ヴィータウタス・マグヌス大学(リトアニア)活動日誌/Vytautas Magnus University(Lithuania)GJO Activity Report

2020年9月 活動日誌 / September Activity Report

2020年9月30日 / September 30, 2020
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
高木 伽耶子 / TAKAGI Kayoko

 朝晩はしとしとと雨が降り気温は10度前後になる一方で、日中は20度近くの気持ちのよい秋晴れ、リトアニアの秋はいつも気まぐれです。新学期の忙しさとその寒暖の差の激しさで、体調を崩す学生も多く、9月は大変に気を遣う月でもあります。学生らはようやく対面授業の感覚を取り戻しつつあり、友達と肩を並べて学べる喜びを存分に味わっています。

 対面授業の復活と共に学生サークルの活動も今学期から再開されました。日本文化サークル「橋」は9月10日の「橋」20歳の誕生日を祝い、毎週金曜日の夜のイベントを再始動させました。昨年からスタートした月例のディスカッションイベント『Let’s talk』も今年2月以来、久しぶりの開催となりました。今回のテーマは「大学と学生」。昨今、大学は単に専門的知識や技術を身につける場所ではなく、その後の社会生活に必要な様々なスキルの習得を学生に期待する場となりました。日本人大学生を対象に行われたアンケートを参照しながら、大学が学生に求めるスキルとは?そして、学生が大学に期待するものとは何か?という話題で1時間のディスカッションが行われました。VMU東アジア研究専攻の学生を中心に、他学部・他学科の学生、大学院生、卒業生ら合計17名が参加しました。年齢や所属の違う参加者たちが、それぞれ自分の期待や経験をもとに、学生が大学で身につけるべきことは何か、そしてそれを得るためにはどのように行動すべきか、など大変熱い議論が交わされました。グループ内でも意見が分かれ、最後のグループ発表では異論・反論の嵐で、司会が止めなければあと何時間でも続きそうな勢いでした。検疫強化のために学生サークルの活動が中止されるまでは、日本人留学生が多く参加し、日本語を話す重要な場でもあったこのイベントですが、交換留学プログラムが実質停止されている現状では、その良さが失われつつあります。しかし、前述の通り、普段の大学生活では関わる機会のない他学部生や卒業生らと交流できるのもこの活動の魅力の一つに違いありません。初めて参加した新入生は、ディスカッションテーマである「大学在学中に習得を期待すること」の一つに「文化的・社会的多様性を理解し、それを尊重する」という項目を挙げ、「このようなイベントに参加するのは、まさにこういう感覚を身につけたいからなんです。今日は(同じディスカッショングループの)卒業生から、私が今学んでいる専門分野の将来性や大学で身につけたスキルについて話を聞ける機会があってとても嬉しかったです。」とコメントしてくれました。

 来月は、今年一番の日本関連イベントとも言える「杉原ウィーク」が開催されます。2020年は、杉原千畝生誕120周年及び『命のビザ』発給80周年を記念した『杉原の年』で、リトアニアと日本にとって重要な年です。COVID-19の影響により、日本からのゲストがリトアニアでこの大事な年を共に祝うことは叶いそうにありませんが、カルチャーフェアやスピーチコンテストの企画運営など、VMU及びアジア研究センターはイベント成功に向けて尽力しています。来月の活動日誌では、カウナスの盛り上がりをお伝えできることでしょう!

Let’s talkの様子(撮影:Laura Nikodema Leščevič)

Let’s talkの様子(撮影:Laura Nikodema Leščevič)

Let’s talkの様子(撮影:Laura Nikodema Leščevič)


2020年8月 活動日誌 / August Activity Report

2020年9月10日 / September 10, 2020
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
高木 伽耶子 / TAKAGI Kayoko

 8月は夏季休暇中で学生が全くいない静かな大学となりました。しかし、本学のアジア研究センターは、休暇明けの授業準備や行事の打ち合わせで忙しく過ごしていました。特に10月には杉原千畝生誕120周年と命のビザ発行80周年である「杉原の年」を祝う一週間の大掛かりなイベント、杉原ウィーク(SUGIHARA WEEK)の開催が予定されており、その準備に奔走しています。杉原ウィーク期間中には日本とリトアニアに関する様々なイベントがカウナスの各地で行われ、本学では日本語スピーチコンテストも開催予定です。
In August, the university was very quiet as students were on their summer holidays. However, our Center for Asian Studies was busy preparing for classes and holding event meetings. In particular, the Center was working hard to prepare for “Sugihara Week” in October, a week-long event celebrating the 120th  anniversary of the birth of Chiune Sugihara and the 80th anniversary of the issuance of “Visas for Life”. During Sugihara Week, various events related to Japan and Lithuania will be held throughout Kaunas, and Vytautas Magunus University will also hold a Japanese speech contest.

 新学期を迎えるヴィータウタス・マグヌス大学では、教室での対面授業になるのか、もしくは引き続きオンラインで行われるのか、学部によって判断が異なっており、教職員も様々なケースを想定して授業準備をしていました。東アジア研究プログラムが属する人文学部では基本的には対面の授業を想定しており、先学期はクラスメートと思うように交流できなかった学生たちも、今学期はようやくいつも通りの授業になると喜んでいました。
At Vytautas Magnus University, which is entering its new semester, faculty members have different opinions on whether classes should be conducted face-to-face in the classroom or online. The Faculty of Humanities, which the East Asian Studies Program belongs to, will be holding face-to-face classes, and students who were unable to interact with their classmates in the last semester were pleased that classes this semester will finally go back to normal.

 しかし、当然ながらまったく元通りというわけではありません。リトアニアでも依然COVID-19の感染者は増え続けており、決して油断できる状況ではないため、大学側も細心の注意を払っています。例えば、教室の入り口には注意喚起のポスターが貼られ、教室内ではマスクを必ず着用し、学生同士が近づきすぎないように教員が配慮する必要があります。
However, of course, things are not completely back to normal. The number of people infected with COVID -19 is still increasing in Lithuania, and the university is paying close attention to the situation. There are warning posters at the entrance of the classrooms, wearing a mask inside the classrooms will be mandatory, and teachers must make sure than students are not seated too close to each other.

 また、東アジア研究プログラムの日本語授業は基本的には対面授業とし、体調面に不安がある人はZoomを介して家から授業に参加できるようにしています。
In addition, the East Asia Research Program’s Japanese language classes will be held face-to-face in general, while allowing those who are concerned about their physical condition to participate in classes from home via Zoom.

 8月31日から、新入生以外は授業がスタートしています。日本語のクラスでは、先学期ほとんどできなかった多読活動を授業内で行いました。授業評価とは関係のない、自由参加としたのですが、久しぶりに大学でクラスメートと一緒に本を読めるのがうれしかったようで、たくさんの学生が参加してくれました。
Classes have started from August 31 except for new students. In my Japanese class, I did some extensive reading which I could hardly do in the last semester. Although it was not included in the grade evaluation, many students participated and enjoyed reading with their classmates on campus.

 9月からは日本文化サークル『橋』の活動も再開し、大学内での活動がより活発になっていくでしょう。学生たちの心身の健康に気を付けながら、彼・彼女らがアクティブで充実した学期を送れるようサポートしていきたいと思います。
From September, the activities of the Japanese Culture Circle “Bridge” will resume, and other events within the university will also become more active. I would like to support the students so that they can have an exciting and fulfilling semester, all while taking care of their physical and mental health.


2020年7月 活動日誌 / July Activity Report

2020年8月4日 / August 4, 2020
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
高木 伽耶子 / TAKAGI Kayoko

 無事に全ての授業と試験を終え、学生たちは大学へ訪れることのないまま夏休みを迎えました。6月以降検疫が緩和されていたリトアニアでは、例年よりも開催されるイベント等は減少したものの、国内の移動には制限がないため、他県出身の学生たちは自分の地元へと帰省し、少し静かな休暇をスタートさせました。
After completing all classes and exams safely, with no on-campus classes, the students are now on their summer vacations. In Lithuania, where quarantine measures have been relaxed since June, the number of events held has decreased compared to previous years, but there are no restrictions on travel within the country, so students from other prefectures have returned to their hometowns and have begun their simple and quiet vacations.

 9月以降ヴィータウタス・マグヌス大学から日本の大学へ留学を予定していた学生らは、プログラムの延期や中止の連絡を受け、非常に落胆していました。しかし、夏季休暇中もモチベーションを落とすまいと、家庭での自習方法について相談する学生や、日本人学生とのオンライン交流会を企画する学生らの姿がありました。そのような学生らの声を受け、7月は日本とのオンラインイベントを2つ開催することができました。
Vytautas Magnus University students who were planning to study at Japanese universities from September were very disappointed when they were informed that their programs had been postponed or canceled. However, in order not to lose their motivation during the summer vacation, there were some students who seeked advice on how to study at home, and some who had organized an online exchange meeting with Japanese students. In response to these actions taken by students, we decided to hold two online events with Japan in July.

 まず、7月10日(金)はVMUの協定校である昭和女子大学の志摩園子教授のゼミメンバー12名との交流会を行いました。リトアニアからは7名が参加し、日本語や英語を使って小グループで色々な話題について話し合いました。今回は事前に学生同士のプロフィールを交換し、互いに質問したいことや、ディスカッションテーマを考えておくようにしました。志摩ゼミの学生から出たリトアニアの夏至祭に関する質問に対し、リトアニアの学生は苦労しながらも日本語で一生懸命に説明していました。イベント後、昭和女子大学の参加者からは、リトアニアの学生が日本の古い映画や音楽に詳しいことに驚いた、大学生活の違いについてよく理解できた、などの感想を受けました。またリトアニア側の参加者からは、日本語の使用機会があって嬉しいという意見が多くありました。今後はより深いテーマでのディスカッションや共同のプロジェクトなどを通じて、共に学ぶ関係を築いていきたいと考えています。
On Friday, July 10, we held an exchange meeting with 12 seminar members led by Professor Sonoko Shima of Showa Women’s University, a partner institution of VMU. Seven participants from Lithuania discussed various topics in small groups using Japanese and English. This time, we exchanged the profiles of the students in advance and tried to think about what they wanted to ask each other and decide on a discussion theme. In response to a question from a student in the Shima Seminar about the summer solstice in Lithuania, the Lithuanian student tried hard to explain in Japanese, albeit with difficulty. After the event, participants from Showa Women’s University commented that they were surprised that Lithuanian students were familiar with old Japanese movies and music, and that they understood the differences in university life well. In addition, many Lithuanian participants commented that they were happy to have the opportunity to use Japanese. In the future, we hope to build a relationship of mutual learning through discussions on more concise themes and joint projects.

 7月31日(金)には、初めてのリトアニア留学フェアをオンラインで開催しました。フェアと言っても、一方的に情報を提供するようなスタイルではなく、日本からVMUに留学経験のある学生やカウナスの現地の学生らのパネルディスカッションと小グループでの自由会話を活動内容とした、交流型のイベントとして実施しました。神田外語大学、岐阜大学、東京外国語大学、広島大学、山口大学の5つの大学から、大学院生を含む学生17名と教職員2名の計19名が参加してくれました。留学経験者として体験談を語ってくれた日本の学生は4名、VMUからは3名が参加しました。事前質問では、奨学金や履修できる科目に関するものもありましたが、今回は留学生たちの生の声にフォーカスして、留学中の生活を様々な角度から語ってもらいました。留学に関するプラクティカルな情報を伝えることも必要ですが、留学の可能性や実感を得られにくい現在だからこそ、日本の学生が近い将来、実際にリトアニアで学び、生活する姿を想像しながら、留学へのモチベーションを持ち続けられるようなイベントにしたいと考えました。イベント開催前から、リトアニア留学を予定していたものの中止になった、あるいは、留学を検討していたが現在の状況では目途が立たず、目標を失って勉強に身が入らないという声を耳にしていました。そのため、イベント後に「とても丁寧に質問に答えていただけたので、具体的なイメージを持てました。」「リトアニアの魅力を改めて知れて、より留学したいと思えた。」「留学について具体的に考え始めることができるようになりました」という感想が得られたことは非常に大きな意味がありました。今後も、内容や形式を工夫しながら、リトアニア留学に興味を持つ学生たちに、少しでもリトアニアやVMUの魅力を伝えられるように努力していきたいと思います。
On Friday, July 31, we held our first Lithuanian fair online. Although it was called a fair, we did not just provide information, but conducted a panel discussion and had time for free conversations with students who have studied at VMU from Japan and local students in Kaunas, making it an interactive event. A total of 17 students, including graduate students, and two faculty members from five universities, including Kanda University of International Studies, Gifu University, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, Hiroshima University, and Yamaguchi University attended the workshop, bringing the total number of participants to 19. Four Japanese students and three from VMU participated in the seminar, and they talked about their experiences studying abroad. Some of the prior questions were about scholarships and courses that students could take, but we also focused on the opinions of exchange students and asked them to talk about their lives while studying abroad from various aspects. It is important to convey practical information about studying abroad, but because it is difficult to really feel like that is a possibility amidst this pandemic, we wanted to make this an event to support Japanese students and keep up their motivation to study abroad, by helping them imagine how they will actually study and live in Lithuania in the near future.Before the event, I had heard about the stories of students who had planned on studying abroad but couldn’t, or how they had lost motivation because they weren’t able to make any plans. For this reason, it was very significant that we received comments after the event such as: “I was able to imagine better what it would be like to study there because you answered all of my questions thoroughly”, “This event made me want to study in Lithuania even more” and “This was a good opportunity to start really considering my studying abroad plans.” I will continue doing my best to create meaningful and helpful events for students who are interested in studying in Lithuania and VMU.


2020年6月 活動日誌 / June Activity Report

2020年6月30日 / June 30, 2020
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
高木 伽耶子 / TAKAGI Kayoko

 6月のリトアニアといえば夏至祭です。一年のうち最も日が長い夏至を祝うお祭りで、毎年6月23日の夜半から24日の朝にかけて各地で祭りが開催されます。しかし、今年は人が集まりすぎることが懸念され、中止、もしくは非常に小規模な開催にとどまった地域が多かったようです。この夏至のお祭りをリトアニア語では「Joninės(ヨニネス)」と言い、6月24日は祝日になっています。
  Lithuania in June is famous for its summer solstice festival. It celebrates the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, and festivals are held in various parts of the country from the midnight of June 23 to the morning of the 24th every year. However, this year there were concerns about too many people gathering, and many regions canceled or held only very small events. The summer solstice festival is called “Joninės” in Lithuanian and June 24 is a national holiday. 

 例年、Joninėsの頃にはほとんどの学生が期末試験を終えて夏休みに入っていますが、今年は試験の日程がずれこんだため、6月の終わりごろまでなかなか気が抜けなかった人もたくさんいました。日本語の試験は各レベルとも比較的早めに終わりました。中間テストと同様に今回も全てオンラインでの試験となりました。
  Around Joninės every year, most students have finished their final exams and go on summer vacation, but this year, the exam schedules were delayed, so many students were up to their necks until the end of June. The Japanese exams ended relatively early for each level. As with the mid-term tests, all tests were conducted online.

 試験期間中の6月19日には、岐阜大学とのオンライン交流会が行われました。杉原千畝の故郷として、リトアニア、特にカウナスとは縁の深い岐阜では、有志のリトアニア勉強会が毎月一度大学で行われています。今回のイベントではその勉強会の皆さんと日本語と英語を交えながらの会話の機会を設けました。合わせて25名ほどの参加者を4,5人の小グループにわけ、毎回違うメンバーと様々なテーマで意見を交わしました。
  On June 19, during the test period, an online exchange meeting was held with Gifu University. In Gifu, home to Chiune Sugihara and closely related to Lithuania and especially Kaunas, a Lithuanian study session is held by volunteers at the university once a month. In this meeting, we provided an opportunity to have conversations in both Japanese and English with the members of the study group. A total of about 25 participants were divided into small groups of 4 or 5, and they exchanged opinions on various topics with different members each time.

