-Yumi, Chief Executive Director's monthly note
-Toshi, Chief Technical Director's monthly note
-What's up in Pangaea's Playground? (Activity report)
-Pangaea Ring (Message from a Pangaean)
Yumi's monthly note
Annyon ha-sae-yo! (Hello!) I am in Seoul at the moment. Takasaki, the VP and myself departed Narita on January 20th for a business trip to oversee preparations for new Pangaea branches worldwide. It is literally a trip around the world!
Our activities on this trip include holding workshops for the facilitators, technical staffs, holding meetings with the Pangaea local staffs in order to improve and adjust our Pangaea package currently being developed in Tokyo for the local use.
We spent our first two days in Beijing and came here to Seoul. Today, it is a holiday here (Korean New Year's Day). It has been very cold both in Beijing and Seoul and I have caught a cold, so I would take this opportunity for recuperation.
Although Korean is our neighbor country, I cannot have verbal communication with the local people at all. I am frustrated with myself for not being able to communicate with people here unless he/she speaks either Japanese or English. "Annyon ha-sae-yo", "Komapsunida" (Thank you), and "To mannayo"(see you again) is not good enough at all. I found out during this trip though, that this "To mannayo" is quite useful.
The place where we are staying right now is what we would call a "weekly mansion" in Japan ("a weekly rental condominium" in English). It has a tansy stem sauna on the ground floor where the local people would come. It is open twenty-four hours, even at six o'clock in the morning!
I went there to try the sauna, hoping that it might sooth the "dryness of the air" which I had been suffering in Seoul. This sauna was not kind of a place where the tourists would come. When I went in, this middle-aged local lady came up and spoke to me in Korean. I had absolutely no idea as to what she was saying to me. Two other ladies joined her afterwards and they all spoke to me this and that. All I could catch was "Irubon" (Japanese).
I assumed that they were asking me if I were a Japanese, so I said "Irubon". They started talking to me in Korean again.. I really wanted to tell them that I could not speak Korean but of course it did not occur to me to bring my favorite Korean-language handbook along with me to the sauna, so I used all the three Korean words that I knew and tried to communicate with them. When I said "To mannayo", their faces brightened all of a sudden. They must have thought, "Oh, To mannayo! This Japanese knows a weird word!"
I got out of the sauna and was trying to dry myself when one of the ladies came to me, splashed and patted the skin milk on the back for me. She also gave me a tangerine orange. I said to her Kompsumnida". I went to the sauna again on the next day and the same lady was there. This time, she game me a facial pack. I really wished I could bring a "water-proof" Picton card!
We will hold the workshop for the Pangaea facilitators at the Kyung Hee University in Seoul. I heard there would be around 10 volunteers attending. We will also hold the Pangaea activity with the children in Seoul and I am very much looking forward to meeting with them. After the activity, we will return to Tokyo and then off the road again to Vienna. We will be staying in Vienna for two weeks and then next is Nairobi. Our trip around the world continues...
Toshi's monthly note
Greeting from Seoul! I've got used to hot Korean food now, which I was surprised of its taste when I first tried last summer. I came to Seoul for the purpose of setting up the Pangaea branches overseas where we would hold our regular activities.
On Feb 2nd, I'm planning to give a workshop for the facilitators and the technical staffs. There will be around 10 student volunteers attending including those who have been participating since last year. In general, Korean college students possess high level of IT literacy as they make full use of IT technologies on a daily basis including their mobile phones and the Internet.
Taking that into consideration, I guess the workshop will be done smoothly. One thing that I am worried about is that it will take a little time to communicate since I'm not fluent in Korean. Every time I come to Seoul, I feel the urge to study Korean. I can't even read the menu at a restaurant and sometimes I get dishes different from what I thought I ordered. By the time I meet with the children at the Pangaea activity to be held at Kyung Hee University, I'd like to increase my Korean vocabulary so that I can communicate better.
Before getting to Seoul, I was in Jeju Island and participated a conference called GWC. Jeju Island is a famous resort island with an atmosphere of tropical paradise. Unfortunately I had no time to enjoy the Island just shuttling between my hotel room and a conference room, as it was very cold when I was there, the temperature was only around 2 degrees C (35.6 degrees F)
GWC stands for Global Wordnet Conference and it is a conference of linguistics and computer science fields. Its goal, in short, is to make a multilingual smart digital dictionary. This conference is characteristic in a way that the researchers come from various countries such as Chile, Romania, India, Iran, China and Russia.
