May 2006 Pangaea Newsletter


- Monthly General Report - April, 2006
- Yumi, Chief Executive Director's monthly note
- Toshi, Chief Technical Director's monthly note
- Pangaea Ring (Message from a Pangaean)
- News: Release of Pangaea Package!

General Report: March 2006

April 10 (Mon) Kyoto R&D Center Kick-Off

The Pangaea R&D Center is now open in Cocon Karasuma in Shijo Karasuma, Kyoto. It is the beginning of a new phase of Pangaea as a part of Intercultural Collaboration Center where a number of research organizations and NPO's are gathered together. Cocon Karasuma is located right on top of Shijo station on subway Karasuma line and is also near by downtown. Toshiyuki Takasaki, the Vice President, Takekazu Hanada of the administrative affairs and Yoshitake Takamizawa of the design division are stationed here full-time. Please feel free to visit us and say hello when you come close by.

April 17 (Mon) Intercultural Collaboration Center Kick-Off

We had an office party with all the staff at the Intercultural Collaboration Center in Cocon Karasuma to kick-off our Pangaea activity there. Each of us gave a presentation to introduce our activities. We, Pangaea were the host for this event. All the guests were curious about the title 'Maki-Maki Party' (Do-It-Yourself-Rolls Party). At the party, we had all kinds of ingredients for different kinds of 'roll-dishes' such as Sushi-rolls, Korean Bulgogi, Mexican Tortilla, etc. on the table. We rolled everything from guacamole, chicken, to colorful vegetables.. The guests who seemed a little hesitant in the beginning opened up themselves in the end. It was truly a good chance for us to get to know each other as we would be neighbors in the office from now on.

April 22 (Sat) Press Release on 'Weekly KODOMO Newspaper' by Yomiuri Newspaper

'Weekly KODOMO Newspaper' published on Saturday evenings by Yomiuri Newspaper ran an article on Picton in a corner called 'Yononaka Tankentai'. Three representatives from Hiroo junior high school with the cooperation with Shibuya ward office answered the interview. All the students answering to the questions with their eyes sparkling with animation looked confident about their own activity with Pangaea and how they were dealing with it. Their jolly-looking picture as well as their comment was posted on the article. They were asked their opinion about the communication with the children overseas using Pictons. They gave a comment as, 'We wish to experience Pangaea with the children in winder number of countries because we were able to learn the difference between the countries and we were also able to broaden our world.' Our special thanks go to Mori-san, the city news reporter of Yomiuri Newspaper for the kind offer to post the article.

April 26 (Wed) Debriefing of Shibuya Activity

We had a debriefing session on the Pangaea Activity which started in May 2004, with the volunteers in Shibuya ward who have supported our activity for the last two years. We have received a numerous impressions, opinions as well as many pieces of valuable advice on the future Pangaea Activity. Each and every comment was highly suggestive as all the volunteers knew so well about every participating child in the community. One of the comments we received was,' Pangaea has been a place where the adults not only watched for the children but also had so much fun themselves, which is why Pangaea has grown into a place where the children are always safe.' This taught us to look anew at the importance of our holding 'the community based perspective' in keeping the Pangaea Activity. The children's comments that they are looking forward to the re-start of the activity next school year have of course cheered us up more than anything. We are looking very much forward to seeing you again, also.

Yumi's Monthly Note

More and more deadlines pouring in waves in the end of March, I am now standing right on top of the Shijo Karasuma station in Kyoto after our set-up for the opening of Kyoto R&D Center. The Pangaea staffs were all occupied with moving although the city of Kyoto was full of people enjoying Hanami (cherry blossom viewing). Takasaki and Takamizawa who will be stationed in Kyoto have driven a 2t truck all the way from Tokyo in order to save the moving expense. Now the office is full of desks and bookshelves. People first joked about our office looking like a high-floored house because of too much stuff in the office, but it is all tidy and comfortable.

We had the 'Intercultural Collaboration Center' kick-off party at Cocon Karasuma on April 17th. We, Pangaea, were appointed to be the host for this get-together on our own and so the staff and the volunteers in Tokyo came on the run taking mid-night buses to give us a hand. The title of the get-together was 'Maki-Maki Party' (Do-It-Yourself -Rolls Party) The concept is to try and make various 'roll-dishes' from all over the world yourself. I planned it, and everybody else gave all they had to help me out. Thank you all. My long-time wish has come true, on top of that, the cost was covered by you all!