 イベントの最後に参加者からの感想を聞いたところ、「会話の中で互いの国について新たなことを知ることができた」「コロナ禍でリトアニアの人がどんな風に過ごしていたかわかった」「1時間では短すぎる。もっと話したかった」「リトアニアに留学したくなった」などのコメントがあり、イベントを楽しんでくれた人が多かったという印象でした。日本・リトアニアの両方からこのような感想が出たことも大事な点です。日本語を絡めたイベントでは、日本人が日本語を教える、学習者に合わせてあげる、という状況を避け、参加者全員が対等な立場で話し、共に学びを得られる仕組みを作っていくことが重要だと改めて実感しました。
  At the end of the event, we got feedback from the participants, such as, “We were able to learn new things about each other’s countries through our conversations”, “I found out how Lithuanian people have been living through the COVID-19 outbreak”, “An hour wasn’t enough time. I wanted to talk more”, and “Now I want to study in Lithuania”, indicating that many students enjoyed the event. It is also important to note that participants from both Japan and Lithuania made such comments. At events involving Japanese language, I felt that it is important to avoid situations in which Japanese people teach Japanese or tailor their language abilities to the learners, and to create a system in which all participants can converse on an equal level and learn together.

 今後はこのような交流会を学生が主体的かつ積極的に行っていけるように、コーディネーターとしてサポートしていきたいと考えています。
  In the future, as a coordinator I would like to support students so that they can actively participate in such exchange meetings.

Lithuania 2006

ヨナバ市の夏至祭    Midsummer festival in Jonava city


2020年5月 活動日誌 / May Activity Report

2020年5月31日 / May 31, 2020
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
高木 伽耶子 / TAKAGI Kayoko

 5月からは少しずつ検疫が緩和され、レストランやカフェなども通常の営業に戻りつつあります。残念ながら大学は引き続き閉鎖されており、今学期の授業は最後まで遠隔で行われました。中間試験と同様に、期末試験もオンラインで実施されています。チェコのマサリク大学(Masaryk University)との日本語学習者向けのセッションは引き続きオンラインで開催され、学生や教員らがゲームや日本語会話などを通じて交流しています。
  Quarantine measures have gradually been eased since May, and restaurants and cafes are returning to normal operations. Unfortunately, the university is still closed and this semester’s classes were fully conducted online. As with mid-term exams, final exams are also being conducted online. In addition, sessions for Japanese language learners in collaboration with Masaryk University in the Czech Republic continued to be held remotely, where students and teachers socialize through games and Japanese conversation.

 学期末の学生らはとにかく課題や試験の準備に追われ、とても忙しくしていましたが、日本語授業の最終プロジェクトには全力で取り組んでいました。初級後半の学生たちは、オンラインでのスピーチを行ったり、スキットパフォーマンスをビデオにして発表を行なったりしました。ビデオを作った学生らは衣装や音楽などにこだわって、劇中にオリジナルの日本語の歌を披露するグループもいました。特に大きな注目を浴びたのは、アニメ「DEATH NOTE」のエピソードを実写で再現したグループで、二人で何役ものキャラクターをこなし、死神リュークのメイクも本物さながらでした。
  Near the end of the semester, students were very busy preparing for assignments and exams, but they did their best on their final projects for the Japanese class. Students in the second half of the beginner’s class made speeches online and presented their skits on video. Those who made videos were very particular about their costumes and music, and some groups even performed original Japanese songs during their plays. The group that stole the spotlight recreated a live-action episode of the animation “DEATH NOTE”, where the two students played multiple characters. The makeup for Shinigami Luke was also on point.

 また、中級レベルのクラスでは「日本とカウナス、リトアニアをいかに結びつけるか」をテーマに学生らがそれぞれの方法で作品を作り、発表を行いました。日本人向けにカウナスのガイドブックを作ったり、おすすめの場所をビデオで紹介したり、日本とリトアニアの友情を描いた絵本を作ったりと、学生の個性が強く現れた素晴らしい作品ばかりでした。
  In addition, in the intermediate level class, students created and presented their works under the theme “How to link Japan, Kaunas and Lithuania”. They made a guidebook on Kaunas for Japanese people, introduced places they recommend visiting on video, and made picture books depicting the harmony between Japan and Lithuania. All of these wonderful works strongly reflected the individuality of the students.

 遠隔授業に切り替わり、慣れない環境の中であっても、学生たちは新しい学びの方法を身につけており、そこで培われた表現力が最終発表では大いに発揮されていました。教員としても、コーディネーターとしても、学習やコミュニケーションの多様性を実感した学期となりました。
  Even in an unfamiliar environment, learning with remote lectures, students were able to acquire new methods of studying, and the expression skills they had developed through this were demonstrated in the final presentations. This semester, as both a teacher and a coordinator, I experienced the diversity of learning and communication.

 

Lithuania2005

中級クラス最終発表 イエヴァ・ヤソナイテー(Ieva Jasonait)さんの作った絵本 『コウノトリと鶴の旅』
Final presentation of intermediate class
A picture book made by Ieva Jasonait.
‘Konotori to Tsuru no Tabi’


2020年4月 活動日誌 / April Activity Report

2020年4月30日 / April 30, 2020
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
高木 伽耶子 / TAKAGI Kayoko

 3月中旬から続いている検疫強化は、今月下旬に段階的に解除され始めました。現在も外出時はマスク必着などのルールはあるものの、スーパーや薬局以外のお店も営業を再開し、カウナスの人通りは少しずつ多くなってきました。しかし、現在もヴィータウタス・マグヌス大学の建物は全館閉鎖中で、授業等は全て遠隔で行われています。
 4月中旬はイースターの休みがあり、少しリラックスできたのも束の間、オンライン授業に出席する学生たちの中には自宅待機が続く生活にストレスを感じている者も少なくありません。幸い、リトアニアは都市部にも緑が多く、人の多い時間を避けて家族やペットと散歩をして気分転換をすることができます。
The strengthened quarantine regulations, which have been in place since mid-March, began to be phased out at the end of this month. Even now, there are rules such as wearing a mask when going out, but stores other than supermarkets and pharmacies have resumed operations, and the number of people in Kaunas is gradually increasing. However, all of the buildings of Vytautas Magnus University are still closed, and all classes are being conducted remotely.
 In mid-April, there was an Easter vacation, and although it was a little relaxing, there were quite a few students who attended the online classes feeling stressed about having to stay at home. Fortunately, Lithuania has lots of greenery in urban areas, so you can take a walk with your family and pets to refresh yourself if you avoid busy hours.

 授業以外で日本語使用の機会が少なくなった日本語学習者のために、チェコのマサリク大学と合同でオンラインでのイベントを毎週開催しています。4月はオンラインボードゲーム『Dixit』を使ったゲーム会や、自分の好きな映画について話す会などを行いました。 また、日本語の授業時間を一部一般にも開き、みんなで日本語ニュースを読むなどの活動も行っています。
For Japanese learners who do not have many opportunities to use Japanese outside of class, we have been holding an online event every week in collaboration with Masarik University in the Czech Republic. In April, we played a game online using the online board game ‘Dixit’ and we also talked about our favorite movies. We also held some Japanese class hours for the general public in which we did activities such as reading Japanese news together.

 現在、ヴィータウタス・マグヌス大学の日本語コースからは8名の学生が日本に留学していますが、Covid-19の影響を受け1名は派遣先大学から帰国の指示が出たため、リトアニアへ戻ってきています。残る7名とはビデオ通話で日本での生活の様子について話を聞きました。国際基督教大学(1名)、関西外国語大学(2名)、立命館大学(1名)、佐賀大学(3名)にそれぞれ派遣されている学生らによると、学期開始時期が遅れた大学もあるものの、基本的には予定通りの授業を履修できており、ZoomやMicrosoft Teamsなどを用いたリアルタイムのオンライン授業のほか、大学のLMSを通じた課題などがあるとのことでした。しかし、ヨーロッパ以外の国からの留学生はほとんど帰国してしまったようで、中には寮に一人きりという学生もいました。また、飲食店でのアルバイトができずに収入が減ったという問題もあります。来学期から日本への留学を予定している学生たちも、このような現地の情報を知りたがっているので、オンラインの留学相談会などの実施を検討しています。
At present, eight students from the Japanese language course at Vytautas Magnus University are studying in Japan, but one of them returned to Lithuania after receiving an order from their host university to return to Lithuania due to COVID-19. I video-called the other 7 people to talk about their lives in Japan. Students at the International Christian University (one person), Kansai Gaidai University (two people), Ritsumeikan University (one person), and Saga University (three people) say that although some universities have delayed the start of the semester, they are basically able to take classes as scheduled, but there are challenges using the university’s LMS, as well as with real-time online classes using programs such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams. However, it seems that most of the foreign students from countries other than Europe have already returned to their home countries, and there were some students who were staying alone in the dormitory. Also, there is the problem of students’ income decreasing because they can’t work part-time at restaurants. Students who are planning to study in Japan from next semester also want to know such local information, so we are considering the implementation of online study abroad counseling.

Lithuania2004

ネムナス川沿いの桜(Cherry blossom trees at the Nemunas/Neman River)


2020年3月 活動日誌 / March 2020 Activity Report

2020年3月31日 / March 31, 2020
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
高木 伽耶子 / TAKAGI Kayoko

 例年より暖かい3月、リトアニアの新しい春の行事になりつつある、桜のお花見を楽しみにしていた人も多かったことでしょう。さらに月末にはアジア研究の学生らが中心となって作る「アジアウィーク」があり、学生も教職員も張り切っていました。しかし、残念ながら世界的に広がる新型コロナウイルスの影響を受け、リトアニアでは3月13日から大学内での講義や課外活動、その他全ての行事が中止となりました。政府の発表ではこの検疫強化は4月の中頃まで継続されるとのことです。授業は現在全てオンラインで実施されています。
With March being warmer than usual, many people must have been looking forward to seeing the cherry blossoms, which have become Lithuania’s new spring attraction. Furthermore, at the end of the month, there was an “Asia Week”, which was mainly organized by the students of Asian Studies, and both the students and the staff were enthusiastic about it. Unfortunately, due to the impact of the new coronavirus that has spread worldwide, all events, including lectures and extracurricular activities, were cancelled in Lithuania from March 13 onwards. The government says this strict quarantine will continue until mid-April. All classes are now being conducted online.

 多くのイベントが中止・延期されてしまった今月ですが、第4回Baltic Alliance for Asian Studies (BAAS)は無事に開催されました。BAASは2年に一度行われるアジア研究の専門家のためのカンファレンスで、エストニア・ラトビア・リトアニアが持ち回りで開催地となっています。バルト三国をはじめとする世界中の地域から研究者らが集まり、様々な分野での発表と活発な意見交換が行われました。ヴィータウタス・マグヌス大学の学生らもボランティアとしてカンファレンスに携わり、日本からのゲストや日本研究の専門家らと意見を交わしました。また、今回のBAASは、COVID-19の影響によりリトアニアへ来られない一部参加者のために、SkypeやZoomなどのオンラインビデオ会議システムを使った発表や質疑応答に対応し、ブレンド型のカンファレンスとして行われました。
The 4th Baltic Alliance for Asian Studies (BAAS) was successfully held this month after many events were canceled or postponed. BAAS is a biennial conference for Asian research professionals held in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Researchers from these three Baltic countries and other regions around the world gathered to give presentations and actively exchange opinions on various fields. Students from Vytautas Magnus University volunteered at the conference, where they exchanged opinions with guests from Japan and experts in Japanese studies. BAAS was a blended conference with some presentations and Q&A sessions held through online video conferencing systems such as Skype and Zoom for attendees who were unable to come to Lithuania due to COVID -19.

(詳しいプログラムはURLをご参照ください。https://balticasianstudies.wordpress.com/
(Please refer to the https://balticasianstudies.wordpress.com/ for a detailed program).

 検疫の強化が開始されてから、自宅待機により日本語の使用機会が少なくなっている学生たちのための活動も新たに始まりました。同じく遠隔授業となっているチェコのマサリク大学(Masaryk Univeristy)と協力し、週に一回Zoomを利用したオンライン日本語交流会を実施しています。第一回目は自己紹介など自由な会話をし、第二回目は参加者が自分の「好きな一冊」を他の参加者に紹介するブックトークを行いました。学生だけでなく教員や卒業生らも参加し、日本語を介した交流を楽しみました。チェコは5月中旬、リトアニアは4月中旬まで自宅待機の指示が出いているため、イベントは来月も継続して行う予定です。
After the quarantine was tightened, activities for students who had fewer opportunities to use Japanese due to staying at home began. In cooperation with Masaryk University in the Czech Republic, which also conducts distance learning, we are holding weekly Zoom online Japanese exchange events. In the first session, participants introduced themselves and were free to talk about whatever they liked. In the second session, participants had book-talk in which they introduced one of their favorite books to other participants. Teachers and graduates also participated alongside the students, and enjoyed the language exchange. This event will continue next month as well, as the Czech Republic has been ordered to stay home until mid-May, and Lithuania until mid-April.


2020年2月 活動日誌 / January 2020 Activity Report

2020年2月29日 / February 29, 2020
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
高木 伽耶子 / TAKAGI Kayoko

 雪の降らない正月休みを過ごした学生たちが戻り、2月のヴィータウタス・マグヌス大学は賑やかになりました。新学期が始まり、学生たちは少しずつ生活のペースを取り戻していきました。
Students who had spent the New Year’s holiday without snow returned, and the University of Vytautas Magnus became lively in February. The new school year started and the students’ lives gradually picked up the pace.

 今学期も読書クラブにはたくさんの参加者が来ています。メンバーは2年生・3年生が中心ですが、初参加の1年生や学外からの参加者も徐々に増え、日本語学習者の交流の場となっています。また、今学期からはクラブの時間を30分延長し、最後の15分を『ブックトーク』の時間に充てるようにしました。ブックトークでは、その日に読んだ本の感想や他の参加者へのおすすめの本を挙げる時間です。最初のうちは日本語教師が介入しますが、途中からは学習者らが自由に日本語やリトアニア語で相手が読んだ本について質問したり紹介するようになってきました。図書館のアジアブックスペースの本は、寄贈により随分と充実してきました。今後は図書館とも協力して、日本語多読活動を盛り上げていきたいと考えています。
There are many participants in the Reading Club this semester too. The members are mainly sophomores and juniors, but the number of first-year students and participants from outside the university have gradually increased, making it a place for Japanese language learners to interact. Starting this semester, I will extend my club time by 30 minutes and devote the last 15 minutes of my time to ‘book-talk’. Book-talk is a time for members to give their impressions of the book they read that day and the books they recommend to other participants. In the beginning, a Japanese teacher lead the conversation, but in the middle, students began to freely ask and introduce books they had read in Japanese or Lithuanian. Books in the Asia Books Library have been greatly enriched by this donation. In the future, we would like to cooperate with the library to promote activities to read a lot of Japanese.

 月末恒例のディスカッションイベント「Let’s talk」は「多文化社会の多様性」という比較的難しいテーマで行われました。約30名の学生が参加し、1時間以上英語や日本語で議論を交わしました。「同化」と「多文化主義」というキーワードを使った議論では、自分や自分の両親、祖父母の経験などを踏まえながら外国人として生きる困難や社会の姿勢について厳しい意見も多く挙がりました。多文化主義政策を失敗だと捉えている参加者らは、実例を挙げながら、同化と多文化主義のバランスの必要性とその難しさ、矛盾などを指摘しました。イベント後、参加した日本人学生からは「普段友達と話したことのないテーマで楽しかった」という反応がありました。
The month-end discussion event “Let’s Talk” took place on the relatively difficult theme of “diversity in multicultural societies”. About 30 students participated and spent more than an hour talking in English and Japanese. In discussions using the keywords “assimilation” and “multiculturalism” many people expressed harsh opinions about the difficulties of living as a foreigner and the attitudes of society, based on both their own experiences and those of their parents and grandparents. The participants, who see multiculturalism as a failure, cited examples illustrating the need for a balance between assimilation and multiculturalism, and discussed its difficulties and contradictions. After the event, a Japanese student who participated said, “It was fun because I have never talked with my friends about these topics.”


