November 2006 Pangaea Newsletter


・General Monthly Report: October 2006
・Yumi, Chief Executive Director's monthly note
・Toshi, Chief Technical Director's monthly note
・Activity Report
・Pangaea-Ring - message from a Pangaean

General Report: October 2006

October 6th - Kick-off of Japan/Korea Simultaneous Activity Preparatory Committee

All the Pangaea core staffs gathered together at COCON Karasuma, our branch in Kyoto, Japan and had the briefing on the event. In the afternoon, we were divided into two teams and gave the first try to our new simultaneous play named 'Otobiko'and 'I wan'na be...'. We also set up the general rules how to play.

October 13th, 27th - Pangaea Activity at Ogi-Kita(Ogikubo kita Children's House in Suginami, Tokyo)

Children at Ogikubo Kita Children's House have started creating Pangaea Playing Cards. They have completed the collaborative activity to form the "village" on the PangaeaNet and the use of the PangaeaNet seems operating steady here. The Pangaea Playing Cards the children are making, are full of illustration and drawings. We are anxious to see the cards when they are completed.

October 14th, 28th - Pangaea Activity at COCON Karasuma, Kyoto

The Activity at COCON Karasuma, Kyoto hit its start later than that of Shibuya and Suginami in Tokyo. However, the children have almost completed setting up their primary menus and they have started posting their work on the Pangaeum. This month, the children tried creating the animation using 'the Viscuit .' They have also started creating the Pangaea Playing Cards. We are looking forward to the day when the children in Kyoto could play the new playing cards with the children in Suginami, Tokyo, as the collaborative activity.

October 17th - Pangaea Presentation at Uehara Junior High School

Yumiko Mori, the Director of The NPO Pangaea was invited to make a presentation on the Pangaea Activity during the students' moral education class at Uehara Junior High School, in Shibuya, Tokyo. The children were eagerly listening to the story that she told them on her own experience on 9.11. Each child has his/her own perception but we do hope that the story they listened to gave them a moment to feel something and to think about the world they are placed now. We would like to thank Ms. Yoko Hoshino, the principal of the Uehara Junior High School for providing us with such an opportunity.

October 17th - 'Otobiko' test between Tokyo and Kyoto

We had the 'Otobiko' test between COCON Karasuma, Kyoto and our Tokyo office in Nogizaka, connecting the two branches with the web cameras. We tried making the echo of each other in front of the camera. The name of the play, 'Otobiko', was taken from a Japanese word 'Yamabiko'(echo among the hills). During our test, the director herself broke the tambourine and we burst into laughter! We studied carefully from our test and made some rules in details trying to make up the weakness of the time lag we had between the two locations while playing.

October 21st - Pangaea Activity at Shibuya, Tokyo (Uehara Junior High School/Yoyogi Elementary School)

The children had the 'Otobiko' activity at Uehara Junior High School and Yoyogi Elementary School connecting the two locations as well as spending some time creating their pieces of work to post on the Pangaeum. The children were concentrating so much on the play so that they would have as little time lag as possible. We, the staff, could feel the nervousness that the children had even through the cameras. We were anxious about whether the children enjoyed themselves or not but the response we had from the children was not bad at all. 'It would be so cool to play with the children in Seoul using this!' They seemed to be quite excited!

Yumi's Monthly Note

Time seems to have flown away while I repeated saying, 'Busy, busy!'
Now October is almost over and we are heading toward the end of the year. Another year is soon to be over. Well, this month, we have finally completed our Pangaea brochure for our business use. It has taken us longer than we had expected but we have been hearing people say that they were impressed to see the brochure, as it is so much easier to clearly understand what Pangaea is and they were also impressed how far Pangaea has made it to come.

I have spent a lot of my time at R&D center in Kyoto this month. Mari also joined us with the preparatory committee in Kyoto as our Japan-Korea Simultaneous Activity is coming next month. Our new 'menu' of the Simultaneous Activity called 'Otobiko'is now unveiled. 'Otobiko' is the name of our new play to create the echoes with each other using the musical instruments. This is fun! The Pangaea Facilitators and we all played 'Otobiko' and we all got so excited.

On the next week, we connected two of our branches in Shibuya, Tokyo and the children who gathered there tried the game. This is kind of a game which, the grade 3 students and the grade 9 students can play together for real and get themselves feeling ups and downs according to the results of the play. I was quite nervous before they first tried the game wondering what if they wouldn't find it fun to play with. The moment when the people try playing the game or the toy for the first time, even if I have the confidence that this would be successful, makes me more nervous than any other occasions and this hasn't changed ever since when I used to work for the toy company.

Toshi and I will be flying to Seoul with 'Otobiko' in November. We have facilitating experts in Tokyo so we can leave it to them and we will be on the Seoul side where Facilitators are rather new. I am already excited now. We have also started our activity in Mie prefecture, Japan. Two more months to go until the end of the year. All right, we will be hanging tough!

