Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST)

Travel the World through Books Special Festival at ISTA Habataki (June 4th 2023)

August 03, 2023

 NAIST students and staff participated in the "Travel the World through Books Special Festival, an event organized by the Ikoma City Children's Book Club, at the north branch of the Ikoma City Library in ISTA Habataki. CISS was contacted by the Ikoma City Children's Book Club with a request for volunteers from our international community to introduce their languages and culture through picture books from around the world. From NAIST, Kok Sim Chan, Aruturo Martinez Peguero, Katja Frischholz and Justin Engel participated as representatives of their respective countries (Malaysia, Mexico, Germany and the United States) throughout the event, and Robert King, UEA Chief, Center for international Students and Scholars (Division for Global Education), acted as an MC and translator for the event as well.

 The event opened with greetings from Ms. Fukuko Hirai of the Ikoma City Children's Book Club and this was followed by the participants being introduced by the flags of their countries. They came onto the stage and introduced greetings in their mother tongue. Mr. King was then introduced as a representative of NAIST and co-MC and greeted the audience. With everyone on stage, a book club volunteer read the picture book "Everywhere the Cow Says Moo!" (written by Ellen Slusky Weinstein) and Mr. King then asked the participants about how different animals' sounds are expressed in the participants' languages and compared the sounds having everyone sound of in a row. Some of the animal sounds were very similar and some were quite different, but the children in the audience had fun trying to remember all the sounds.

 The next book read was "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" (written by Eric Carle), which is a very popular picture book in Japan that introduces many different kinds of food. The participants had submitted slides of a food they would like to introduce and these were shown to the audience, with them guessing where the foods were from. Each NAIST student then explained their food, which included some famous and not so famous dishes.

 Heading into the second half of the event, Ikoma Mayor Masashi Komurasaki, who was attending the event, greeted the audience and the participants. The last book picked up for the event was "Gloves", a Ukrainian folklore book, and this was read in Japanese by a volunteer and in Ukrainian by a Ukrainian student studying at Osaka University. Following this, Ms. Yasuko Doi, an executive director of the International Institute of Children's Literature, Osaka and specialist in children's books, introduced books from around the globe.

 The event closed with everyone singing the Japanese version of "Around the World" together. This event was a great opportunity for children and learn about other cultures and discover new books from around the globe. NAIST students were able to enjoy their time on stage and felt that the event was a huge success.