Having had to cut up the massive amount of vegetables like lettuce and tomatoes to serve for 70 people, Inaba and Mari-chan commented 'We feel as if we were zookeepers..'. There was a lot of work to prepare for the party but it was a big success because 'do-it-yourself' style gave a very good chance for the attendants to get to know each other by asking 'what did you put in your roll?' An eminent professor at Kyoto University tried so hard to teach us how to make an Otoro-flavored sushi roll. We also had a very good conversation with the staff of Kyoto Radio Cafe who would be our neighbor in the office. The food is always a good bond between people. It is my philosophy. On the other hand, we couldn't get the grant money that we were hoping to get. (I take it quite similar to a lottery) To be honest, I saw darkness ahead me receiving that news. We, however, won the one we applied very last. The amount is rather small, but I believe everything happens for good reasons. I took this as the message that Pangaea was not prepared to spend too much budget yet so we first had to keep working hard for another year with the money given to us. I must admit that I do get feelings that our project might have hit the wall from time to time, but we always break the wall in the end and off we go again, straight and steady. Amid our daily battle, the PangaeaNet has been completed. I received an e-mail from Kohtaro, the developer today. We have suffered, felt angry from time to time, but in the end, we have smiles. Meeting with people is my treasure. I have met so many people working on Pangaea. I am so grateful!

Yumiko Mori

Toshi's monthly Note

I have moved to Kyoto at the beginning of April in accordance with the foundation of the Pangaea R&D center.

I have to thank Prof. Toru Ishida in that the center could not be established without his support. I am acquainted with him when my project was adopted with the IPA, the Information-Technology Promotion Agency, in 2004 and he was my project manager. Prof. Ishida, himself, has launched a project called "The Language Grid:" that has been developed by NICT, National Institute of Information and Communications Technology. This is a project to build a worldwide language infrastructure on the Internet combining language resources and language processing functions such as machine translators and electronic dictionary. Unlike the usual project of research laboratory and university, this project is based on collaboration between industry, government, university, and citizens.

NPO Pangaea will participate the project as a user of the Language Grid system; a collaborator who will co-work on developing Picton, a language resource; a contributor who provide a knowledge base of Picton. I am working with NICT researchers to incarnate the project.

It has been only one month since the NPO Pangaea Research and Development headquarter has relocated, many volunteers have already visited. Yesterday was middle of holidays but the office was full of volunteers all day. Pangaea package is almost done with their support. Then I will fly to Seoul, Vienna and Nairobi with the completed package from mid-May to mid-July and the PangaeaNet will start worldwide.

On a final note, Mr. Ito who has worked as a core staff of a technical development for one year will leave the NPO Pangaea. He had been a technical volunteer and in beginning of the last spring, he came to me and said "I would like to put all my energy to Pangaea for a year." I was very glad when I heard it. I really feel that he has grown up working at Pangaea for throughout the year as a core staff. I appreciate him that I also learned very much working together with him. I wish that he will do his best at the next step he has taken and I am looking forward to the day he will come back and participate in Pangaea as a volunteer!

Toshiyuki Takasaki

Pangaea Ring - Message from a Pangaean

Hello. My name is Kohtaro Ito. I have been involved with Pangaea as a developer

I first got to know Pangaea through Takasaki, the Vice President whom I met at my college and I started working as a full-time developer for Pangaea in April 2005. Working for Pangaea for the past one year has been such a dense experience for me, among all, the PangaeaNet Project has allowed me to gain the most valuable experience.

What I have enjoyed the most was when Mori, the President, Takamizawa, the web designer and I were working on the scheme of PangaeaNet. Gathering our own expertise in discussion in forming the scheme has allowed us to grow our image into something that is more and more vivid. It was as if 1+1+1 equaled much more than 3. I experienced the real thrill of being part of the development team and this experience would always be a valuable asset for me.

On the other hand, what I have suffered the most was how to realize the scheme of PangaeaNet into the real system. We had hours of arguments from time to time, to reach agreement on what kind of function and design are required for the PangaeaNet in order for the users to meet, communicate and bond with each other in the best way. We, the R&D team have managed to overcome all the arguments and the tough times. I think it was because each one of us have shared the same ideal on the bottom line, which was to enable the children in the world to experience the enthusiasm to communicate with children in other parts of the world, as well as to feel the excitement to become friends with many children all over the world.

