Feature Article

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Constructing a Mongolian Ger

Saturday, October 26, 2019 Inakura Youth Activity Center

The 30th Anniversary of ica will be held on October 31, 2020. In preparation for the event, with the guidance of people from Mongolia, 35 participants gathered in the Inakura Outdoor Youth Center parking lot to assemble a Mongolian ger. On the actual day of the event, next year, the ger will be assembled with all participants.

When we arrived at the venue, several people were carrying heavy wooden framework out from under a storage staircase. I immediately tried to help but the last door I brought out was extremely heavy and quite challenging to carry.

We inserted the umbrella-like slats of the roof into their receptacles. Unfortunately we came up short one hole right at the very end. Because of this we had to correct our mistake. Even though we had this minor setback, like excited children, we still had fun. After its completion, it was already lunch time. In the end, I struck up some conversations with participants over lunch.

Finally, under roof of the completed ger, was a live performance of the morin khuur, a traditional Mongolian stringed instrument. Right before our eyes, came an impressive force of various tones. Eyes closed, Mongolia’s vast wilderness, emanated.

Hajime Katsuragi

Idobata Salon

Friday, October 25, 2019 at Kansai International Center

This year 55 people from 25 different countries, gathered and struck up conversations at Kansai International Center. Joining the foreigners, were 25 Japanese participants, including members of ica and Japanese trainees from Kansai International Center. Groups communicated using a mix of Japanese, English, and gestures to share the a bit of culture from their home countries as well as their impressions of Japan.

Countries of Origin

Central Africa
Democratic Republic of the Congo

Latin America

Middle East



Impressions from Participants

  • I’ve never been to a country before. I think if I knew a bit more about myself I could have talked a little more.
  • Everyone has just arrived in Japan, so they feel very excited and hopeful about upcoming experiences. I hope they enjoy their time in Japan despite the hard task of studying.
  • Many people were interested in the culture and language of my country. I felt motivated to learn about the cultures of other countries. (Colombia)
  • Everyone was very kind and I want to meet them again.
  • I learned a lot about Japan and I practiced my Japanese language skills. (Seychelles)

Let’s Play!

Let’s play with foreigners, is a program designed to warm children’s hearts with a variety of activities. This year activities included guest country introductions and gesture games like Janken Lesha (Rock, Paper, Scissors Train) Omiseyasangokko (Pretend Shopping), and more. Let’s play with foreigners, is planned, prepared and managed by the mothers of World Fun This year 8 foreigners from 7 different countries (Iran, Egypt, Ghana, Sri Lanka, China, Germany and Vietnam) joined the event. Guests and families had good laughs and fun times together.

Nothing better than having fun!

I participated in Let’s play with foreigners. During the guest presentations interested children gathered around to listen. Looking at the game Janken (Rock, Scissors, Paper), there were not three, but four, options to play. It’s not even Rock, Scissors, Paper at that point. It was surprising to say the least.

It was fun times in the game corner where foreign currency was used.

I participated because I thought it would be good, from a young age, to converse with people from various countries. It was an opportunity to take some time to communicate with people who spoke little to no Japanese. After joining ica, I’ve become more and more at ease with this.

I think the most memorable moment from this experience happened before the actual event. The guests’ children along with Japanese children, although they couldn’t understand each other, they played a fun game of soccer.

In Japan, there aren’t many so many events with the opportunities to learn about other countries. Because of that, I think this is a great experience. Thank you! (TM)

Hometown Celebration

Summer Festival in Izumisano
July 27, 2019

The 44th Annual Izumisano Folk Art Festival was held at Rinku Park, near Rinku Town Station. The event was packed with local citizens and foreign tourists. Ten foreigners from six different countries, mainly learners of ica Japanese language classes, wore traditional yukata and enjoyed the summer festivities. Like last year, ica set up a booth titled Charity Lottery. The booth attracted children and foreigners alike, giving them a chance to win souvenirs from around the world.

It’s Time to Speak Japanese!

Japanese Class Presentation
Saturday, June 15, 2019

Let’s Speak Japanese was held on Saturday, June 15. Students of ica learning Japanese, had a chance to present in front of an audience. Fourteen presenters from eight different countries, with various levels of Japanese, performed a song or gave a speech.

Impressions from presenters and audience members

  • It was fun to hear various speeches. I learned some new things. I was also surprised that some of the learners were able to speak Japanese in such a short period of time. (Jeffrey / Germany)
  • It was a very fun activity. It was my first time so I was a bit nervous. It was great to be able to talk with other Chinese people. (Sonlin/ China)
  • Everyone was good at Japanese and I had no problem understanding. (S)
  • It’s been a long time since I participated in the ica event. I was surprised to hear that the number of learners increased.  In addition, they’ve come from various countries. (T)
  • The relationships between the learners and the teachers were warm and congenial. (M)
  • Various thoughts and ideas were presented. I could see that they’d worked very hard for this day. (K)
  • It was very interesting to get a better understanding of Japan, not only in the Japanese classroom but also by understanding the culture of other countries.(U)