Yumiko Mori

Toshi's Monthly Note

Autumn in Japan is a very comfortable and enjoyable season that has many ways of appreciating such as eating, reading and drawing. How have you been enjoying so far?

This is a season of writing for Yumiko Mori and me, as we annually struggle with applications for subsidies of the next year. These applications are ones for competitive funds to METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry,), MEXT (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology,), Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, and ones for private foundations in Japan.

Like last year, I struggled with a looming deadline of subsidies every week and a format of applications which requires some unusual and distinctive expression. There exists a sort of know-how to writing those kinds of official proposal papers. With the writing experiences in last year, I finally could manage to apply all of them punctually with great help and advice from Pangaea supporters.

Not only deadlines for those applications but also I have to meet ones for an academic conference paper. There are still more subsidies and academic papers to finish up in November. My writing season doesn't seem to end for a while yet.

Speaking of academic papers, I have got happy news! At the end of October, there was an academic conference called JAWS2006, Joint Agent Workshops and Symposium 2006, held in Suzuka City located in Mie prefecture, Japan. (Suzuka city is famous for one of the Formula One Grand Prix circuits.) Mrs. Cho Heeryon presented her first-authored paper called "Semantics in Pictogram Communication." Then, she received a great student's presentation prize. Congratulations! She is now taking a doctor's course in Kyoto University and doing her research on Picton search system as a research partner of NPO Pangaea.

As she is fluent in both Japanese and Korean, she did a host in Japan when a Japan/Korea Synchronous Activity was held last year as a volunteer. She is an essential partner who always supports Pangaea at various situations. I wish her continued success in her work.

(*) To discover more info relating to JAWS conference, please check the following website JAWS2006 (Joint Agent Workshops and Symposium 2006): "Semantics in Pictogram Communication" by Cho Heeryon, Rieko Inaba, Toru Ishida, Toshiyuki Takasaki, Yumiko Mori

Besides writing, I participated in regular Pangaea Activity held in Tokyo and Kyoto. I always find myself comforted and relaxed when I play and share enjoyable time with children at the activities.

On 25th November, Pangaea will host a Japan/Korea Simultaneous Activity. Same as last year, I will participate in this event from a Korean branch. By the event, I would like to learn Hangeul, Korean letters and be able to read at least names in order to have better and deeper communication through Hangeul in addition to Picton, the Pangaea pictograms, with children in Seoul.

Toshiyuki Takasaki

Activity Report - Mariko Yamazaki

During October, activity in Tokyo was so peaceful. It had come to stay and been eager to play for children to select freely a variety of playing menu; namely creating a house, picton mail, biscuits, picton comic books, favorites maps, Pangaean cards and recording sounds for radio and so on. Even though children get tired to play with these things, Facilitator can play cards and chat with them. Therefore they are very relaxed. Ideal activity environment, which Pangaea has been aimed at, is gradually completed.

These days, over 10 Facilitators including a person in charge of technical skill join activities 3 times in a month by turns. Amazingly, they join these activities very frequently. Furthermore, everybody comes each activity very enjoyably without any obligation or inertia. Moreover, they not only enjoy activities but also make efforts to manage activities smoothly. Lately, before I ask them to set tables, tables have already been done with an unspoken agreement. They produced voluntarily how to make tired children enjoyable. They always pay attention to every detail. Every time I think they are very reliable.

I asked Yoko Yamada to manage Activity of Suginami in October as a Facilitator leader. She joined activities almost every time. She seemed to be nervous and sometimes faced puzzled occasions, but she tried to play her own role as it would help her near future. I thought her attitude was very reliable. I think Pangaea Activity is not what we are only supported one-sidedly by everybody. We seem to have lots of things to supply for everybody. According to Mr.Takasaki, Pangaea Activity is a healing opportunity and fabulous experience led to future beyond enjoyable things. I think this is very nice relationship!

As for me, I had not played a mere Facilitator for a while, I was absorbed in creating things much more than children did. I thought I experienced its taste. Yoko, I'd like you to handle these activities again!

Mariko Yamazaki

Pangaea ring - Noriko Morimoto, Japan

I support translation of newsletter every month.

I met Pangaea a few years ago. I new a woman who produced a project that children break the language barrier, nationality and the difference of color and communicate with others in the world. The woman is a director of Pangaea, Ms.Mori. I remembered that I was very impressed by the great hopeful plan like chatting with children in foreign countries by pictorial symbols (Picton) and playing with each other.

At first, I would like to support activities whatever they did, but looking back upon those days, I acquired something by Pangaea Activities. For instance, I met some people whom I never met ordinary everyday life. I felt positive energy from Pangaean staff. I'm sincerely thankful to Pangaea that gives not only children but also adults relations in the world. So far and from now on, I hope Pangaea Activity develops more and more.

Noriko Morimoto