An interview with Mr. Myo Tha Htet-who attended JENESYS East Asia Future Leaders Programme 2008-2009 on " Overcoming Poverty through a Social Inclusion Approach" which was organized by the Japan Foundation
Mr. Myo Tha Htet, Deputy Editor-in-Chief, 7Day News Journal, visited Japan from December 9 to 19 last year under the East Asia Future Leader Programme of the Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths (JENESYS) Programme.The theme of the programme was “Overcoming Poverty through a Social Inclusion Approach:The Status quo of Asia and Oceania in Globalized Economy”.He actively participated in the discussion with other participants from East Asia.Since he came back to Myanmar, he has contributed many articles to 7Day News Journal.
What was your first impression of Japan?
It's a very good programme. I did not know before my visit that in Japan there are many homeless or unemployed people.Poverty is not an issue of a single country but it’s the problem to be tackled by international society as a whole.Japan has been taking the leading role in fighting poverty in Asia and around the world.During the workshop, we made comparison between Japan’s and participants’ own countries’ efforts in addressing poverty issue and discussed how to best serve the people in need with a collective or social inclusion approach.
Every participant had to make his/her own presentation about the situation in his/her country on the very first day of the workshop.I did it well and it was an interesting experience for me.I actively participated in the whole programme and shared my feelings and opinion about the poverty issue with all the other participants.I did also contribute my own opinion and thought to the group report which was presented on the last day of our workshop.We gave our presentation to the audience and answered the questions from them.
Could you please tell us how you will make use of the experience gained during your Japan trip?
The workshop was a precious experience for me.I have now clearer and more specific idea about what I should do next after the workshop.I did write a few articles in my paper, 7Day News, about what I saw in Japan and what I learnt from the workshop.Participants learnt many from Japanese people such as strong will, diligence and the importance of taking initiatives on issues.We, in Myanmar, are satisfied with what we have and do not make plans for distant future.In addressing those problems, we can also learn from some Japanese NPOs which are doing their best for people who are in need.In addition, we need to strengthen our awareness of how important poverty issue is and how to overcome it.All stakeholders must be included in the fight against poverty.
The Japanese Film Festival 2009 was held in Yangon at Thamada Cinema from January 18-23 and in Mandalay at Win Lite Cinema from February 23-26as a Mekong-Japan Exchange Year Event.
The opening ceremony in Yangon was held on the first day of the festival - January 18th with the opening speech delivered by H.E. Mr. Yasuaki Nogawa, Ambassador of Japan. The festival commemorated its tenth year, and was co-hosted by the Embassy of Japan and the Japan Foundation of Myanmar. The event ended in a great success with a full house audience on almost all days.
This year's festival featured Okinawa Islanders’ story “Nabbie’s Love” on the first day, famous actor Satoshi Tsumabuki’s “Water boys” on the second day, high school girls’ story“Linda Linda Linda”on the third day, and famous actress Keiko Matsuzaka’s “Ping Pong Bath Station” on the last day.
The audience expressed their satisfaction and appreciation on the film festival by following comments,“I have been attending the Japanese film festival every year without fail. All the films were entertaining and enjoyable”, I was very surprised to find that the scenery of Okinawa is similar to Myanmar” and “I especially liked the comedy Water boys. it was a big fun”.
The Embassy of Japan will continue to present this annual Film Festival and introduce Japanese culture and tradition to the people of Myanmar through excellent Japanese films.
" Invitation Programme for Artists and Designers 2007/2008"
The Embassy of Japan interviewed Mr. Kyaw Kyaw Win, a Myanmar photographer who visited Japan from July 3 to September 30, 2008.
Q: What was your first impression of Japan ?
A: Japanese people walk really fast and always rush for trains. I wonder whether they have time to spend with the family. Later, I realized that Japanese people really appreciate their traditional culture such as Kabuki although the country is highly developed.
Q: What is your most favourite place in Japan ?
A: I visited Kyoto all by myself and was most impressed because the people there are really friendly and helpful. In contrast, in Tokyo there are various types of people. Kyoto is like Myanmar 's cultural capital Mandalay , where there are many beautiful sceneries and photographers like me are attracted.
Q: What is your most favourite Japanese dish?
A: Onigiri (Japanese rice ball) is my favourite. I could not eat Sashimi – raw fish.
Q: Could you give any comment on this programme?
A: Actually, this programme is not for training of photographers only. The participants were accommodated at Tokyo Wonder Site, where we, five artists from various fields of art including a designer from Germany and myself, presented a performance art on “Creation of Mount Fuji”.
Q: I understand that the participants were artists from various fields. Could you please tell us some of the fields they were engaged in?
A: There were writers/authors, composers, video/movie directors, ceramic specialists and painters, etc.
Q: Did you have any chance to present your expertise in photography?
