国際人文開発大学(トルクメニスタン)GJO活動日誌/International University for the Humanities and Development(Turkmenistan) GJO Activity Report

2020年10月 活動日誌 / October 2020 Activities Report

2020年10月31日 / October 31, 2020
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator

This may be a reflection of the current global situation, the foreign teachers in this country are hurrying back to their home country. Leaving Turkmenistan, which I like very much, is certainly regrettable, but it can’t be helped given the circumstances.

When Japanese language students come to my classroom one after another, or when I meet them on campus, they say things like, “What on earth does it mean that it’s already finished when it has just begun?” or, “I’m sorry to hear that, I was so motivated.”. In particular, I feel sorry for the students who were sitting in the front row of the classroom with their eyes shining brightly. They were so depressed. My heart aches as I cannot do anything for them even if I want to.

I’m not coming back to Turkmenistan for a while, but even if I want to visit a museum I haven’t visited yet I can’t… those facilities are closed. Even if I think about going to that restaurant again to eat delicious food … I cannot eat or drink there anymore. My favorite “Cafe Reading ” also became almost impossible (Students often ask me which coffee shop I go to recently.). The city is very peaceful, but it has become inconvenient for daily life due to counter epidemic measures.

While it was difficult to leave the country due to the almost total suspension of international traveling, I safely returned to my country via chartered flights thanks to the thorough support of the Japanese Embassy. The function of the international airport in Turkmenistan is now temporarily located in the Turkmenbashi Airport, so I decided to stay overnight in a port town on the Caspian Sea. In the morning, I looked out of the hotel window and saw the Turkmenbashi Bay and the treeless rock mountains, took a taxi around the city, and on the way to the airport, paid a visit to the cemetery of Japanese detainees, which became my last memory of this mission.

Turkmenistan was a good country.

2020年9月 活動日誌 / September 2020 Activities Report

2020年9月30日 / September 30, 2020
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator

The summer holidays have come to an end and the new school year has begun. Last year, Japanese language classes consisted mainly of third year students majoring in economics, but this year, there are many second year students majoring in IT/Computer and International Law. Considering the current situation, each class has been divided into two, held in the morning and afternoon with 40 minutes per class. I was surprised by how quiet the classes were, which may just be because the term has just started, but also most likely because of the small number of students in each class. Last year there were nearly 100 students in three classes, but now the maximum number of students in one class is 12, so there is a big difference. I was able to pay more attention to each student and teach them how to write and pronounce Japanese characters.

Meanwhile, Student G and Y (planning to study in Japan) seemed to really like the Japanese ghost stories, so we decided to continue reading more of them. There are many keywords that appear in Kwaidan that require explanation (Ochimusha, Munen, Onnen, Onibi, Jobutsu etc). The students listen with solemn expressions, especially when I talk about some of the strange phenomenon that I have personally witnessed. Student Y asked, “Do you believe in UFOs?” Apparently this summer, he woke up in the middle of the night at his home in a rural town (a place famous for its ancient battlefields) not far from the capital and went out into the garden, where he saw ten perfectly round light sources, larger than a full moon, neatly lining up in the night sky. They remained still for a while, then suddenly flew silently all in one direction. He thought they were UFOs because it was a different movement from ordinary airplanes and helicopters, so he got scared and rushed into his room and observed them from the gap in his door. “That doesn’t seem like a chartered plane bound for Tokyo.” I said, but I don’t think he heard my dark joke as he was too preoccupied in telling his own spooky summer experience.

2020年8月 活動日誌 / August 2020 Activities Report

2020年8月31日 / August 31, 2020
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator

Many people have told me to be prepared for the summer in Turkmenistan as it can get as hot as a desert, but this summer was not as bad as I was expecting it to be. Even in mid-August, a light breeze blows in the evenings.

Student G and Y, who are planning to study at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies continued to come to university to study Japanese even during the summer holidays. They should have been able to go to Japan in September this year, but due to the current situation, they still have no idea as to when that will be possible. I am extremely sorry for them.

Students need to be wearing their uniforms to enter school buildings, so we decided to study in the teacher’s space in the cafeteria (it is divided for students and teachers). The cafeteria is stays open for some teachers and assistant students because the university holds orientations and accepts applications during the summer.

As examinees and their parents stared at us, we gave a three-day presentation using images and sound sources on the theme of “Summer in Japan”. I knew that fireworks displays, Bon Odori, Nagashi Somen, and so on would be rarely held this year … but I explained these activities hoping that next summer the students would be able to experience them in Japan. They say mosquito nets and Uchimizu (an old Japanese custom of sprinkling water in streets and gardens with a ladle to lower the temperature) can also be found in Turkmenistan. Student G saw a candy apple in a picture of a food stall at a summer festival and asked me, “Teacher, are candy apples in Japan the same as the ones in Turkmenistan?” I was at a loss for words, as I don’t like sweet things and so have never had a candy apple. I had an idea that the inside of the apples was also candy, but that would make it very hard to eat. Not knowing what to say, I told the student that I would check and let her know next time. I emailed my Japanese friend and he sent me a video about how to make candy apples. I watched it with my student, who was content with the answer to her question.

What seemed difficult for the students to understand was the fact that the sound of cicadas is a comforting one for many Japanese. When they heard the sound, they both said, “I think it’s just noisy.” I brought up the topic of 1/f fluctuation and the Japanese sense of the seasons, but they still didn’t seem to be completely convinced. Perhaps they will not understand until they actually go to Japan and experience the summer for themselves. However, they had a better reaction towards the sound of Japanese wind chimes and said that they sounded nice.

Both students showed a strong interest in radio calisthenics. I told them that it has a history of nearly 100 years, that there is a character named Ratabo, and that elementary school students have to go to school every morning during their summer vacation and get a stamp to show that they did the exercises. After listening to the current radio calisthenics song, we actually practiced some radio calisthenics while watching a video. Out of breath, student Y asked, “Do Japanese people live long because they do radio calisthenics?” After this session, the student made radio calisthenics a part of his daily routine and also taught it to his students (the student teaches English and Japanese to children.) Student G also does radio calisthenics from time to time. In fact, I’ve been trying to do some myself recently, and I feel lighter on the days when I do the exercises, and heavier on the days when I don’t. I am actually feeling the effects.

I also introduced Japanese ghost stories, and other topics related to them such as Lafcadio Hearn (Yakumo Koizumi) and haunted houses. The other day, I found a collection of short ghost stories in Japanese and Russian called “Japanese Kwaidan” at a bookstore in the city and used it as a textbook. More than a dozen stories including “Hoichi the Earless”, “The Snow Woman” and “Slit-Mouthed Woman” are included in the book. Student Y reacted quickly to “Teketeke” in the table of contents. He comes from the Teke, the main Turkmen tribe. “Are there any Teke tribes in Japan?” he asked. I told him, “If you go to Japan to study, you will prove that there are Teke in Japan too.” Apparently, student Y now has the sound source of the ghost story into his mobile phone and puts it in a bucket to make it echo so that he can listen to it while working in his garden or field. Student G also plays the sound of ghost stories on her phone while cooking. I am truly impressed.

2020年7月 活動日誌 / July 2020 Activities Report

2020年7月31日 / July 31, 2020
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator

All classes have come to an end and the summer holidays have begun. Most of the students went back to their hometowns as soon as the final exams were over, but Student B, who had previously studied in Japan, and Student G and Student Y, who were candidates for studying in Japan, stayed in the city area to continue studying Japanese.

In the past few months, Student B has steadily advanced in his reading comprehension of Kawabata Yasunari’s “Snow Country”, but has put that aside for the summer to study for the Level 1 and 2 Japanese Language Proficiency Test. After he had finished his final exams, thesis presentation, and academic conference, he was determined to complete the practice tests for both levels in a very short period of time, and did so by studying day and night in just ten days. To be honest, teaching for this test was more difficult than regular classes because there are quite a few questions in Level 1 that even a native speaker would need to contemplate on, so it was necessary for me to brush up on my knowledge. However, it was all worth it as Student B works extremely hard on anything he puts his mind to, and always produces results. Student B graduated with a “Red Diploma” (honorary diploma), which is given only to students with top grades.

For the past six months, I have been teaching Student G and Student Y, using textbooks that are widely known. However, perhaps because it is the summer holidays now, we have been getting off tracks a little. Still, I am trying to introduce knowledge that would be useful for them when they get to go to Japan. In August, we are thinking of changing the theme, and doing a presentation class on “Summer Traditions”, allowing a little demonstration experience, and dealing with typical Japanese ghost stories ….

By the end of the month, the three students mentioned above returned to their hometowns. All the teachers who had been working overtime until recently also returned home, making myself probably the only one left on campus. At night, when I read ghost stories that I am thinking about using for class, my surroundings are so quiet that I often get scared. During the semester, I woke up to the first adhan in the morning coming from the Ertuğrul Mosque near the university, but now that the students have left and the classes are over, I hear the adhan before going to bed.

2020年6月 活動日誌 / June 2020 Activities Report

2020年6月30日 / June 30, 2020
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator

It’s time for exams again! The first half of June is the final exam period of the second semester, and senior students present their graduation theses during this time of year.

Since last December, second-year students in the Department of International Relations and International Politics have been studying Hiragana, Katakana, and 80 Kanji that first-year elementary school students in Japan learn. In this final exam, I wanted the students to concentrate on Kanji, so I excluded Kana from the test. As a result, there were many students who got full marks or close to full marks, and none failed. It has been proven that these students are fully capable of following fast-paced classes.

On the other hand, in the case of the third-year students of the five economics majors, there is a wide variety of students, from aspiring students to those who are not as much so, making it is difficult to create exams. In each class, there is a consultation period shortly before the exam, where exam topics and important points are shown to the students. The students often complain so as not to make the exam too difficult. The scene is rather reminiscent of haggling. In the end, the test covered the original scope of about 80 words in Katakana (half dictation and half translation).

As a result of the examination, more than a dozen students from the five economics majors got less than 50%. There is an option to take a makeup examination, but I find it pointless to force students to memorize material overnight because they will only forget what they learned, so I came to think that it would be better to let them read some literary works, which is also a good way of introducing Japanese culture. I asked them to choose and write a report on one story from the “Postwar Japanese Short Stories” collection or “Three Great Essays from the Middle Ages in Japan” (both are translated into Russian), which I found at a bookstore near the university. As a result, everyone was able to pass this term’s Japanese exams.

After the exam, most students go back to their hometowns. The fourth-year students graduate, so they leave their dormitories. Only the third-year students stay to do internships and cannot go home (with the exception of those from the capital), as it is obligated to have work experience at banks, general companies, universities and public offices during summer. I feel it would be better to have Japanese classes for first and second-year students as well, as students in their third year or above are extremely busy with more classes, internships and graduation theses.

2020年5月 活動日誌 / May 2020 Activities Report

2020年5月31日 / May 31, 2020
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator

Although we just finished midterm exams in mid-April, final exams await us in June. We will be wrapping up the school year in the month and a half around May. (Perhaps I should say “half” of the school year, as we only had six months of Japanese classes this year.)

 国際関係・国際政治学科の2年生はこの1か月半で小学1年生の漢字80字を全てこなしました。日本の小1生が1年かけて学ぶものを1か月ちょっとで憶えるというのはかなりのハイペースではありますが、そこはエリート大学生、がんばってもらいましょう。中には中国語を履修している学生もおり、日本語の漢字なんて「楽勝」「余裕」と言わんばかりの顔をしています。意欲的な学生も少なからずいますので、日本語、朝鮮語、中国語の文法・文字体系の違いと類似点、東アジアにおける漢字・漢文の歴史と意義、仮名の発生・発達史、日本語系統研究の略史と最近の動向などを解説しました。東アジアのその辺のことはもやもやして分からなかったけど話を聞いてすっきり分かるようになったと嬉しいことを言ってくれる学生がいました。In the past one and a half months, second-year students in the Department of International Relations and International Politics have mastered all 80 Kanji characters learned by first-year elementary school students in Japan. It is quite a fast pace for our students to be learning these Kanji, which takes Japanese students an entire year to study, but I am sure they will be fine. Some of them are studying Chinese, and so they seem to have no trouble with Japanese Kanji. Since there are quite a few motivated students, I explained the differences and similarities between the grammatical and writing systems of Japanese, Korean and Chinese, the history and significance of Kanji and Kanbun in East Asia, the history of Kana and its development, and a brief history of Japanese phylogenetic research and recent trends. Some students said that they didn’t understand that part of East Asia because of its hazy nature, but after listening to the lecture, they could understand it clearly.

As there were only a few classes left after completing the Katakana course for the third-year students in the five economics majors, I kept my explanations for Kanji to a minimum and proceeded with basic conversation practices.(37 words)(The content of the conversations were based around economics, considering the students’ majors.) This class started in February this year, a little more than a month later than the class above, and I have become aware of what a one-month difference can make. I cannot help but feel that if I had been able to start in September like the other subjects, I would have been able to do a lot more.

2020年4月 活動日誌 / April 2020 Activities Report

2020年4月30日 / April 30, 2020
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator

The second half of the midterm exam was held in the second week of April. The second-year students of the Department of International Relations and International Politics, who began studying Japanese last December, finished studying all the Katakana characters as well as Hiragana characters before taking this midterm examination. Since Hiragana was tested in the final exam of the first semester, the scope of this exam was 100 words of Katakana vocabulary. 50 of them were in the test. The questions were not only based on everyday vocabulary, but also proper nouns such as “Turkmenistan” and “Ashgabat”. The test results were excellent, and several students got full marks and nobody failed. After the exam, the class progressed to learning Kanji, greetings and basic conversation.

Students in the five economics departments that started learning Japanese in February of this year (all in their third year) managed to finish studying Hiragana by the midterm examination. There were many holidays in March, so we got to the last character of Hiragana in a month and a half. The test for these students also covered 100 words in Hiragana. Again, 50 of them were in the test. Students who studied Japanese last year scored high this year as they reviewed their studies, but the scores of first-time students varied. In general, there were many students who did well, but there were some students who unfortunately failed. They took a makeup examination, in which everyone got passing marks and was able to finish their midterm examination without any problems.

