September 2006 Pangaea Newsletter
・Monthly General Report: August, 2006
・Yumi, Chief Executive Director's monthly note
・Toshi, Chief Technical Director's monthly note
・Pangaea Ring (message from a Pangaean)
General Report: August 2006
August 8th - NPO Pangaea introduced on Kyoto Shimbun News - Town News section
There was a press release on NPO Pangaea with a title 'Let's talk to the world with the pictograms' on Town-news section of Kyoto Shimbun News. The article covered the news that the Pangaea activities are starting at Pangaea Kyoto R&D Center, and mentioned about our international exchanges using Picton mails.
August 12th, 26th - Kick-off of Pangaea Activity in Kyoto!
The Pangaea activities at Kyoto R&D Center have kicked off. The activities will be held twice a month (every second and fourth Saturdays).
August 16th - Joint activity held in Shibuya
A joint activity for the elementary and junior high school students was held at Yoyogi elementary school in Shibuya. The children worked on creating cartoons and animated cartoons using PC on a theme of 'Summer Vacation'. Their works were later released on the PangaeaNet.
August 21st - Official sponsorship announced by UNESCO JAPAN on the Pangaea KOREA/JAPAN Children network project.
National Federation of UNESCO Associations in Japan officially announced to sponsor the Pangaea KOREA/JAPAN Children network project, where we hold regular activities connecting various Japanese Pangaea branches and the MIZY Center, UNESCO Korea. Simultaneous activity event connecting Tokyo/Seoul is planned in November, with the official sponsorship.
August 31st - 2006 International Educational Promotion Plan 1st Community meetingA joint project among Mie Prefecture Board of Education, Mie University and NPO Pangaea was seleced as the officially sponsored project of the International Educational Promotion Plan. The international Educational Promotion Plan is a new project led by Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology aiming at the fostering of personnel who is independently-minded upon a global perspective in this international borderless society. The 1st Community meeting was held in Tsu-city, Mie prefecture to discuss the implementation of the Pangaea activity in Mie prefecture by the end of this year.
Yumi's Monthly NoteI spent the summer in Kyoto for the very first time this year.
I had heard people talk how hot it could get, but I must admit I did not really expect it to be that hot.. The area around Shijyo-Karasuma, where our Kyoto branch is, is surrounded by asphalt and the office buildings, making us feel the temperature even hotter.. Our staffs in Kyoto were all suffering the simmering heat saying that the feeling temperature must be 2 or 3 degrees C higher than the official data announced by the Meteorological Office!
More than 4 months have passed since the grand-open of Kyoto R&D center. Starting this month, we are to hold the Pangaea activities at COCON Karasuma as well. Being in the middle of Obon festival in Japan, (-a Buddhist festival to recognize ancestral spirits), there has been a bit of a difficulty in announcing the public on our activity schedule to gather a big group, yet, the volunteers who had taken our facilitators' workshop came to join us and I personally thought it was a good opportunity for us all to get used to the activity cite as well as the activity itself. Various Pangaea branches have started to hold activities constantly, meaning the Pangaea activities are held somewhere in Japan almost every week. I myself have participated in the activity held at some branch almost every week since this spring.
People often tell me that it must be a hard work, but honestly speaking, I can get by other tough tasks because of the activities. They are so much fun to me. I almost feel that if I had a choice, I would only want to do the activities. Among the children who participated in the activity in Kyoto, I found one who loved dinosaurs and insects. I can't help feeling so thrilled to imagine that one day soon, he would meet that boy(girl) in Shibuya who is another dinosaur's lover!
The Pangaea regular activities at the Korea UNESCO MIZY Center, will kick off on Sept 23rd. Kyunghee Unviersity students will participate as facilitators, and we are all excited to do at Mizy Center. UNESCO JAPAN has also officially endorsed with our KOREA /JAPAN Pangaea activities.
In order to expand the circle of Pangaea, it is my recent belief that providing the opportunities for our facilitators in each country as well as the children, to get to feel the bond with each other would be vital, and utilizing the tools such as an online multilingual-chat system of the Language Grid project at NICT would make it possible. I hope that we would be able to provide you such an opportunity at the simultaneous activity scheduled in November. Don't miss it!
Toshi's monthly NoteSummer has slipped by and it is already September now. In Kyoto, it is still hot by day but cool and comfortable by night. It has been 3 years since NPO Pangaea was incorporated and we finally get to hold an all-self-funded Kyoto activity from this summer at Pangaea Kyoto R&D center. There is nothing more cerebral for me and I believe my life in Kyoto will be enriched more and more.
In this newsletter, I would like to give you a further note about a multilingual communication tool mentioned in Yumi's last newsletter.
In the end of July, I visited Seoul with members of the Language Grid project team in NICT, the National Institute of Information and Communications Technologies. Then we gave a demonstration of online-chatting with multilingual communication tool and connected Pangaea staffs in Kyoto, Japan and volunteers at MIZY center, Seoul.