A: I got a chance to share my expertise at the Photographic Association in Tokyo . Many Japanese photographers attended, including the one who used to hold a photo exhibition on the platform of the Shwedagon Pagoda. I had them see some photos of Myanmar on the occasion to promote our beautiful Myanmar .
Q: Could you please tell us how will you make use of the experience gained during your Japan trip?
A: I am to make a reporting presentation at the Myanmar Photographic Society around the end of this month and share my experience with my fellow photographers. I am also planning to organize a photo exhibition next year with the title “A Myanmar Photographer in Japan ”.
The Japanese Song Contest (Nodo-Jiman) was for the first time held on October 12 in Yangon in cooperation with the Myanmar Association of Japan Alumni (MAJA), Yangon Japanese School and Gitameit Music Center . In total 158 entries were registered and after the initial screening 21 singers were chosen to participate in the contest. The number of audience was as much as 350.
Mr. Sai Sai Seng, who sang Mr. Shinji Tanimura's Subaru won the first prize, Ms. Yadanar Wyne, who sang Hana Hana's Sayonara Daisukina Hito , and Ms. Khin Oo Aye, who sang The Tiger's Monariza no Hohoemi won second and third prize respectively. Special prizes were awarded to Mr. Kyaw Thiha Tun, who sang Say Yes by Chage & Asuka and Ms. Thant Thitsar Aung, who sang Kimi wo nosete by Ms. Azumi Inoue.
The first prize winner Mr. Sai Sai Seng expressed his excitement by saying “It was great to have the chance to sing my favourite Japanese song, having huge audience in front of me and I am more than happy to win the first prize”. Ms. Yadanar Wyne who got the second prize expressed her feelings with tears in her eyes, “I cannot believe that I got the second prize. When my name was announced, I was really surprised”.
Some Japanese audience gave the following comments;
“We were surprised to learn that all the participants sang even better than native Japanese”, “The contestants who did not speak Japanese could sing Japanese songs with perfect pronunciation. We appreciated their talent”.
The Head of the Judges - Mr. Saotome, a music teacher from Yangon Japanese School winded up the occasion by saying, “All the contestants were really good singers. Therefore, it was very difficult for the judges to decide the prize winners”.
The Embassy of Japan in Myanmar will continue to make utmost efforts to organize the Second Japanese Song Contest (Nodo-Jiman) 2009 as one of the special activities for the Japan-Mekong Exchange Year, hoping that more Japanese song lovers will participate in the contest.
Ms. Moe Moe Khaing, who won the first prize at the Japanese Speech Contest on June 1, visited Japan under the Programme of Outstanding Japanese-Language Students organized by the Japan Foundation. In total 54 students from 50 countries participated in the programme from September 10 to 24. Ms. Moe Moe Khaing shared her experience during an interview right after her return to Myanmar :
Q: What was your first impression of Japan ?
A: Japanese people walk really fast and I got the impression that they live very busy lives.
Q: What is your most favourite place in Japan ?
A: I was most impressed by Kiyomizudera Temple in Kyoto , which is surrounded by natural scenic beauties. Kin Kakuji ( Golden Temple ) is also magnificent. I wish I could see inside.
Q: What is your most favourite Japanese dish?
A: Okonomiyaki (Japanese style hot plate pizza) is my favourite. I did not really like other dishes.
Q: Could you give any comment on this programme?
A: The programme schedule was very tight but enjoyable. Those people who received me as host family were very kind. The programme included Ikebana and Shodo (Japanese Calligraphy) practice and was very substantial. I was able to make friends with students from other countries, which was very fortunate for my future.
Q: What did you think of your level of proficiency compared to other participants?
A: A few participants including myself had passed Japanese Language Proficiency Level 1. During the entire programme period, I realized that my level of proficiency was relatively higher than other participants. I became quite confident.
Q: Could you tell me your goal in future?
A: I would like to study Business Management in Japan and establish a successful business in Myanmar . For that reason, I will try harder to push up my ability for Japanese language.
H. E. Mr. Yasuaki Nogawa, Ambassador of Japan to Myanmar, has signed and exchanged the Notes with H. E. U Soe Tha, Minister for National Planning and Economic Development of the Union of Myanmar, which covers an amount of 346 million yen (approximately 3.1 million US dollars) for the project of “Malaria Control in Myanmar” to be provided under the Grant Aid scheme of the Government of Japan. The signing ceremony was held at the Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development on 12 September 2008.
Summary of the Project is as follows:
Purpose of the Project
To provide necessary supplies of required items such as anti-malaria drugs and impregnated mosquito nets in malaria outbreak areas of Bago and Magwe Divisions in Central Myanmar and Rakhine State in Northwest region.
Output of the Project
Through the improvement of medical supply, more patients get access to proper diagnosis and anti-malaria treatment. The number of those who receive examination and/or treatment at the right occasion will increase in the targeted states and divisions.