On another note, Ms. G (female student) and Mr. Y (male student), who were selected in February to study abroad at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, both came to the GJO office one day in April looking concerned. I wondered what had happened, as they remained silent after saying, “Can we really go to Japan?”. The effects of COVID-19 around the world are getting worse day by day, and the students are worried about whether they will be able to go to Japan on time in the fall. On another day, a teacher of our university, who was thinking of taking the MEXT government-sponsored overseas study examination, came to the office and said, “I decided not to take the exam after all because everyone seems to object to my studying abroad”. The virus outbreak is casting a dark shadow over the future of Turkmenistan’s talented youth.

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

2020年3月31日 / March 31, 2020
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator

In February, Ms. G, a third-year student, and Mr. Y, a second-year student, were chosen through an exam as candidates to study at TUFS. They were finally free from their studies for this exam, but now they are busy preparing documents for studying abroad. In particular, the medical certificate must go to multiple hospitals, and it takes a lot of time at each hospital, so if they do not start it immediately after the test, they won’t make it in time.
When they applied online, their internet connection was cut off in the middle of the process, and they noticed omissions and errors later, so they tried again and again, and they barely made the deadline. They have a strong desire to study Japan, and have studied Japanese not only in university classes but also at private language schools. Their big dream of studying in Japan is about to come true.

On the other hand, students finished hiragana in the regular classes (some classes also finished katakana) and had to wait for mid-term exams in early April. In almost every class, we conduct quizzes to confirm their knowledge up until the current point in time. There is still a certain number of students who are not enthusiastic about studying (in the case of a Japanese class, it is often a male student), and from the end of February, we decided to hold mandatory retests on Saturdays for students who scored less than 50%, and many of these students (who didn’t want to lose their free time on Saturdays) began to study hard to get good scores in the first test. It is a burden for teachers to have quizzes (marking hundreds of papers each week) and retests, but I intend to continue them as a means to encourage students to study diligently.

Also, more than 30 books that I applied for through the Japan Foundation last year have been delivered to the GJO after being registered at the university’s library. My predecessor chose a lot of good books for Japanese language teachers, so I am grateful as a successor. I would like to thank the Foundation and the Mr. Hidaka.

2020年2月 活動日誌 / February 2020 Activities Report

2020年2月29日 / 29th February, 2020
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator

The half-month winter vacation ended, and the new school year (the second semester) started on February 3. Class organization and timetables were announced by the Educational Affairs Division.

 The second semester has me teaching nine classes a week, with each class being 80 minutes long. Undergraduate classes are generally held in the morning (Graduate School in the afternoon). Approximately 130 students, mostly in their third year of undergraduate studies, take Japanese courses in six majors: international relations and politics, international economics, international trade, international finance, international management, and insurance. These students take Japanese twice a week. Basically, separate classes are held for each of the 6 departments, but some are joined together. One of my classes is a joint class between three departments (international finance, international management and insurance), and has approximately 60 students.. We will use the auditorium because it will exceed the capacity of the GJO.

When I asked the students what kind of foreign language they had taken other than English, most answered Italian or Chinese, but there were quite a few who had taken Japanese. Those who have taken Japanese before have confidence, so they sit in front of the classroom and actively speak out, but those who have not majored in Japanese are rather reserved. I’ll have to think about how to deal with this in the near future.

 As for extracurricular activities (afternoon), beginner and intermediate courses will continue to be offered at the GJO. A Japanese movie screening was held on February 11. I borrowed the video from the Japanese Embassy (thanks).

 In addition to the above, this month I conducted an examination to select two students to go on exchange to TUFS, participated in a government-sponsored information session for foreign students, and participated in the first meeting for the organization of a Japanese speech contest.

2020年1月 活動日誌 / Janurary 2020 Activities Report

2020年1月31日 / 31st Janurary, 2020
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator

The New Year’s holiday here is short, with the first class of the year beginning on January 2. Since the students finished studying hiragana by the end of last year, and as a treat for the New Year, I decided to hold a New Year’s Karuta Tournament during my classes.

First, I gave a presentation using a projector and explained what karuta is, the rules of the game, and the types and history of karuta. I also mentioned how Hyakunin Isshu Karuta is currently popular both in Japan and abroad, partly because of the influence of manga and anime “Chihayafuru”.

As the Hyakunin Isshu is impossible for a beginner, we had no choice but to play Iroha Karuta. I had the students make the torifuda (pick up cards). The first day, class ended after making the torifuda. On the following day, the Karuta Tournament was held. The 24-person class was divided into four teams, with each team of six competing. Students who didn’t really understand the game from the presentation may have found it more interesting as they tried it out, as the atmosphere of the room seemed to escalate during their games. It was a scene similar to Japanese students playing karuta. Each player scored around 7-10 points (one card = one point). As a teacher, I was relieved to see that they had remembered hiragana in such a short period of time.

 以上の新年かるた大会をもって前期の授業が終了しました。1月14日に期末テストを実施、点数が良くなかった学生には厳しく再試験、再々試験を行いました。期末テスト期間の後は冬休みです。地方出身者はたいがい帰省するので、学生寮は閑散とします。 首都在住の学生や帰省しなかった一部日本語学習者から冬期講習を行ってほしいとの要望があり、中級・初級クラスそれぞれ週3回程度レッスンを行いました。というわけで、日本語教師に冬休みはありませんでした…。
With the New Year Karuta Tournament mentioned above, classes ended for the first semester. The final exam was held on January 14, and students who did not get a good score were required to take a repeat exam. Winter vacation starts after the final exam period. Students from the countryside usually go back to their hometowns, so the dormitory is quiet. In response to requests from students living in the capital and some Japanese language learners who had not returned to their hometowns, we held classes for intermediate and beginner-level students about three times a week. So there was no winter break for us Japanese teachers …


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

2019年12月31日 / 31st December, 2019
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator

At the end of November, the efforts of all concerned were finally rewarded, and the long-awaited “invitation” (Turkmenistan-issued entry permit subject to visa issuance) arrived at hand, and on December 4, I entered Turkmenistan. Mr. W, who is in charge of accepting foreigners from IUHD, was waiting for me at the airport from 3 AM.
For the first few days, there were no classes, and I spent my time greeting the staff on campus and starting my life.
It is very helpful that Mr. B, a third year student of IUHD who was studying at TUFS until recently, is kindly supporting me.

On the first day of my arrival, I had my “first meeting” with the GJO office. Of course, IUHD is a new school, but the GJO office is also clean and well-equipped. If it is a classroom shared with other subjects, you may not be able to use it when you want to, but the GJO office is a space exclusively used for Japanese, so this is really appreciated. However, looking at the bookshelves in the back of the classroom, we can’t really say that there are enough textbooks, exercise books, and reference books, so I want to improve this.
I had my first class on the 11th. As the arrival of teachers was significantly delayed, only the 2nd year students in the Department of International Relations and International Politics (20+ students, twice a week) took Japanese in the first semester (September to January).
I was able to teach hiragana in all six classes this year, so I will try to establish their knowledge by teaching them the Iroha Karuta game at the beginning of the year.

(単位が与えられる大学の授業とは別に)GJOの活動としては、日本語学習希望者を初級と中級の2クラスに分けて、それぞれ週に2回、3回のペースでレッスンを行いました。25日と28日には両クラス合同で、日本大使館からお借りしたDVD「世界遺産・日本編 ─ 屋久島」を閲覧し、ディスカッションを行いました。樹齢数千年の巨大杉や亜熱帯の海底などが織りなす独自の生態系に関心が集中しました。
As part of the GJO’s activities (but separate from normal classes) the students who wanted to study Japanese were divided into two classes, beginner and intermediate, and were given lessons two or three times a week. On the 25th and 28th, both classes watched and discussed the DVD “World Heritage: Yakushima” borrowed from the Japanese Embassy. The students showed interest in the unique ecosystem of 1000 year-old giant cedar trees and the subtropical seabed.

2019年7月 活動日誌 / July 2019 Activity Report

2019年7月9日 / July 9, 2019
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
日高 晋介 / HIDAKA Shinsuke

It is finally July. As expected, it’s hot… But unlike Japan, the air is very dry. Japan is in the middle of rainy season right now, so it’s probably quite humid. From now on I will be filled with trepidation.

Let’s look back on July. Classes ended at the end of June, so I made some instructions for my successor, and organized the GJO space. In the midst of all this, I was called upon by the president of IUHD. He told me he hoped to continue relations with TUFS. It would be great if more students at IUHD took an interest in Japanese language and culture. Also, since I will be sending money from my Turkmen bank account to my Japanese one, I had to go to the bank many times. Professor Nurmuhammet, who was in charge of looking out for me at IUHD, helped me prepare the documents, so it went smoothly.

Speaking of Professor Nurmuhammet, he became the vice-president of IUHD at the beginning of July. I think this is because he did such a good job of looking after the foreign staff, including those from TUFS, who came to work at IUHD from universities all around the world.

Lastly, I would like to say a few words of thanks. I was able to work in Turkmenistan for 10 months thanks to the support of a number of people. In particular, I would like to thank the TUFS Office for International Affairs, IUHD’s Professor Nurmuhammet, and the students at IUHD. Thank you all very much. I would like to end my final Activity Report by saying I hope that TUFS and IUHD can continue to develop and maintain even stronger relations.

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
日高 晋介 / HIDAKA Shinsuke

I wrote last month that the sun rays were “trying to kill me,” and in June the heat showed no signs of stopping… It has been close to 40 degrees lately. I thought my body was handling it, but at the end of the month I got a stomach bug and felt a bit down… I’ll go into this more later, but since I finished all my class-related work, I might have been a bit exhausted.

Anyway, let’s look back on June. Most of the month was spent on exams. The exam period here was from Saturday the 8th until Tuesday the 18th. I gave out homework with the same questions as the test and had consultations with each student about their scores, during which I explained exactly what they had done wrong (consultations are strategic classes you hold before exams). As a result, over 80% of my students passed and didn’t have to take supplementary exams (I’ll leave the fate of the remaining students to your imagination). In addition to this, supplementary exams were held from Saturday 22 – Tuesday 25, and further supplementary exams were held on the 27th and 28th. On the 28th, all my class and exam work ended. It was an emotional experience.

On Wednesday the 19th, in combination with a gathering for people working at Japanese companies in Turkmenistan, a farewell party for the Japanese language teachers leaving in July, myself included, was held. I found out that, despite being here for the shortest amount of time among the teachers, I was leaving the earliest. There will be another farewell party next month, so I feel a bit strange.

今月は、日本とトルクメニスタンとの関係でも、大きな動きがありました。今月28日には、川崎重工業が手掛けたGTG (Gas To Gasoline)プラントの完工式が行われました(参考までに:web記事「川崎重工:世界最大のガス・ツー・ガソリン(GTG)プラントがトルクメニスタンで完成」)。日本にいるとよく見えないのですが、先月もお伝えしたように、日本企業のみなさんが現地の人と共に当地でも活躍しています。日本語を学習したIUHDの学生にも、当地の日本企業での活躍を期待したいところです。また、GTGプラントの完工式に関連してかどうかはわかりませんが、トルクメニスタン航空が東京・アシガバード間の直行便を運航しました(ただし、チャーター便。27日に東京からアシガバードへ、29日にアシガバードから東京へ。)今後、両国の交流がさらに深まるとよいですね。
This month, there was also a big movement in Japanese-Turkmen relations. On the 28th, a ceremony was held to commemorate the completion of Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd.’s GTG (Gas to Gasoline) plant (here is an article about the endeavor). While you don’t see this much in Japan, here in Turkmenistan, just as I mentioned last month, Japanese companies are working together with the local people. I hope the students studying Japanese at IUHD can have bright futures at these companies. Also, while I’m not sure if it is related to the completion of the GTG plant, Ashgabat International Airport established direct flights between Tokyo and Ashgabat (however they are charter flights; the first will be Tokyo-Ashgabat on the 27th, and Ashgabat-Tokyo on the 29th). I hope Japan-Turkmenistan relations continue to flourish.

I have no more classes, but I do have a lot of things I have to do before I return to Japan… I think I’ll write about them next month.

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
日高 晋介 / HIDAKA Shinsuke

It is now May. All month, the weather was like summer. There were some days where it was over 35 degrees… when it gets close to 40 I start feeling like the sun rays are trying to kill me. Japanese summer is also very hot, but Turkmen summer is on a different level, and is apparently very hard on the human body. The heat is almost unbearable, but thanks to everyone at IUHD and TUFS, I am well and enjoying my work every day.

There were no big events scheduled for IUHD in May, so I thought this month would be a bit boring, but looking back I realize a lot of things happened. First, on May 4, a “Science Forum” was held at the Oguz Khan University of Engineering Technologies. This event was organized by a Japanese language teacher at Oguz Khan University. It consisted of lectures from people working in Japanese companies (Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd., Sumitomo Corporation, Mitsubishi Corporation) and science teachers dispatched from the University of Tsukuba (with local staff interpreting their lectures into Turkmen). Students studying Japanese also gave presentations in Japanese. In particular, I learnt quite a lot from listening to the talks of people working in Japanese companies in Turkmenistan. It seems that Kawasaki is building natural gas and gasoline plants, Sumitomo is building a power plant, and Mitsubishi is building an urea fertilizer plant.

From mid-May, to try something new, I screened Studio Ghibli films in the GJO Office. I’ve heard many students say “I want to watch Japanese cartoons” and “I want to watch Japanese movies”, so I borrowed some Studio Ghibli DVDs (with English subtitles) from the Japanese Embassy. By the end of May, we had managed to watch four films (Castle in the Sky, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Porco Rosso, Ponyo). Personally, I really related to the protagonist in “Kiki’s Delivery Service”, and as I watched her struggle in an unfamiliar town, a situation not dissimilar to my own, I almost cried…

At the end of the month, the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) textbooks I ordered from the TUFS Office for International Affairs finally arrived. The JLPT is scheduled to be held in Ashgabat in December this year, so I asked for some practice tests. When I showed the students, they were very happy.