I made a presentation on the PictNet, a communication system using Picton, which Pangaea has been working hard to develop. After the presentation, I received many positive words of advice and cheers from other researchers. I believe this opportunity was very beneficial for our R&D of the Picton project in that it offered us new knowledge and allowed us to develop new relationships.
Getting on a subway in Seoul, I recognized a LCD TV set installed on the carriage. We do have something similar to that in Japan too, but the one in Seoul had a panel for some operation as well as a cable -like thing. I wondered what it was and finally it turned out to be a mobile recharger! At the top of the panel, there is a place to load the wireless IC card to pay the fee. While recharging, you may enjoy yourself watching interesting CM. I had a chance to see a TV cell- phone here and its screen was amazingly clear. It seems like Korea has a leg up on Japan in IT environment.
I will fly to Vienna and Nairobi in February to set up the Pangaea branches there and at the same time I will continue working on programming PangaeaNet toward its release in this spring.
I keep in touch with a Tokyo R&D team and Pangaeans all over the world via e-mails, chatting on the net and IP phone. I discussed the system development on RFID tag for Internet security system with Richard in Boston and I've got some technical advice regarding PangaeaNet from Tom in San Francisco. I also received the translation of technical terms for the system development yesterday from Sasha in Vienna. Pangaea, aiming for peace engineering, is advancing toward the goal with full use of advanced IT technologies.
What's up in Pangaea's Playground? (Activity report by Seiji)
In January, I feel like Pangaea marked a first step into new phase.
The Pangaea staffs in Tokyo are packaging contents for the overseas business trip of the President and the Vise President, CTO, as well as the implementation of Pangaea branches overseas.
At the same time, the staffs are working on regular Pangaea activities as usual.
However, the activity was canceled for the first time ever since the Pangaea activity has launched because of the bad weather.
On the morning of January 28th, there was a town blanketed with snow in front of me. After discussion, the Pangaea staffs and I decided to cancel the activity in case of accident, giving the highest priority to safety. For several days after the snow, I had to pay so much attention on my steps because of the icy pavement.
This happening gave me a chance to realize that the expanding Pangaea cannot connect the world without standing on a ground, a firm region. So we will do every essential activity step by step like standing firmly on the ground. This is what I felt while walking on a snowy town.
Cherishing every precious moment, we will go through the moment we encounter, communicate and feel connected.
Pangaea Ring - Message from a Pangaean
Our guest for this month is Mr. Yasuo Kaneko of Suginami-ward Ogikubo Kita Children's House. Ogikubo Kita Children's House is the second Pangaea activity location opened in Tokyo.
"How do you do!" I am Yasuo Kaneko of Suginami-ward Ogikubo Kita Children's House. I work with the Pangaea staffs on the Pangaea activities held in Suginami-ward, Tokyo.
It was last March when Pangaea started in Suginami-ward. I was excited, half nervous in the beginning, wondering, "What in the world is going to happen?" Soon after the activities had started, I realized that you needed to be able to communicate with the people who were around you first, before communicating with the people far away in other countries. In order for you to do so, you need to start out by expressing yourself. At the first Pangaea activity, we worked on "Tako introduce (=introducing others)", "Making Namecards" and "drawing a "I LOVE map". I realized that it was the very point of all the Pangaea activities.
Our Children's House started the Pangaea activities gropingly in the beginning, however the activities got better each time and we even managed to "communicated with the children in Korea" on net on November 20th last year. Having had the opportunity to witness the various activities being developed and implemented, I do feel it is truly the reflection of the energy and the power that the Pangaea staffs have.
Suginami-ward, Tokyo has formed the high school committees so that we could listen to and get to know the high school students better in order for us to be able to reflect their voices and their thoughts in forming our community. It is a recent tendency that more children are having difficulties in communicating even with their close friends. I sincerely hope that those children would have the chance to meet more people, experience one thing after another and grow themselves through "playing" their favorite activities.
Please check for details at Pangaea homepage.
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