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Message from the President

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Dear Friends,
More than one year has passed since I took up the post of President of the Meguro UNESCO Association. Ms. Reiko Kato, my predecessor, and Ms. Isako Kato, her mother, made a great contribution to develop the Association in the Meguro City for the last half century. It was therefore a big honour for me to succeed them.
The Association is carrying out a lot of activities in various fields such as Japanese language courses, artistic performances, humanitarian events, and so on. Among others we have given a priority to help those who have suffered from a huge earthquake and tsunami in the northern part of Honshu, Japan, which took place in March 2011. For example, we have dispatched thousands of notebooks and stationery to pupils of schools in Kesennuma City, Miyagi Prefecture. Also, several fund-raising activities have been organized at Nakameguro Station on the Tokyu Line. Monies given by hundreds of passengers were deposited to the Japan Red Cross and the National Federation of UNESCO Associations in Japan.
One of the most important objectives of the Association is to strengthen friendship, mutual cooperation and understanding among people who live in the Meguro City. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us if you need any help. Every member of the Association is at your disposal. Furthermore, we shall be very happy if you could come and join us to carry out various activities together. Have a nice stay in Meguro as well as in Japan!

Noriaki Sagara
President,
Meguro UNESCO Association

Photo Gallery

Meguro UNESCO Exchange SALON - Introduction to Japanese Culture
"Enjoy Green Tea in Kimono"
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Thu 21 June 2012 12:00 ~ 15:00
Place: Dendo Fureai-kan
Participants: 44
(including 21 friendship members)

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Each friendship member, with the help of some staff members, put on their favourite one choosing from some thirty kimonos that volunteers had

Meguro UNESCO Lecture Series "Culture of Bulgaria"

Thu 26 January 2012 14:00? / Midorigaoka Bunka Kaikan
Lecturer: Mr Petar Nikolaev, Culture, Education and Press Attaché, Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria
Attendees: about 140
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At first, I was surprised to hear the fluent and polite Japanese by the young Mr Nikoraev.

I sensed not only his language skills, but also the high quality of the Japanese language education at the Sofia University in Bulgaria.

Summary: Bulgaria is located at the eastern part of the Balkan Peninsula. It is a country with an old history, surrounded by the Black Sea in the east and Turkey, Romania, Macedonia, Serbia and Greece. Since ancient times, it has undergone a period of many hardships of ethnic invasion from the neighborhood, such as conquests by the Byzantine Empire and the Ottoman Turks' rule for 500 years during 14?19 century. Despite those hardships, Bulgaria held onto their own culture, and today, there are nine UNESCO World Heritage sites, such as Boyana Church, with its famous icon; Rila Monastery, built in the deep mountains to offer protection from invaders; and the Ancient City of Nessebar. Also it is a cultured nation, rich in nature, which holds 330 museums and 160 monasteries nationwide.

There are four seasons, the same as Japan, but with low humidity, cool summers and not too cold in winter. The Black Sea coast becomes crowded with summer holiday makers and the autumn leaves change colour to gold, in what is known as the "golden autumn".

When you hear 'Bulgaria', what sort of things come to mind: Yogurt? Roses? The sumo wrestler Kotooshu? Yogurt lactic acid is distinctive and can be made only in Bulgaria, which is sent to Japan by air and is processed in Japan.

Roses are small and are not suitable for ornamental purposes, but have a good smell. Rose essence is very valuable and said to be as valuable as gold, since 120 kg of petals makes only 30 ml of essence. Many tourists visit the annual rose festival.

Many questions were raised by the audience in the question time, and we learned a wide range of knowledge about Bulgaria; education, tourism, industry, climate, low birthrate, wine, etc. The talk dispelled the impression that Bulgaria was an agricultural country, to one which was not well known for its glamorous, famous tourist spots and industry. It was an occasion to make me wish to visit such a charming country.

-written by Yoshio Shimizu and translated by Hideko Sato Cochrane

Study Tour in Cambodia for High School Students

26 Mar ~ 2 Apr 2012
Participants: 9 (incl. 3 educators and 4 students)

I've been participating in activities of Meguro UNESCO Association for almost two years, and joining the study tour in Cambodia was one of the main reasons I became a member. When I was at primary school it became my dream to help developing countries after I read Mother Teresa's biography, but I never actually had a chance of visiting those countries. When I heard, by chance, about the Study Tour in Cambodia, I applied for it with a strong desire to take a look at the current situation of developing nations, and was luckily selected as a tour member. However, the tour last March was cancelled due to the Great East Japan Earthquake, since the tour participants were from various regions in Japan. When I heard that it was cancelled, I had feelings of regret but accepted there was no choice.