そして、5月27日から29日まで、中等教育機関向け日本語教科書(4年生と8年生(中学二年生相当))の録音に参加しました。この教科書は、国際交流基金の上級専門家が先導して作成しています。日本語を教える以外にも、このような教科書作成の現場に立ち合うことができ、これも大変勉強になりました。なお、トルクメニスタンの中等教育機関における日本語教育については、上原(2018)および、国際交流基金ウェブページ「日本語教育 国・地域別情報 トルクメニスタン(2017年度)」の「中等教育」の項をご覧ください。
Also, from May 27-29, I participated in recording my voice for a Japanese textbook aimed at secondary students (grade 4 and 8, 8 is equal to second year of junior high in Japan). This textbook is being made by an advanced-level specialist at the Japan Foundation. In addition to teaching Japanese, being able to participate in the making of teaching materials was also a big learning experience for me. For more information on Japanese language education at a secondary school level in Turkmenistan, please refer to Uehara (2018) and the Japan Foundation’s page, “Japanese Language Education Information by Country – Turkmenistan (2017)”.

Next month will mostly be spent on exams. I wonder how the students will do? I look forward to bringing you next month’s report.

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
日高 晋介 / HIDAKA Shinsuke

It’s April. The middle of this month seemed to go back to winter temperatures (even then it was still about 15 degrees), and it rained a lot, which is rare for Turkmenistan, so it was a little unpleasant. However, temperatures at the end of the month went back to 25 degrees and above, and it felt like summer.

In April, the mid-term exams are held from the 6th until the 12th. From my experiences last semester, students who don’t study really don’t do anything at all, so I gave them homework to try and improve their scores. The homework and the test had more or less the same content, but there were still some students who couldn’t complete the test… I’m thinking everyday about how I can get them to take more interest in their studies.

4月は大きなイベントが二つありました。一つは日本語コンテストです。27日(土)にアザディ世界言語大学にて実施されました。国際人文開発大学からは3名の学生が参加しました(うち2名が詩の暗唱部門、1名がスピーチA(初級者)部門に参加)。詩の暗唱部門で、1名が2位入賞を果たしました。今年からは、スピーチB(中級者)部門にも参加できる学生がいたのですが、卒業論文の口頭試問の時期と重なってしまい、IUHDからは出場者を出すことができませんでした。私自身もこのようなコンテストにおけるスピーチの指導をするのは初めてでしたので、試行錯誤の日々でした。コンテスト指導の試行錯誤に関しては、国際交流基金日本語指導助手大内先生による『日本語教育通信 日本語コンテスト特集号』(PDFファイルが開きます)をご覧ください。IUHDのみならず、他の大学の様子もわかりますので、ぜひご覧ください。
There were two big events in April. One was the Japanese Speech Contest. This contest was held on Saturday the 27th at the Azadi Turkmen National Institute of World Languages. Three students from IUHD participated (two in the poetry recitation category, one in the beginner-level speech category). One of the students won second place in the poetry recitation category. There are some students at IUHD who could have entered the intermediate-level speech category, but the competition clashed with the oral examinations for their graduation theses, so they couldn’t compete. It was my first time helping students prepare for their speeches, so a lot of it was trial-and-error. In regards to this, please take a look at this newsletter, “Japanese Language Education Promotions: Japanese Speech Contest Edition,” compiled by Mr. Oouchi, Japanese language guidance assistant at the Japan Foundation. It has information on the activities at universities other than IUHD, so it’s worth a read.

There are no exams or big events scheduled for May, so hopefully I can plan some Japanese-related event. What would be good I wonder?

2019年3月 活動日誌 / March 2019 Activity Report

2019年3月31日 / March 31, 2019
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
日高 晋介 / HIDAKA Shinsuke

It is now March. It has been both hot and cold here in Turkmenistan, and three cold days almost always seemed to be followed by four hot ones. Perhaps because of this, I’ve caught a cold. I used the earlier half of the new-year holidays here (March 22 and 23) in a very productive (?) way – by sleeping… even though I don’t have holidays very often…

Anyway, I want to report on the Japanese classes. Last month, I wrote about how two new classes of first-year students began studying Japanese. There were a few times where I had to be quite strict, but they’ve finally calmed down. These days I am starting to understand the tremendous power of education. I once again feel the need to use the power of a teacher correctly. Although, I do think that some of the second-year students still look at me and think “oh he’s annoying”. At the start of next month there’s a mid-term test, so I want to keep doing my job as best as I can.

話は変わって、月末に在トルクメン日本大使館主催のイベントが二つ行われました。それぞれ紹介したいと思います。一つは、30日に和食紹介イベントが行われました。私は私用があったため、いけなかったのですが、学生たちに写真を見せてもらいました。天ぷらや寿司の調理デモンストレーションが行われ、日本酒も振舞われたようです。詳しくはwebニュース記事 (ロシア語: https://arzuw.news/9518/sostoyalsya-master-klass-po-prigotovleniyu-yaponskoy-kuhni.html) を見てください。
Moving onto another topic, the Japanese Embassy in Turkmenistan held two events at the end of this month. I want to talk about them a little. The first was a Japanese Food event on the 30th. I was otherwise engaged and could not attend, but I had the students show me photos of the event. It seems that there were tempura and sushi-making demonstrations and sake tastings. More information can be found in this article (Russian only): https://arzuw.news/9518/sostoyalsya-master-klass-po-prigotovleniyu-yaponskoy-kuhni.html

In addition to this, a party for exchange program returnees was held by the embassy on the 31st. I think this was the second time they’ve held this. This event is an opportunity to interact with people who went on exchange to Japan, which I enjoyed while eating traditional Turkmen food in the desert. I ate many foods one can’t even find in Japan, such as pan-baked beef and kebabs. The beef was juicy and delicious.

来月下旬 (27日) には、日本語コンテストも行われます。いい結果が報告できるよう、学生と共に準備を進めていきたいと思います。
At the end of next month (the 27th), a Japanese contest will be held. I am helping my students prepare, and hope for some good results.

2019年2月 活動日誌 / February 2019 Activity Report

2019年2月28日 / February 28, 2019
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
日高 晋介 / HIDAKA Shinsuke

There were some chilly days in February, but the weather has generally been pretty easygoing. Ashgabat might’ve even been warmer than Tokyo. I have the weather of both Tokyo and Ashgabat displayed on my phone, so I compare them quite a bit. In the latter half of February, the days grew longer, and it began to stay light outside until about 7pm. Ashgabat is close to the equator, so the days are quite long. I am a little scared of the summer to come. I remember the direct sunlight in Uzbekistan was intense. If you’re outside for 10 minutes without protection in the height of summer (around July), you can easily feel like you’re going to die. I heard that Ashgabat is similar…

さて、こちらでは二月から新学期が開始です。今学期から、公法クラスと私法クラスの一年生が新しく日本語を勉強し始めました(公法クラスと私法クラスの二年生は先学期で終了したので、担当コマ数は変わらず)。どのクラスでも毎回ディクテーションテストを行いますが、みなさん相互扶助の精神が強いのでいろいろ気を付けねばなりません (詳しくは書けませんが…)。特に、一年生は私の指導に慣れていないので、こちらが気を張っていなければなりません。こういう指導は最初が肝心なので厳しく毅然とした態度で接していきたいと思います。
Moving on, the new semester starts from February. From this semester, first-year students from the public law and private law classes began to study Japanese (the second-year students of these classes finished their Japanese studies last semester, so the amount of classes I teach stays the same). Both classes always have discussions each time, and since they have a real sense of teamwork, I have to be careful sometimes (I can’t go into details on this though…). In particular, the first years aren’t used to my style of teaching, so I have to pay more attention to them. The early days of teaching this kind of subject are crucial, so I want to be firm and strict when dealing with them.

Following January’s exams, the exam to decide the two exchange student candidates for the ISEP program was held. Seven students stepped up to the challenge. While it’s no surprise, the students who have been studying Japanese continuously for 2-3 years since they were first years got the highest marks. There was such a narrow margin between the top three. I had to fail one of them while they cried, which was really hard for me. In April we will have a Japanese speech contest, so I hope that student participates in that.

The other applicants were first and second-year students who haven’t been studying Japanese for long, and prior to the exam a few students even told me something along the lines of “I won’t take the exam this year, but next year I will step up to the challenge!” I hope the atmosphere at IUHD becomes more competitive so the students’ Japanese levels can increase, which as a result would increase the national average level of Japanese in Turkmenistan.

2019年1月 活動日誌 / January 2019 Activity Report

2019年1月31日 / January 31, 2019
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
日高 晋介 / HIDAKA Shinsuke

It is now January, and the 15 degrees and above days keep coming. Because of this the air is very dry, and my skin has become itchy. Luckily, the weather turned bad yesterday, and it became more humid. Of course I’m not happy about it being cold again… but it is important to take care of your health.

Speaking of health, let’s talk about food. There are no Japanese ingredients in Turkmenistan, but I used to live in Uzbekistan, so I am used to the food and ingredients here. Lately I’m obsessed with buckwheat kasha and kefir (similar to drinking yoghurt). They are cheap, easy to prepare and nutritious. It is kind of similar to Japanese natto (fermented soybeans, which I really want to eat right now).

If you were to ask me whether or not I miss Japanese food, I suppose my answer would be yes (I want natto). Last week on Friday the 25th, a New Year’s party was held at the ambassador’s residence. Many Japanese expats gathered at the party, especially those working in companies or educational institutions, and exchanged new year’s greetings while eating Japanese food. I was really happy to enjoy the food and drinks (especially chirashizushi and shochu), but more importantly I was glad to spend my time productively by listening to the interesting stories of working people who I usually wouldn’t have a chance to speak with.

In my main class, the end-of-term exam was held this month. At IUHD, “consultation time” is held before the exam period. I handed out a sample of the exam to students ahead of time, and wanted to work through it together during consultation time… but a few students finished it on their own before the consultation. I felt like crying a little. So consultation time didn’t go as planned, but the students got very high marks in the actual exam. There are a few students that have to take supplementary exams… so every day now I’m thinking about what I could do to motivate them more.

During the exam period, I also held an information session about ISEP (International Student Exchange Program). Eight students attended the session and listened with great interest. At the start of next month, the exam for overseas exchange will be held. I look forward to the students preparing thoroughly for and facing the challenge.

2018年12月 活動日誌 / December 2018 Activity Report

2018年12月31日 / December 31, 2018
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
日高 晋介 / HIDAKA Shinsuke

From mid-December, the city entered the end-of-year, or perhaps I should say new year, mood. Big trees were lined up in front of buildings, and decorative lights were even strung through the trees planted along the roads. However, I have work right up until the 31st, so it doesn’t feel like the end of the year at all… By the way, I was very suddenly given the 31st off, and the 30th was a Sunday, so I have a long weekend until January 1st (but work starts again on the 2nd!).

My biggest achievement in December was probably starting the Open Class (absolute beginner level). I am holding this class twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays (from 3-4pm). By the end of last month, I had about 10 students sign up, but in the end around 20 students registered. However, it seems that the Open Class often clashes with afternoon social events (a sort of gathering that students must participate in), so it is hard for students to attend every week.

In the middle of the month, I was invited by the Japanese Embassy to attend a party for the Emperor’s birthday. This was held at Yyldyz Hotel, a high-class hotel located at the top of a mountain. It was my first time attending a party like this, so I was very nervous. However, I was able to meet many other Japanese language teachers, making for a very worthwhile time. I was also able to enjoy lots of Japanese food and alcohol.

As the year came to a close, I was asked to give some new year’s greetings around the university. IUHD has a journalism department. Because of this, it seems they often interview foreigners who come to the university as material for the university newspaper and broadcasts. I was asked to give the new year’s greetings for both the newspaper and broadcast.

At the start of the new year there will be end-of-term exams, which will then be followed by an exam for those who wish to go on an overseas exchange. I plan to keep working hard, while also watching my health.

2018年11月 活動日誌 / November 2018 Activity Report

2018年11月30日 / November 30, 2018
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
日高 晋介 / HIDAKA Shinsuke

Heading into November, the days grew colder in Ashgabat. I’ve seen students catch colds much more than usual. I also caught a cold once… anyway I would like to report on this month’s happenings in the order they occurred.

At the start of November, mid-term exams were held for about a week. It has only been one month since I took over, but this wasn’t taken into account by the academic system. Anyhow, I made a test covering everything we’ve done so far, gave the students 10 minutes before the test to study, and made the questions relatively easy to give them a chance to get 100/100. However, out of 56 students, only one got 100/100. I suppose the average score was good though…

After the mid-terms, I began advertising the Open Class (absolute beginner level) that I plan to start in early December. I plan to hold this class twice a week for one hour each. First I got students to sign up through email, and sent them a task of writing out some hiragana and katakana vocabulary. At this point, ten students have signed up, but no one has brought me their completed task yet. I wonder how many people will actually do the task?

Next, I visited the Ambassador of the Japanese Embassy in Turkmenistan, Ambassador KATSUMATA. I felt that everyone at the embassy was very understanding of the activities of IUHD and the GJO. I decided I want to get myself together and dive into my day-to-day work.

In the last week of November, I was assigned with the task of submitting a teaching materials grant application to the Japan Foundation. The Japan Foundation is an organization that provides support for Japanese language education institutions around the world. This organization can assist new Japanese language education institutions with funds to purchase teaching materials. The GJO at IUHD was established in 2016, so we can still apply for this grant this year. Last year, we applied for a grant to purchase materials for the students, so this year we decided to use it to purchase materials for the teachers. I also sent out a sales quote to a bookseller. Since the President of the university’s signature is required for the application, I also translated the documents into English. My schedule this month was all over the place, but I was able to submit the forms. All I have to do now is wait for the result.

In November, I was able to get used to my new lifestyle, and complete many new jobs. The Open Class will start in December, so I want to keep this momentum going.