2020年1月 活動日誌 / January 2020 Activity Report

2020年1月31日 / January 31st 2020
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
高木 伽耶子 / TAKAGI Kayoko

 今冬、リトアニアは例年よりも非常に暖かく、カウナスには雪もほとんど降っていません。「リトアニアの人たちは雪が好きなのでみんながっかりしている」と、休暇中の学生が教えてくれました。
12月の試験終了後、クリスマス前から約1か月半の冬休みを迎え、多くの学生たちは帰省先で年末年始を過ごしました。職員だけの大学はとても静かで、普段の喧騒が嘘のようです。
This winter, Lithuania is much warmer than usual, and Kaunas has little snow. A student currently on holiday told me that “people in Lithuania like snow, so everyone is disappointed”.
After the exams in December, there was a one and a half month long winter break starting just before Christmas, during which many students spent their year-end and New Year holidays at home. The university is very quiet without students, and the usual noise feels like a lie.

お正月モードで鈍った脳を呼び覚ますように、すでにお馴染みとなった人気イベント「東アジアクイズ大会」が月末に行われました。全部で8のチームが参加し、知識を競い合いました。今回は2チームが同点優勝という結果でした。
カウナスは教室の外で日本語に触れる機会の多い町だとは言えませんが、ヴィータウタス・マグヌス大学の教職員・卒業生・在学生は皆、常に新しい可能性を模索し、積極的に参加しています。また、近年では、日本からの留学生の増加に伴い、日本人留学生も巻き込んだ活動が盛んになってきました。
今年はBaltic Alliance for Asian Studies (BAAS)、アジアウィーク、SUGIHARA WEEKなど多くの大規模なイベントがカウナスで予定されています。GJOコーディネーターとして、日本語学習者や日本人留学生がこうした行事にできるだけ深く関われるようサポートを続けていきたいと思います。
To awaken the students’ brains from holiday mode, a popular event called “East Asian Quiz Competition” was held at the end of the month. A total of eight teams participated and competed with their knowledge. This time, two teams tied and won the championship.
Although Kaunas is not a city with many opportunities to learn Japanese outside of the classroom, all of the faculty, alumni, and students of Vytautas Magnus University are always exploring new possibilities and actively participating in what they can. In recent years, along with the increase of foreign students from Japan, activities involving Japanese students have become popular.
Many major events are planned for Kaunas this year, such as the Baltic Alliance for Asian Studies (BAAS), Asia Week and SUGIHARA WEEK. As a GJO coordinator, I would like to continue to support Japanese language learners and foreign students so that they can get involved in these events as deeply as possible.

Lithuania2001 (1)
優勝チーム① / Winning team 1
Lithuania2001 (2)
優勝チーム② / Winning team 2

2019年12月 活動日誌 / December 2019 Activity Report

2019年12月31日 / December 31st 2019
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
高木 伽耶子 / TAKAGI Kayoko

 12月、カウナスの町はクリスマス一色になりました。市庁舎広場には毎年個性的なクリスマスツリーが現れます。
In December, Kaunas became full of Christmas spirit. Every year, unique Christmas trees appear in the city hall square.

Lithuania1912 (1)
カウナス市庁舎とクリスマスツリー / Kaunas City Hall and a Christmas Tree

しかし、学生たちにとっては大事な期末試験のシーズンです。課外活動やイベントが少なくなってくる一方、図書館はレポート作成やテスト勉強に励む学生で込み合っています。そんな図書館にとても嬉しいクリスマスプレゼントが届きました。公益財団法人小丸交通財団から、300冊以上もの日本語・日本関連書籍が寄贈されたのです。
However, it’s the important finals season for students. While the number of extracurricular activities and events have decreased, libraries are getting more and more crowded with students writing reports and studying for tests. A very nice Christmas present arrived at such a library. The Komaru Transportation Foundation donated more than 300 books related to Japanese language and Japan.

リトアニアでの日本語学習の更なる発展を目指し、ヴィータウタス・マグヌス大学図書館へ『小丸文庫』の設置が提案されたのは、5月に行われた日本語スピーチコンテストでのことでした。学生らの知的探求心を刺激するような専門書から、より身近に日本語を親しんでもらえるようなジブリ映画のコミックスや絵本、多読本など様々なジャンルの書籍が新たにアジアブックスペースの棚に並びました。12月10日には小丸文庫開設の式典がヴィータウタス・マグヌス大学のメインライブラリーで行われ、財団の小丸成洋理事長や、駐リトアニア大使・山崎史郎特命全権大使らが出席しました。大学の図書館は誰でも利用することができるオープンな場所であり、今後、より多くの人が日本語書籍に触れる機会を持つことができるでしょう。また、読書クラブなどで盛り上がりを見せるヴィータウタス・マグヌス大学の日本語読書活動が、リトアニアの日本語教育全体に広がっていくことが期待されています。
In order to further develop Japanese language learning in Lithuania, the establishment of “Komaru Collection” was proposed at the Japanese Language Speech Contest held at the Vytautas Magnus University Library last May. Books from a variety of genres, from technical books that stimulate students’ intellectual inquisitiveness to Ghibli movie comics, picture books, and multi-reader books that make Japanese more familiar to students, are now on the shelves of the Asian Bookspace. On December 10, a ceremony to mark the opening of the Komaru Library was held at the main library of Vytautas Magnus University. This was attended by the Foundation’s Chairman, KOMARU Shigehiro, and the Ambassador of Japan to Lithuania, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary YAMAZAKI Shiro. The university library is an open place that anyone can use, so more people will have access to Japanese books in the future. In addition, it is hoped that the Japanese-language reading activities of Vytautas Magnus University, which are currently a great success at reading clubs, will spread throughout Japanese language education in Lithuania.

Lithuania1912 (2)
Lithuania1912 (3)
Lithuania1912 (4)


ほとんどの学生が試験を終え、開放感に包まれていた12月中旬には、今回で第3回目となる東アジアクイズ大会が開催されました。今学期から始まったこのクイズ大会は、学生や卒業生らの間で大変な人気イベントへと成長し、日本人留学生の参加も目にするようになりました。
カウナスには様々な形で日本や日本語と関われる場所があります。来年も、学習者やカウナスの日本人と共に、そのような機会をできるだけたくさん作っていきたいと考えています。
In mid-December, when most of the students had finished their exams and were feeling a sense of openness, the East Asia Quiz Competition was held for the third time. This quiz contest, which started this semester, has grown into a very popular event among students and graduates, and we have even seen the participation of Japanese students studying abroad.
Kaunas has various places related to Japan and Japanese. I would like to create as many opportunities as possible next year with the learners and resident-Japanese of Kaunas.

Lithuania1912 (5)
Lithuania1912 (6)

2019年11月 活動日誌 / November 2019 Activity Report

2019年11月30日 / November 30th 2019
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
高木 伽耶子 / TAKAGI Kayoko

例年より暖かいとはいえ、後半は気温がマイナス5度にまで達したリトアニアの11月。秋学期の授業は11月29日ですべておわり、学生たちは一気に試験モードに突入しました。
In November in Lithuania, temperatures reached minus 5 degrees Celsius in the second half of the month, although it was warmer than usual. The fall semester ended on November 29, and the students plunged into exam mode.
日本語クラスの学期末といえば、学生たちの発表会です。2年生(レベル3)のクラスでは朗読や寸劇の発表がありました。特に寸劇の発表は音楽や小道具を使った楽しいものが多く、クラスメートにも大好評でした。
The end of the semester in the Japanese class is marked by students giving presentations. In the second year class (Level 3), students gave readings and performed skits. In particular, many of the skits utilized music and props to entertain, and were very popular among classmates.

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レベル3発表 劇『ドラえもんと忍者』/ Level 3 Presentation Skit ‘Doraemon and the Ninja’

3年生(レベル5)では、「ヴィータウタス・マグヌス大学非公式マスコットキャラクターを作ろう!(Unofficial Mascot Character for VMU)」プロジェクトの発表会がありました。学生たちがそれぞれ、VMUのアピールしたいことをマスコットキャラクターを使って紹介するという活動で、5つのユニークでおもしろいキャラクターたちが登場しました。単にかわいいキャラクターを作って見せるのではなく、自分の大学の教育理念や強みを日本語で説明し、それがキャラクターにどのように反映されているか説明しなくてはなりません。そのため、5~10分の短いプレゼンでも、準備にはかなり苦労したようです。発表後は、参加者と観客全員で投票を行いベストマスコットを決定しました。選ばれたのは大学の名前にもなっているリトアニア大公国の大公ヴィータウタスをモデルにした「ヴィトゥカス」でした。
The third year students (Level 5) gave a presentation entitled “Unofficial Mascot Character for VMU”. Each student used a mascot character to introduce the appeal of VMU, and five unique and interesting characters were introduced. Instead of just creating cute characters, they had to explain our university’s educational philosophy and strengths in Japanese and explain how these are reflected by the characters. So even though it was a short 5-10 minute presentation, it was pretty hard to prepare for. After the announcement, the participants and audience voted to determine the best mascot. The winner was “Vitucas” which was modeled after the Grand Duke Vytautas, ruler of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, after which the university was named.

また、防災について研究している日本人留学生の櫻井まゆさん(岐阜大学)をゲスト講師に招き、「自然災害と防災」について学びました。授業ではまず櫻井さんから、日本の自然災害、特に地震や津波などの危険性や防災の基本的な知識、日本語非母語話者が被災したらどのようなことに気をつけなければいけないか、などの話がありました。その後はグループに分かれて、日本で起こり得る自然災害とその備え、さらに、災害が起こった際の行動について日本語で話し合いました。参加した日本人学生らは自身の経験や知識を話したり、リトアニア人学生と共に災害に備えることの重要性について改めて考えていました。また、発表を行った櫻井さんは「日本語がわからないことは災害時大きなディスアドバンテージになる。皆さんは日本語と防災に関する知識を身につけて、日本で災害に遭った時に、日本語がわからない人たちを助けられるようになってほしい。」というメッセージで講義を締めくくりました。
In addition, Ms. SAKURAI Mayu (Gifu University), a Japanese exchange student studying disaster prevention, was invited as a guest lecturer to talk about “natural disasters and disaster prevention”. At the beginning of the class, Ms. Sakurai discussed the dangers of natural disasters in Japan, especially earthquakes and tsunamis, basic knowledge on disaster prevention, and what non-native Japanese speakers should be careful of in the event of a disaster. After that, students were divided into groups and had discussions in Japanese on possible natural disasters in Japan, their preparations, and their actions in the event of a disaster. The participating Japanese students shared their experiences and knowledge and reaffirmed the importance of preparing for disasters with Lithuanian students. Ms. Sakurai, who made the presentation, concluded her lecture with the message, “not being able to understand Japanese is a great disadvantage in times of disaster. I hope that you will acquire knowledge of Japanese and disaster prevention so that you can help those who do not understand Japanese in the event of a disaster in Japan.”
近年、VMUから日本へ留学する学生が増えてきました。実際に、留学中や日本へ旅行している際に地震や台風に遭ったというリトアニア人学生もおり、防災教育の必要性を実感しました。来学期は、留学内定者向けに防災教育や災害情報の大切さについて考えるイベントを行う予定です。
In recent years, an increasing number of students from VMU have come to Japan to study. Some Lithuanian students actually experienced earthquakes and typhoons when they were studying or traveling in Japan, which made them realize the necessity of disaster prevention education. Next semester, we are planning to hold an event to consider the importance of disaster prevention education and disaster information for students who have been accepted to study abroad programs.
また、今回の取り組みは、日本人留学生と日本語クラスの新しい関わり方を発見する機会にもなりました。これまでも、会話練習の相手として日本人留学生がクラスへ参加してくれることはありましたが、今回のように、「日本語で聞き、日本語で考え、日本語で意見を交わす」という非常に実践的な活動ができたことは、日本語クラスの学生にとって、貴重な経験でした。GJOコーディネーターとして、今後も日本語学習者と日本人留学生が、互いの専門分野について日本語で話し合う機会を増やしていきたいと考えています。
This initiative also provided us with an opportunity to discover new ways of engaging Japanese students in Japanese classes. In the past, Japanese exchange students have participated in classes as partners for conversation practice, but it was a valuable experience for the Japanese language class students to be able to do very practical activities such as “listen, think and exchange opinions in Japanese”. As a GJO coordinator, I would like to continue to increase opportunities for Japanese language learners and Japanese exchange students to discuss each other’s specialized fields in Japanese.

さらに、今学期はオンラインビデオ会議システムZoomを使った新たな取り組みをいくつか行いました。まず、毎月一回リトアニアについての勉強会を行っているという岐阜大学のグループとのオンライン交流会です。VMUの学生が岐阜大学の学生に向けて日本語でリトアニアやカウナスの町について発表をした後、オンライン上で小グループに分かれて、自己紹介やおすすめの料理について話しました。今後は授業や大学の枠を超えて、リトアニアへ留学を希望している日本人学生たちが参加できるような交流会作りを目指しています。
In addition, this semester we have launched several new initiatives using the Zoom online video conferencing system. First of all, there is an online exchange with a group from Gifu University that holds monthly study meetings about Lithuania. VMU students gave presentations in Japanese about Lithuania and Kaunas to Gifu University students, who then split up into small groups online to introduce themselves and their recommended dishes. In the future, we aim to create an exchange event that Japanese students who wish to study in Lithuania can participate in beyond the framework of classes and universities.
また、日本語を使った非日本語母語話者同士の交流を促進すべく、チェコのマサリク大学(Masaryk University)の日本語クラスと合同でオンライン読書会を行いました。題材は高倉健の『南極のペンギン』で、学生らは事前に自分たちで本を読み、教師が用意したガイドクエスチョンを基に、日本語の表現や著者の言動などに対する自分の考えをまとめておき、読書会本番では小グループに分かれて、意見を交換し合いました。最初は緊張気味だった学生たちも、徐々に打ち解けはじめ、のびのびと自分の意見を伝えたり相手の意見に質問を投げかけたりしました。開催後のフィードバックからも、参加学生たちの多くが読書会を楽しんでいたことがわかりました。本のレベルを下げたり、アイスブレークの時間を増やすなどして、よりオンライン読書会に参加しやすい環境を作っていくことが今後の目標です。
We also held an online reading session with a Japanese class at Masaryk University in the Czech Republic to promote exchanges between non-native speakers of Japanese. The theme was ‘Penguins in Antarctica’ written by TAKAKURA Ken, and the students read the book by themselves in advance and compiled their thoughts on Japanese expressions and the author’s words and actions based on the guide questions prepared by the teacher. The students, who were nervous at first, gradually began to open up, and eventually freely expressed their opinions and asked questions. Feedback after the event showed that many of the participating students enjoyed reading. Our future goal is to create an environment that makes it easier to participate in online reading by lowering the level of books and increasing the time for ice breakers.
日本文化サークル『橋』は今月も色々なテーマでの発表や活動を見せてくれましたが、月末は恒例のディスカッションイベント『Let’s talk』が行われました。今回のテーマは日本語とリトアニア語の慣用句で、それぞれの言語の面白い言い回しとその意味を学びました。グループ内で互いに自分の言語の慣用句を紹介し合い、最後にはグループごとに寸劇を披露し、どの慣用句についての劇かをあてるゲームをしました。「ドアを開けて閉めない人」を意味する『トロリーバス生まれ(troleibuse gimęs – born in trolleybus)』や子どもが「トイレに行く」という時に使う『ドワーフに会いに行く(eiti pas nykštukus – go and visit the dwarves)」などリトアニア語のユニークな表現がたくさん紹介されました。
The Japanese Culture Circle “Bridge” held various presentations and activities this month as well, but at the end of the month, the usual discussion event, “Let’s Talk”, was held. The topic this time was Japanese and Lithuanian idioms, and I learned many interesting phrases from both languages, and their respective meanings. Each group introduced their own languages’ idioms to each other, and at the end, each group presented a short play in which the idioms were used. Many unique Lithuanian expressions were introduced, such as ‘Born in trolleybus (troleibus gimäs – born in trolleybus)’ which means “a person who does not open or close a door” and (eiti pas nykštukus – go and visit the dwarves) which children use when they say “go to the bathroom”.