Distributing insecticides and insecticide-treated mosquito nets will suppress growth of anopheles and other malaria related mosquitoes. The number of malaria patients and rate of mortality respectively is expected to decrease in the targeted states and divisions in a few years.
On September 25, in Yangon the orientation and farewell reception hosted by H.E.Yasuaki Nogawa, Ambassador of Japan, was held for Japanese Government Scholarship Students of Myanmar for 2008 Academic Year, who will study at university postgraduate course or other research institutions respectively in Japan from this October.
All of the sixteen participants are young civil servants including in-service teachers who are expected to take part in the future nation building in Myanmar . At the orientation, a member of the embassy gave a detailed explanation about the social and academic life in Japan . Furthermore, a former scholarship teacher shared his own useful experience. In Q & A session, plenty of questions were raised from the participants. Since most of the participants have never been to Japan , they looked nervous and at the same time eager for studying in Japan . Most of unease of participants seems to disappear throughout this orientation was useful in assuaging their worries.
Later they attended the Farewell reception, where Ambassador Nogawa, Ambassador Mr.Thet Tun, Patron of the Myanmar Association of Japan Alumni (MAJA) and Mr.Zaw Htay, Director General of Higher Education Department, Ministry of Education gave the scholarship students some warm congratulatory remarks respectively.
Dr. Aung Kyaw, President of Myanmar Association of Japan Alumni proposed a toast for the participants.
In response, Mr. Chan Aye from the Ministry of Forestry Affairs delivered his words of thank and determination on behalf of all the scholarship students.
Japanese Government Scholarship started in 1952 and so far more than eight hundred Myanmar students studied in Japan . They have not only become prominent leaders in the Myanmar society but also served as a valuable bridge of friendly relationship between Japan and Myanmar .
A lecture on Anime (Japanese Animation), inviting Mr.Takamasa SAKURAI, Contents Media Producer as a presenter, was held on September 19 in Yangon in cooperation with the Japan Foundation and the Embassy of Japan.
This lecture was the first occasion in Myanmar to introduce Anime, which is currently popular all over the world, properly to the Myanmar public.
Mr.Sakurai explained why Anime became globally popular and analyzed the source of its competitiveness throughout the world. He also explored the feature of Anime industry in future, making use of some slide shows.
Approximately 460 people participated in the lecture and the atmosphere was truly heated. Those participants included young fans of Anime, computer-related business people and students of Japanese Language Schools.
During the question and answer session many people asked Mr.Sakurai about the current situation surrounding Anime, and they appreciated and made use of a rare chance to exchange views with a Japanese expert on pop culture after the lecture as well.
Some of the comments from the participants are follows;
"I really enjoyed watching the latest Anime slide shows."
"We would like to learn from Japanese animators to improve animation technology in Myanmar."
"We would like Mr.Sakurai to visit Myanmar soon again to give the second lecture."
The Embassy of Japan is prepared to continue to introduce Japanese pop culture including anime.
On 16 th September, 2008, in Yangon , H.E. Mr. Yasuaki Nogawa, Ambassador of Japan to the Union of Myanmar, and H.E. Maj.Gen.Htay Oo, Minister for agriculture and Irrigation of the Union of Myanmar, attended the ceremony for handing over agricultural machinery funded by the Government of Japan under its Grassroots Grant Assistance (GGA) Scheme .
The sudden stormy rainfall from mid-September to October in 2006 caused devastating flood, which crucially destroyed agricultural land in Kyaukese District. In response to the disaster, The Government of Japan decided to contribute US$ 180,000 to Mandalay Division Agriculture Coordination Committee for a humanitarian assistance program entitled “ Project for Provision of Machinery for Rehabilitation of Flood-affected Farmers in Kyaukse and Myit Thar townships in Kyaukse District in Mandalay Division ” , which enables procurement of 4 backhoes, 580 pressured sprayers and 9 power reapers for agricultural use.
At the ceremony, H.E. Mr. Nogawa handed over the documents to H.E. Maj.Gen.Htay Oo, and received an acknowledement of honor from H.E. Maj.Gen.Htay Oo.
Two Myanmar youths recently visited Japan under the JENESYS Programme.
Ms.Khin Thida Win, a staff of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry visited Japan from July 17 to 27. The theme of the Programme this time was "Migration in Asia and Oceania: Towards a Win-Win and WIN Scheme for the Origin-Destination Countries and for the Migrants themselves" . She participated in a group disuccsion with the participants from other countries.
Mr.Than Htike Oo, reporter of the Myanmar Times Journal visited Japan from July 29 to August 9. The Theme of the Programme was "Urban Community Development Inspired by Culture: The Potential of Creative Cities". Having witnessed firsthand the efforts in Yokohama, Kanazawa, and Kyoto, which are leading examples of creative cities in Japan, and creative urban regeneration in the megacities of Tokyo and Osaka, he explored the future direction of Asian cities.