2018年10月 活動日誌 / October 2018 Activity Report

2018年10月31日 / October 31, 2018
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
日高 晋介 / HIDAKA Shinsuke

 2018年9月より、GJOトルクメニスタンのコーディネーターを担当する日高です。IUHD(International University for the Humanities and Development)における日本語教育やその他活動、トルクメニスタンの街の様子などについて、幅広く紹介していきます。
Shinsuke here, the coordinator of the GJO Turkmenistan from September 2018 onwards. I’m ready to share information on Japanese language education and related activities at IUHD, and general information about Turkmenistan.

Because of visa procedures, I took over as coordinator in October. On October 3rd, despite my arrival being at 4am, Professor Nurmuhammet came to the airport to pick me up, and took me to my dorm. IUHD is on the same grounds as two other universities, and the dorm is right next-door. Also, the president’s palace is across the street from the university. One day, a student joked with me saying “you live next to the president”. However, the palace is strictly guarded by police officers, so I don’t know what it is like, but one day I’d love to try and go inside…

The next day, I had to go to the university to sign some documents, so I got a tour of the campus by some students. However, I was so overloaded with new information on the first day, so I kind of forgot what is what… It seems to be best to just ask other teachers or students about things I don’t understand as they arise. Since actually taking up my position, I’ve had countless amounts of help from students and teachers. Also, since there are so few foreigners in the university, if you look lost, someone will come over and talk to you. Since IUHD has focused on English education since its inception, the students will talk to you in English. I think it is quite rare for students in a Central Asian country to speak to foreigners they’ve just met in English (usually they would speak in Russian).

Two days after I arrived, classes began. I was worried about teaching classes when I barely know left from right, but I started the students off on hiragana and basic greetings. The students take two periods of Japanese a week (one period=80 minutes). I suppose it is on par with taking a second foreign language course in Japan. Because of this, I decided to keep using the “Marugoto” textbook that my predecessor used. This textbook focuses on task-based learning, and doesn’t put much importance on writing Japanese. However, for students to achieve a high level of Japanese proficiency, they can’t avoid learning written characters. Because of this, I decided to dedicate the first 40 minutes of each lesson to teaching characters (hiragana and katakana), and the last 40 to working through “Marugoto”.

It is my first time teaching students with no prior knowledge of Japanese, so I am able to go into these classes with a fresh mindset. I’m enjoying my classes and making new discoveries every day. From next month onwards I would like to talk in more depth about the content of these classes.

2018年9月 活動日誌 / September 2018 Activity Report

2018年9月30日 / September 30, 2018
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
日高 晋介 / HIDAKA Shinsuke

2018年9月より、GJOトルクメニスタンのコーディネーターを担当する日高です。国際人文開発大学(International University for the Humanities and Development, 通称IUHD)における日本語教育やその他活動について、幅広くご紹介できればと思います。
My name is HIDAKA Shinsuke, and from September 2018 onwards I will be the coordinator of the GJO Turkmenistan. I hope to share extensive reports on the Japanese language education and related activities occurring here at the International University for the Humanities and Development (IUHD).

While I had planned to take up this post at the start of September, my written invitation didn’t arrive in time, so I spent most of the month preparing in Japan. In Turkmenistan, the inviting party (in my case IUHD) applies for a “written invitation” at the Immigration Bureau, and sends that invitation (in PDF form) to the foreign applicant. This applicant then takes the invitation to the Embassy of Turkmenistan in their country to apply for a visa, or they can use it to apply for a visa at the airport once they arrive in Turkmenistan. However, when I tried to depart from Japan, the staff at the airport didn’t know about this invitation system, so I lost some time explaining it to them.

Getting back to the topic at hand, I want to talk about the preparation I did in Japan before heading to Turkmenistan. First, I met with Ms. NAKAMURA, my predecessor at IUHD, in late July. She passed on information to be about the students, campus facilities, the syllabus, exams, etc. Thanks to her, I was able to get a vague idea of what to expect. I also received the letters of acceptance for the Turkmen students planning to come on exchange to TUFS in late September (apparently it is better to deliver important documents by hand than entrust them to the Turkmen postal service). After that I spent some time thinking about the overall syllabus and actual lesson plans. Japanese is a language that requires learners to spend a lot of time on learning written characters, so I thought it might be better to go for a more communication-focused approach, such as that of the textbook “Marugoto”. However, if I take into account the fact that IUHD students have the opportunity to go on exchange to Japan, then I do need to teach them written characters properly. As a result, I made rough plan where we could practice written language in the first half of the lesson, and work through “Marugoto” in the latter. While thinking about this, I waited for my invitation to arrive… but it didn’t arrive until the end of September. Because of this, I gave the letters of acceptance for the Turkmen students to someone from the Japanese Embassy in Ashgabat, who just happened to be visiting Japan in early September, and they took the documents to Turkmenistan for me.

I hope to report on my new position in next month’s Activity Report.

2018年7月 活動日誌 / Activity Report July 2018

2018年7月31日 / July 31, 2018
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
中村 彩希 / Saki Nakamura

University without the students is very quiet. This month, while organizing my affairs, I went to a student’s wedding and did some sightseeing.

At Turkmen weddings, there is always a large banquet and loud music, and pretty much everyone eats, dances, and then eats more. The music varies depending on the person, but it is usually a mixture of Turkmen, Turkish and Azerbaijani songs. If you are sitting and enjoying your meal, people will come and encourage you to dance. Apparently this is because a wedding is considered a success when many people dance. Also, the bridegroom’s families give out towels and cloths as gifts to those dancing. The ceremony is very lavish, and when I asked why I was told it is a reflection of the bridegroom’s wishes, “so their children may have just as lavish a wedding.”

図1. 結婚式の様子 / The wedding

The wedding was held in Türkmenbaşy, which is a little far from Ashgabat. Here, Awaza, a region facing the Caspian Sea, is a popular place to escape the summer heat. The views of Caspian Sea were of course beautiful, but the most memorable thing was the cenotaph erected for the Japanese people who died during the war. It was such an unexpected place to find such a monument, and was a chance for me to both look back on Japanese history, and feel the strong connections between Turkmenistan and Japan.

図2. 慰霊碑 / The Cenotaph

From the start of July, I was able to have a really good time in Turkmenistan. I am really grateful to all those who have supported me in my time here. My work here is coming to an end, but I hope for the further development of my students and Japan-Turkmenistan relations.

図3. アシガバートの街並み / Ashgabat townscape

2018年6月 活動日誌 / Activity Report June 2018

2018年6月30日 / June 30, 2018
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
中村 彩希 / Saki Nakamura

In June, in the midst of end-of-term exam preparations, an event was held at IUHD by the Japanese Embassy. This month, I will write about this event and the exams.

(1)日本文化イベント / Japanese Culture Event
Ms. HORIE Kyoko from the Japan Traditional Culture Research Institute was invited to host the “Cherry Blossoms and Heisei Era Tale of Genji Scrolls Exhibition”, an event sponsored by the Embassy of Japan in Turkmenistan.

On the day of the event, calligraphy works were displayed in the hall and tea ceremony, calligraphy and kimono demonstrations were held in the main conference room. These demonstrations were followed by green tea and calligraphy workshops. The students enjoyed green tea and sweets (while pulling faces at the bitter taste) at the tea ceremony corner, and formed a long line to have their names written in kanji by the calligrapher at the calligraphy corner, making the event a great success.

(2)期末試験 / End-of-term exams
This month, the end-of-term exams, the culmination of a year’s work, were held. The students who were serious about their Japanese studies said the exam was “a piece of cake”, and many students got full marks. At the end of the test, I also had them write about two things:  “what I learnt through studying Japanese” and “memories I will never forget.”

For the things they learnt through studying Japanese, students gave answers such as “it was hard learning the characters, but I realized I could do it if I try,” “now I can say my hobbies and favorite things,” “I think I can survive in Japan,” and “I’m glad I got to learn about Japanese culture and society through my classmate’s presentations.” For their unforgettable memories, students wrote about speaking Japanese in front of the president of TUFS, and their preparation leading up to this.

My time as coordinator ends with this term, but I intend to share my points of self-reflection with my successor so that they can continue improving the Japanese language education at IUHD. I hope that the experience of learning Japanese helped my students gain more confidence and take more interest in Japan, and will become some sort of asset to them. I look forward to the day, whenever it may be, that my students come to Japan.

学生たちとの集合写真 / Group photo with my students

2018年5月 活動日誌 / Activity Report May 2018

2018年6月5日 / June 5, 2018
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
中村 彩希 / Saki Nakamura

May in Turkmenistan is like the height of summer. The sunlight is strong, the temperature is high, and the students remind me how “it’s not even summer yet” whenever I whine about the heat. I need to prepare my mind and body for the real summer.

(1)日本語の授業について / Japanese Classes
In the May Japanese classes, in addition to their usual language studies, I had the students give presentations about Japan. I tried this because, even though my classes always tend to focus on the actual Japanese language, it is also important to know about Japanese society and culture. I let them choose their own topics so they could present about things that actually interest them. I worried about what kind of presentations they would give, but they chose a number of interesting topics from “The history of sushi”, “Samurai” and “Japanese sports,” to social issues such as “Japanese children and the education system” and “dying alone”. In particular, the presentations on social issues had students asking many questions and led to some lively discussions amongst the students.

Aside from this, we strayed away from language a little in May with activities such as origami and watching the popular Japanese film “Your Name”. It was great to see the students having so much fun in class, and I heard that they are growing more and more interested in Japan. I realized anew that effectively adding activities like this are just as important as the actual language classes.

(2)大使公邸での祝賀会 / Celebration at the Ambassador’s Residence
On March 31st, the 1st Turkmenistan Japanese Speech Competition was held, and the winner’s celebration was held at the Ambassador’s Residence. Two students from IUHD participated in this contest, and the student who came in first place presented their speech again at the celebration. After watching a video about Japan, we socialized with the ambassador.

The meeting with the ambassador had a warm welcoming atmosphere from start to finish, so smiles could be seen on the faces of the initially nervous students. More and more students in Turkmenistan are starting to study Japanese, but I look forward to seeing the success of these students who are at the vanguard of this trend.

大使公邸での一幕 / At the Ambassador’s residence

2018年4月 活動日誌 / Activity Report April 2018

2018年5月5日 / May 5, 2018
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
中村 彩希 / NAKAMURA Saki

 4月はトルクメニスタンの健康月間ということで、学生たちが学内で自転車に乗っている姿が見受けられました。トルクメニスタンでの自転車普及率は、年々増加しているようですが、街で自転車を見ることはあまりありません。そのため、学生たちが自転車に乗っている様子を見ると、とても新鮮に感じました。/ April is Turkmenistan’s Health Month, and so I saw many more students riding bicycles around the campus. The number of people riding bikes in Turkmenistan is increasing every year, but you still don’t see many bikes in the cities. Because of this, it was very refreshing to see the students riding bikes.
そのようなイベントに合わせ、4月は中間試験が実施されました。今学期から日本語の勉強を始める学生にとっては初めての試験、学生たちはソワソワソワソワ。「こんな試験にしますよ。」と説明すると、「難しすぎます。」「ひらがなはいいけど、カタカナは出さないでください!」などといった、声が飛んできました。また、先学期から日本語を勉強する学生たちは、日本語の試験はお手の物。安定して高得点を取る学生たちも見受けられました。/ Coinciding with this event, the mid-term examinations were also held in April. For the students who began studying Japanese this semester, this was their first exam, so they were quite restless. When I told them about the kind of questions I put in the exam, I received a few comments such as “that’s too hard” and “hiragana is fine, but don’t put katakana in the exam!” For the students who began studying Japanese last semester, Japanese exams are their specialty. I saw many students getting high marks.
6月に期末試験を控えているため、学生たちと日本語を勉強するのは5月でおしまいです。今回の中間試験での反省を受け、充実した1ヶ月となるよう取り組んでいきたいと思います。/ Since the final examinations are in June, the Japanese classes will end in May. I want to reflect on the results of the mid-term exam, and work hard to make this last month worthwhile.

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

2018年4月2日 / April 2, 2018
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
中村 彩希 / NAKAMURA Saki

3月に入り、春の日差しが舞い込む季節となりました。トルクメニスタンの気候は、暖かい日が続いたと思えば、急に寒くなったり、そうかと思えば、また暖かくなったり…と、ジェットコースターのように気温が変化します。「衣替え」はどうしているのだろう…という興味とともに、短い春の気候を楽しむ日々が続きます。/ In March, the season of spring sunlight finally made an appearance. The weather in Turkmenistan is like a rollercoaster; just as the warm days seem to go on forever, it suddenly becomes really cold, and then it gets warm again. So I am here enjoying the short spring weather, and at the same time wondering what season people are dressing for…
3月は、イベントが盛りだくさんの1ヶ月でした。特に、今回は、東京大学の学生との交流、そして日本語コンテストについて紹介いたします。/ March was a month with lots of events. In particular, this month, we had visitors from Tokyo University, and a Japanese speech competition.

(1)東京大学の学生との交流 / A Visit from Tokyo University Students
3月の上旬、スタディーツアーの一環として、東京大学のみなさまが本学を訪れてくださいました。学内では、数回にわたりディスカッションが行われ、放課後の空き時間には、一緒に出かける機会をもうけていただきました。買い物に行ったり、一緒に食事をしたりと、同世代だからこそ共有できる時間を楽しんだようです。また、学内最終日には、東京大学の学生によるソーラン節や茶道といった日本文化の紹介が行われ、トルクメン人学生は興味津々。スマートフォンを片手に食い入るように見つめている姿が印象的でした。/ At the start of March, a group of students from Tokyo University visited IUHD as part of a study tour. During the visit, many discussions were held between the students, and they even got the chance to go out all together after class. The students went shopping, ate meals together and, since they were all the same age, seemed to have a good time. On the last day of their visit, the students from Tokyo University performed the traditional soran bushi dance and gave a tea ceremony to introduce Japanese culture to the IUHD students, who seemed very interested. It was impressive seeing students watching the performances intently with their cellphones in one hand.
日本語を勉強していたとしても、それを使う機会が限られている学生たちは、なかなか日本語学習の成果を感じることができません。日本がさも果てしなく遠い国のように感じることもしばしば。しかしながら、今回、日本人学生と交流する機会を持つことができ、リアルな日本語を聞き、「日本でまた会おうね。」という約束ができたことは、日本からの何よりのお土産になったことと思います。東京大学の皆様、本当にありがとうございました。/ Despite studying Japanese, the chances students here have to actually use Japanese are limited, and so they can’t really feel themselves improving. Sometimes they even feel like Japan is a country so far out of their reach. However, through this opportunity, the students were able to meet with Japanese students, hear some real Japanese, and I think the promise of ‘let’s meet again in Japan’ became a souvenir of sorts for the students. For this, I’d like to say thank you to the students of Tokyo University.