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第三回『Let’s talk』の様子 / The third ‘Let’s talk’ event

今学期は、40名ちかくの日本人がヴィータウタス・マグヌス大学で交換留学生として学びました。積極的な学生たちは、日本語授業やサークル活動だけでなく、日本語・日本文化に関するインターンシップやボランティア活動にも参加してくれました。アジア研究センターのインターンとして働いた三浦さん(南山大学)は、センターのパンフレットを英語から日本語への翻訳する業務を担当しました。また、リトアニアの中高生に東アジア文化を広める活動『ドラゴン・アカデミー』にも日本人留学生がボランティアとして参加してくれました。リトアニア人学生と共にリトアニア健康科学大学付属ギムナジウム(The Gymnasium of Lithuanian University of Health Sciences)を訪れ、プレゼンテーションなどを通じて、生徒らと交流をしました。来学期も、日本人留学生たちの活躍に期待しています。
This semester, nearly 40 Japanese students have studied as exchange students at Vytautas Magnus University. In addition to participating in Japanese language classes and club activities, active students also participated in internships and volunteer activities related to Japanese language and culture. Ms. Miura (Nanzan University) worked as an intern at the Center for Asian Studies, translating the center’s pamphlets from English to Japanese. She also volunteered to participate in ‘Dragon Academy’, a program to promote East Asian culture among Lithuanian middle and high school students. Together with Lithuanian students, she visited The Gymnasium of Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, where they interacted with the students through presentations and other activities. I am looking forward to the success of the Japanese students next semester.

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アジア研究センターでのインターンシップを修了した三浦さん / Ms. Miura, who completed an internship at the Center for Asian Studies

2019年10月 活動日誌 / October 2019 Activity Report

2019年10月31日 / October 31st 2019
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
高木 伽耶子 / TAKAGI Kayoko

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カウナスの高台へと登る、ジャリャカルニスのケーブルカー / The Zaliakalnis cable car, which goes up to the hill of Kaunas

一気に冬へ向かうかと思われたリトアニアの10月は、コートなしでも出かけられる気持ちの良い天気が続きました。日本の「小春日和」や北アメリカの「インディアンサマー」と同じく、リトアニア語にもこのような秋の天気を表す言葉があります。「Bobų vasara(ボブゥ・バサラ)」、直訳すれば「婆さんの夏」という意味です。(Bobaは年配の女性を表す言葉ですが失礼な意味合いが強いので注意が必要です。) リトアニア人にはお馴染みのBobų vasaraですが、今年は例年よりも暖かい日が長く続き、街中でも郊外でも皆、紅葉を楽しんでいました。
In October in Lithuania, which usually heads for winter without pausing, the pleasant weather continued, which made it possible to go out without a coat. Like “Koharubiyori” in Japan and “Indian summer” in North America, Lithuanian has a term for autumn weather. ” Bobų vasara ” literally means “Grandma’s Summer” (Bobų is a word used for elderly woman, but it has rude connotations, so you must be careful when using it). Lithuanians are familiar with Bobų vasara, but this year it was warmer than usual, and everyone enjoyed the autumn leaves both in town and in the suburbs.
さて、今月は日本・リトアニア関係において大きなニュースがありました。リトアニアの新しい大統領、ギターナス・ナウセーダ大統領が日本を初めて日本を訪れたのです。さらに、ナウセーダ大統領はカウナス市の姉妹都市・八百津町がある岐阜県にも公式に訪問し、それに合わせて、ヴィータウタス・マグヌス大学の協定大学である岐阜大学で特別講演を行いました。特別に岐阜大学から中継してもらい、本学の学生たちも大統領の講演を聴くことができました。もちろん大統領のスピーチはリトアニア語でしたが、中級日本語クラスの学生たちは通訳の日本語にも熱心に耳を傾けていました。
This month we had some big news on Japan-Lithuania relations. The new Lithuanian president, Gitanas Nauseda, visited Japan for the first time. Furthermore, President Nauseda made an official visit to Gifu Prefecture, which is home to the sister city of Kaunas, Yaotsu, and gave a special lecture at Gifu University, the partner of Vytautas Magnus University. We had a special broadcast from Gifu University, and our students were able to listen to the President’s speech. Of course, the president’s speech was in Lithuanian, but the students in the intermediate Japanese class listened attentively to the Japanese being interpreted.

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ナウセーダ大統領の講演を聴く学生たち/ Students Listening to President Nauseda’s Speech

そして、第二回目を迎えたディスカッションイベント“Let’s talk”には前回同様、多くの学生が参加してくれました。今回のテーマは『日本とリトアニアのジェンダー』。日本語の「男前」「女々しい」「イクメン」「リケジョ」などの言葉を取り上げながら、それらの言葉がなぜ批判されることがあるのか、リトアニア語にも同じ表現があるのか、日本とリトアニアそれぞれの社会にはどのようなジェンダーの問題があるのかを議論しました。参加者の多くが「ジェンダーは自分が生きている社会や文化が決めているものだ」「親世代・祖父母の世代から押し付けられているジェンダーロールがある」という考え方を共有しているようでした。また「イクメン」の意味を日本人学生から説明されると、「それって『父親』って言わないの?」という疑問が浮かび上がり、なぜメディアは「イクメン」を取り上げるのか…と話がどんどん発展していく様子も伺えました。前回に比べて議論の中で使われる語彙が難しく、日本語のみでディスカッションに参加したリトアニア人学生はかなり苦戦していたようです。
Just as last time, many students participated in the second “Let’s Talk” discussion event. The theme this time was ‘Gender in Japan and Lithuania’. Using Japanese words such as “Otokomae”, “Memeshii”, “Ikumen” and “Rikejo”, we discussed why these terms are sometimes criticized, whether there are similar expressions in Lithuanian, and what gender problems exist in both Japanese and Lithuanian societies. Many of the participants seemed to share the idea of “gender is determined by the society and culture in which you live” and “some gender roles are imposed by parents and grandparents”. Also, when a Japanese student explained the meaning of “Ikumen”, the question of “isn’t that just a ‘father’?” was raised, and the discussion seemed to develop rapidly, with students asking why the media covered “Ikumen”. Compared to last time, the vocabulary used in this discussion was difficult, so the Lithuanian students who could only participate in this discussion in Japanese had a hard time.

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第二回『Let’s talk』の様子 / The second ‘Let’s talk’ event

また、月末には東アジアに関する知識を競うクイズ大会(通称Brain Battle)が開催されました。東アジア研究学科の教員・卒業生・在学生の有志グループが主催する今大会には、13のチームが参加し、熱い知の火花を散らしました。問題は東アジア地域、特に中国・台湾・韓国・日本に関するもので、歴史や政治のみならず若者文化やポップカルチャーなど幅広いジャンルから出題されます。そのため、チームのメンバーたちはそれぞれの得意分野を生かしながら、難問に挑んでいきました。結果は、大学院生・卒業生が中心チーム『Sugi Squad』と学部2年生の『Nekochanai』の2チームが同点優勝となりました。
At the end of the month, a quiz competition (commonly known as Brain Battle) was held to test peoples’ knowledge of East Asia. 13 teams participated in this contest, which was sponsored by a group of interested East Asian research faculty, graduates and students. The questions focused on East Asia, particularly China, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan, and covered a wide range of topics from history and politics to youth culture and pop culture. For this reason, the team members played to their strengths while tackling the difficult questions. As a result, two teams named ‘Sugi Squad’, a team made up of postgraduate students and alumni, and ‘Nekochanai’, a team made up of second year undergraduate students, tied for first place.


2019年9月 活動日誌 / September 2019 Activity Report

2019年9月30日 / September 30th 2019
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
高木 伽耶子 / TAKAGI Kayoko

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カウナスのメインストリート、ライスベス大通り / Rausbeth Boulevard, the main street of Kaunas

残暑が続く日本と違い、リトアニアは町中すっかり秋色になりました。赤や黄色や橙色に染まった街路樹を、冷たい雨が濡らしていく様子は、リトアニアの秋の風物詩です。
Unlike Japan, where the lingering heat continues, Lithuania has been dyed autumn all over the city. The sight of cold rain wetting red, yellow and orange trees lining the streets is a classic autumn scene in Lithuania.
今月の日本関連のイベントはまず、9月20日に行われた特別講義『日本とリトアニアの関係』です。去年から1年間JETプログラムの国際交流員として岐阜県庁に勤務していたシモナ・ヴァシレヴスキーテ先生が日本とリトアニアの関係がどのように発展してきたかについて講義しました。大学外の方も参加できる公開イベントとして行われ、約30名が聴講しました。講義の内容は、個人・団体・自治体・国それぞれのレベルでどのような交流が行われてきたかが中心でした。また、シモナ先生自身の日本語学習歴や経歴についても語られ、卒業後日本語を使って働きたいと考えている学生たちには非常に良い刺激になったようです。
This month’s Japan-related events started with a special lecture entitled “Japan-Lithuania Relations” on September 20. In this lecture, Ms. Simona Vasilevskite, who has been working at the Gifu Prefectural Office as an international exchange member of the JET Program for the last year, discussed how relations between Lithuania and Japan have developed. The event was also open to the public and was attended by about 30 people. The content of this lectures focused on the level of interaction between individuals, organizations, local governments and the national government. Ms. Vasilevskite’s background of Japanese language study and career were also discussed, and it seemed to be a very good stimulus for students who want to work using Japanese after graduation.

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シモナ・ヴァシレヴスキーテ先生の講義 / Ms. Simona Vasilevskite’s Lecture

その一週間後の9月27日には、日本人留学生との交流イベント『Let’s Talk』が開催されました。GJOコーディーネーターが日本文化サークル『橋』と協力し、教室外で日本人と日本語で意見を交わせる場所を作ることを目的として、今学期からスタートさせた試みです。また、日本語学習者以外の人たちにも、日本人学生たちとの交流を通じて、日本に対する理解を深めてほしい、そして、日本人学生たちにリトアニアに暮らす人々の声に直接触れる機会を持ってほしいという考えから、活動言語を日本語に限定せず、日本語・英語・リトアニア語としました。参加者は45名、うち日本人留学生は6名と少なめでしたが、小グループに分かれて、それぞれ楽しくディスカッションを行いました。今回のテーマ『日本とリトアニアのイメージ』。お互いに相手の国に持つイメージについて話し、文化的な違いについて考えたり、ステレオタイプの危うさについて話し合ったりしました。例えばリトアニア人参加者からは「日本は技術大国だ」というイメージが挙がりましたが、日本では未だにFAXを使っている企業や機関があるという話が出ると、驚きの声が上がりました。「日本人は勤勉である」というイメージに対しては、日本人留学生から「非効率的なやり方を変えずに働くことを『勤勉』だと思っているのは問題だ」という意見が挙がりました。また、日本人留学生たちは、来る前に持っていたイメージと実際のリトアニアの印象についてもグループで話し、リトアニア人参加者からたくさんの質問を受けていました。イベント終了後も、まだまだ話し足りない参加者たちはそのまま教室に残っていました。第二回目も今回のような盛り上がりを見せてくれることを期待しています。
A week later, on September 27, an exchange event with Japanese students, ‘Let’s Talk’ was held. This event is something I am starting this semester with the cooperation of the Japanese Culture Circle “Hashi”, with which I aim to create a place for Japanese language learners to exchange opinions with Japanese exchange students outside of the classroom. I also hope to deepen the understanding of Japan among people not studying Japanese through exchanges with Japanese students, and to provide Japanese students with opportunities to directly hear the voices of people living in Lithuania, so we decided to use Japanese, English and Lithuanian instead of just Japanese as the language of our activities. There were only 45 participants, 6 of whom were Japanese students, but they were divided among the small groups and had some interesting discussions. This time’s theme was ‘Images of Japan and Lithuania’. We talked about each other’s image of the other country, and we discussed cultural differences and the dangers of stereotypes. For example, a Lithuanian participant was under the impression that “Japan is a technological superpower”, but when he heard that there were still companies and organizations in Japan using fax machines, he was surprised. Regarding the image of “the Japanese are diligent”, one Japanese student said, “it’s a problem to think that working in an inefficient way is ‘diligence'”. The Japanese students also talked in groups about their impressions of Lithuania before coming, and received many questions from the Lithuanian participants. Even after the event, the participants who wanted to talk more remained in the classroom. I hope next month’s event will be just as exciting.

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第一回『Let’s Talk』の様子 / The first ‘Let’s Talk’ event
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リトアニアのおすすめの場所を紹介する学生 / Students used a map of Japan to introduce their hometowns

2019年8月 活動日誌 / August 2019 Activity Report

2019年8月31日 / August 31, 2019
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
高木 伽耶子 / TAKAGI Kayoko

6月から始まった夏休みも終わり、ヴィータウタス・マグヌス大学では8月の最終週から授業が始まりました。
勉強にサークルにアルバイトに最も活動的で忙しくなる2年生は、新しい日本語の先生を前に緊張しながらも、忘れかけていた日本語を思い出して、夏休みの出来事を語ってくれました。
The summer vacation that began in June has ended, and classes at Vytautas Magnus University began once again in the last week of August.
The second year students, who are already busy with study, part-time jobs and club activities, were nervous in front of their new Japanese teacher, but slowly remembered the Japanese they’d forgotten over the break, and told me about their summers.

東アジア研究専攻日本語選択の3年生のうち、8名もの学生が今学期から日本での留学生活をスタートさせます。すでに日本に渡り、留学先でのオリエンテーションやクラス分けテストを済ませた学生たちからは不安と期待の声が届いています。
一方、留学をせずに、本学の日本語中級にあたるレベル5のクラスへと進んだ学生たちは、ヴィータウタス・マグヌス大学へやってきた日本人留学生の数に驚いていました。今学期は過去最高の39名の日本人学生が、交換留学生としてカウナスで学びます。GJOコーディネーターとして、前年度よりも多く日本人学生と現地学生の交流の機会を増やしていきたいと思っています。
Out of the third-year students studying Japanese in the East Asian Studies major, eight are going to start their exchange student lives in Japan from this semester. They’ve already arrived in Japan, and some of them, who have already had their orientations and level evaluation tests, contacted me about their worries and expectations.
On the other hand, the students who didn’t go on exchange moved up to the Level 5 (Intermediate Japanese) class, and were very surprised at the number of Japanese exchange students who have come to VMU. This semester, a record-breaking 39 Japanese students have come on exchange to Kaunas. As the GJO coordinator, I am going to plan even more opportunities than last year for Japanese students and local students to meet and socialize.

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授業以外の場面でも、学生たちは活発に動き始めています。
Students are also starting to be more active outside of the classroom.
日本文化サークル『橋』のメンバーたちは、幹部ミーティングを行い、今年度の活動戦略について話し合いました。学部生、院生、卒業生らが同じ立場で意見を交わしている姿は、先輩・後輩の上下関係のある日本とは少し異なるかもしれません。今年度は「日本人留学生が興味を持てる内容」「研究者や専門家を招いた学術的なイベントの開催」「日本語を使った交流の場」などをキーワードとして、様々なアイディアが挙がりました。
GJOコーディネーターも運営に加わり、月に1回のイベントを担当します。
The members of the Japanese Culture Circle, “Hashi”, had an executive meeting to discuss their activities strategy for the new academic year. Seeing undergraduates, postgraduates and alumni alike exchanging ideas on the same level is a little different to what you would see in Japan, where lowerclassmen and upperclassmen have hierarchical relationships. This year, many ideas came up using the keywords “content that Japanese exchange students would be interested in”, “academic events with guest researchers/specialists” and “social events where you can use Japanese”.
As the GJO coordinator, I will also be in involved in these activities, and will be in charge of one event per month.