We applied online-Chat software by machine translation being developed under the Language Grid project team. The quality of its translation is very good and even Pangaea original vocabulary was properly translated by the Language Grid System. For example, we often use a word "facilitator" among the Pangaea staffs but it is not still common word as a Japanese language. So, when one tries to translate "a facilitator" written in Japanese characters into English via previous machine translator, it will not be translated correctly, sometimes a nonsensical word comes out and sometimes a word is not translated and comes out in original Japanese spelling, which is supposed to be English word. Thus, it is not easy for us to communicate through a previous machine translation. To solve these problems, some machine translators have a function to register your original vocabulary, which is so-cold a jargon or dialect, yet it is not useful because a way to register is very complicated and difficult. However the Language Grid System allows users to add words very easily, so its translation system is possible to respond to original vocabulary which was difficult for an ordinary one.
Setting a smooth communication between Japanese and Korean Pangaea staffs as a first goal, we are now making an original dictionary of Pangaea vocabulary in Japanese, English, Korean and German using the Language Grid System. Then we try to give detailed feedbacks to Language Grid project team in NICT.
The Language Grid Project has started for citizens, NPO and NGO to support them to have a chance to conduct intercultural collaboration and activities. So it is best suited tool for Pangaea collaboration among all branches. As Language Grid project in NICT and NPO Pangaea established partnerships, I would like to cooperate with NICT capitalizing each other's strengths: NICT that constructs the Language Grid System, and Pangaea that have international practicing fields.
(For more info about the project, check: http://langrid.nict.go.jp/projecte.htm)
Activity Report - Mariko YamazakiAugust activities in Tokyo were held in a relaxed mood. It was so relaxed that one day, I carelessly forgot to tell volunteers of Shibuya-ward a date of activities. Then a Pangaea activity coincided with a PC school held by Shibuya-ward. Thanks to PC school staffs who knew that they made a double booking with Pangaea, they cut the time short and gave a PC room for us. I was happy to see that Pangaea penetrated to an area and people more than I imagined.
At a Shibuya activity, we did a Picton cartoon for the first time in order to update their works at Pangaeum. The Picton cartoon is an activity that children express their own story by cutting a sticky note in one's favorite shape and size, drawing Picton or original illustrations on it and stapling it on a 21centimetre-squared board.
These works will be updated on the Pangaeum. At the activity, children drew a cartoon under a theme of "my summer vacation". Making it interesting to read and easy to understand for someone who is not used to read cartoons, children drew their own cartoons on the assumption that cartoons would be read by children around the world. Their Picton cartoons were all enjoyable and brought us a smile. For example a child drew about a day at a seaside school when she was surprised of being thrown a jelly fish by a naughty boy, a child drew about a day he mixed many kinds of teas and its taste was so terrible that he threw it away, and a child drew about his nightmare that he was chased by a ghost appeared from a jar.
Not only in cartoon but also some expressed a story in animation by using PC. Because of the double booking, we could not have enough time to use PC, but children have already prepared what they would draw and completed their works at once. A middle school boy sedulously created an animation and finally wonderful fireworks filled his PC screen. Hearing cheers from everyone, he showed bashful and a little bit proud look. It is a pleasure for facilitators to see and encounter those look. I can also hear children's cheer around the world seeing his work at the Pangaeum. Nowadays children are updating their work on the Pangaeum for the first time at each branch. I wish his fireworks will be the spark for the opening of the Pangaeum.
Pangaea Ring - Message from a PangaeanThis month, we have received a message from Ms. Jane Gatonye, the leader of Pangaea Africa, Kenya branch. Jane is also the chief editor of 'Manenoworld', an educational magazine for the children in Kenya. August 2005 issue of 'Manenoworld' featured the Pangaea activities and the picture-letters drawn by the children were introduced on the magazine. Jane, thank you so much for your dedicated message!
Pangaea Africa You have probably already read a lot about Pangaea Africa. We are one of the oldest participants in Pangaea having started very soon after the dream was born. We have had the privilege of seeing big strides being made and actually being part of that success. When we begun in year 2002, with a vision to be fully operational by year 2005, it looked such a long time. A lot has happened since and today we are proud to be one of the sites that are actively participating. Kenya is still facing challenges in communication. Computers are not accessible to most of the population. Internet connections are few and sometimes very slow.
But continuously Yumi and Toshi have come up with alternatives that work. They have been extremely supportive and fast in responding to our needs. Our participants have been extra enthusiastic and this has proved very useful in moving the program along. We do not have a similar initiative in Kenya and so many children want to be involved but we do not have the facilities. We hope to soon have a Pangaea centre where we can freely communicate at synchronized times with other Pangaea participants around the globe. In the meantime, please check out our activities. We love hearing from you.
Jane Gatonye, Manenoworld, Leader, Pangaea Africa