(2)日本語コンテスト/ Japanese Competition
トルクメニスタンでは、これまで、日本語を主専攻とするアザディ名称世界言語大学の学生を対象に、スピーチコンテストが実施されてきました。しかしながら、日本語教育の広がりを受け、今年から、その規模が日本語教育を行う全ての高等教育機関へと拡大されました。そして、第1回目の会場として、国際人文開発大学を選出いただき、当日を迎えることとなりました。/ In Turkmenistan, up until now, the Japanese speech competition was held for students majoring in Japanese at the Turkmen National Institute of World Languages. However, due to the spread of Japanese language education, the competition from this year onwards will be open to anyone studying at a higher education institution that offers Japanese. IUHD was chosen as the first venue for this year’s competition.
トルクメニスタンでも初の試みとなる日本語コンテスト。詩の暗唱、スピーチ部門A(入門・初級レベル)、スピーチ部門B(中級レベル)、そしてパフォーマンスの4つの部門から構成されます。国際人文開発大学からは、入門・初級スピーチ部門に3名、詩の暗唱部門に2名の学生が参加しました。学内ではコンテストに向けて、詩の暗唱出場の学生は、どんな風に詩を読むのか、発音や間の取り方を練習し、スピーチの部出場の学生は、部門共通タイトルの「日本へ行けたら…」というタイトルのもと、何を書いたらいいのか、それをどのように書いたらいいのかを考え、出来上がったスピーチをもとに、発音や間の取り方などを何度も何度も練習しました。そして結果は、スピーチ部門Aで1位、暗唱部門に3位入賞!と、華々しい結果となりました。入賞できなかった学生も、自信を持って発表を行い、見ているこちらの目頭が熱くなりました。/ This was the first competition of its kind in Turkmenistan. The competition is made up of many categories including poetry recitation, speech division A (beginner level), speech division B (intermediate level), and four performance categories. From IUHD, three students participated in speech division A, and two students participated in the poetry recital. In preparation for the competition, students aiming for the poetry recital division practiced how to read a Japanese poem, including pronunciation and pausing. Students entering the speech division had to think about how and what to write in regards to the predetermined topic of the competition, ‘If I could go to Japan…’, and also practiced their pronunciation and pausing over and over again. Due to their efforts, our students won first place in speech division A and third place in poetry recitation. While there were some students who didn’t place, I was so happy to see them try their best.
2018年秋学期から、交換留学制度が始まる本学ですが、トルクメニスタンの全国大会でこのような賞をいただけたことは、学生に自信とこれからの日本語学習の希望を与えてくれたことと思います。また、今回の結果は、東京外国語大学GJO設立の結果とも言え、このような機会を日本語教師として見守ることができることを大変嬉しく思います。コンテストに参加してくれた学生に感謝すると同時に、これからの彼らの成長に期待したいです。/ From fall 2018, student exchanges begin between IUHD and TUFS, and so I think winning these awards at a national competition gives students the confidence and motivation they need to excel in their Japanese studies. This achievement is also an achievement for the TUFS GJO, and I’m glad I had the chance to watch over these students as their Japanese teacher. I’m very grateful to the students who participated in the competition, and at the same time I am looking forward to seeing them grow even more as Japanese learners.

図3. 日本語コンテストに参加した学生Picture 3: The students who participated in the Japanese Competition

2018年2月 活動日誌 / Activity Report February 2018

2018年3月3日 / March 3, 2018
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
中村 彩希 / NAKAMURA Saki

 2月になり、新学期が始まりました。約2週間のお休みがあったたため、学生とは久しぶりの再会です。今学期は、先学期から引き続き日本語を学習するグループ3つ、今学期から新しく日本語を学習するグループ1つを受け持ちます。以下、今学期の時間割です。/ It is now February, and the new semester has begun. Since there was a two week break, I hadn’t met with my students for a while. This semester will be similar to the last one with three groups of students learning Japanese, and one new group will also begin learning Japanese. Below is my timetable for this month.

表1. 国際人文開発大学第二学期時間割(正規授業)/ Table 1. International University for Humanities and Development Second Semester Timetable (Regular Classes)
Insurance Ⅱ
International, Private LawⅠ
International Public LawⅠ
International, Private LawⅠ
International Public LawⅠ
 International Trade Ⅱ
Insurance Ⅱ
International Relations & World Politics Ⅱ
International Trade Ⅱ
International Relations & World Politics Ⅱ

先学期から持ち上がりの学生たちとは、和気あいあいとした雰囲気の中、授業をおこなっています。日本語が得意な学生、苦手な学生、いろいろな学生がいますが、それぞれの学生としっかり向き合っていきたいと思います。/ With the students continuing from last semester I was able to create a harmonious atmosphere to conduct class in. There are many types of students, from those who are good at Japanese to those who are not, and I want to work hard to help them all.
また、今学期から日本語の勉強を始める学生は、24名です。学生は、ひらがなを勉強するところから、私は、学生の名前を覚えるところからスタートです。学生たちは、「昨日まで日本語を勉強するなんて知らなかった!」と半ば嘆きながらも、今月が終わるころには、「おはようございます」と元気に挨拶をし、一丁前にひらがなを書くようになりました。半年という短い期間ではありますが、日本語を勉強したことが、少しでも学生の将来の糧になればいいなと思います。/ There are 24 students who will begin to study Japanese this semester. The students start from learning hiragana, and I start from learning each of their names. The students started by half-grieving that they ‘didn’t know I would study Japanese until yesterday!’ but by the end of the month they were greeting me cheerfully with ‘ohayou gozaimasu’ (‘good morning’) and could write hiragana. While the students only study Japanese for half a year, I hope that it will come in handy for them in the future.
正規授業以外について言及すると、2月には、交換留学生選定にかかる日本語の試験を行いました。留学生として選ばれれば、さっそく来期の10月から、東京外国語大学で1年間過ごすことになります。試験で思うように点数がとれなかった学生からは、「先生、日本語をもっと勉強したいです」という声も聞かれ、交換留学制度の存在は、学生のモチベーションに大きな影響を与えているんだと再認識させられた瞬間でした。それと同時に、留学だけが日本語を勉強する理由になってはいけないなと考えさせられる瞬間でもありました。今学期も身を引き締めて頑張りたいと思います。/ Aside from the beginner class, the Japanese exam which decides who gets to go on exchange to Japan is also held in February. If you are chosen as an exchange student, you get to go to TUFS for one year from October the following semester. A few students who didn’t get the mark they expected to in the exam approached me saying ‘I want to study Japanese more’, and it made me realize how the exchange student selection process is a huge study motivation for many students. Hand in hand with this, I realized I had to work hard to make students avoid thinking that their main reason for studying Japanese is to go on exchange. I want to try my best this semester too.

2018年1月 活動日誌 / Activity Report January 2018

2018年2月2日 / February 2, 2018
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
中村 彩希 / NAKAMURA Saki

新年明けましておめでとうございます。今年もよろしくお願いします。 / Happy New Year!
トルクメニスタンの大学では、お正月休みが日本に比べて短く、12月31日と1月1日に休みを取り、1月2日からは、通常通り授業を再開します。しかしながら、この短い期間でも、寮に住む学生たちは実家に帰り、家族との時間を楽しんだようです。 / At Universities in Turkmenistan, the New Year holiday is shorter than Japan, with December 31st and January 1st being holidays, after which classes resume as normal on January 2nd. Despite the brevity of this break, it seems that most students living in the dormitory went back to their hometowns to spend time with their families.
トルクメニスタンのお正月では、12月31日から1月1日にかけて、それぞれの家庭でたくさんの料理を作り、親戚や友人を家に招いたり、招かれたりします。日付が変わる瞬間は、花火が上がったり、クリスマスツリー(トルクメン人は、ニューイヤーツリーと呼んでいるようです)の周りで踊ったりします。そのため、「家でのんびり寝正月」というよりも、「みんなでわいわい新年フェスティバル」のようなイメージに近い印象を受けました。ただ、たくさんのご馳走を食べることや、家族との時間を大切にするという点は、日本と共通するものがあるなと感じました。 / For the New Year in Turkmenistan, over December 31st and January 1st, most people prepare feasts at their homes, and visit and invite their friends and relatives. When the date changes, fireworks are set off and everyone dances around Christmas trees (which seem to be called ‘New Year Trees’ in Turkmenistan). Because of that I got the impression that New Year’s in Turkmenistan is more of a ‘celebrate with everyone’ occasion as opposed to a ‘stay at home’ one. However, I felt that the importance placed on feasting and family is similar to New Year celebrations in Japan.

大学での日本語教育について紹介すると、1月で第1学期も終了となり、期末試験を行いました。点数には幅がありましたが、数名の学生は100点をとりました。試験の内容は、ひらがな・カタカナのライティング、助詞や語彙、簡単な翻訳や単語並べ替え問題などです。普段の授業から、努力が垣間見える学生は、やはりいい点数をとります。そんな努力が報われ、学生の顔には笑顔が見られるとともに、教師の私も嬉しくなりました。 / In January, the first semester finished, and final examinations were held. There was a range of results, but a few students managed to get 100/100. The exam covered included hiragana and katakana writing tasks, particles and vocabulary, and basic translation and word order problems. As expected, the students I noticed putting in effort in class got good results. I felt just as happy as the students looked when they saw that their efforts paid off.
今学期を振り返ると、学生に支えられ続けた4ヶ月間でした。授業に躓いたときや、イベントで忙しいとき、いつも学生たちが手を貸してくれます。そんな環境に身を置けることに感謝するとともに、2学期も身を引き締めて頑張りたいと思います。 / Looking back on this semester, it was an interesting four months in which I was constantly supported by the students. When I stumbled in class or was busy with events, the students always lent a helping hand. I am very thankful for being in an environment like this, and I hope to improve myself and work hard next semester.

2017年12月 活動日誌 / Activity Report December 2017

2018年1月4日 / January 4, 2018
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
中村 彩希 / NAKAMURA Saki

 12月に入り、冷え込みが厳しくなってまいりました。トルクメニスタンでは、新年に向けた飾り付けが始まり、あらゆるところにクリスマスツリーが並んでいます。聞くところによると、クリスマスツリーは日本の門松のような位置づけらしく、文化の面白さに気付かされます。/ Since the start of December, it has become a lot colder here in Turkmenistan. New Year’s decorations have started appearing, and Christmas trees are everywhere. From what I’ve heard, Christmas trees here have a role similar to Japanese kadomatsu, which, to me, is quite a cultural curiosity.

(1) Language Festival
12月の初旬、Language Festivalが開催されました。IUHDでは、英語はもちろんのこと、中国語、イタリア語、日本語の授業が開講されています。今回は、言語ごとに、展示会・パフォーマンスが行われました。/ A Language Festival was held at the start of December. Here at IUHD, aside from English, there are also Chinese, Italian, and Japanese language classes. At the festival, there were exhibitions and performances held by each of these language departments.
我らが日本語グループは、「日本」をイメージした小さな劇を行いました。準備期間は1週間と短かったのですが、学生たちは大健闘。3位という結果になりましたが、私の中ではもちろん1位です!展示会では学生のリクエストで、書道で名前を書きました。最初は私が書いていましたが、途中からは学生にバトンタッチをしました。カタカタはまだ勉強中だったのですが、いい練習になったようです。ところどころ間違いはありつつも、とっても上手に書いてくれました。/ Here in the Japanese department we performed a short play made by the students based on their image of Japan. We only had a week to prepare, but the students worked very hard. While our play came in third place, to me it deserved to be first! For the exhibition, at the request of the students, we set up a Japanese calligraphy booth and wrote students’ names in the Japanese calligraphy style. At first, I did all of the writing, but switched places with a student halfway through. The students are still learning katakana, but it seemed to be good practice for them. While a few mistakes were made, overall they wrote very well.

(2)授業について / Class
授業は、当初予定していたよりもゆっくりペースで進んでいます。今学期は、ひらがなとカタカナ、教科書『まるごと入門A1』の半分が終わりました。『まるごと』には、「かつどう」編と「りかい」編の2つのタイプの教科書があるのですが、本学の日本語の授業は1年間だけのため、「話す」ことに重きを置いた「かつどう」編を授業では使用しています。しかしながら、それだけでは物足りないと感じたため、「りかい」編をもとに文法プリントを作成し、それぞれの課のまとめとしています。/ The Japanese classes are going at a slower pace than I originally planned. This semester, we finished covering hiragana and katakana, and made it through half of the textbook ‘marugoto nyumon A1’. Marugoto has two types of textbooks, an ‘activity book’ and a ‘comprehension book’, but since the Japanese language course here at IUHD is only for one year, I decided to use the ‘activity book’ and focus more on speaking. However, I felt that this was not enough on its own, so I have been making grammar sheets based on the ‘comprehension book’ and using these as summaries for each section we cover.

【図3. 文法プリント】/ Picture 3. Grammar Sheets

週に2回、日本語を何も知らないところから、ここまでできるようになりました。学生の努力には感銘するとともに、「先生、しっかり教えてくださいね」と背中を押してもらっている気がします。1月には期末テストを控えています。今学期の成果を見るのが楽しみです。/ The students have come a long way from where they began, with zero knowledge of the Japanese language, despite only having class twice a week. I am deeply impressed with the effort put in by my students, and also feel that they push me to teach efficiently. I am currently preparing an end of semester test for January. I’m looking forward to seeing the results of this semester.