日本語読書クラブも8月末から再開されました。学習意欲満々の2年生たちが、久しぶりの読書タイムを思う存分楽しみました。1時間では足りなかった学生は、クラブ終了後も残って本を読み続けるほどでした。今学期も、多くの学生が読書を通じて日本語に親しみ、さらに自分の本を書いてくれることを期待しています。
The Japanese Book Club resumed activities in late August. The second year students are keen to learn, and thoroughly enjoyed their reading time. One hour wasn’t enough for some students, and they chose to stay and keep reading after the club meeting finished. This semester, I’m looking forward to many more students growing an appreciation for Japanese through reading, and going on to write their own books.


2019年6月 活動日誌 / June 2019 Activity Report

2019年6月30日 / June 30, 2019
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
高木 伽耶子 / TAKAGI Kayoko

国内の他大学と比べて少し早く学期末を迎えたヴィータウタス・マグヌス大学では、6月上旬に多くの学生が全ての試験を終え、夏休みをスタートさせました。国外へ出る学生も多いため、この時期は例年イベントを開催しても参加する学生が少なくなります。
Compared to other universities in Lithuania, the semester ended a little earlier at Vytautas Magnus University, so most students finished all their exams by early June, and the summer vacation began. Many students leave the country, so even if you hold annual events during this time, not many students can participate.

それでも、6月17日に行われたドキュメンタリー映画「MIKOSHI GUY 祭の男」の上映会には多くの学生が参加しました。日本国内の祭り文化の再興を願い活動する宮田宣也さんを追ったドキュメンタリーで、上映後はご本人との質問セッションがありました。参加者からは、作中に登場する所作や掛け声の意味や、神輿と神道との関わりについての質問がいくつも挙がりました。大学内には映画に登場する神輿が展示され、多くの人の目を惹いていたようです。今後も、学生たちが授業外で日本・日本文化に触れられる機会をたくさん作っていきたいと思います。
Despite this, many students attended the screening of the documentary film “MIKOSHI GUY”, which was held on June 17. This documentary follows MIYATA Nobuya, a man involved in revival efforts of festival culture in Japan, and a Q&A session was held with the man himself after the screening. Attendees asked questions about the meaning of dances and shouts seen throughout the film, and the relation between mikoshi (portable shrines) and Shintoism. The mikoshi shown in the film was put on display in the university, and caught the attention of many. I want to make many more opportunities for students to experience Japan and Japanese culture in the future.

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また、今月の読書クラブでは、2年生のイエヴァさんによる日本語の本「リムとキム」がクラブの本棚に新たに追加されました。物語・絵ともにイエヴァさんの完全なオリジナル作品です。Facebookで新しい本の情報を見た学生たちが早速クラブでこの新刊を読んでいました。「リムとキム」の他にヴィータウタス・マグヌス大学の学生が作った日本語の多読本は読書クラブのページで読むことができます。
In other news, at this month’s Book Club, “Lim and Kim”, a Japanese book by 2nd year student Eva, was added to the bookshelf. Both the story and illustrations were created by Eva. Students who saw the new book information on Facebook quickly came to read this book at the club. In addition to “Lim and Kim”, other Japanese books written by VMU students can also be read on the Book Club’s webpage.

https://sites.google.com/view/kaunasjapanesereadingclub/our-books?authuser=1


2019年5月 活動日誌 / May 2019 Activity Report

2019年5月31日 / May 31, 2019
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
高木 伽耶子 / TAKAGI Kayoko

日本の春と変わらぬ気持のいい陽気が続いていたのもつかの間、今月上旬は雨や曇りの日がばかりで、気温も10度以下。しかも、ヴィータウタス・マグヌス大学の5月といえば、学年末の多忙な時期です。学生たちは論文・課題・発表・試験の準備に奔走し、皆少しお疲れ気味でした。
For a moment, the weather was continuously good like spring in Japan, then it was rainy and cloudy for the first half of this month, and temperatures dropped to below 10 degrees. On top of that, May is the end of the academic year and the busiest time of year here at Vytautas Magnus University. Students are busy preparing for essays, assignments, presentations and exams, and everyone seems a little tired.

そんな中、大盛り上がりだったのが5月17日に行われた日本語スピーチコンテストです。今年が2回目となる今回は、12名の参加者が『交通』をテーマに素晴らしいスピーチを披露してくれました。初級の部ではフランスの車のレース『ル・マン24時間耐久レース』について魅力たっぷりに語ってくれたトマス・ユオドゥスヌキスさん(ヴィータウタス・マグヌス大学)が第一位になりました。中級の部ではギーティス・モツクスさん(ヴィリニュス大学)によるリトアニアの首都・ヴィリニュスの交通機関の変遷についてのノスタルジックなスピーチが一位に輝きました。審査員たちを最も悩ませた上級の部では、リトアニアの若者が経験する免許取得までの長く苦しい道のりを漫談口調で語ったマタス・シュカルヌリスさん(カウナス工科大学)の『運転、頑張りましょう。』というスピーチが第一位に選ばれました。
The climax of this busy period was the Japanese speech competition that was held on May 17. This year marks the second year of this competition, and 12 contestants gave brilliant speeches to the topic of “transportation”. Tomas Juodsnukis (Vytautas Magnus University) came in first in the beginner’s section for his wonderful speech on the French car race, “24 Hours of Le Mans”. Gytis Mockus (Vilnius University) won the intermediate category with their nostalgic speech on the changes in public transportation in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. First place in the advanced division was a difficult choice for the judges, but it was given to Matas Skarnulis (Kaunas University of Technology) who gave a speech titled “Let’s Do Our Best to Drive” on the long painful journey young people go through to get a driver’s license in Lithuania, delivered, of course, in a comical tone.

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第二回日本語スピーチコンテストの様子 / At the 2nd Japanese Speech Competition

学生にとって本番が最も大事なのは言うまでもありませんが、自分の意見や考え、経験を日本語で表現するために費やした準備期間も、日本語学習においてはとても大切です。原稿を書いたり、スピーチの練習をしたりする中で、学生たちの日本語は磨かれていきました。また、今回はヴィータウタス・マグヌス大学だけでなく、他大学やギムナジウム(高校)からの参加が多かったことが嬉しい点でした。学習者同士が交流し、励まし合えるイベントを今後も増やしていきたいと思います。
While it goes without saying that the actual speech is the most important part for the students, I think that the preparation time they spend expressing their thoughts, opinions and experiences in Japanese is also very important for their Japanese studies. Through writing their drafts and practicing their speeches, these students improved their Japanese. Also, I was glad that students from universities and gymnasiums (high schools), and not just VMU, participated this year. Moving forward I hope to create more events like this where learners can gather and cheer each other on.

また、今月は『ドラゴン・アカデミー』の一環としてカウナス市内で高校生向けの遠足を行いました。『ドラゴン・アカデミー』とは本学のアジア研究センターが取り組んでいる教育活動の一つで、リトアニア国内で東アジア文化・言語に関する知識を広めることを目的としています。今回は地元カウナスのLSMUギムナジウム(高校)の生徒6名が参加してくれました。アジア研究センターのアンドリュス先生を中心に日本語クラスのリトアニア人学生2名、日本からの留学生5名がチームとなり、カウナス鉄道駅や杉原千畝の博物館などを含む『杉原ルート』*を高校生らと共に巡りました。リトアニア人学生はガイド役として、杉原千畝や当時のカウナスの様子などについて紹介しました。日本人留学生たちは移動中に高校生たちと英語でコミュニケーションをとりながら、日本について話したり、質問に答えたりしました。
リトアニアではいくつかのギムナジウムで日本語が選択科目として採用されており、若い人たちは日本語や日本文化に強い関心を持っていることも知られています。授業やワークショップだけでなく、留学生との会話などインフォーマルな交流の場も、リトアニアの児童や生徒たちに日本について知ってもらう大事な機会となることをこの遠足で実感させられました。
In other news, this month an excursion was held for Kaunas City high school students as part of the “Dragon’s Academy”. The Dragon’s Academy is an educational initiative run by the VMU Centre for Asian Studies that aims to spread knowledge about East Asian languages and cultures throughout Lithuania. This time, six students from LSMU Gymnasium (a high school in Kaunas) participated. Professor Andrius of the Centre for Asian Studies formed a team with two Lithuanian students from the Japanese classes and five Japanese exchange students, and toured the “Sugihara Route” with the participating high school students, which includes Kaunas Railway Station, the Sugihara Chiune museum, etc. The Lithuanian students acted as guides, and talked about Sugihara Chiune and the state of Kaunas during his time. The Japanese exchange students communicated with the high school students in English to talk about Japan and answer any questions they had.
It is known that many gymnasiums in Lithuania offer Japanese as an elective subject, and so many young people have a strong interest in Japanese language and culture. This excursion was a valuable opportunity for Lithuanian students and children to learn about Japan in an informal social environment, in this case through talking with exchange students, as opposed to in a classroom or workshop.

*今回の遠足で使用した『杉原ルート』はカウナス市が発行している日本人向けのガイドマップで紹介されている『杉原千畝ルート』を参考に計画しました。この『杉原千畝ルート』は戦間期のカウナスでユダヤ人たちのためにビザを発行し彼らを助けた杉原千畝氏にまつわる場所を紹介しています。PDF版の地図はWEBページ(https://visit.kaunas.lt/en/maps-and-guides/)からダウンロードすることもできます。
*The “Sugihara Route” used for this excursion was based off of the “Sugihara Chiune Route”, a guide map published by Kaunas City for Japanese tourists. This route introduces places related to Sugihara Chiune, who saved many Jewish people during World War II by issuing them visas. A PDF version of this map can be downloaded from this page: https://visit.kaunas.lt/en/maps-and-guides/.

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杉原千畝のプレートの前で記念撮影(カウナス鉄道駅)/ In front of a plaque dedicated to Sugihara Chiune (Kaunas Railway Station)
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高校生に説明を行うVMUの学生(ヤン・ツヴァルテンディク記念碑)/ VMU students giving explanations to the high school students (Jan Zwartendijk light installation)

2019年4月 活動日誌 / April 2019 Activity Report

2019年4月30日 / April 30, 2019
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
高木 伽耶子 / TAKAGI Kayoko

今年度よりヴィータウタス・マグヌス大学GJOのコーディネーターを務めます、高木伽耶子です。2015年より本学で日本語・文化のクラスを担当してきました。日本人が少ないこの国で、いかに日本語の使用機会を見出すか、現地のリトアニア人学生の日常生活に日本をどのように結びつけるかということを常に意識しています。GJOコーディネーターとして、今後さらに現地学生が日本語や日本に触れられる場を提供すると共に、日本からの留学生がクラスの外でリトアニアについて学べる機会を増やしていきたいと思っています。よろしくお願い致します。
My name is TAKAGI Kayoko, and from this month onwards I will be working as the coordinator of the GJO here at Vytautas Magnus University. I have been in charge of the Japanese language and culture classes here since 2015. I am very conscious of finding chances to use Japanese in this country with so few Japanese people, and how we can link Japan to the everyday lives of Lithuanian students. I want to work towards supplying local students with more places they can experience Japan and the Japanese language, while also increasing opportunities for Japanese exchange students to learn about Lithuania outside of the classroom. I look forward to reporting on my activities.


今年のリトアニアは例年より暖かく、いつもは5月まで待たなければいけない桜も、4月の中頃には咲き始め、イースターの休みには満開になっていました。リトアニアでは桜が新しい春の風物詩になりつつあります。ヴィータウタス・マグヌス大学の学生たちも、杉原千畝記念館の庭や川沿いに咲いた桜でお花見をしていました。
Lithuania is hotter than usual this year. The cherry blossoms that don’t usually bloom until May started to bloom in mid-April, and were in full bloom by Easter. In Lithuania, cherry blossoms are becoming a symbol of the new year. The students of Vytautas Magnus University were doing hanami (cherry blossoms viewing parties) at Sugihara House and along the river.

冬が長いリトアニアでは春になると皆、外での活動を楽しむようになります。週2回の『カウナス日本語読書クラブ』も今月は外で開催されました。今年の2月からスタートしたこのクラブは日本語の『多読』が主な活動内容です。学習者のレベル別に作られた100冊以上の多読本の中から好きなものを選び、参加者たちは黙々と、そして次々に本を読んでいきます。非漢字圏の学習者にとって、『読む』は日本語学習の大きなハードルであると言われています。この活動を通じて、日本語を『読む』楽しさを感じてほしいと願っています。
Lithuanian winters are long, so everyone enjoys doing things outdoors when spring arrives. The Kaunas Japanese Book Club was also held outside this month. This club was started in February of this year, and its activities mainly focus on doing “wide reading” of Japanese literature. The students of this club choose whatever book they like from over 100 graded readers, which are designed for all different levels of Japanese learners, quietly read it, and then move onto the next. It is said that reading Japanese is one of the biggest hurdles for learners from countries that don’t use Chinese characters. I hope that they can feel the enjoyment one can get out of reading Japanese.

また、日本語中級クラスの学生たちは、ガイドになりきってカウナスの名所を日本語で案内するという『カウナスガイド』に挑戦しました。複雑な建築用語や歴史・宗教に関する言葉に苦戦している学生が多かったようです。卒業後、日本語を使って仕事がしたいと考える人は少なくありませんが、日本企業のないリトアニアではその選択肢が非常に限られており、日本語のガイドはその数少ないうちの一つです。授業やイベントを通じて、実践的な場面での日本語の使用を意識させるような機会をどのように増やしていくかが今後の大きな課題です。
In other news, the students of the intermediate Japanese class stepped up to the challenge of “Kaunas Guide” in which they became guides and gave tours of Kaunas in Japanese. It seems that many students struggled with the complicated architecture and religious terminology. After graduating, there are many students who want to work in a profession where they can use Japanese, but since there are no Japanese companies in Lithuania, being a tour guide is one of their few limited options. My assignment going forward will be figuring out how to give these students more opportunities to consciously use Japanese in a practical context through classes and events.


2019年3月 活動日誌 GJO Activity Report 2019.3

2019年3月31日/ March 31st 2019
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
オウレリウス・ジーカス / Aurelijus Zykas

Our biggest event during March was Asian Week, organized on March 4-8 for the fifth time already. VMU Asian Week is a one week-long cycle of events dedicated to East Asian countries – China, Japan and Korea. It is done through the presentation of specific aspects of culture, arts and cuisine.
This year the event took place in venues of VMU and other public places in Kaunas, introducing Asian cuisine, languages, cultures, martial arts, etc. Japanese culture took very important part during this week. Ambassador of Japan H.E. Shiro Yamasaki participated in the opening ceremony, while his wife introduced Japanese cuisine for Kaunas citizens during the Day of tastes. CAS social partners in Lithuania actively participated in the organization of this event. Events organized last year were a great success and attracted a lot of attention from the general public, schoolchildren and media.

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This month I am finishing my duties as Coordinator of the Global Japan Office. Last two years since the establishment of GJO were an amazing period of my life. However, I am leaving my position at Vytautas Magnus University, and now it is time to pass this responsibility to younger generation. Ms. Kayako Takagi, who is Japanese language teacher at our university, will take the coordination of GJO from April.
Using this opportunity, let me express my appreciation for Tokyo University of Foreign Studies for establishing Global Japan Office in Kaunas and for an opportunity to coordinate it. It was big honour to work in this position.
As I continue my life and will remain in activities building bridges among the nations, I do hope we will have even more opportunities to work together in future.


