumi was surprised to know that Korean people were reading Pangaea newsletters and blog articles, but at the same time, she felt her daily efforts are slowly making some difference. Pangaea is right on track in Korea! MIZY_ACT_20110409.jpg

Posted by: ayako | 1. Activity Report | Permalink

April 08, 2011

 April 2011 Newsletter: Yumi's Monthly Note

Hello everyone!

Project in Vietnam has started its operation with no hitches to hold its opening ceremony on March 3rd at Ho Chi Minh City. As I got back to Japan through Kansai Airport on March 8, I was preparing for the report at my home in Kyoto. I was so busy then that I could not remember when I took the day off the last. Then suddenly, I felt dizzy so I lied down on the bed, thinking that I was too tired, but my dizziness did not stop. As I was wondering, the entire house has started shaking and squeaking, for my realization that it was the earthquake, which shook the ground quite a while.

My room shook badly on the 4th floor of the small 4-story apartment that was built more than 30 years ago. I hurriedly turned the TV on to see the telop “very strong earthquake at Tohoku district”, then the screen has switched to the news for Tsunami warning. I got goose bumps thinking of the magnitude of it, as it shook Kyoto that is so far away. Then we heard unbelievable news one after another, including the one about nuclear power plant. My Tokyo acquaintance who kept Skype on replied to me that s/he was going to die as I asked if s/he was OK. Her/his office was on the 14th floor and s/he said s/he could see the fire going up the sky from Odaiba. The aftershock was lasting all the while. Regardless of the fact if you were there or not there, it took some time for everybody to understand that it was really happening.
My deepest sympathy goes to those who are troubled by this great earthquake. My heart also aches hearing the news that agricultural products are radiation-contaminated, as I recently interact with many farmers in Vietnam. We were planning the last activity of the school year at Yoyogi, Tokyo but decided to cancel it due to the quake. It was judged as dangerous, as there are multiple children who would come to the site by train, while blackouts were expected, the train services were limited, and the ones available may have been crowded than usual. We are going to newly start the OKWave Pangaea Activity near Ebisu station, Tokyo in April. I called Yoyogi children to let them know the cancellation to find out that there are more ones who wanted to come to the new site despite the fact that it will be a little farther. Hope we would be able to get together soon.
In Seoul, Korea, the activity of the new school year has started at UNESCO Mizy Center. It seems they have decided at the last minutes to send Japan the message to cheer us up, as the quake occurred right before. After the activity, they immediately sent us the photo of the message board that children has prepared using pictographs and Japanese characters, which you will be able to see on the Pangaea Blog (http://www.pangaean.org/blog/english/archives/2011/03/message_from_ko.html).
Hope aftershocks will be over very soon. Thank you very much for Pangaeans who sent us the emails from Kenya, Sweden, Malasia, US, Korea, Vietnam and UK for your support. We will get over this.

Well, I introduce, Mr. Yohei Murakami, Senior Researcher of Language Grid Project, National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, as a Pangaea Ring Writer for this month.


Posted by: kumakinoko | 3. Newsletter | Permalink

 April 2011 Newsletter: Pangaea ring -Mr.Yohei Murakami

I introduce, Mr. Yohei Murakami, Senior Researcher of Language Grid Project, National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, as a Pangaea Ring Writer for this month.

I am doing research and development of Langrid in NICT (National Institute of Information and Communications Technology). Langrid is an online multi language service basis to share language resources such as translation software, dictionaries and so on. I got to know Ms Mori, the President of Pangaea because she gave a lecture as a potential user of Langrid in a symposium which was held when the project had just started. After that Pangaea’s office moved to our neighbor in Kyoto. Since then we have been cooperating each other.

This project had been carried with future users collaborating between industry, academia and government from the beginning. Pangaea joined as a heavy user since we barely could give an easy demonstration of it.
Pangaea decided to use Langrid to build their website, even though at the first stage we were planning to support children’s communication collaborating with a translation service and Emoji service called Pictons which was developed by Pangaea. Because, as the project went by, we realized that staff members who supported projects were having problems rather than children. Thanks to working with Pangaea who has clear and persuasive needs, it was possible to have such a great amendment.

Owing to feedback of some experience of the Pangaea community site, we could finish building a BBS service of Langrid Toolbox, and Pangaea have been using Langrid Toolbox ever since. Furthermore, Pangaea used Langrid collaborating with an agricultural grid for YMC(Youth Mediated Communication)system which was a new phase of Pangaea.

Since Pangaea is a NPO which specialize R&D, they are the first to use new technologies. We experienced a loop of needs and seeds of “Necessity is the mother of invention” with collaboration with Pangaea. We hope that we can overcome cultural and linguistic differences revolving these loops.

Yohei Murakami
Language Grid Project
National Institute of Information and Communications Technology

Posted by: kumakinoko | 4. Pangaea Ring | Permalink