The then Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced a large-scale youth exchange initiative totaling US$315 million, which was titled the JENESYS Programme at the East Asia Summit in January 2007. The programme was designed to strengthen solidarity in East Asia through the promotion of mutual understanding among the young generations in the region.Approximately 6,000 youths, mainly from East Asia Summit (EAS) member countries, will be invited to Japan over the next five years under the Programme.
The Embassy of Japan in cooperation with the Japan Foundation organized the education seminars for Japanese Language teachers in Yangon at the Embassy of Japan on August 23 and in Mandalay at Hito Center on August 24, 2008.
This seminar is the follow-up of the one held in February of this year. Mr. Toshihiko Gima, Chief Lecturer of the Japanese Cultural Center at the Japan Foundation in Bangkok , Thailand , gave lectures to 98 teachers in total; 74 from Yangon and 24 from Mandalay .
The theme of this seminar was “Possibility of Synthetic Japanese Language Teaching”. After reviewing the issues discussed during last February seminar, four or five participants in each group made group discussion on how to plan curriculum.
There were positive responses to this seminar as follows;
“We learnt a lot on teaching methodology”,
“We realized the importance of preparation before a lecture and planning a timetable”,
“We had a good opportunity to exchange views with other Japanese Language teachers and got new ideas in teaching”,
“since this is the only seminar for Japanese Language teachers in this country, we would like to have it at least twice a year”.
As these responses show, this seminar, like the one held in last February, was a very beneficial event for Japanese Language teachers.
The Embassy of Japan hopes to hold similar seminars in the future with the aim of promoting the Japanese Language education and further disseminating the Japanese Language in Myanmar .
The 5 th Japan Cup Judo Championship 2008 co-hosted by the Embassy of Japan and Myanmar Judo Federation and supported by the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Yangon (JCCY) was held at the Aung San Indoor Stadium in Yangon on September 9 and 10, 2008. In total ten teams including the teams from various government ministries like the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Forestry, Ministry of Sports, Ministry of Construction, Ministry of Rail Transportation, Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation and the Ministry of Industry I, and Judo teams from Sagaing Division, Southern Shan State and Rakhine State took part. Altogether 117 contestants (84 men and 33 women) participated in the championship with much vigor and strength.
The Ministry of Construction team won the tournament this year. On September 10, H.E. Mr. Yasuaki Nogawa, Ambassador of Japan awarded the Championship Cup, and Mr. Fumihiro Yano, Vice President of JCCY awarded the medals and 21 inches television sets to the male and female best players respectively.
Since 2003 Japan-ASEAN Exchange Year, the Japan Cup Judo Championship has been held annually with the aim of promoting Judo in Myanmar , and thereby, further strengthening of Japan-Myanmar sports exchange. Many contestants from all over Myanmar participated in this annual event.
The Male Best Player for this year Championship, Ko Thura Zaw said, “ I have received the Best Player twice before but this is the first time to get such a gorgeous prize. I ' ll keep on trying to become a player representing Myanmar . ” The Female Best Player Ma Aye Aye Aung also said, “ I am really grateful to the Embassy of Japan and JCCY for the prizes. I won the Gold Medal in South East Asian games in 2007 and also won this game as the Best Player. I feel motivated to try my best to win a medal in 2009 South East Asian Games. ” These comments show that this Japan Cup Judo Championship inspires the players ' sporting spirit.
The Embassy of Japan in Myanmar will continue to make utmost efforts to organize the Japan Cup Judo Champion for 2009 as a special activity for the Japan-Mekong Exchange Year and promote the friendship between Japan and Myanmar by supporting Japanese traditional sports such as “ Judo ” .
Under the 21 st Century East- Asia Youth Exchange Programme, Japanese Language Programme for University Students in East-Asia, five Japanese language learners from Myanmar visited Japan for six weeks from June 11 to July 23.
They are Ms. Wint Wint Khaing Tun, Ms. Hnin Nandar Ko, Ms. Htike Htike Htwe, Ms. Kay Zin Wint and Mr. Aung Ye Htut from Universities of Foreign Languages in Yangon and Mandalay , Hito Center and Noriki Japanese Language School .
In total thirty Japanese language learners from Myanmar , Cambodia , Brunei , Vietnam , Indonesia , Malaysia , Singapore and New Zealand participated in the programme. The participants had a chance to study advanced Japanese Language at the Japan Foundation Japanese Language Institute, Kansai. They also experienced staying at Japanese homes. In addition, they were able to visit Tokyo , Osaka , Kyoto and Hiroshima and exchanged views with Japanese university students. Overall the programme was quite full.
The participants made following comments;
“We received very good training and invaluable experiences in the six weeks. We also exchanged views with other participants. This programme was beneficial for us”.
“We got lost during the excursion. We approached a Japanese for direction in Japanese Language. We could not get that kind of experience in our home country. The Japanese who showed us the way was very kind”.