2019年2月 活動日誌 GJO Activity Report 2019.2

2019年2月28日/ February 28th 2019
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
オウレリウス・ジーカス / Aurelijus Zykas

During February we organized two more screening of our documentary movie. One of them was in Kaunas on February 7, where many people came, including Kaunas city Vice-mayor Simonas Kairys. Another screening was hosted in Nagoya by the request of Nagoya City. It was organized on February 8 at Zuiryo Culture Theatre and attracted many spectators. Unfortunately, the representative of GJO could not participate, but the event was organized by Nagoya side.

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On February 25, 2019, Japanese-Lithuanian Dictionary was expanded with a new function of Kanji dictionary and moved to the new address (jishokun.lt). From now, the users will be able not only to search the words, but also to get some information about every kanji, including its kun- and on- readings, number of strokes, basic structure, usage frequency and even animation. An exchange student from TUFS, Mr. Motoshi Yaguchi contributed much for this project.

This month was also dedicated for preparations for the future events.
1) The annual Asian Week is planned for the first week of March, and will include a variety of Japanese culture related activities. GJO started preparations for it together with VMU students, Japanese exchange students and our partners in Lithuania.
2) Hiroshima University Speech Contest is planned in May. We already started preparations for it.


2019年1月 活動日誌 GJO Activity Report 2019.1

2019年1月31日/ January 31st 2019
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
オウレリウス・ジーカス / Aurelijus Zykas

During January, it is vacation season for our students. Therefore, no major events were organized, and the majority of time this month was spent for the Kanji dictionary project.
By February 25, 2019, Japanese-Lithuanian Dictionary (nihongo.vdu.lt) will be expanded with a new function of Kanji dictionary. The users will be able not only to search the words, but also to get some information about every kanji, including its kun- and on- readings, number of strokes, basic structure, usage frequency and even animation. That means, a database of ~4000 kanji must be created and tested. An exchange student, Mr. Motoshi Yaguchi continues the internship in the project related to the development of online Lithuanian-Japanese Language Dictionary.

As this month had very few events due to vacation season, it was also dedicated for preparations for the new year. Global Japan Office is planning several projects for this year.
1) Documentary about Ch. Sugihara. As the first documentary movie by GJO had a huge success, the project for a new documentary was applied for several foundations. In the case of successful financing, the creation would start on April 2019.
2) The annual Asian Week is planned for the first week of March, and will include a variety of Japanese culture related activities. GJO started preparations for it together with VMU students, Japanese exchange students and our partners in Lithuania.

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3) Hiroshima University Speech Contest is planned in May. We already started preparations for it.


2018年12月 活動日誌 GJO Activity Report 2018.12

2018年12月31日/ Ⅾecember 31st 2018
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
オウレリウス・ジーカス / Aurelijus Zykas

December is exam season at our university. Therefore this month had very few events. However, it was dedicated for preparations for the next year. Global Japan Office is planning several projects for the next year, and these projects were submitted during December.
Documentary about Ch. Sugihara. As the first documentary movie by GJO had a huge success with numerous screenings and positive feedback, the project for a new documentary was applied for several foundations. It is planned as a movie about Chiune Sugihara and the story will be presented through the eyes of witnesses. In the case of successful financing, the creation will start on May 2019.
Kanji project. By March 2019, Japanese-Lithuanian Dictionary (nihongo.vdu.lt) will be expanded with a new function of Kanji dictionary. The users will be able not only to search the words, but also to get some information about every kanji. Present GJO intern, Mr. Motoshi Yaguchi from TUFS, is helping with this project. He continues the internship in the project related to the development of online Lithuanian-Japanese Language Dictionary.
During December, the result of the previous GJO internship conducted by Ms. Chen Jiahui, was finally publicized. She prepared 40 very nice texts about different places of Kaunas, and these texts were put on the Online dictionary. Now, the users of the dictionary can find very helpful information about Kaunas and its sightseeing spots.

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Example of the page of the dictionary with picture and text by Chen Jiahui.


2018年11月 活動日誌 GJO Activity Report 2018.11

2018年11月30日 / November 30th 2018
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
オウレリウス・ジーカス / Aurelijus Zykas

During November, coordinator of GJO was visiting Japan, and participating in numerous events. He introduced the the Documentary “Kaunas, the City of Sugihara and Japan” through the screenings, and made several lectures about the Japanese studies in Kaunas, so introducing the activities of Global Japan Office. The screenings took place in Tsuruga, Yaotsu, Ochanomizu University and Tokyo University of Foreign tudies. The screenings were extremely successful, and attracted wide audiences.

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Screening in Yaotsu

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Screening in Ochanomizu University

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Screening in TUFS

An exchange student, Mr. Motoshi Yaguchi continues the internship in the project related to the development of online Lithuanian-Japanese Language Dictionary (nihongo.vdu.lt), creating its new function as kanji dictionary. The project is planned to finish by February, 2019.
On November 12, a new agreement was signed between Vytautas Magnus University and Ochanomizu University. This agreement helps promote Japanese studies even better.


2018年10月 活動日誌 GJO Activity Report 2018.10

2018年10月31日 / October 31st 2018
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
オウレリウス・ジーカス / Aurelijus Zykas

During October there were three more screenings of the Documentary “Kaunas, the City of Sugihara and Japan” on October 18-19th, 2018, which was created with the cooperation of Global Japan Office. The screenings took place in Druskininkai, Kurkliai (the birthplace of Steponas Kairys, who is featured in the movie) and Anykščiai. The screenings were extremely successful, and attracted wide audiences. Among the guests, Ambassador of Japan in Lithuania Mr. Shiro Yamasaki and Anykščiai City Mayor also participated.
During November, 4 screenings are planned in Japan, including TUFS Cinema Hall.

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Screening in Druskininkai

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Screening in Anykščiai

An exchange student from TUFS, Mr. Motoshi Yaguchi continues the internship in the project related to the development of online Lithuanian-Japanese Language Dictionary (nihongo.vdu.lt), creating its new function as kanji dictionary. The project is planned to finish by February, 2019. There were several meetings with him to discuss the progress.
On October 23, a new agreement was signed between Vytautas Magnus University and Gifu University. This agreement helps promote Japanese studies even better.


2018年9月 活動日誌 GJO Activity Report 2018.9

2018年9月30日 / September 30th 2018
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
オウレリウス・ジーカス / Aurelijus Zykas

September was the busiest month for Global Japan Office during this year, as we have two our biggest annual events.

Sugihara Week (GJO participated as partner of this festival) lasted during September 3-9, and was a range of events taking part in various places of Kaunas. Such events as Sugihara Symposium, Cherry Trees Planting, film screenings, exhibitions and concerts were organized. The festival attracted the audience of approximately 4000-5000 and is considered as one of TOP10 events of Kaunas this year. Among the honorable guests of the festival were Mr. Takanori Kawai (Vice-Governor of Gifu Prefecture), Mr. Yukio Murase (Honorary Consul of Lithuania in Fukuyama), Mr. Masanori Kaneko (Yaotsu Town mayor), etc. The event also attracted numerous researchers and artists from Lithuania and Japan. In total approximately 100 participants from Japan joined the activities.

Detailed program of Sugihara Week: http://asc.vdu.lt/wp-content/uploads/SW_lankstinukas_JP.pdf

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The 29th EAJRS Conference was organized on September 12-15. This conference changes its location every year, and this year Kaunas was selected as the most suitable place for its organization. GJO was one of its organizers together with the European Association of Japanese Recourse Specialists. The Conference attracted 97 participants from such countries as Japan, China, USA, Canada, India, France, Switzerland, Germany, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Norway, Slovenia etc.
The main topic of this Conference dedicated to localization of resources in the global context, thus this year the topic was “(G)localizing Japanese Studies Resources”. Furthermore, considering the fact that the Conference was organized in Kaunas, a city having strong relations with Chiune Sugihara, who was saving Jewish lives here in 1939-40, part of the conference was be dedicated to resources related to the World War II.
European Association of Japanese Resource Specialists is one of the biggest organization uniting Japanology specialists in the world providing special attention to accumulation of Japanology resources, creation, management and distribution. Its conferences occur annually since 1994 mainly in the Western European countries and attract hundreds of specialists from all around the globe, not only from Europe and Japan but also from Australia, United States and Asian countries.

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More information: http://www.eajrs.net/conferences/2018-kaunas

A new exchange student, Mr. Motoshi Yaguchi arrived on late August to Kaunas. He met GJO coordinator during late September, and we had discussion regarding further possibilities. As Mr. Yaguchi expressed his will to join the internship program, he will join the internship in the project related to the development of online Lithuanian-Japanese Language Dictionary (nihongo.vdu.lt), creating its new function as kanji dictionary. The project is planned to finish by February, 2019.

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On September 24th, 2018 VMU Centre for Asian studies together with the Komaru Kotsū Foundation and Hiroshima University Lithuania Center organized Japanese language contest. The authors of the best speeches Salomėja Jurėnaite and Matas Jagelavičius won an opportunity to participate in an international Japanese language program on February-March 2019, in Hiroshima University, Japan.


2018年8月 活動日誌 GJO Activity Report 2018.8

2018年8月31日 / August 31st 2018
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
オウレリウス・ジーカス / Aurelijus Zykas

During August 21-September 01, Hiroshima University Summer Fellowship was organized in Lithuania, Vytautas Magnus University. 24 students spent two weeks in Lithuania learning English language, Lithuanian culture and history, also participating at homestay program.

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Also, Global Japan Office helped organizing Kaunas-Yaotsu schoolchildrens’ exchange. 22 shoolchildren from Yaotsu Secondary schools participated at homestay program in Kaunas and had teaching program at J. Dobkevičius Secondary School.

August was very active for preparations, as two big events are organized during September.

  • Sugihara Week 2018 is planned for September 3-9. Several big concerts, Symposium on Humanism, and planting of Sakura Alley in Kaunas are planned among other events. The event is organized by VMU Centre for Asian Studies, Kaunas Municipality and Sugihara Group. GJO will be one of the partners of the event.
  • EAJRS Conference 2018 is planned for September 12-15. We are proud that Kaunas and VMU was selected as a place for the annual conference of European Association of Japanese Resources Specialists (EAJRS). This is a big academic event, attracting scholars of Japanese studies from all the world. It is the first such conference in the Baltic States. Global Japan Office and VMU Library will be the partners of the event.

Link: http://asc.vdu.lt/2018/08/lietuviskai-29-oji-eajrs-konferencija/


2018年7月 活動日誌 GJO Activity Report 2018.7

2018年7月31日 / July 31st 2018
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
オウレリウス・ジーカス / Aurelijus Zykas

The Documentary「カウナス スギハラを、日本を想う」was finally introduced to Japanese audience. On July 28, Japan Premiere took place in Gifu city. Around 200 guests attended the screening, including the citizens of Gifu, as well as guests from Tsuruga, Kobe, Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto, etc., including the people who contributed for the movie. The Premiere was officially opened by Ambassador of Lithuania Gediminas Varvuolis, and GJO Coordinator Dr Aurelijus Zykas participated as well. A big Nemunas Ensemble from Lithuania (Kaunas) also joined the screening. After the screening, a discussion about the movie and Japan-Lithuania relations was organized. Next screenings of the movie are planned in Kaunas, during Sugihara Week. Partners and sponsors of the movie are: Toshiba International Foundation, Global Japan Office, ProConf and Kaunas City Municipality.
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Facebook of the Documentary is: https://www.facebook.com/KaunasJaponija/
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsNU7lAtrc8

Ms. Chen who is studying at VMU for the second semester finished her internship of the Japanese-Lithuanian dictionary (nihongo.vdu.lt) project. The renewal of database is planned in October.
During May, GJO was coordinating 2 big projects of this year:

  • Sugihara Week 2018 is planned for September 3-8. Several big concerts, Symposium on Humanities, and planting of Sakura Alley in Kaunas are planned among other events. The event is organized by VMU Centre for Asian Studies, Kaunas Municipality and Sugihara Group. GJO will be one of the partners of the event.
  • EAJRS Conference 2018 is planned for September 12-15. We are proud that Kaunas and VMU was selected as a place for the annual conference of European Association of Japanese Resources Specialists (EAJRS). This is a big academic event, attracting scholars of Japanese studies from all the world. It is the first such conference in the Baltic States. Global Japan Office and VMU Library will be the partners of the event.

Link: http://asc.vdu.lt/2018/02/2018-eajrs-conference-in-kaunas/


2018年6月 活動日誌 GJO Activity Report 2018.6

2018年6月30日 / June 30th 2018
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
オウレリウス・ジーカス / Aurelijus Zykas

On June 1, there was screening of the Documentary「カウナス スギハラを、日本を想う」in Lithuania‘s capital Vilnius. Around 80 guests of Vilnius, including film directors, Embassy staff, etc. attended the screening. After the screening, a discussion about Japan-Lithuania relations was organized. Next screenings of movies are planned in Japan and will be organized in late July in Gifu Prefecture. The partners and sponsors of the movie are: Toshiba International Foundation, Global Japan Office, ProConf and Kaunas City Municipality.
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Facebook of the Documentary is: https://www.facebook.com/KaunasJaponija/
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsNU7lAtrc8
Ms. Chen who is studying at VMU for the second semester is working as an intern at the Centre for Asian Studies. During June she was working with the Japanese-Lithuanian dictionary (nihongo.vdu.lt) project. The renewal of database is planned in October.
During May, GJO was coordinating 2 big projects of this year:

  • Sugihara Week 2018 is planned for September 3-8. Several big concerts, Symposium on Humanism, and planting of Sakura Alley in Kaunas are planned among other events. The event is organized by VMU Centre for Asian Studies, Kaunas Municipality and Sugihara Group. GJO will be one of the partners of the event.
  • EAJRS Conference 2018 is planned for September 12-15. We are proud that Kaunas and VMU was selected as a venue for the annual conference of European Association of Japanese Resources Specialists (EAJRS). This is a big academic event, attracting scholars of Japanese studies from all the world. It is the first time such conference takes place in the Baltic States. Global Japan Office and VMU Library will be the partners of the event.

Link: http://asc.vdu.lt/2018/02/2018-eajrs-conference-in-kaunas/


2018年5月 活動日誌 GJO Activity Report 2018.5

2018年5月31日 May 31st, 2018
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
オウレリウス・ジーカス / Aurelijus Zykas

As the Documentary「カウナス スギハラを、日本を想う」was launched in April, this month was dedicated for its further promotion in Lithuania. The main cultural event was screening of the movie on May 4 in Lithuania‘s Port City Klaipėda. Around 100 guests of Klaipėda attended the screening. After the screening, a discussion about Japan-Lithuania relations was held and the activities of GJO in Kaunas explained. Partners and sponsors of the movie are: Toshiba International Foundation, Global Japan Office, ProConf and Kaunas City Municipality.

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Facebook page of the Documentary : https://www.facebook.com/KaunasJaponija/
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsNU7lAtrc8

Ms. Chen who is studying at VMU for the second semester is working as intern at the Centre for Asian Studies. During March-June months she will be working for the Japanese-Lithuanian dictionary (nihongo.vdu.lt) project.

During May, GJO was coordinating 2 big projects of this year:
Sugihara Week 2018 is planned for September 3-8. Several big concerts, Symposium on Humanism, and planting of Sakura Alley in Kaunas are planned among other events. The event is organized by VMU Centre for Asian Studies, Kaunas Municipality and Sugihara Group. GJO will be one of the partners of the event.
EAJRS Conference 2018 is planned for September 12-15. We are proud that Kaunas and VMU was selected as a place for the annual conference of European Association of Japanese Resources Specialists (EAJRS). This is a big academic event, attracting scholars of Japanese studies from all the world. It is the first such conference in the Baltic States. Global Japan Office and VMU Library will be the partners of the event.

