The Japan Foundation E-mail Magazine Vol. 304

■■ A Message from Cai Guo-Qiang to Japanese Art Students ■■

Dear readers,

We are very happy that we become able to send you our e-mail magazine again from this month.

Time flies. During the last two months, we had the cherry blossom season followed by one of the azaleas, and now we are admiring hydrangea blooming all over the city. For us, hydrangea is a symbol of the rainy season. Shinjuku Gyoen, which is a national garden located nearby the Japan Foundation headquarters, has 230 hydrangeas and now is the best time to see.
Hydrangeas are woodland plants. This means that they don't like direct sun and heat: they need rain to maintain their beauty.
As long as colorful hydrangeas please our eyes, the rainy season isn't that bad after all.
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▼△▼△Wochi Kochi Magazine▼△▼△

◇A Message from Cai Guo-Qiang to Japanese Art Students ― The Japan Foundation Awards Commemorative Lecture Report
Contemporary artist Cai Guo-Qiang gave a talk on his belief as an artist in front of art students.

◇How did Japanese-language Education Develop in Brazil, the Home of the Largest Nikkei Community?
President of Centro Brasileiro de Lingua Japonesa Armando Toshiharu Tachibana talks about Japanese-language education in Brazil.

◇Imagining Japan's Tomorrow
Professor Mitsuyoshi Numano, a member of the selection committee for Worth Sharing initiative, shares his thoughts on the theme of its fifth volume.

◇Tora-san screened in Bengali!
A behind-the-scene story of the screening of the Guinness Award winning movie series in Bangladesh.

◇Singing the Twilight of Life - Karaoke Cafes and Singing Classes as Part of Elderly Life
Koon Fung (Benny) Tong, a 2016 Japanese Studies Fellow, shares his study "Negotiating Old Age through Music."

◇Speaking of Soseki 100 Years after his Death - Participating in the Natsume Soseki International Symposium
Professor at University of Oslo Reiko Abe Auestad wrote about her impression from the Natsume Soseki International Symposium and the talk she presented.

◇Lessons to Learn from European Initiatives for "Religious Minorities"
A report from Norihito Takahashi (Faculty of Sociology, Toyo University) and Hirofumi Okai (Faculty of Human Sciences, Waseda University), who attended a seminar organized by the Council of Europe.

◇A Path for a Bonsai Master Opened through Passion and Energy Alone (Wabi-Sabi Bonsai World 1)
Bonsai Master Takahiro Mori tells us how he entered the world of Bonsai.

◇People are Fascinated by Bonsai for the Same Reasons throughout the World (Wabi-Sabi Bonsai World 2)
Takahiro Mori talks about how Bonsai is received in the world.


▼△▼△Library Information ▼△▼△

◇List of new books

-The Japan Foundation Library
-The Japan Foundation Japanese-Language Institute, Urawa
-The Japan Foundation Japanese-Language Institute, Kansai


▼△▼△ Worth Sharing ▼△▼△
Worth Sharing―A Selection of Japanese Books Recommended for Translation is the list of recommendable good books for translation that we compiled annually.

◇ Konbini Ningen [Convenience Store Woman]
Author: Sayaka Murata
Japanese convenience stores, "konbini," are open 24 hours a day, selling food, drink, alcohol, cigarettes, newspapers, books, and even underwear.
They have ATMs and photocopiers and act as pickup points for parcels. Operating within extremely limited space, staff members strictly adhere to rules laid out precisely in manuals to serve customers. It is now difficult to imagine how Japanese people would live without konbini.
Yet literary works have rarely explored the thoughts and feelings of the people who work there.
This book may have the honor of being the first work of literature on convenience stores. The protagonist is a woman who has worked part-time for nearly 20 years in one of these stores. The people around her regard spending such a length of time in this kind of stopgap job as not "normal" in itself. But having been unable to adapt to society since early childhood, she felt at home for the first time in a konbini and finds a sense of fulfillment in a job where she is constantly under pressure to function as part of an efficient mechanism. For her the "normal" world is not hers to live in.
"Gender, age, and nationality don't matter. By wearing the same uniform, everyone is equal as a convenience store clerk."
With its paradoxical vision of the convenience store as utopia and its sharp criticism of the present state of society concealed behind a humorous narrative voice, this work presents a vision of the future of Japan.

For more details:

About Worth Sharing


▼△▼△Japanese Film Screenings Overseas in June 2017▼△▼△

Retrospective of Ko Nakahira (Korea)
Akira Kurosawa Retrospective: Australian Tour (Australia)
GATFFEST Film Festival (Jamaica)
Japanese Films Exhibition (Chile)
Nikkatsu Roman Porno-Retrospektive (Germany)


◇AAS in Asia Seoul Special Round Table: "Globalizing Japanese Studies beyond Borders and Boundaries"

◇Small Exhibition "From Our Rare Book Collection" (June 2017)


◇JF E-mail Magazine would like to hear your comments and suggestions.

Vol.304  6/20/2017
The Japan Foundation Official Website



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