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After paying close attention to Cambodia and Japan's devastated area for a year, this March I finally had another chance to join the tour. Because our tour had been postponed, I had a year to learn about Cambodia more deeply, and also open my eyes to take another good look at Japan, my home country, facing difficulties due to the earthquake disaster. This Study Tour was preceded by two days of training in Japan, followed by the main programmes, such as visiting Terakoya Community Learning Centres, a world heritage site, the Cambodian Mine Action Centre, the Killing Fields, the Old Market in Siem Reap, and cruising the Tonle Sap Lake. Consequently, we could learn about Cambodia from various angles through UNESCO activities, seeing the arena of the Cambodian Civil War as well as having interaction with local friends. This Study Tour had a deep impact on me and will surely be a turning point in my life.

written by Sayaka Hamana, Youth Member, and translated by Sumiko Hattori

Meguro City International Exchange Forum "Getting to Know Noh"

  • Thu 8 March 2012 12:00 ~ / Attendees: 41 (21 other nationals)
  • Lecturers: Mr. Yoshinobu KANZE, Mr. Yaemon YAMASHINA, Mr. Shigehiko FUJINAMI
  • Commentary and Interpretation by Mr. Akihiko ISHIHARA

Noh gives an impression that it is rather difficult to get into, even for Japanese people. Since this was the first time for us to have the chance to learn how to experience and appreciate Noh, the programme was well received. Gathering at the Hagi- no-ma in Meguro City Office, we introduced ourselves and had lunch together. After this time to get to know each other we went on to the Kanze Noh Theatre in Shibuya.

There were three performers on the stage and showed us Shimai (a Noh dance performance in plain costume) after explaining some basic points for better understanding. The programme was a scene from Yuya- dance of a young girl named Yuya, who was connected with the Heike clan, under a cherry tree in Kiyomizu Temple and a scene from Kurama Tengu- Tengu (a long-nosed goblin) teaching Ushiwakamaru (childhood name of Yoshitsune, a general of the Genji clan) military arts. We were totally enchanted by the elegant and heroic dances. Following the performances, Mr. Yamashina explained Noh masks and costumes and led us all in practicing a Utai (Noh chant) from a text of Oimatsu (Old Pine Tree).

Next, we went up to a practice room on the second floor and changing to white socks, we went up on a stage and practiced Noh walk without lifting our heels. They even let us do Noh walk with a mask. It was a great experience for all of us and hard to express how much we enjoyed in words. At the end we had a picture taken and the event finished with great satisfaction.

We would like to express hearty thanks to the people of Kanze Noh Theatre and Mr. Ishihara, who translated such professional terms of Noh and helped our understanding. Also, we thank the staff of Japanese language class for helping many friendship members and everyone who made the day very successful.

written by Jinichiro Eto and translated by Nobuko Matsushita
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Je pense parler au nom de tous en disant que pouvoir découvrir le monde du Nô a été un grand honneur. Pour ma part, j'ai été enchantée par l'accueil que nous avons reçu et la gentillesse des personnes qui nous ont fait partager cette partie de la culture japonaise. J'ai beaucoup apprécié le fait d'expérimenter en personne la marche spécifique du Nô ainsi que le fait d'essayer un masque. Alors un grand merci aux personnes du théâtre, ainsi qu'à l'Association Unesco de Meguro et aux gens qui en font partie. Sans vous, je n'aurais pas eu ces souvenirs qui resteront avec moi, même quand je serai de retour en France. Le 8 mars 2012 a été un vrai bonheur.

- written by Ms. Magali Wasiak from France

Last week's workshop at the Kanze Noh Theatre was a rare privilege indeed! Feeling the cedar floorboards under our feet, trying out the unique, stylised walk, and wearing the beautiful masks... it was like entering another world. We are deeply grateful to the Artists who so generously performed, lectured and instructed us in their Art. And of course to all at UNESCO for giving us this precious opportunity.

- written by Ms. Tania Coke from UK
MEGURO UNESCO ASSOCIATION
[Address]153-0053
2-24-3 Gohongi Meguro-ku, Tokyo
[Tel]03-5725-6150
[FAX]03-5725-6160
[Office hours]13:00〜16:00
(Mon through Fri)
[Excluding]Sat・Sun・Holiday
[Email] meguro@unesco.or.jp