Link: http://asc.vdu.lt/2018/02/2018-eajrs-conference-in-kaunas/


2018年4月 活動日誌 GJO Activity Report 2018.4

2018年5月5日 May 5th, 2018
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
オウレリウス・ジーカス / Aurelijus Zykas

The main cultural event was Premiere of the movie 「カウナス スギハラを、日本を想う」 organized on April 26 in Cinema “Romuva” Temporary Hall. Around 150 invited guests attended the premiere, including Ambassador of Japan in Lithuania Mr. Toyoei Shigeeda, Toshiba Europe, Ltd. Vice-president Mr. Koshi Noguchi, Members of Lithuanian Parlament, Kaunas City Council, University‘s authorities, etc.
Partners and sponsors of the movie are: Toshiba International Foundation, Global Japan Office, ProConf and Kaunas City Municipality.

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In the documentary, the story of Kaunas – Japan bilateral relations are revealed through four personalities who prior the World War II became bridges between the two countries. It is Yukichi Fukuzawa – the first Japanese who mentioned and wrote about Kaunas in his diary. In 1862 together with the mission of 36 Japanese he traveled through Lithuania by train and went for a short stroll in Kaunas. The author of first Lithuanian books about Japan – Steponas Kairys. In 1905 he was amazed by a small distant country which managed to defeat ten times bigger Russia and inspired Lithuanians to seek independence. Even after visiting Japan for a few times, journalist and traveler Matas Šalčius decided to reach this country from Kaunas once again… on a bike. And finaly, diplomat Chiune Sugihara united both countries in 1940 with his heroic act.

Facebook of the Documentary is: https://www.facebook.com/KaunasJaponija/

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsNU7lAtrc8

Ms. Chen who is studying at VMU for the second semester is working as intern at the Centre for Asian Studies. During March-June months she will be working with the Japanese-Lithuanian dictionary (nihongo.vdu.lt) project.

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During March, GJO was coordinating 2 big projects of this year:

  • Sugihara Week 2018 is planned for September 3-8. Several big concerts, Symposium on Humanism, and planting of Sakura Alley in Kaunas are planned among other events. The event is organized by VMU Centre for Asian Studies, Kaunas Municipality and Sugihara Group. GJO will be one of the partners of the event.
  • EAJRS Conference 2018 is planned for September 12-15. We are proud that Kaunas and VMU was selected as a place for the annual conference of European Association of Japanese Resources Specialists (EAJRS). This is a big academic event, attracting scholars of Japanese studies from all the world. It is the first such conference in the Baltic States. Global Japan Office and VMU Library will be the partners of the event.

Link: http://asc.vdu.lt/2018/02/2018-eajrs-conference-in-kaunas/


2018年3月 活動日誌 / March 2018 Activities Report

2018年3月31日 March 31st,2018
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
オウレリウス・ジーカス / Aurelijus Zykas

March was full of cultural events. The main of them was VMU Asian Week 2018 organized on March 5-9 in various venues of VMU and other public places of Kaunas. This was a one week-long cycle of events dedicated to Japan and other East Asian countries. The event, organized since 2014, is aimed to introduce general public with the East Asia region through the presentation of culture, languages, martial arts, cuisine. This year’s event was extremely successful, attracting wide range of spectators. Only the Day of Experiences alone was participated by around 500 guests, including schoolchildren of schools of Lithuania, students and elderly people.
More than 20 institutions and more than 100 volunteer students (including ~30 international students) were involved into the preparations. Global Japan Office became one of the partners of the event for the first time.
Link of the event: http://asc.vdu.lt/2018/01/vmu-asian-week-2018/

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Poster of the VMU Asian Week
Pictures can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/VDUAzijossavaite/

Another event of this month was Kimono Show on March 12, provided by a famous Japanese kimono designer Nobuaki Tomita. During his presentation Mr. Tomita explained the history and principles of Japanese kimono and dressed 5 participants with very beautiful kimonos.
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Ms. Chen who is studying at VMU for the second semester has started internship at the Centre for Asian Studies. During next 4 months she will be working with the Japanese-Lithuanian dictionary (nihongo.vdu.lt) project.
To make the dictionary more useful, it will obtain a new function. Detailed descriptions of Lithuanian sightseeing objects will be added to the data basis and will become usable by Japanese tourists as an electronic guide. After entering some sightseeing object to the dictionary (such as トラカイ城 or 杉原記念館), tourists will be able to see detailed description.
Ms. Chen will be participating in the first (pilot) phase of the project and she will create the descriptions of the sightseeing objects in Kaunas. Supposedly, this activity will help her to understand better Lithuanian culture. She has already selected 40 objects to describe. The internship activities are planned to finish by the end of June.

During March, GJO was coordinating 3 big projects of this year:
• Creation of the documentary about Kaunas and Japan. As shooting in Japan and Lithuania is over, creators are editing the movie. After discussing with Toshiba International Foundation, the release date was fixed for April 26. The 4 minutes promo version was created for Japanese audience, and it has been already spread to some Japanese municipalities (Gifu Prefecture, Tsuruga city, etc.) for promotion. The GJO is one of the creators of the movie. Thus, its logo appears in the end roll of the promo version, and will be in the final version.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsNU7lAtrc8&feature=youtu.be
• Sugihara Week 2018 is planned for September 3-8. Several big concerts, Symposium on Humanism, and planting of Sakura Alley in Kaunas are planned among other events. The event is organized by VMU Centre for Asian Studies, Kaunas Municipality and Sugihara Group. GJO will be one of the partners of the event.
• EAJRS Conference 2018 is planned for September 12-15. We are proud that Kaunas and VMU was selected as a place for the annual conference of European Association of Japanese Resources Specialists (EAJRS). This is a big academic event, attracting scholars of Japanese studies from all the world. It is the first such conference in the Baltic States. Global Japan Office and VMU Library will be the partners of the event.
Link: http://asc.vdu.lt/2018/02/2018-eajrs-conference-in-kaunas/


2018年2月 活動日誌

2018年3月5日 / March 5th 2018
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
オウレリウス・ジーカス / Aurelijus Zykas

February marks the beginning of new Spring semester at our Vytautas Magnus University. 25 students from Japanese universities started their semester. Some of them met together on February 12, when we introduced the activities of the Centre for Asian Studies and Global Japan Office to them.
The student from TUFS, Ms. Chen Jiahui started her new semester at Vytautas Magnus University. She met me in mid-February and we have discussed her plans for the new semester. Ms. Chen is also invited to join the internship of the Centre for Asian studies. She will contribute for to the creation of the descriptions introducing the main sightseeing attractions of Kaunas to Japanese people. These descriptions will add new function to the online Lithuanian-Japanese dictionary and will be useful for the Japanese tourists.

February 9, the screening of exchange students who are willing to study in Japan for a one-year exchange (starting from Fall semester of 2018) was concluded. During the selection procedure, 8 students were selected to study at Japanese universities.

We did not have any cultural events this month. However, it was dedicated for the preparations for our biggest cultural event of the year: VMU Asian Week (Global Japan Office is one of the partners of the event), where the introduction of Japanese culture will play a key role. More than 20 institutions and more than 100 volunteer students (including ~30 international students) are involved into the preparations.
Ms. Chen was also very positively involved as a volunteer in the preparations for a Japanese language reading contest. She was helping the Lithuanian students to prepare their speeches.

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Meeting of the main coordinators of VMU Asian Week 2018
Link of the event: http://asc.vdu.lt/2018/01/vmu-asian-week-2018/

During February, GJO was coordinating 3 big projects of this year:

  • Creation of the documentary about Kaunas and Japan. As filming in Japan and Lithuania is over, creators are editing the movie. The release is planned in late April. The 4 minutes promo version was created for Japanese audience, and it has been already spread to some Japanese municipalities (Gifu Prefecture, Tsuruga city, etc.) for promotion. The GJO is one of the creators of the movie.

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GJOリトアニアが制作に協力したカウナスと日本に関するドキュメンタリー映画のプロモーション映像

  • Sugihara Week 2018 is planned on September 3-8. Several big concerts, Symposium on Humanism, and planting of Sakura Alley in Kaunas are planned among other events. The event is organized by VMU Centre for Asian Studies, Kaunas Municipality and Sugihara Group. GJO will be one of the partners of the event.
  • EAJRS Conference 2018 is planned for September 12-15. We are proud that Kaunas and VMU was selected as a place for the annual conference of European Association of Japanese Resources Specialists (EAJRS). This is a big academic event, attracting scholars of Japanese studies from all the world. It is the first such conference in the Baltic States. Global Japan Office and VMU Library will be the partners of the event.
    Link: http://asc.vdu.lt/2018/02/2018-eajrs-conference-in-kaunas/


2018年1月 活動日誌 / Activities Report, Jan 2018

2018年2月5日 / February 5th 2018
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
オウレリウス・ジーカス / Aurelijus Zykas

25 students from Japanese universities will be studying at VMU during Spring semester. Despite January is vacation period, the majority of Japanese students reached Kaunas and VMU in the end of January. The meeting with all Japanese students who newly arrived is planned on February 12.

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In the photo: the first students from our new partner, Fukui University, visiting Global Japan Office in late January.

In December, VMU started screening of VMU students who are willing to study in Japan for one year exchange (starting from Fall semester of 2018). During January, the students could choose from the list of 16 partner universities (including TUFS) the most suitable for their studies. Thus, GJO was actively promoting the bilateral exchange program and consulting the possible candidates regarding the universities. Tokyo University of Foreign Studies was also introduced for to university students. The final selection procedure is planned on February 9.

During January, GJO was coordinating 4 big projects of this year:

    • Creation of the documentary about Kaunas and Japan. As filming in Japan and Lithuania is over, creators are editing the movie. The release is planned for late March. The 4 minutes promo version was created for Japanese audience.

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    • VMU Asian Week is one of the biggest events of VMU, and this year it will be on March 5-9. It is organized by the Centre for Asian Studies (CAS) at Vytautas Magnus University together with the students’ clubs “Hashi”, “Wu Wei” and “Hallyu”, while the partners of the event are Global Japan Office, Embassy of Japan, Embassy of Republic of Korea, etc. VMU Asian Week is a one week-long cycle of events dedicated to East Asian countries: Japan, China and Korea. The event is aimed to introduce general public with the East Asia region through the presentation of culture, languages, martial arts, cuisine. Events organized last time were a great success and attracted a lot of attention from general public and media.

Link: http://asc.vdu.lt/2018/01/vmu-asian-week-2018/

    • Sugihara Week 2018 is planned for September 3-8. Several big concerts, Symposium on Humanism, and planting of Sakura Alley in Kaunas are planned among other events. The event is organized by VMU Centre for Asian Studies, Kaunas Municipality and Sugihara Group. GJO is one of the partners of the event.
    • EAJRS Conference 2018 is planned for September 12-15. We are proud that Kaunas and VMU was selected as a place for the annual conference of European Association of Japanese Resources Specialists (EAJRS). This is a big academic event, attracting scholars of Japanese studies from all the world. It is the first such conference in the Baltic States. Global Japan Office and VMU Library will be the partners of the event.

Link: http://asc.vdu.lt/2018/02/2018-eajrs-conference-in-kaunas/


2017年12月 活動日誌 / Activities Report, Dec 2017

2018年1月5日 / January 5th 2018
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
オウレリウス・ジーカス / Aurelijus Zykas

During December, GJO coordinator Aurelijus Zykas continued his visit in Japan and mainly conducted filming activities. Together with the camera man, Kristijonas Jakubonas, in 10 days of shooting they visited 10 cities (including Tokyo, Nagoya, Gifu, Yaotsu, Tsuruga, Kobe, Kyoto, Yokohama, etc.) and conducted more than 20 interviews with scholars and opinion leaders in Japan. The documentary supported by Toshiba International Foundation will cover the prewar history of the relations between Japan and Kaunas. The film screening is planned in late March.

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Interview with Tsuruga City Mayour

In December, VMU started screening of VMU students who are willing to study in Japan for one year exchange (starting from Fall semester of 2018). Presently, the students can choose from the list of 16 partner universities (including TUFS) the most suitable for their studies. During December, GJO was actively promoting the bilateral exchange program and consulting the possible candidates. Tokyo University of Foreign Studies was also introduced to our university students. The final selection procedure is planned in mid-February.
Ms. Chen Jiahui, an exchange student from TUFS at VMU, successfully finished the one semester study program of Lithuanian language and culture. She was among 3 students (out of 28) awarded for best academic achievements.
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Ms. Chen together with the Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and the Coordinator of Lithuanian language and culture program


2017年11月 活動日誌 / Activities Report, November 2017

2017年12月7日 / December 7th 2017
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
オウレリウス・ジーカス / Aurelijus Zykas

During November, the coordinator of GJO Aurelijus Zykas was visiting Japan due to the implementation of two Japan-related projects implemented by GJO.
The first one is the creation of documentary about the relations between Japan and Kaunas (supported by Toshiba International Foundation). Thus, Aurelijus Zykas was preparing for filming, checking the documents in archives and meeting the scholars. He was actively keeping in touch with such institutions as Fukuzawa Memorial Centre, Diplomatic Archive, Yaotsu Town, Tsuruga City, Kobe City, etc. to be prepared well. Filming in Japan started on November 28.
The second project is the Sugihara Week 2018, which was settled on the first month of September, and the financing was already secured from Kaunas Municipality. Therefore, while being in Japan, Aurelijus Zykas met with the representatives of different institutions (such as Japan Sakura Association, Japan-Lithuania Friendship Association, Japan-Lithuania Economic Communicy, etc.) to negotiate regarding the successful implementation of next year’s Sugihara Week.

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Meeting with Japan Sakura Association in Tokyo

As Aurelijus Zykas was on his business trip in Japan, he also used this opportunity to visit some partner universities. Among them was International Christian University and TUFS. In both universities, Aurelijus Zykas met the highest representatives and had opportunity to talk about future development. In ICU, the major topics were about strengthening teachers’ exchange and joining Erasmus+ network, and continuing successful students exchange in BA, MA and doctoral level. In TUFS, the coordinator briefly introduced the results and achievements of the first months of development of GJO Kaunas.
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2017年9月 活動日誌 / Activities Report, September 2017

2017年10月2日 / October 2nd 2017
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
オウレリウス・ジーカス / Aurelijus Zykas

This month was the busiest during this year. Sugihara Week (Global Japan Office took place in its organization as partner) of September 02-08 was a big festival consisting of various events in various spaces of Kaunas, which attracted the audience of approximately 4000-5000. The main organizers of the event were the Centre for Asian Studies, Kaunas City Municipality, Sugihara Foundation and the Embassy of Japan.
Among the honorable guests of the festival were Mr. Hirofumi Nakasone (Member of Parliament), Mr. Hajime Furuta (Governor of Gifu Prefecture), Mr. Masanori Kaneko (Yaotsu Town mayor), etc. The event also attracted numerous researchers and artists from Lithuania and Japan. In total approximately 200 participants from Japan joined the activities.
The event was extremely well covered by Lithuanian media. At least 20 articles and interviews (including those in National TV and Radio) were conducted.

20 students from Japanese universities are presently studying at Vytautas Magnus University for a new semester and academic year. This is the biggest number of Japanese exchange students in VMU’s history.
Ms. Chen Jiahui is a new exchange student from TUFS at VMU and has successfully started her studies. She met the me on September 21 and had a talk together about her studies and challenges in Lithuania. Ms. Chen is actively participating in the classes and is very eager to learn new things, including very difficult Lithuanian language.
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On September 13, the detailed orientation about exchange possibilities for VMU students who are studying East Asian languages was conducted by the International Affairs Department and GJO. Approximately 50 Lithuanian students of first and second year were participating in the orientation. Also, the contest for bilateral exchange was announced. Therefore, I was consulting the students who are willing to study in Japan. The interviews are planned on October 03.
In Summer, GJO proposed to help the Sugihara Museum by translating the texts from English to Japanese which will be used as explanations of exhibition in the Sugihara Museum of Kaunas. As the translation work was successfully conducted thanks to the enormous help of TUFS, this fact was widely promoted during Sugihara Week.
It was announced by the Ambassador of Japan during the Opening Ceremony (where c. 700 people participated). Later, during the Press Conference of the event, Sugihara Museum awarded the Letters and Gratitude dedicated to the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies and to the Global Japan Office in Kaunas. On behalf of TUFS, GJO coordinator received the Letters.
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Photo of the Award ceremony. From left to right: Kaunas Vice-mayor, Rector of VMU, Wife of the Chairman of Sugihara Foundation, GJO coordinator, Director of International Affairs of VMU, Director of Sugihara Museum
During September, I paid two visits to European universities, where I also briefly introduced the activities of the Centre for Asian Studies and GJO. The first visit took place in Oslo University on the occasion of EAJRS (European Association of Japanese Resources Specialists) conference on September 15. The second visit was to the University of Latvia as part of Nord Plus teaching visit on September 22-27.

