On January 6th, the International Student Affairs Section (ISAS) and CISS hosted the annual Japanese New Year's event for NAIST international and Japanese students, and their families. It was held to deepening the understanding of Japanese culture among international students and their families and to stimulate interactions among students across research fields. This year's event consisted of an introduction of a traditional Japanese exercise call "gomutobi", or rubber band jumping, and was followed by "Kakizome", a tradition of bringing in the New Year with calligraphy practice. This year three NAIST staff members, Ms. Matsui, Ms. Yoneda and Ms. Kamimoto, volunteered to lead both parts of the event.
The event opened with Ms. Kamimoto and Ms. Yoneda explaining and demonstrating gomutobi. While the international students were a little hesitant to try this somewhat tricky exercise, four children who attended came forward to try and picked up some of the routines. After this some students gained a little confidence and tried jumping as well. The more difficult the moves, the more students were impressed with the exercise and coordination necessary for gomutobi.
Following this, participants gathered around Ms. Matsui and watched as she wrote some Chinese characters and explained some basics of calligraphy writing. The students were impressed by the skill in which Ms. Matsui drew the characters and watched carefully as she explained different stroke types, etc. While many students were trying calligraphy for the first time and practiced the basics such stroke order, etc., there were also experienced students who took time the work on their form. Also, four children participated and said they enjoyed writing outside of school because they were free to write whatever they wanted. At the end of event, the students were given paper cards to write their masterpieces on and then they stamped their finished works with handmade NAIST stamps. Finally, all participants took a group picture holding their masterpieces. As the event wound down, students talked about their writing skills and showed each other their work.
Around 30 people gathered for this event and both Japanese and international students and some international community children had fun concentrating on their writing skills while enjoying each other's company. Hope this year will be a great one for everyone!