【図4. 樋口一葉について紹介する学生】/ Picture 4. A student giving a presentation on Ichiyou Higuchi

また、授業の中で「お金」を取り扱う場面があったので、それぞれの紙幣の人物について調べて、発表してもらいました。日本語だけでなく、日本の歴史や社会について知ることも大切だと思うからです。「福沢諭吉」について調べてくれた学生のプレゼンテーションでは「慶応大学」も紹介され、学生からは「慶応大学で修士をとることができますか?」という質問がありました。このように、日本の大学で修士を取りたい学生も多くいます。ぜひこれをきっかけに、日本の大学を目指してほしいと思います。/ Also, in class we did a unit on money, and so I got the students to do research on the different people on the Japanese notes, and had them present their findings. I chose to do this as I think it’s important to learn not only about Japanese language, but also about Japanese history and society. In the presentation on Yukichi Fukuzawa, the student presenting went as far as introducing Keio University, and another student asked ‘can you get a Master’s degree at Keio University?’ It seems that many of the students wish to get their Master’s degrees in Japan. I hope that this activity encouraged the students to study hard and set their sights on Japanese universities.

最後に、オープンクラスについて紹介します。昨年度から、IUHDではオープンクラスが行われているのですが、今年は9月のアジアーダ(アジア・インドアマーシャルアーツゲームズ 通称アジアーダ 参照:9月活動日誌)、10月はその補講、そして11月は中間試験と調印式・開所式が行われたため、なかなかオープンクラスをスタートできずにいました。また、それぞれの学生のレベルに見合った授業と日本語教師がわたし一人だけ、という現状を踏まえるとやはりその実施は難しく頭を悩ませています。しかしながら、やってみなければ分からない!ということで、12月はトライアルのつもりでオープンクラスを始めてみることにしました。レベル分け、授業周知とその進め方が今後の課題となりそうです。また、1月で今学期の授業が終わるため、次のセメスターをあらたな節目とし、オープンクラスについては考えていきたいと思います。/ Finally, I will talk about the open classes. IUHD has been holding open classes since the last academic year, but due to the Asian Indoor & Martial Arts Games held in September, supplementary classes had to be held in October, and following this, mid-term examinations and multiple ceremonies were held in November, so the open classes weren’t able to be held. On top of this, I am the only Japanese teacher here, and it is difficult to design a classroom that meets all of the students’ levels, so starting the open classes seemed almost impossible. However, you never really know until you try, and so I decided to start an open class as a trial this December. Next I suppose I have to decide the level of the class, and spread the word. Also, since classes finish in January, I want to use the next semester as a turning point, and think carefully about how these open classes can succeed.

2017年11月 活動日誌 / November 2017 Activity Report

2017年12月2日 / December 2, 2017
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
中村 彩希 / NAKAMURA Saki

11月の一大イベントはなんといっても、11月20日に東京外国語大学から立石学長、伊東副学長、島田講師を迎え、交換留学に関する覚書調印式ならびにトルクメニスタンGlobal Japan Office(GJO)の正式な開所式が執り行われたことです。今回は、調印式・開所式に向けた準備と当日の様子についてご紹介したいと思います。
The big event of November was the signing ceremony concerning exchange programs, along with the official opening ceremony for the Global Japan Office (GJO) in Turkmenistan, which was held on November 20th, and which was attended by TUFS president Tateishi, vice president Ito, and lecturer Shimada. I would like to describe the preparation that went into the signing and opening ceremonies, and what the day of the ceremonies was like.



1.Poster making
First, we made Japan-themed posters. We were originally planning on making posters themed around typical images of Japan, but after a suggestion was made by the students to showcase Japan as we ourselves saw it, we decided to do just that. We created posters based on how each student saw Japan, with images such as Samurai, Ninja, Buddhist shrines, Disneyland, robots, Mount Fuji, and such.

(2) If I go to Japan, I want to…

If I go to Japan, I want to,
• See the rising the sun in the Land of Rising sun
• Introduce Turkmen culture and mentality
• Meet with smart people to learn how to make best technologies
• Buy cars and start my own transport business in my home country
• Buy a robot friend


We created a large poster based on the theme of “What I want to do when I go to Japan.”

The students came up with ideas such as:
• Views of the sun rising in the Land of the Rising Sun
• Introducing Turkmen culture and mentality
• Connecting with smart people to learn how to develop superior technology
• Buying cars and starting one’s own transport business in one’s home country
• Buying a robot friend

I was secretly surprised to find that they had such longings. It was a fine opportunity to get to know the students. I hope that they can all realize their dreams in Japan.

3.Exhibit preparation and Classroom decoration
We prepared the exhibit in the hallway and decorated the GJO using our posters. The students themselves took the leading role, from the preparatory stages to the exhibit commentary on the day of the ceremony. I cannot thank those students enough for the hard work they put in in spite of their pressing schedules.

【当日編】【On the Day】
1.The signing ceremony
At the signing ceremony, the presidents of both universities exchanged greetings, and a presentation given by vice president Ito. At the moment of the signing, the entire arena was filled with celebratory applause, and President Tateishi presented a painting to the president of IUHD. Vice President Ito gave a presentation about onomatopoeia, to which the students responded favorably.

2.Opening Ceremony of the GJO
The GJO of Turkmenistan opened in September 2016, but the official opening ceremony was held to coincide with the visit of president Tateisihi. At the opening ceremony, there was a Japanese lesson, a Q&A section, a quiz from vice president Ito, words of gratitude from the students, and a commemorative photo was taken in front of the GJO.
The Japanese class chose the theme of “words”, and based on the self-introductions learned by the students so far, a thirty minute class was held for twenty students. We were not completely sure of ourselves while the course was being conducted in front of the president and vice president of IUHD, the TUFS party, the Embassy of Japan in Turkmenistan, and other people from Japanese language institutions, but it seems I was the one who felt the most nervous. I was touched to see the students applying their knowledge and confidently speaking Japanese. After the class, there was a Q&A session, a quiz from vice president Ito, and a speech of gratitude from the students which concluded the day.

I feel that the signing and the opening ceremony was a wonderful experience for the students as well. Several students have been motivated to make a serious effort in studying Japanese. Since there are growing expectations for exchange programs, I would like students to challenge themselves to study in Japan.

2017年10月 活動日誌 / October 2017 Activity Report

2017年11月2日 / November 2, 2017
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
中村 彩希 / NAKAMURA Saki

The classes have started officially from October. This is my schedule.






International Trade
International Trade
International Relations and World Politics
International Relations and World Politics


There are 2 classes a week for each group as mentioned above. In this month, we studied Hiragana, basic greetings, self-introduction and how to talk about own family. Concerning Hiragana, they said, “It is too difficult.” “What is this character!” at the beginning. However, students seemed to master Hiragana when we reached Wa-line. They noticed that the similarities between one and another, also, they found that some Hiraganas look like pictures like a smiling face and a horse. Also, it made me happy when a student suggested the game using Hiragana. I would like to conduct lessons in which students own findings are encouraged and appreciated. In addition to that, it is surprising that there are students who love to write Hiragana. Once they have realized that they can write and read Hiragana, this can boost their confidence in studying Japanese.

In Turkmenistan, it is really important to think about “What is the meaning of Japanese Education” including “Why do they need to study Japanese characters”.
I decided to teach Hiragana after so much hesitation, because we will have exchange program between TUFS and IUHD in the future. This decision is not a mistake in the sense that students gained confidence from learning it.


However, the motivation levels to study Japanese very among the students. Due to the university system, almost all students cannot choose courses by themselves. Therefore, there are both students who want to study Japanese and who do not want to study Japanese in the same class. Students sometimes tell me that they do not want to study Japanese anymore straight to my face. It is really nice to hear their honest voices. I work hard to make them motivated every day. It is going to be the biggest goal in this year.

2017年9月 活動日誌 / September 2017 Activity Report

2017年10月2日 / October 2, 2017
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
中村 彩希 / NAKAMURA Saki

2017年9月より、GJOトルクメニスタンのコーディネーターを担当する中村です。IUHD(International University for the Humanities and Development)における日本語教育やその他活動について、幅広くご紹介できればと思います。

My name is Saki Nakamura, I am in charge of Global Japan office in Turkmenistan from September 2017. I would like to introduce Japanese education at International University for the Humanities and Development and other activities.


After I came to Turkmenistan, I was excited to have Japanese classes, however, September has finished without any classes because of 5th Asian Indoor & Martial Arts Games which is connected to the history of Turkmenistan. In Turkmenistan, students usually join events as “volunteers”. However, in my view, it is not volunteering since students have to work in shifts. Classes are often cancelled because of such events, even if I go to the classroom, nobody is there sometimes. I was shocked and surprised to see them prioritize events more than studies. Which made me realized that I should conduct classes considering the cultural and social affairs of this country.



Regarding the 5th Asian Indoor & Martial Arts Games, there were athletes from Japan who participated in Futsal, Wrestling etc. Initially I wanted this event to get over soon as I could not conduct any classes and there was traffic congestion in the city due to it. But it was a lot of fun to see these matches live and I enjoyed it.

Looking back on September, I couldn’t conduct the class, but it was a good time to understand the system, preparing the syllabus and to grasp knowledge of Japanese educational affairs of IUHD. Also it seems that the conditions are changing from the previous academic years, it is difficult to understand such things. The students study Japanese for only one year therefore I think that it is necessary to consider the position of “Japanese Language Education” in this university. Many students and teachers tell me that they want to study Japanese, but, it is easy for them to give up studying because of the difficulties in the language. I will do my best to be a good partner or supporter to those who want to study Japanese here.

2017年6月 活動日誌 / June 2017 Activity Report

2017年7月1日 / July 1, 2017
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
十亀 侑子 / SOGAME Yuko

We had final exams in this month. It was the last exam for me here, so, I decided to hold a Japanese speech contest with all the majors studying Japanese instead of a paper test.


We had a sushi party after the exam at Global Japan Office. Two students helped me prepare for this party even though they must have been busy for their exams. It took us 5 hours to cook sushi rolls and potato salad for 25 people.


It may sound difficult but I enjoyed cooking with my students. Thanks to them, the exam and sushi party both were successfully done.


Other instructors came to see the speech contest and joined our sushi party. Several days later, one of the instructors teaching journalism gave me a video clip which shows highlights of the. It was very touching.


I am very glad to have had this wonderful opportunity to meet them all.


2017年5月 活動日誌 / May 2017 Activity Report

2017年6月1日 / June 1, 2017
GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
十亀 侑子 / SOGAME Yuko

Final exams will start next week, so, this week is the last week of lessons for the academic year. Time has passed very fast since I arrived here last September.


I have mentioned several times about two open Japanese courses in the afternoon as a part of GJO activity which are held in addition to my official courses. It was very enjoyable to teach the students in those courses because only those students wanting to learn Japanese attended there. I have four official groups learning Japanese, and 73 students in total taking my Japanese course as their general elective course. However, 24 students are still actually learning Japanese now. The detailed reasons fpr for this circumstance are mentioned in my report for March.

今学期から午後のオープンコースでは2名の学生が私の指導の下、他の学生に日本語を教えています。彼らは前学期に毎日一般開講の午後の授業の他にもう一時間日本語を勉強しました。さらに、かなりの宿題もこなしました。目標である『Elementary Japanese』のVol.1とVol.2の両方を今年度末までに終わらせることはできませんでしたが、よく頑張ってくれました。日本語教育以外でも様々な面で私をサポートしてくれました。
This semester, I have given an opportunity for two students to teach Japanese to other students under my supervision during the afternoon lessons. These two students studied Japanese every day after the additional afternoon lessons last semester. Also, they managed to complete so much homework. We were not able to reach our original goal, which was to finish both vol. 1 and 2 of “Elementary Japanese” but they worked very hard. They assisted me not only with Japanese education but also in helping me understand various culture related aspects relating to Turkmenistan. I appreciate their effort.

Balkan, one of these two exceptional students, is a second year majoring in International management. He teaches writing twice a week. There are many students who gave up learning Japanese because it seems to be difficult to memorize Japanese letters. He showed students how interesting it could be to learn them. He made it attractive by providing games and quizzes to learn hiragana, katakana and kanji. Also, his fluency in Japanese motivated other students.

Aknur, the other of my two best students, is a second year majoring in International Relations and World Politics. She teaches grammar twice a week. She is a very quiet and calm person, which is totally opposite from the other assistant teacher, Balkan. However, her instructions are simple and very accurate. Her explanations often impressed me because they were from a perspective of a Russian speaking Turkmen learner. That perspective is something I cannot have. I am proud of myself for deciding to have them as assistant teachers. With their help, overcoming the limitations of learning a foreign language taught in another foreign language was achieved.

Both of them have a great fluency of English and are quick learners. They continued studying for themselves while being teachers at the same time. If the exchange program between IUHD and TUFS starts next academic year, I would like them to try it.

2017年4月 活動日誌 / April 2017 Activity Report

GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
十亀 侑子 / SOGAME Yuko


今月はスピーチコンテストが三件ありました。一つは中等教育レベルの学校間で行われました。もう一つは毎年恒例のアザディ名称世界言語研究所の学内日本語弁論大会でした。最後の一つは、またアザディ名称世界言語研究所主催のLanguage Festivalでした。本学の学生もLanguage Festivalに参加しました。中間試験中だったので本学からの参加希望者はたった一人でしたけど。
There were three speech competitions this month; (1) a speech contest among secondary schools, (2) an annual speech competition among students of National Institute of World Languages named after Dowletmammet Azady, and (3) a Language Festival at the same institute mentioned above. One student from our university attended the Language Festival. Because it was held during our mid-term exam week, not so many students wanted to join it.
It was the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and Turkmenistan on April 22nd. Delegations of JICA and the Japan Foundation visited IUHD. I had a chance to give a presentation at the conference when we welcomed a group of Japanese visitors sponsored by the Japan Foundation. I gave a speech as a GJO Turkmen coordinator.