“We used to think that Japanese people were unsociable. During our trip, we found out that Japanese university students were really friendly. We made friends with Japanese students and host families”.
Aiming at the friendship between Japanese Language learners and other youths, this 21 st Century East- Asia Youth Exchange Programme will continue for the next four years.
Under the 21 st Century East-Asia Youth Exchange Programme, two Japanese language teachers from Myanmar visited Japan for two and a half months from May 8 to July 18. They are U Thura Kyaw from Meido Gakuen private Japanese Language School and Daw Theingi Aung from Dhamma Rakkhita Monastic Education School .
In total forty Japanese language teachers from Myanmar , Thai, Cambodia , Laos , Vietnam , Indonesia , Malaysia , Philippine and India participated in the programme. Those teachers studied teaching methodology of Japanese language at the Japan Foundation Japanese Language Institute, Urawa in Saitama Prefecture . They also experienced Japanese culture such as Ikebana – Japanese flower arrangement, Sado – Japanese tea ceremony and Origami – Japanese paper folding art. In addition, they got a chance to view Sumo wrestling, and Kabuki – Japanese Opera. Interestingly, the participants experienced staying at Japanese homes. They also enjoyed sight-seeing in Tokyo , Osaka , Kyoto , Nara and Hiroshima . They had opportunities to visit primary schools and exchange views with Japanese university students.
One of the participants made following comments;
“This two and a half months programme was full of activities, during which, we gained a lot of experiences in addition to studying Japanese Language. We also had a chance to attend the Sumo and Kabuki. While staying at Japanese homes, we learned Japanese lifestyles and the host families taught me how to read Japanese newspapers. We would share our experience with fellow Japanese Language teachers.”
“We got a good chance to experience Japanese culture such as Ikebana and Sado and enjoyed staying at Japanese homes. Before traveling to Japan , we had the impression that Japan is crowded with buildings. When we arrived in Nara and Kyoto , we were surprised to see the places covered with lush green trees. We intend to share the experience we gained with our students”.
Four young Myanmar people who work for environmental organizations visited Japan from June 3 to 16 under the JENESYS(Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange of Students and Youths)East Asia Future Leader Programme.
The Government of Japan provided US$ 80,000 to construct Myintha Myo Oo Monastic School in South Okkala Township , Yangon , in cooperation with Southeast Asia Exchange Association (SAEA-Japan), one of the Japanese NGOs. The two-story building was handed over on 26 June, in the presence of Mr. Mitsuji Suzuka, Counselor of the Embassy of Japan, Mr. Minoru Takahashi, Director of SAEA-Japan, Mr. Katsuyoshi Terasaka, Executive Director of SAEA-Japan, H.E. U Thura Aung Koe, Deputy Minister for Religious Affairs, U Aung Tun Khaine, Deputy Director General of Department of Social Welfare and authorities concerned of the Government of Myanmar.
Myintha Myo Oo Monastery has provided free education to the children of poor families who could not attend the public schools and also has provided accommodation to about 30 orphans. As the school has good reputation, many pupils hope to study in the school. However, every student in this district did not have an opportunity to learn this school due to the insufficient numbers of classrooms. Previously, students of grade 1 to 3 students studied in the main building and those of grade 4 to 8 studied in the temporary classrooms which were donated by the local residents. However, the learning condition was not sufficient since the students of 1-3 grades had to study together in the same room and the students of grade 4-8 had to study in a temporary classroom.
The new building will help improve the learning condition, in which we hope the students will benefit more from the education.
The number of classroom has increased to 10, which enables them to accept 180 more students, increasing opportunity for children's education.
This cooperation has been implemented to provide an opportunity to the poor children who could not learn in public schools, with an aim of upgrading educational level of the region.
The Japanese Government will render further such assistance in future, which can directly benefit the people in the region.
The Government of Japan provided about US$ 177,000 to renovate a dormitory of Hamsei High School in Taunggyi District, Shan State , in cooperation with Terra People Association (TPA), one of the Japanese NGOs working in Myanmar . On 9 June 2008, a ceremony for completion of construction of dormitory was held, in presence of Mr. Hisanori Yoshimura, Second Secretary of the Embassy of Japan, Ms. Kyoko Shibata, Project Manager of TPA, U Aung Kham Htee , representative of Special Region No.6, Shan State and authorities concerned of the Government of Myanmar.
Nearly 500 students were learning at Hamsei High School, of whom nearly 150 were living in a dormitory. Previously, not every student from villages in the region had an opportunity for middle and high school education, because they lived far from schools and also because of limitation of dormitory . Since the existing dormitory was very old, there was leaking of rain, and, in addition, the boarders were in the severe coldness in winter as the school is situated above 1500 m from sea level.