Now that the PangaeaNet has been released, the Pangaeans all over the world would be able to communicate freely with each other. The children in Korea writing to the children in Kenya, the children in Austria visiting the houses of the Japanese children..picturing those images makes me so excited. I anticipate the bright future of Pangaea.

Lastly, I would like to thank all the people who have supported me in developing the PangaeaNet. My special thanks go to Takasaki san, Ueno san, Takamizawa san and Ikeda san in the R&D team whom I had spent no end of days and nights, Mori san, Mukai san, Hanada san, Yamasaki san who have provided me much advice on the development from the activity-field point of view. Terasaki san, Shinohara san, Watanabe san, Shibata san, Inaba san have given me valuable advice on their expertise. Thank you all so very much.

Kohtaro Ito

News- Release of Pangaea Package!

For those readers who have had questions on the Pangaea Terms such as 'packaging''activity''PangaeaNet' etc. Pangaea is aiming for creating 'the Universal Playground' where the children all over the world would meet, create bond and communicate with each other. The Universal Playground is composed of 'PangaeaNet' and 'Simultaneous/non-simultaneous activity'. 'Pangaea Package' is the manual which describes all the necessary information as to how to use PangaeaNet, how to plan and run the activities smoothly and so on. This package will provide the environment for any children or adults anywhere in the world to participate in the Pangaea activities so that they can meet, create bond and communicate with a winder number of children and adults all over the world.

The PangaeaNet is now getting ready to initiate in the world in the middle of May, starting with the activity in Seoul. We would like to introduce briefly on the PangaeaNet and the content of the Pangaea package.

The PangaeaNet is a closed community site where only the children who have registered for Pangaea can join. In order to be registered, it is requested for you to participate in the Pangaea Activity held at the children's houses, the museums, and after-school hour activities at the schools first. You can create your original house on PangaeaNet at the activity using pencils and crayons. Once you have your original house, it would be your home base and you can go to various places in the world and play. Our concept is, 'With 4 clicks you can reach as far as the whole globe, starting from your house, the village and the country'! You can visit the children all over the world and their houses going through their own house, village and the country. Once you visit the other children at their house, you can leave their messages.

For example, you can...

-Visit a friend in Kenya and leave a message such as 'What is
your favourite?', using Picton and post the message.

-Go to Pangaeum (A museum where you can exhibit your creative
work). If you like someone's piece of work, you can send
him/her a message to let him/her know that you like his/her

-Exchange Invitation Card with other children who you want to
be close friends with. You can visit his/her room or
he/she can visit your room.

The PangaeaNet is designed so that the children can have fun and yet lead themselves to a closer relationship by communication. The Pangaea House has many gimmicks installed as well. It is almost impossible to introduce all of them here, but some of the gimmicks include the changeable self portrait which can express the children's emotions, the nameplates written in the mother tongue of the children, the icon which carries the sound of their name recorded by the children themselves, the treasury box(=P-BO) in the room where the children can keep their favorite pieces of work in stock. Our focus was put in how to develop a system with which the children can fully experience the excitement of their desire to know more about the other children, to express and pass along their feelings and to feel the joy of making friends with the children all over the world.

Having communication with the other children on PangaeaNet is inseparable from participating in the Pangaea Activity. It stimulates the children to communicate on the net more, when they are participating in the Pangaea Activity with other children in the real space, because they can work together in giving ideas for the pieces of work they could exhibit on the Pangaeum or they could create the Picton messages together. It is also possible that the children in different branches would have the opportunities to meet face to face at the simultaneous activity from time to time. Thus, this amusing world of Pangaea stretches out more and more.

The manual in the Pangaea Package describes in detail, how to set up the activity site, how to proceed on the facilitation at the activity, how to draw the Pangaea house, how to scan the images, how to upload the necessary materials and so on. It is described in the way that those who are not familiar with PC are also able to operate the activity. The reporting sheet and the format required at the activity are also attached to the package.

We regret that our more detailed introduction on the Pangaea Package on the newsletter or our website is not available. We would, however, be very happy to give a presentation if you are interested in our package.
Please feel free to contact us at:
info* (Please change "*" to "@".) (POC: Takekazu Hanada)