We had so many events going on in the end of April that we barely had any lesson in the last week of this month. Most of the students and instructors were absent in order to attend the Indoor Asian Olympics to as part of the audience. Some of students and staffs were volunteered as interpreters for international visitors coming to see an Ahal Teke horse show. Moreover, we had the first open campus of IUHD on

2017年3月 活動日誌 / March 2017 Activity Report

GJOコーディネーター / GJO Coordinator
十亀 侑子 / SOGAME Yuko


基本的に、トルクメニスタンでは学生たちが様々な行事に参加することが非常に多いです。「ボランティア」の定義も私たちのものとは全く違います。「ボランティアというのはね、自分の意志で…」などと当初言っていた私も、こちらの「ボランティア」の定義に慣れました。トルクメン英語で行事のことをsocial eventとIUHD (International University for the Humanities and Development)の先生や学生たちは呼んでいます。トルクメン語ではçäreと言い、「アクティビティ」と辞書(Peace Corps turkmenistan編著「Turkmen-English English-Turkmen dictionary」)では翻訳されています。「トルクメン英語」という表現が適切であるかどうかはわかりません。しかし、「イギリス英語」「アメリカ英語」「オーストラリア英語」「シンガポール英語」「フィリピン英語」と、英語にバラエティがあるように、私はこちらで独特に使われる英語の表現を「トルクメン英語」と呼んでもいいのではないかと思っています。もちろん、こちらの人に悪く思われてはいけないので、心の中でしかそのように呼びません。
日本語を勉強していない学生は私を「Yuko teacher」と呼びます。トルクメン語には日本語の「先生」と使い方が同じ「mugallym」という単語があります。職業名でもあり、先生を呼ぶ時に用いる敬称でもあります。食堂はcanteenで、体育館はSport complexで、寮はhostelと言います。学長をpresidentと呼ぶと話が混乱します。Rectorです。そしてfacultyとdepartmentの両方が存在するので、初めのころはどちらがより高いレベルの組織なのか、何がどちらに含まれるのか、謎でした。私の所属は、Department of Social Science のFaculty of International Law and International RelationsのInternational Law Departmentです。最後のdepartmentはmajor、つまり全てを私なりに訳してみると「社会科学部、国際法・国際関係学科、国際法専攻」となります。このように、私たちは同じ「英語」という言語を共通語としてコミュニケーションをとっていますが、トルクメニスタン独自の英語使用法があります。
Turkmen students are always called to attend various nation-wide events. Also, their definition of ‘volunteer’ is totally different from ours. I used to say ‘You know, if you call something voluntary, it should be based on one’s own will…’ in the beginning of this academic year but I got used to their definition now. Students and faculty members of IUHD (International University for the Humanities and Development) call those events ‘social events’. It is çäre in Turkmen and translated as ‘activity’ in the dictionary: “Turkmen-English/English-Turkmen Dictionary” written, edited and published by Peace Corps Turkmenistan. I am not sure whether it’s appropriate to call this specific English here ‘Turkmen English’. However, I do think this is what it is as there is a great diversity among different Englishes such as ‘British English’, ‘American English’, ‘Aussie English’, ‘Singlish’, ‘Taglish’ and so on. Of course, I just think so in my mind because I don’t want to sound offensive. Especially, IUHD students are usually proud of their English ability so I don’t want to underestimate them.
Students who are not studying Japanese call me ‘Yuko teacher’. There is a word, ‘mugallym’, which is used in the same way as Japanese ‘sensei’ in Turkmen. This can be a title to call an educator as well as a name of occupation. The cafeteria is called ‘canteen’, gym is ‘sport complex’ (it is just one ordinary size building) and dormitories are hostels. You definitely drag people in a huge confusion when you call the head of this university ‘the president’. He is the RECTOR! Also, we have both faculties and departments. I often get confused because I belong to International Law Department in the Faculty of International Law and International Relations at the Department of Social Science according to our university website. I understood the last department as ‘major’ but I am not sure… As mentioned above, we sometimes have small misunderstandings or confusions even though we are communicating in the same language called English.


It has been almost two months since the second semester started. I think I am doing better dealing with students here than last semester since I have learnt a lot in the past five months. This will be the eighth month of my stay in Turkmenistan in April.
I struggled very much with students who didn’t understand English and Japanese last semester. Even though the Japanese language course is set as ‘general elective course’, students are basically told to take this course by the university authority, perhaps due to a lack of faculty members and to keep the balance of the number of students and instructors. I decided to be qualified as a language instructor at tertiary level because I didn’t want to deal with students who were forced to learn a foreign language after working at a secondary school in another country and experiencing how difficult it was to motivate reluctant learners. However, I have got another chance to challenge myself here again.


This semester, I divide my students into two groups; (1) classroom group and (2) dictionary group. I asked students which group they wanted to join. Classroom group studies with me as what we did last semester but they learn more effectively and faster now because they chose to stay in the class. The dictionary group just keeps copying a 270-page Turkmen-Japanese dictionary and no homework nor examination. Most of the students decided to be in the second group; dictionary dictation. This Turkmen-Japanese dictionary was published here in 2015 by Japanese language instructors at National Turkmen Institute of World Languages named after Azady. In the end of last semester, I asked all the groups to show me that every single student in a group had his/her own dictionary if they wanted to save some of their classmates who were going to fail in my course. As a result, all the students studying Japanese at IUHD have this dictionary.


IUHDでは、「SIS」と呼ばれる成績評価システムがあります。「Student Information System」という意味です。学生の成績は3つの数値の結果から構成され、ひとつはSIW(student’s individual work )と言って、課題や授業参加度・態度等、教員やクラスごとに評価方法が異なるものです。残りの2つは中間試験と期末試験の点数です。SIWは全体の25%、中間試験の結果は30%、期末試験の結果は45%で換算され、最終的な学生の成績が決まります。課題組のSIWは、授業に来れば50%、辞書の写しを行えばもう50%としています。毎授業ごとにチェックします。演習組は先学期同様、毎回の小テストや宿題の出来具合によってSIWを考慮します。中間試験までに130ページ写せた課題組の学生は、試験は受けませんが中間試験の得点として51点得ます。同様に、期末試験までに残り140ページを写し終われば、期末試験の成績として51点得られます。単純計算すると、一度も授業を休まなかった辞書組の学生の最終成績は、63.25点(25+51*30%+51*45%=25+15.3+22.95=63.25)となります。今学期の初め、以上のことを学生に説明し、一週間考える時間をあげました。先学期の成績よりこちらの方がいい点数である学生たちは、もちろん辞書を写すことを即決していました。
At this university, there is a grading system called ‘SIS’. It stands for ‘Student Information System’. Students’ grade consists of three elements in any course; (1) students’ individual work (SIW), (2) mid-term exam score, (3) final exam score. SIW becomes 25% of their final grade. Mid-term exam score occupies 30% and final exam score makes 45% of their final grade. To the dictionary group, I give them full SIW score if they show up (50%) and write at least one letter during lesson being quiet (50%). SIW of students in the classroom group depends on their everyday quiz scores and homework. It is same as what we did last semester. If students in the dictionary group can finish writing till page 130, a half of the dictionary by their mid-term examination, they’ll pass mid-term exam with scoring 51 points. Then, they have to finish copying all the pages without any missing letters or words by the time we have final exam in order to get 51 points for their final exam. Simply calculating, the maximum score this group can receive is 25+51*30%+51*45%=25+15.3+22.95=63.25. I explained everything clearly and gave them one week to decide in the beginning of this semester. Those who thought it would be higher than their final score of last semester definitely chose to be in the dictionary group.


However, there were students who couldn’t decide which was more beneficial for them. I let them join the classroom group first and change their group to the dictionary dictation whenever they started thinking it was easier to get a certain grade, which is definitely promised. Three students have left classroom so far. I don’t allow students to come back to the classroom group from the dictionary group after they changed their mind for better grade because they had missed so many lessons already. Still, I sometimes have to welcome some students who came to my office for further negotiation… I don’t accept any exceptions or negotiation anymore since it is endless here but I really enjoy talking with them and exchanging our opinions. Sometimes, their idea makes a good sense or tells me unwritten rules among local students and instructors. In that case, I don’t mind adjusting their idea.


Thanks to this division system, I can finally teach Japanese as I wanted in most of the parts. I still think that it is needed to have at least one more teacher so that I can play a role of ‘native Japanese speaker’. Otherwise, students are not challenging themselves trying to actually use Japanese. Atmosphere and quality of the classroom is much better now compared with last semester but I am not satisfied yet. My way of teaching here spends much time for grammatical explanations. I want to make my class more communicative. I mean, students and I often interact in my class. They often help each other. For example, someone who understood my grammatical explanation in English first shares his/her understanding with their classmates in their language and so on. What I mean is that my next goal is to create an atmosphere which makes them use Japanese.

2017年2月 活動日誌 / February 2017 Activity Report

GJOトルクメニスタンコーディネーター / GJO Turkmenistan Coordinator
十亀 侑子 / SOGAME Yuko


I heard that we don’t usually have much snow in Ashgabat but we’ve already had many snow days this winter. The city of Ashgabat becomes amazingly beautiful when it’s covered with pure white snow. It became warmer at the end of February.

The second semester started on February 2nd. I taught three groups last semester; group A and B of “International Relations and Diplomacy” and a group of “International Relations and World Politics”. This semester, I’ve acquired one more group, composed of students who major in “International Private Law”. The open Japanese courses, which I voluntarily started as a part of GJO activities last semester, still continues. The morning course hasn’t started yet, because it follows the trimester schedule of the Language Learning Department. It will start when the freshmen studying English at LLD come back from their holidays. In the beginning of last semester, many students attended the open Japanese courses. However, the number of participants decreased due to various reasons. Although I feel sorry for those who constantly attended the lessons until the end, I decided to start over from the beginning this semester as the majority of students were new learners. Also, I decided to let two students teach the afternoon lessons. They had started learning Japanese before I came. I provided an extra course for just the two of them. They can do “self-study” and their ability of English is high enough to understand grammatical explanations. They’ve learned very quickly compared with others. Here is my schedule this semester.


As the dean of my department suggested to me, I stared putting a poster called “weekly Japanese” on our students’ information board last semester. The purpose is to introduce one phrase in Japanese a week. I passed this work to students of the morning course later on. Especially, female students made it beautiful with drawing or decorations. One student made a poster saying “Good luck” in Japanese during Bachelors’ final exam week. They all are creative.


Our university held an international cultural festival on February 15th and 16th. They had a food festival on the first day and stage shows on the second day. I was asked to give advice to the group in charge of Japan and helped them. However, despite my advice, they were fine with take away sushi and their own way of wearing Japanese traditional dresses, so I tried not to care about their level of cultural respect. I thought it was most important to let them have fun.


Although I didn’t know much in the beginning of the last semester, I would like to contribute to this university and my students as much as possible based on what I learned last semester.

2017年1月 活動日誌 / January 2017 Activity Report

GJOトルクメニスタンコーディネーター / GJO Turkmenistan Coordinator
十亀 侑子 / SOGAME Yuko



The role of IUHD in Turkmen academic sphere
This university is the first university in Turkmenistan, which provides all lessons in English. It was established in 2014. Previously, it had been common to follow the Russian education system in this country. Under this system, Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees are awarded after 5 years of university education. However, there is a demand for adjusting to a European style education system, because those degrees are not recognized as Master level overseas, especially Western countries. The first of five years in undergraduate study here at International University for the Humanities and Development is spent only for English learning. Students improve their English skills up to the level in which they can keep up with their studies perfectly in English. After this first year, students spend the next four years studying their individual majors in order to complete their bachelor’s degree.



IUHDには5つの学部があります。そのうちの一つは初年度の学生に英語教育を行うLanguage Learning Department (LLD)です。残りの4つの学部が学士号取得のために開設されている学部です。人文学部、国際法・国際関係学部、国際経済・経営学部、情報工学部です。私は国際法・国際関係学部に所属しています。人文学部と国際法・国際関係学部は同じ所属機関に属しており、国際経済・経営学部と情報工学部は同じ組織です。この図では表記されていないもう一つ上のレベルのカテゴリーが存在します。IUHDの学生たちは毎朝朝礼に出なければなりませんが、その際は、LLDとSocial ScienceとEconomics and Managementの3グループに分かれています。情報工学と経済・経営はかけ離れた学問分野ですが、本学では同じカテゴリーに含まれます。LLD以外の学部には下位カテゴリーである学科があります。
Faculties, departments and majors
There are five academic categories at IUHD. One, the Language Learning Department (LLD), is specialized in English learning for first year students just discussed. The remaining four faculties are for Bachelor degrees; the Faculty of General Humanities; the Faculty of International Law and Relations, the Faculty of International Economics and Management and the Faculty of Information Technology. I belong to the Faculty of International Law and Relations. Humanities and International Law and Relations are in the same academic group while International Economics and Management and Information Technology are categorized together. Students of IUHD must attend a morning assembly every day. They are divided into three groups there; LLD, Department of Social Science and Department of Economics and Management. Although IT is a totally different from economics and management, they are in the same “scientific” department. There are various academic disciplines hosted under those departments except for LLD.
The Faculty of General Humanities manages majors for General Humanities, Philosophy, Journalism and English for Specific Purpose. Faculty of International Law has International Law and International Relations. Faculty of International Economics and Management has International Economics, Finance and Management. Faculty of Information Technology has Computer Technology Network and Modern Computer Technology. These academic sections are also called departments. In other words, there are two concepts of “department” at this university, which can be confusing at times.
Students studying Japanese at this university are those who major in International Relations. Their majors are colored in green in the chart. I hold courses for one group of International Relation and World Politics students and two groups of International Relation and Diplomacy students this semester, but I am going to teach one more group of Private Law students next semester. Our department, the Department of International Relations accepted students from International Turkmen Turkish University, which was closed last academic year. This university had many departments, and its students had to be transferred to different institutes depending on their majors. IUHD received students majoring in International Relations.
Japanese language is supposed to be an elective course. However, all students have to attend two classes a day, which they are forced to take by the university from Monday to Saturday. In other words, Japanese is not an elective but obligatory for them. More than half of the transfer students didn’t have motivation to study subjects in English or even think of studying Japanese, but were forced to do so now. I feel a little sorry for them. IUHD was just established three years ago, and it only has students up to the sophomore level. However, International Relations at International Turkmen Turkish University had students from first to fifth year. Because these students and the new visiting instructor (me) came to IUHD at the same time in the beginning of this academic year, it was a time of chaos. In retrospect, I was not the only one person who was confused in the beginning.