Now, with the new dormitory, the number of students the dormitory can accommodate has increased and the space provided for each student in the dormitory has been doubled, upgrading the living condition of the boarders. It is heard that, the dormitory students who are now using the new building, considering its value, clean their dormitory three times a day. Now that the new building has been constructed, the number of students has increased to over 600 and, as a result, Hamsei High School was promoted from the affiliated high school to the branch high school level. As the affiliated school, the teachers were hired by the people in the region but after the promotion to the branch high school, all teachers have been sent at government's expense.
The Government of Japan will further provide the assistance which will directly profit the people in the region.
The handing-over ceremony of the Japanese-Language Teaching Materials to the Koeki Japanese Language School of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chamber of Commerce & Industry (UMFCCI) took place at the UMFCCI Training Centre in Yangon on June 24, 2008.
Present on the occasion were Ms. Satoko Toku – First Secretary, Information and Culture Section of the Embassy of Japan, U Sein Win Hlaing – Secretary General of UMFCCI and Mr. Eigo Kinoshita – Principal of Koeki Japanese Language School. On behalf of the Japan Foundation, Ms. Toku handed over twenty nine Japanese Language teaching books to the school.
Under the Programme of the donation for the Japanese-Language Teaching Materials, the Japan Foundation has been donating teaching materials to universities and private Japanese Language schools to improve Japanese Language education. It is expected that the donation of these books will benefit the Japanese Language learners in improving their Japanese proficiency.
The Prize Awarding Ceremony for the Third Japanese Literature Translation Contest 2008 was held in conjunction with the Japanese Speech Contest 2008 at a hotel in Yangon on June 1, 2008 . The said translation contest which took place on March 1, 2008 simultaneously in Yangon and Mandalay was organized by the Embassy of Japan with the cooperation of the Myanmar Association of Japan Alumni (MAJA) and supported by the Japanese Chamber of Commerce Yangon (JCCY).
The annual Japanese Literature Translation Contest has been held to introduce Japanese literature to Japanese Language learners in Myanmar and to improve their Japanese proficiency. There are three levels for the contest, namely basic, intermediate and advanced. The contestants chose one level according to their level of proficiency. This year, prescribed literatures to be translated into Myanmar for the basic level was a short story namely “The Old man who makes the flowers bloom” by author Kusuyama Masao; for the intermediate level, “Gon - the little fox” by Nankichi Nimi; and for the advanced level, “Run, run Melos” by Dazai Osamu. Altogether 101 contestants from Yangon and 71 contestants from Mandalay took part in the contest.
The first prize winner of the advanced level said, “This is my first experience to participate in the contest. I sat for the test not just for the prize; I wanted my proficiency to be assessed. I often read Japanese novels and stories and I benefit from it. During the test, I found it quite difficult to translate the story smoothly into Myanmar language. Now that I got the First Prize and I was more than happy to receive the 29” television and the DVD player”.
Other contestants gave the following comments; “The translation was really difficult, but it was a good experience for me. The works we translated were really interesting.”, “It was a good opportunity to try our skills in both Myanmar and Japanese languages” and “We now realized that translating Japanese literature into Myanmar is difficult despite our thorough understanding of the story”. Although the contest is not an easy one, the number of entrees has been increasing every year. Judging from those comments, the learners of Japanese Language seem to be much interested in Japanese Literature.
After the awarding ceremony, U Thet Tun - the Patron of the Myanmar Association of Japan Alumni (MAJA) presented an overall assessment on the contests for the last three years.
In addition to this contest, the Embassy of Japan intends to organize similar contests and activities to improve the proficiency of Japanese language learners in Myanmar .
Prize Winners of the Japanese Literature Translation Contest 2008
First Prize: Ma Khin Mya Mya
Second Prize: Ma Kyi May Lwin
Third Prize: Ma Swe Zin Yu
First Prize: Ma Khine Su Lin
Second Prize: Ma Hnin Nandar Ko
Third Prize: Ma Myat Thet Mon
First Prize: Ma Myat Myat Zin
Second Prize: Ma Aye Mya Mya Moe
Third Prize: Ma Ei Ei Khaing
The Japanese Speech Contest 2008 co-hosted by the Embassy of Japan and the Myanmar Association of Japan Alumni (MAJA) and supported by the Japanese Chamber of Commerce Yangon (JCCY) was held at a hotel in Yangon and more than 270 people attended the occasion.
This year was the ninth year to hold the annual Japanese Speech Contest in Yangon . A total of 32 entrees were received and after the initial screening 15 were chosen to participate in the contest. As in the previous contests, the topic for this year was open. In previous years many participants made speeches on environmental pollution and Japanese language learning. However, this year the contestants made unique speeches on wide-ranging issues, focusing on their own experiences in life. During the question and answer session, humorous queries from the judges relaxed the participants and at the same time entertained the audience. This year JCCY donated a 29” television and a DVD player for the first prize winner and the co-hosting MAJA also provided generous prizes. The prize awarding ceremony was held in a great excitement.