Besides, this month was also active because of one Japan-related project implemented by GJO. We are creating the documentary about the relations between Japan and Kaunas (supported by Toshiba International Foundation). September was mainly dedicated for shooting the spaces of Kaunas related to the stories (as well as some events of Sugihara Week), while in October the shooting will be continued in all Lithuania. For the project, shooting in Japan is planned in December.

※ユダヤ人画家による版画:ユダヤの伝統的なオイル・ランプを表している。ランプは、光の象徴で、杉原氏の功績を世界の中で光のように広げることを表現している。


2017年8月 活動日誌 / Activities Report August 2017

2017年9月2日 / September 2nd 2017
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
オウレリウス・ジーカス / Aurelijus Zykas

This month was University’s vacation. Semester officially started on August 28.
Therefore, 20 new students from Japanese universities arrived to Vytautas Magnus University in the end of the August for a new semester and academic year, including Ms. Chen Jiahui form TUFS. This is the biggest number of Japanese exchange students in VMU’s history. On August 31st, GJO coordinator Dr Aurelijus Zykas met the majority of them in the office, introduced the activities of CAS(Center for Asian Studies) and GJO, and promoted Sugihara Week.
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Moreover, during August, CAS and GJO was very active in youth exchange in school level, helping Lithuanian schools to develop exchange programs. As very successful examples, visit of 20 schoolchildren from Yaotsu schools and of 15 children from Shonan Gakuen could be mentioned. Both projects will have continuation in future. During the visits, GJO coordinator shortly introduced the activities of GJO in Kaunas for the Japanese and Lithuanian children.
This month was extremely active because of several Japan-related projects implemented by GJO:
Preparations for Sugihara Week, which will be held in Kaunas on September 2-8. This will be very big event, which will attract not only Lithuanians, but also Japanese and Jewish tourists and mass media. Among the honorable guests, Y. Nakasone (Member of Parliament), H. Furuta (Governor of Gifu Prefecture) and other honourable guests are planning their visit to Kaunas. As the Centre for Asian Studies is one of 4 organizers (including Kaunas Municipality, Embassy of Japan and Sugihara Foundation), Global Japan Office will become official partner of the event.
Program: http://asc.vdu.lt/wp-content/uploads/Lankstinukas_EN.pdf
The Facebook of the event is https://www.facebook.com/Sugiharaweek/
Creation of documentary about the relations between Japan and Kaunas (supported by Toshiba International Foundation). The August was mainly dedicated for research needed for this project and shooting already started.


2017年7月 活動日誌 / Activities Report, July 2017

2017年8月1日 / August 1st, 2017
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
オウレリウス・ジーカス / Aurelijus Zykas

As this month coincided with University’s vacation, no events were organized this month. 15 students from Japanese universities who studied at VMU during 2016/17 academic year successfully returned to their home country.
However, four students from TUFS participated at Lithuanian Language Summer School organized by Vytautas Magnus University. During their stay in Lithuania they had intensive Lithuanian language classes, learned about Lithuanian history, culture and society and had some sightseeing activities. They also were met by Vice-Rector Ineta Dabašinskienė. I met them at the Global Japan Office and introduced our activities (see picture).
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Previously GJO proposed to help the Sugihara Museum by translating of the texts from English to Japanese which will be used as explanations of exhibition in the Sugihara Museum of Kaunas. The translation work was successfully conducted thanks to the enormous help of TUFS. This fact will be promoted during August and September (especially during Sugihara Week) and will become very important contribution of TUFS to the development of Japan-Lithuania relations.
This month was active because of several Japan-related projects implemented by GJO:
Preparations for Sugihara Week, which will be held in Kaunas on September 2-8. This will be very big event, which will attract not only Lithuanians, but also Japanese and Jewish tourists and mass media. Among the honorable guests, Y. Nakasone (Member of Parliament), H. Furuta (Governor of Gifu Prefecture) and other honourable guests are planning their visit to Kaunas. As the Centre for Asian Studies is one of 4 organizers (including Kaunas Municipality, Embassy of Japan and Sugihara Foundation), Global Japan Office will become official partner of the event.
Promotional baner is as follows:
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The Facebook of the event is https://www.facebook.com/Sugiharaweek/
Creation of documentary about the relations between Japan and Kaunas (supported by Toshiba International Foundation). The July was mainly dedicated for research needed for this project and shooting already started.


2017年6月 活動日誌 / Activities Report, June 2017

2017年6月30日 / June 30th, 2017
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
オウレリウス・ジーカス / Aurelijus Zykas

The biggest cultural event co-organized by GJO this month was a public lecture and discussion with Japanese Zen master Shodo Harada Roshi, which took part at VMU Big Hall.
Moreover, Vice-Rector of VMU, Prof. Ineta Dabašinskienė visited TUFS during late June. She met with the authorities of TUFS and participated at the international symposium on the Baltic and Slavic languages organized by Sophia University. Ambassador of Lithuania in Japan, Mr. Egidijus Meilūnas, made a welcome speech during the Symposium. On June 20, teacher of TUFS, Dr Eiko Sakurai was awarded a special award for developing Lithuanian studies in Japan by the Embassy. Vice-Rector also joined the ceremony.
Vice-Rector’s visit was announced by the Lithuanian MOFA: https://jp.mfa.lt/jp/lt/naujienos/lietuviu-kalba-susilauke-japonijos-kalbininku-demesio
As a new project, GJO proposed the initiative to translate an amount of texts from English to Japanese, which will be used as explanations of exhibition in the Sugihara Museum of Kaunas. Sugihara Museum is lacking substantial funding, thus needs external help. The Museum recently became well known in Japan, and attracts some funding for the repairs of the building itself. GJO proposed to help the Museum by translating of the texts, which will be volunteered by the students and teachers of TUFS. Translation work is supposed to be finished by mid-July.

Topic of the month: Č. Sugihara as an important part of the work of GJO Kaunas
As this Summer is mainly dedicated for the preparations of Sugihara Week and creation of Documentary “Kaunas the city of Sugihara”, more should be said about the personality of Chiune Sugihara, who is the main tie between Kaunas and Japan (also between TUFS and VMU), thus is very important for further development of the projects.
Chiune Sugihara was vice-consul of Japan, appointed to Kaunas (which then was the capital of Lithuania) during 1939-1940. He lived in the city of Kaunas, and during very short period saved the lives of at least 6000 Jewish refugees, by issuing famous “Visas for Life”. These transit visas helped the Jews to escape Lithuania and to reach Japan via USSR. Later they reached their final destinations in USA, Australia, Canada and China.
After 1990s Sugihara became world famous, especially in Israel, Lithuania and Japan. Since then, quite many books on him are being published, and the memory of Sugihara is becoming more and more important. In Lithuania, there are quite many places related to him, including Sugihara Park, Sugihara Street and the Monument “Moonlight” in Vilnius. In Kaunas, the building of the former Consulate survived and became a Museum of Sugihara. Kaunas Tourism Office created Sugihara Route oriented to Japanese tourists, which includes the Museum and other related places: Metropolis Hotel (where Sugihara issued the visas), Kaunas Station (where he was issuing them from the window of train), etc. Recently, with the active participation of GJO Kaunas, Sugihara Group for the Development of Relations between Kaunas and Japan was created. Moreover, there are plans to create Sugihara Street, Sugihara Square and even Sugihara Stairs in Kaunas. The last but not the least, this year Sugihara’s list became a pretendent to be inscribed into the List of World’s Memory by UNESCO.
In this context, GJO Kaunas is very active in using the name of Sugihara for building closer cooperation between Lithuania and Japan, and also between VMU and TUFS. One of the initiatives is the Sugihara Week, which will be held on September 2-8, and will attract Lithuanian, Japanese, and Jewish artists, participants and mass media.


2017年5月 活動日誌 / Activities Report, May 2017

2017年5月30日 / May 30th, 2017
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
オウレリウス・ジーカス / Aurelijus Zykas

The biggest cultural event organized by GJO this month was a Kabuki and Japanese Buyo performance, co-organized on May 12 and supported by the Embassy of Japan in Lithuania. This became be the second on-stage kabuki performance ever in Lithuania and attracted nearly 700 people.
Moreover, this month, the MoU with Hiroshima University was signed. The ceremony was held on May 8th, and the Memorandum was signed by Rector of Hiroshima University Prof. Mitsuo Ochi and Rector of VMU Prof. Juozas Augutis. Throughout the same day the delegation visited the Centre for Asian Studies and the Faculty of Humanities. The Vice-Rector Prof. Toshiyuki Sato also delivered a lecture about kanji for VMU students and was appointed as visiting professor of Vytautas Magnus University. More information with photos can be found here:
http://asc.vdu.lt/2017/05/agreement-with-hiroshima-university-signed/
During May 15-20, I also visited Stockholm and had negotiations with Stockholm University regarding the cooperation. During the meetings, the activities of Global Japan Office in Kaunas were presented.

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Topic of the month: On the developing academic network in Japan
As this month marked a new partnership in Japan with Hiroshima University, more should be said about the expanding network of partners of Vytautas Magnus University in Japan.
The partnership with Japanese universities in VMU started from 1997, and the first partner of VMU in Japan was Kansai Gaidai University. Initially, the expansion of the network was quite slow, but during last 6 years it has expanded from 4 universities (in 2011) to 18 universities in 2017. Presently, Japan is the number one partner of VMU, as it has the biggest number of active bilateral agreements (more than in USA, France or Germany). The majority of the agreements were initiated by the Centre for Asian Studies. For comparison, VMU has 10 partners in South Korea, 7 in People’s Republic of China and 4 in Taiwan.
With Japanese partners, different types of cooperation were developed. First of all, there is very active students’ exchange, and every year 15-25 students are being exchanged with Japanese universities. This academic year, 14 students from Japan are studying at VMU (including one student from TUFS), and 10 VMU students are studying at Japanese universities. 9 VMU students were already sellected for studies in Japan from Autumn.
Japanese universities are also organizing short term fellowships for students to visit VMU, when they spend several days or weeks in Lithuania and Kaunas, learning culture, languages and communicating with local students and communities. Such programs were organized for Showa Women‘s University, Bunkyo Gakuin, etc.
Besides, teachers‘ exchange and joint research is also implemented successfully. Among the cases, for instance, teaching visits from Osaka University, Meiji University, Showa Womens‘ University, etc. were implemented, while I was invited to teach at Meiji and Saga Universities. Japanese professors are invited to Next month, VMU Vice-Rector Prof. I. Dabašinskienė is planning to visit TUFS and to make a presentation during the conference.
The highest level of cooperation was achieved this year in the framework of Global Japan Office between VMU and TUFS. This framework should further enhance the cooperation in all levels, including students and teachers exchange, joint research and other activities for achieving better mutual understanding and cooperation, not only between two universities, but also between two countries.


2017年4月 活動日誌 / Activities Report, April 2017

GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
オウレリウス・ジーカス / Aurelijus Zykas

Topic of the month: On the developing of relations between Kaunas and Japan
Although this month was not rich by events related to Japan, it marked several important isues in the development of Japanese studies in Kaunas and Lithuania. GJO Kaunas of TUFS is socially active in developing Kaunas-Japan relationships, and this month was very important in this aspect.
Kaunas, a city in the middle of Lithuania, has many symbolic relations with Japan. The story of diplomat Chiune Sugihara, who issued visas for life in Kaunas during 1939-40 is worldwide famous. However, there are several other interesting stories that should be remembered and further promoted. For instance, the first Japanese ever to visit Lithuania were the First Japanese Embassy to Europe (第1回遣欧使節) of 1862, who visited Kaunas on their way from St. Petersburg to Warsaw. A young translator Y. Fukuzawa was in the Embassy then and wrote nice memories about Kaunas. The Lithuanian politician, Mr. S. Kairys, who wrote the first Lithuanian books on Japan in 1905 also spent long time and left imprints in Kaunas.
To make these and other stories more popular in Lithuanian and Japanese societies, the Documentary on this topic is being created (supported by Toshiba International Foundation), and April marks the start of the project (it must be finished by April, 2018). Therefore, during April, GJO coordinator spent several weeks in Japan to make the initial research and to prepare for filming activities (in Japan they are planned for late Autumn).
Another important step this month was the establishment of the Sugihara Group for Kaunas-Japan Relations Development (supported by Kaunas Municipality) on April 24. The main purpose of the Group is to bring together a range of organizations and active Kaunas residents, who are contributing to the relations between Japan and Kaunas. The group is formed by representatives of different organizations responsible of different fields. Deputy Mayor of Kaunas, Mr. S. Kairys was appointed as a chairman, and me (GJO coordinator) was appointed as deputy chairman. The members of the group are Dr. Arūnas Gelūnas (Member of Parliament), Mr. R. Garbaravičius (Chairman of the Board of Sugihara Foundation) and various representatives from the sectors of tourism, business, culture, education, etc.
The establishment of the Group was covered by media in the following article: http://kauno.diena.lt/naujienos/kaunas/miesto-pulsas/kaunas-stiprins-draugyste-su-japonija-808858
VMU mainly raises 5 objectives for the development of Japanese studies: conducting research; expanding library funds; developing the international network with partner institutions; developing Japanese language, culture and society education; organizing cultural events.
Presently VMU has ~85 students studying Japanese language in 6 levels, and 18 partner universities in Japan. For students‘ exchange, every year 15-25 students are being exchanged with Japanese universities. As for TUFS, one student is presently studying at VMU.


2017年3月 活動日誌 / Activities Report, March 2017

GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
オウレリウス・ジーカス / Aurelijus Zykas

 The greatest event of March, 2017 in the history of Global Japan Office, Kaunas, was the official opening of GJO itself on March 13. This event was organized by the close cooperation among TUFS and VMU with the cooperation of the Embassy of Japan.
First of all, we met at the VMU Rector’s office to introduce the universities and to discuss regarding the further cooperation possibilities. Later, the Memorandum of Understanding and the Addendum regarding the student’s exchange was signed. The Ambassador of Japan H.E. Toyoei Shigeeda kindly participated during the meeting.
Later we all moved to the new building where the GJO is placed. Due to the space limits, GJO will use my table and my office room. However, the building is very new and modern, it was opened only 6 months ago. The faculties of Humanities and of Political Science, and the International Department are placed in this 6-floor building. The Centre for Asian Studies and GJO are placed on the 4th floor of the building.
In the new building, we organized GJO opening ceremony. It was so nice, that so many people came, including our social partners (representatives of business institutions, municipality, cultural institutions, Ministry of Cultural Affairs, etc.) and students. The speeches were delivered by Prof. Juozas Augutis (VMU Rector), H.E. Toyoei Shigeeda and Prof. Hirashita (TUFS Director of Administration). Finally, the MoU of the establishment of GJO was signed.
VMU mainly raises 5 objectives for the development of Japanese studies: conducting research; expanding library funds; developing the international network with partner institutions; developing Japanese language, culture and society education; organizing cultural events.
Presently VMU has ~85 students studying Japanese language in 6 levels, and 17 partner universities in Japan. For students‘ exchange, every year 15-25 students are being exchanged with Japanese universities. As for TUFS, one student is presently studying at VMU, but after officially becomming partner institutions, the exchange should intensify.

Photos of the event can be found in this link:
https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0BwPT3fI6gHNQQldJZllJSXNZYVU?usp=sharing