2016年12月 活動日誌 / December 2016 Activity Report

GJOトルクメニスタンコーディネーター / GJO Turkmenistan Coordinator
十亀 侑子 / SOGAME Yuko


Role as a Japanese language instructor
It has been almost four months since I came here. I have learned a lot. Now, I know my position, status or role at this university, at least more than I did in the first couple of months. Basically, no one cares exactly what or how I teach when I am in the classroom – the most important aspect to the people in charge is simply that I, a foreign instructor, am here. Since Japan and Turkmenistan agreed on their partnership in 2015, Japanese language education has been the primary issue of this country. Despite this special political circumstance, I am still the only native Japanese instructor hired by any Turkmen institute. Therefore, I am often asked to participate in events, for example, TV shoots. As an “international university”, IUHD now has four visiting instructors from overseas. We recently welcomed to this university one instructor from Cambridge University who has a similar contract as mine.


今月はDiplomat’s Clubが主体となってJapanese Daysというイベントを開催しました。12月16日17日と2日間に渡る学校行事でした。もともとは数か月前から日本大使を招待して講演を行うよう私が企画したイベントでしたが、はっきりとした原因もわからぬまま大使の訪問は実現されませんでした。その代わりと言っては何ですが、開催1週間前にどこからともなく湧いてきたJapanese Daysの監督を任されました。忙しい1週間でした。
Japanese Days
An event called Japanese Days was held by the Diplomat’s Club this month. It was a school event held on December 16th and 17th. Originally, I proposed an idea to invite a Japanese ambassador for an educational lecture for students here interested in learning Japanese, but it was cancelled by the university administration without any understandable reason. Instead, I was asked to host and support Japanese Days, an event which was suddenly announced just one week before without any prior notice. It was a busy week!


1日目は朝から浴衣を着て登校してくる学生に挨拶をして、前日に準備したホールの展示物の紹介をしました。お昼休みに習字のコーナーを設けました。当初は「寿司作り」をお願いされましたが、風邪が流行中で私自身も風邪を引いてしまっていたので、衛生管理上お断りしてDiplomat’s Clubの学生たちをがっかりさせました。しかし、意外と習字のデモンストレーションも好評で、自分の名前を習字で書いてほしいと言って長蛇の列ができるほどでした。放課後には第二次世界大戦、特に広島を題材にしたドキュメンタリー番組を希望者が見ていました。こちらも意外と学生が集まっていていい意味で驚きました。
On the first day of Japanese Days, which was held in the foyer of the lecture building, I greeted students there and introduced essential elements of Japanese culture. Educational displays were prepared the day before with the help of students who came to the university in the morning. I wore a Japanese traditional dress, and I demonstrated calligraphy during lunch. Students asked me to have a sushi cooking show, but I refused the idea because of a hygienic issue. They were disappointed about this, however, the calligraphy was very well appreciated by more people than I expected. There was a long line of students and teachers who wanted me to write their names in Japanese with ink and brush. After school, students who were interested in World War Ⅱ watched a documentary film about the atomic bomb in Hiroshima. There were also more participants than I thought. It was a pleasant surprise.


Diana, the visiting instructor from Cambridge, and I had an interesting experiment on the second day. She asked me to let her wear my Japanese traditional dress. I agreed, and helped her put it on. I was in a Turkmen dress instead to welcome students in the morning coming to university after their morning assembly. Everyone not only students but also teachers looked very confused. Diana seemed to enjoy observing them. As a substitute for the Japanese ambassador, I gave a one-hour presentation from 12:00. During the first part, I introduced basic information on Japan. The second part was about the bilateral relationship between Japan and Turkmenistan. At the end, I explained how students could apply for opportunities to study abroad in Japan as Turkmenistan students, and directed their attention to specific Japanese government organizations which support international students such as MEXT or JASSO. During the presentation, I only used Japanese and one student interpreted my speech. Of course, she had a script. There is no one fluent enough in Japanese who can serve as an interpreter, at least not yet. Only four months since they started learning Japanese have passed – I’m confident they’ll be able to do it in the future! After the presentation, I quickly finished packing up all the materials displayed and left the university for “Japanese Conversation Club” at the institute of world languages named after Azadi.


学生たちのアイデアで、Japanese Days期間中に折り紙コンテストを行いました。結果、参加者2名、応募作品3点とこじんまりしたコンテストとなりましたが、提出された作品は全て渾身の一作でした。来月の月初めの朝礼で表彰する予定になっています。
Origami Contest
We had an origami contest during Japanese Days. It was students’ idea. It turned out to be a small contest among two participants and three arts in total. However, all the art work was brilliant. We are going to give awards to the participants at the next monthly morning assembly.
December is the second to last month of the academic year here as well as the last month of the calendar year. So full of social events! I appreciate the efforts of the students and instructors who were involved in this event relating to Japan during such busy times.

2016年10月 活動日誌 / October 2016 Activity Report

GJOトルクメニスタンコーディネーター / GJO Turkmenistan Coordinator
十亀 侑子 / SOGAME Yuko


本学では、学部の授業は主に午前中の2セッションで終わります。初年度のLLD (Language Learning Department)に所属している学生だけ、午後の14時半ごろまで授業があります。私は3グループを対象に正規の授業を行っています。(1)IUHD(International University for the Humanities and Development)のInternational Relations and Policy専攻の学生1グループ、(2)TTU (Turkmen Turkish University) から編入してきたInternational Relations and Diplomacy専攻の学生2グループ。各グループに約20名の学生がいます。

Japanese language lessons
We finish school at 11:40 after 2 sessions in Bachelor’s course. Only students who belong to LLD (Language Learning Department) have lessons until about 2:30.
I provide official classes to 3 groups; (1) one group of students of IUHD (International University for the Humanities and Development) majoring in International Relations and Policy and (2) 2 groups of transfer students from TTU (Turkmen Turkish University) majoring in International Relations and Diplomacy. Each group has about 20 learners.
In addition, I give 2 free lessons in the afternoon as a part of GJO work. (1) Beginner class from 12:30 to 1:30 for about 30 students; 2 conversation lessons, 2 reading and writing lessons and 1 cultural activity day in one week. (2) Advanced class from 1:30 to 2:30 for 2 IUHD students and a visitor student; 5 lessons a week from Monday to Friday. These students started learning Japanese before I came here and have an ability of self-study. The lessons are divided into 2 parts; grammar and kanji. (3) Beginner class from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. for LLD students who cannot attend the afternoon classes mentioned above because of their regular English classes. Also, as the first year students of this university, they often have to attend “social events”. Moreover, I think they should concentrate on their English learning in their first year. Therefore, I wasn’t planning to provide another additional course for them but I changed my mind because there are still many LLD students who are eager to learn Japanese.


IUHD group
This course is provided for IUHD students who spent their first year at LLD and have a high ability of English. There is no problem in this class from basic instructions to complicated grammar explanations.


Turkmen Turkish groups
TTU, which was the only one foreign university in Turkmenistan recently closed and all the students of the university had to transfer to other universities and institutes according to their majors. IUHD accepted students of International Relations. I provide Japanese lessons to 45 TTU students in total. They are divided into 2 groups; one group on Tuesdays, one group on Thursdays, and one combined class on Fridays. In the classes on Fridays, student have presentations and debates but not Japanese learning because the number of participants is too big for a language lesson and they have different progresses due to holidays. Topics of their presentations and debates are mainly about the relationship between Turkmenistan and Japan. The first presentation should be an introduction of Turkmenistan towards other nations and with the second presentation, students should give a theme to discuss our relationship between Japan and Turkmenistan.

1. Afternoon class
This is beginners’ course for bachelor’s students without any charge or regulation. About 30 students attend this class so far and several teachers also join it. We have a conversational class on Monday and Thursday. We started learning basic phrases only using Roman alphabets. Now, I have introduced the concept of demonstratives. We have a reading and writing class on Tuesday and Friday. Students practice how to find certain sounds in kana charts so that they can study how to write in Japanese by themselves and learn how to write voiced consonants, contracted sounds, glottal stop and the syllabic nasal. We have cultural activities on Wednesday.

2. Afternoon class
This is an advanced course for two students in this course; one student from the official IUHD group who is eager to study more and one student who cannot attend my official class but has learnt Japanese by himself before I come. I refused their request for another lesson in the beginning because I thought one extra lesson was too much for me at that time. I told them I was not going to give any additional free lesson. However, one of the student didn’t give up and after our negotiation, I decided to have this course for them with one condition, which was offered by the student. They are going to learn Japanese, especially grammar, as fast and deep as possible and start helping my lessons in the next semester or the next academic year. All the classes at IUHD are supposed to be conducted only in English but I have seen teachers using Turkmen when they want to make students understand clearly. Therefore, I thought the offer of the student was interesting. They may be able to play a role as local teachers, which I don’t have here right now. If this idea of offshoring becomes successful, it can be a good model for other educational institutions. I have observed a lack of Japanese teachers among both schools and universities here.

3. Afternoon class
Students of LLD have their official lessons until 14:35 every day or 15:15 on Wednesdays. Also, it is difficult to follow our schedule because they are often asked to attend social events more frequent than Bachelor’s students. Therefore, I let them come to GJO and provide an environment where they can study themselves or in a group and ask me questions about Japanese learning. However, there are still students who visit Global Japan Office to ask me to teach them Japanese. Their passion changed my mind and I decided to provide one more extra Japanese course for them. It starts at 6:30 am on the first of November. It is very early for students according to them but I hope their enthusiasm conquer sleepiness.


These are all of my Japanese lessons right now. The number of students who are interested in Japanese is more than I expected and I am surprised in a good way. I thought I would lose some of them as time passes but I still have many participants. A LINE group for the afternoon lessons has been accepting more and more members. I am very busy but I appreciate the students’ interest in Japanese.

2016年9月 活動日誌 / September 2016 Activity Report

GJOトルクメニスタンコーディネーター / GJO Turkmenistan Coordinator
十亀 侑子 / SOGAME Yuko




International University for the Humanities and Development

This university is the first university in Turkmenistan, which provides all lessons in English. Previously, it had been common to follow the Russian education system in this country. Under this system, Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees are awarded after 5 years of university education . However, there is a demand for adjusting to a European style education system, because those degrees are not recognized as Master level overseas, especially Western countries. The first of 5 years in undergraduate study here at International University for the Humanities and Development is spent only for English learning. Students improve their English skills up to the level in which they can keep up with their studies perfectly in English. After this first year, students spend the next 4 years studying their individual majors in order to complete their bachelor’s degree.


It seems that this university works hard to train future elites some of whom may be destined for diplomatic careers. Most of the students here are interested in foreign countries. Under the administration of the former president but after independence from the Soviet Union, higher education was not regarded as a great importance. Primary education lasting nine years was thought to be enough, and there was no opportunity for higher education unless students traveledoutside of the country. However, after the change of regime, Turkmenistan has been developing rapidly, and the current government is trying to provide a high quality of education so that the Turkmen nation can obtain international recognition abroad, especially in Western countries. For this reason, there is a generation gap among teachers – those who studied during the Russian occupation and young teachers who are in their 20’s.




School Life

Female students wear red traditional Turkmen dresses while male students wear a white shirt, suit pants and a black tie. Both males and female students have to wear a traditional cap on their heads when on the University campus. Female teachers tend to wear darker colored dresses so that others can distinguish them from students. Also, teachers who are married have a customary way of wearing their headscarves. Therefore, it is very obvious who are students or teachers and who are married or not married.


University starts at 8:30 a.m. We have a morning assembly at 8:00 a.m. before classes. Students receive various information and have to pass a dress inspection every morning there. One session lasts 100 minutes; 45 mins lesson + 10 mins break + 45 mins lesson in the beginning of this semester, whiles later on the schedule may change to a non-stop 90 mins lesson. It seems like many things have not been decided yet. There are usually 2 classroom sessions for Bachelor’s students, which means most of their classes finish by noon. However, the first year students at the Language Learning Department have 3 sessions a day. Teachers are expected to stay at school until 3:00 p.m. but it is difficult to leave around that time if we are properly committed to our work. Many teachers stay and work until the evening, maybe because it is still the beginning of the academic year.


There are three dormitories in the campus; one for males and two for females. Teachers from distant provinces can stay at the dormitory as well. Students share a room with another student, but each teacher is given one room for two. Students have to be at their dormitories by 8:00 p.m. for the evening call. They are not allowed to go out after that. Each teacher has to take “night duty” once or twice a month. This duty entails that they stay in the guardroom at the entrance until 11:00 p.m. to make sure that the students are okay. This duty has to be performed not only by teachers staying at the dormitory, but also teachers living in the city.


You can see (and hear) both Turkmen speakers and Russian speakers at this campus. Turkmen people switch their language depending on whom they are talking to. I am the only foreign teacher here so far. Therefore, they speak English to me. Turkmen language is commonly used among teachers and students outside ofclass. The morning assembly and the evening call are in Turkmen as well. This is to make sure students can understand the information clearly.


I would to mention one more thing. There are a group of students who were transferred from the Turkmen Turkish University because of its recent closure. They are good at speaking Turkmen and Russian, but they are not so familiar with English. However, they are not going to be trained at the Language Learning Department. TheJapanese language course deals with both groups; regular students of IUHD and transferred students. It is assumed that they are divided into groups according to their English ability. Not only their language skills but also their attitudes towards study differ very much. Based on my interaction with these two groups, I can easily understand how industrious the students of IUHD are.





As a brand new university, new high technology has been introduced. Each classroom has a digital clock, a white board and a projector. However, white board makers are not included so usually students buy and bring them for their lessons. Some classrooms don’t have wipers or remote controllers for the projectors. The projectors work better with HDMI and malfunctioning happens when using other inputs. Usually, a small number of handouts are printed and shared by several students. This university has intranet, so it is possible for students to download handouts, which teachers upload. However, nobody seems to have used it. All my students didn’t know about it. Therefore, I have been providing literacy media to my students as well as teaching them Japanese language. It is very challenging.