After the contest, the First Prize Winner – Ma Moe Moe Khaing said “I wanted to share my experience since long time ago and I did it today. I never participated in a speech contest before. Now that I shared my experience with the audience, I was really happy to have the chance”. “After the Fighting Spirit Prize, Third Prize and Second Prize were announced, I felt that I missed the prizes. When it was announced that I won the First Prize, I was more surprised than happy. Until now, I wondered whether it was a dream and I was more than happy to receive the 29” television and the DVD player”. “In future, I'd try to study management at a university in Japan and become a successful business manager.”
The First Prize Winner will have a chance to attend a two-week training in Japan organized by the Japan Foundation in September, 2008 for the outstanding Japanese Language learners.
Other contestants said, “Although we did not achieve any prize, we gained confidence in public speaking. We would also like to participate next year”, “The presentations of all the contestants were really interesting and educational”.
One of the judges said “All the contestants were really good and the competition was intenser than last year. Their proficiency, especially that of the participants from Yangon has been much improved”.
Prize Winners of the Japanese Speech Contest 2008
On March 28, in Yangon the orientation and farewell reception hosted by H.E.Yasuaki Nogawa, Ambassador of Japan was held for Monbukagakusho Scholarship Students of Myanmar for 2008 Academic Year, who will study at universtiy postgraduate course or other research institutions in Japan from this April.
All of the twenty three participants are young civil servants and researchers who are expected to take part in the future nation building in Myanmar . At the orientation, a member of the embassy gave a detailed explanation about the social and academic life in Japan . Furthermore, a former scholarship teacher shared his own useful experience. The participants eagerly asked various questions, such as how to prepare for a thesis writing and how they should be dressed when they go to Japan . Since most of the participants have never been to Japan , they looked anxious and at the same time hopeful about studying in Japan . This orientaion was useful in assuaging their worries.
Later they attended the Farewell reception, where Ambassador Nogawa and Ambassador Mr.Thet Tun, Patron of the Myanmar Association of Japan Alumni ( MAJA ) gave the scholarship students some warm congratulatory remarks respectively.
In his speech, Ambassador Nogawa hoped that their study in Japan would be beneficial to the future of Myanmar and that they would come back to Myanmar as a bridge of friendship between Japan and Myanmar .
Ambassador Thet Tun, gave a humorous observation on the interesting cultural and customs differences between the two countries, based on his own experiences in Japan as a scholarship student.
Mr. Lo Taing Ya, Auditor of Myanmar Association of Japan Alumni proposed a toast for the participants.
In response, Mr. Aung Kyaw Soe from the Ministry of Forestry gave his words of thanks on behalf of all the scholarship students.
Monbukagakusho Scholarship started in 1952 and so far more than eight hundred Myanmar students studied in Japan . They have not only become prominent leaders in important fields of the Myanmar society but also served as a valuable bridge between Japan and Myanmar . This scholarship programs and achievements by individual scholarship holders will further promote the friendly relations between Japan and Myanmar .
On 4th March 2008, H.E.Mr.Yasuaki Nogawa, Ambassador of Japan, visited Laokai in Kokang Special Region No.1 to attend the food handing-over ceremony of WFP's new program (Assistance to vulnerable families in Myanmar) to which the Government of Japan contributed US$1.13 million in August 2007.
Also, Ambassador Nogawa visited the project sites for eradocation of opium poppy cultivation in the region implemented by JICA and talked with U Phone Kyar Shin, Chairman of Kokang Special Region No.1.
The Japanese Film Festival 2008 was held in Yangon at Thamada Cinema from 23-26 January and in Mandalay at Win Lite Cinema from 25-28 February.
This annual festival was co-hosted by the Embassy of Japan and the Japan Foundation in cooperation with the Ministry of Information of Myanmar and this was the ninth year to hold such festival in Myanmar .
The opening ceremony in Yangon was held on the first day of the festival - January the 23 rd with the opening speeches delivered by H.E. Mr. Yasuaki Nogawa, Ambassador of Japan and the Director of the Myanmar Motion Pictures Enterprise, U Thein Htun Aung.
This year's festival featured the Japan's leading Film Director Yoji Yamada's “the Twilight Samurai” on the first and last days, famous actor Koji Yakusho's “Dora Heita” on the second day and Director Takeshi Kitano's “Kikujiro no Natsu” on the third day.
The audience expressed their satisfaction and appreciation on the film festival by following comments, “We have been missing Japanese classical movies that it is a very good chance for us”, “I have been attending the Japanese film festival every year without fail. All films in this year were entertaining and enjoyable” and “I especially liked the comedy Kikujiro no Natsu as the actor Beat Takeshi is excellent”.
The Embassy of Japan will continue to present this annual Film Festival and introduce Japanese culture and tradition to the people of Myanmar through excellent films.
