Events of the Days of Japan started at the Institute of International Relations, History and Oriental Studies (IIRHOS) on November 17th.
The first event on the agenda was the meeting of the leadership of the Department of Altaic Studies and Sinology with Ota Miki, Senior Specialist in Japanese language of the Japanese Culture Department of the Japan Foundation. Cooperation with the Japan Foundation has been developing successfully since 2011. In addition to active academic exchange programs, educational and methodological support for the educational process, visits by professors of Japanese universities, the Japan Foundation provides grants to teachers for short-term language internships at Japanese universities. In addition, with the assistance of the Japan Foundation, KFU established the Center for Japanese Studies in 2011.
This time, during the official meeting on November 17th, prospects of further cooperation were discussed. In particular, the talks touched on increasing the number of students of the Institute involved in academic exchange programs. Today, about 200 people study Japanese language at KFU. Ms. Ota, on behalf of the Japan Foundation, promised to support the development of new mobility programs and the expansion of existing ones.
At the end of the meeting, Alfiya Alikberova, Head of the Department of Altaic Studies and Sinology, announced that the International Forum of Oriental Languages and Cultures (part of the Year of Japan in Russia) will be held in April 2018, and invited the guest and other representatives of the Japan Foundation to participate in the event. One of the sections of the forum will be devoted to the topical issues of teaching Japanese language in the 21st century. Ms. Ota appreciated the idea of launching such a forum, thanking the Institute staff for the invitation.
Also on Friday, a conference on the methods teaching Japanese language was held. The participants discussed how to modernize the educational process in today's atmosphere of overwhelming information flow. In particular, various technological advancements, including virtual reality, were mentioned. Ideally, a person learning the Japanese language should be immersed in the appropriate language environment 24/7 - this is how the process of training foreigners in Japanese educational centers is built. However, it’s very difficult to reproduce this approach in other countries for obvious reasons. But the result is definitely worth it, and various technological adaptations should contribute to its achievement.
In addition to various applications and gadgets, project activities are used in the educational process in Japanese language centers. So, today a number of students of IIRHOS are working on creating a Japanese-language Google map of Kazan, adding new details every day, preparing a description of the city's attractions in Japanese and developing tourist routes which could interest guests from the Land of the Rising Sun.
Attention was given to various methods of memorizing Japanese characters. Among the most popular are the associative method, or mnemonics, the use of simple couplets helping memorize the shapes of characters, and the gaming method using various applications for gadgets. Each of the methods has its merits and demerits, as well as each of them to a different degree suits one or another student, because the perception of a person is a very individual thing.
In conclusion, returning to the conversation about the development of Japanese studies at KFU, it is worth noting that yesterday the prospects for cooperation with the Japanese Center in Nizhny Novgorod were also talked about. The network of Japanese centers in Russia is engaged in the development of economic cooperation between Russia and Japan and plans to launch free educational courses in Japanese language for volunteers of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The Japan Foundation will support this activity. It is possible that KFU will join this project.
Today, within the framework of the Days of Japan, the 8th Kazan Contest of Performances in Japanese Language was also held.