The Embassy of Japan in cooperation with the Japan Foundation organized the education seminars for Japanese Language teachers in Yangon at the Embassy of Japan on February 23 and in Mandalay , while started last year, at Hito Center on 24 February 2008 .
At the seminar, Mr. Toshihiko Giman, Chief Lecturer of the Japanese Cultural Center at the Japan Foundation in Bangkok , Thailand gave lectures on teaching methods of Japanese Language to about 110 teachers; 80 from Yangon and 30 from Mandalay .
The theme of this seminar was “Thinking of Basic Teaching Materials through discussions among teachers”. Each group consisting of four or five participants discussed how to organize basic teaching materials and teaching methodology.
There were positive responses to this seminar from the participants such as “this seminar is very beneficial for Japanese Language teachers”, “we had a good chance to learn how to make up basic teaching materials and latest Japanese Language teaching methods”, “the group discussion session was something new to us, however, it was a very good experience indeed”, “this was a good opportunity to meet with other teachers and exchange views and experience on teaching Japanese Language” and “please continue to hold a similar seminar in the coming years”. Judging from their comments, this seminar turned out to be a very meaningful event for Japanese Language teachers.
The Embassy of Japan hopes to hold similar seminars in the future with the aim of promoting the Japanese Language learning and further disseminating the Japanese Language in Myanmar .
With the recent rapid increase of students learning Japanese in Myanmar, the number of students who wish to further their studies at Japanese Universities and Colleges has also been on the rise.
The Embassy of Japan extends various assistance to Myanmar people who are interested in studying in Japan. The followings are examples. For more information, please contact the Information and Culture Section of the Embassy at 100 Natmauk Road, Bahan Township, Yangon, ph.549644-8, e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org.
Embassy Ryugaku Advisor System
The Ryugaku (＝Study Abroad)adviser consultation meetings for prospective students are held once a month (usually on Wednesday of the second week of the month) by the experienced advisors. Consultation is conducted in your native Myanmar language. You can receive various advices on a wide range of agenda such as how to prepare for your study in Japan, student life in general, how to select a school, how to find or apply for a scholarship, or how to take an examination. Schedules are announced on the Embassy's Web Site, or please inquire at the Information and Culture Section of the Embassy. (FREE OF CHARGE)
Embassy Reference Room
The Reference Room of the Embassy has many guidebooks on Japanese universities, graduate schools, vocational schools, Japanese language schools, or scholarship guides and other helpful materials. In addition, general information on Japan is also for your reference within the reference room.
For further information on study in Japan, plase contact JASSO.
On February 16, in Yangon, the Embassy of Japan hosted a concert of Japanese Music in coopearation with the Myanmar Association of Japan Alumni.
More than three hundred audience enjoyed this rare chance to listen to Japanese music by Myanmar young people. They were surprised how good their Japanese pronunciation. The members of the choir studied Japanese songs intensively and made rapid progress in a short time.
After the concert, the members of the choir made some comments about their experiences of singing in Japanese for the first time. They said that they liked the melodies of Japanese music and that through singing these Japanese songs they became interested in Japan itself. They also enjoyed wearing "Yukata" and "Happi", Japanese traditional costumes.
The concert was a success in a sense that both the choir members and the audience not only enjoyed the beauty of Japanese music but also became interested in the background of the music , such as the beauty of Japanese nature, the Japanese way of thinking.
On January 10 in Yangon and on 21 in Nay Pyi Taw, the reunion gathering for former Japanese scholarship students were hosted by H.E.Yasuaki Nogawa, Ambassador of Japan. In Yangon, about sixty and in Nay Pyi Taw twenty former students and goverment officials attended the function.
On both occasions Ambassador Nogawa delivered a welcome speech. His Excellency pointed out that Japan puts a great emphasis on human resources development in Myanmar and since 1952 more than 800 Myanmar students have received scholarship. His Excellency expressed gratitude to the Myanmar Japan Alumni Association (MAJA) for its firm commitment to promoting excellent Japan Myanmar relations. His Excellency reminded the former students that having learned both Japanese culture and language, they can be a bridge of friendhsip between Japan and Myanmar.
At the gathering in Yangon, Ambassador U Thet Tun, Patron of MAJA, recalled the precise history of Myanmar students sent to overseas. Dr.Aung Kyaw, President of MAJA, gave a toast, by stressing the importance of studying in Japan and reminding former students of responsibility after they come back to Myanmar.
At the gathering former students recalled their days in Japan as their fond memories. When they were in Japan, they especially appreciated interaction with their Japanese friends. They enjoyed activities such as trying Japanese food, travelling around and skiing. Many former students said that they wish to contininue to be in touch with Japan and that this kind of gathering is useful to establish network among former students.
After they came back to Myanmar, former students have been playing an important role in their respective professional fields, utilizing the expertise they gained in Japan. Some of them have been contributing to promoting friendship and mutual understanding between the bilateral relations by being active members of MAJA.