Hello everyone. Did you read my last article on “Ohinasama” (Dolls’ Day)? This time, I would like to introduce “Children’s Day,” which falls on the last day of the Golden Week in May. What do you think of when you hear the word “Children’s Day”? Let’s take a look at what kind of event it is, focusing on its origin.
What is Children’s Day?
Children’s Day was originally called “Tango-no-Sekku,” an ancient event that has continued since the Nara period (710-794). The word “Tango” means the first horse day of the month and was not limited to the month of May. As mentioned in the article “Setsubun” on Japanese culture, it was believed in Japan that illness and misfortune were likely to occur at the change of seasons. Therefore, on “Tango-no-hi,” the day of the changing of the seasons, events were held to avoid illness and misfortune. On this day, there were customs of stacking yomogi herbs, bathing orchids, and drinking sake soaked in the iris, which was considered to ward off bad luck. In the Nara period (710-794), the imperial family and their subjects believed that these plants were thought to ward off illness and evil spirits. In addition to this, they used to perform yabusame (horseback archery, a ritual in which the archer shoots a bow while riding a horse) to exterminate bad demons that were believed to bring misfortune.
It is said that it was not until the Edo period (1603-1867) that people began to celebrate the coming of age of boys by decorating carp streamers and “Gogatsu Ningyo (warrior dolls),” as they do today. In the Heian period (794-1185), children played stone fighting with paper helmets decorated with irises. Later, during the Muromachi period (1336-1573), “blow torrents” were erected by attaching a cloth to bamboo poles in the samurai society. These things are considered to be the prototype of today’s “Tango-no Sekku,” but most of them are inherited from the Edo period when the development of doll art and “carp streamers” were started by the merchant class to wish for the healthy growth of their children. The ancient court customs of stacking yomogi herbs, bathing in orchids, and drinking sake soaked in irises to ward off bad luck gradually fell into disuse with the advent of the Kamakura period (samurai society), and thus the style of “Tango-no Sekku” has changed from that of today. Even though the custom changed with the arrival of the male-dominated samurai society, decorating iris leaves was still associated with “Shobu” (to take up arms), and it seems to have changed into an event to celebrate the growth of boys. During the Edo period (1603-1867), May 5 became an important holiday for the Tokugawa shogunate and was dedicated to celebrating the shogun. When a boy was born to the Shogun, a horse marker or banner was erected at the entrance of the Omote Palace of the castle to celebrate.
Generally, two major things are done at Dragon Boat Festival. First, carp streamers and Gogatsu dolls are decorated. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, these have been done since the Edo period (1603-1868).
Do you know what to do on “Tango-no Sekku,” a part of “Japanese culture”? Here, we would like to introduce how TIU students spend Tango-no Sekku.
Student A: “We eat Kashiwa Mochi (rice cake with sweet red bean paste) and decorate the Kabuto (Japanese warrior’s helmet) at home.”
Student B: “We go to my grandmother’s house and have a family BBQ.
Student C: “I will play with my family at the park because children should play outside energetically”
Student D: “I will take an iris bath to warm myself.
Thank you for reading this far, it seems that TIU students spend more time together with their families than decorating Kabuto and Koinobori (carp streamers). What kind of Children’s Day or “Tango no Sekku” do you spend time on? Have a good time!
Have you ever heard about how many people end up with hay fever? According to a TV program, each person has an empty container-like structure inside their body, and you accumulate substances that can cause hay fever into it. When the container is full, you get hay fever. This means that every person has the potential to get hay fever. However, according to my research, it was not technically a container. You accumulate antibodies created within your own body in reaction to the pollen that gradually accumulates in your body through your eyes and nose. Once the amount of antibodies reach a certain level, a chemical substance causing an allergic reaction is secreted and hay fever symptoms appear.
I, the writer of this article, have eventually come to the final phase of having a pollen allergy. I define the final phase as when your eyes feel a bit achy and you sneeze sometimes. Once this state gets worse, then you will have hay fever. (Some people who are in this final phase do not realize that they are at risk of getting hay fever and I used to be one of them too! I have not got hay fever yet.)
Now you might say that you do not want to have hay fever! Worry not, as I have researched some tips to prevent hay fever.
It is important to maintain a healthy immune system by getting a night of good sleep and having a good diet. This is also what you have to typically do in order to prevent catching a cold.
It might be a little hassle for students living by themselves to prepare their meals considering a balance of nutrition every day because it takes lots of time. One TV program featured a student from Tokyo University who does not have normal meals, but nutrition supplements only in order not to waste his time. I do not personally recommend this. However, taking supplements with meals might be a good idea for hectic students.
２ Maintaining a normal mucous membrane
Inflammation in the mucous membrane can trigger and aggravate your hay fever. Here is the bad news for heavy smokers and alcoholics. Smoking and drinking can damage your mucous membrane. If you are at risk of getting hay fever, it is best that you refrain from smoking and drinking alcohol.
３Avoid absorbing pollen
As I mentioned in the introduction, accumulation of pollen causes hay fever. Therefore, the best prevention must be avoiding the absorption of pollen into your body in the first place. So it is important to wear a mask at all times. Shutting windows and doors properly, and wiping off your clothing before entering the house will help a lot as well. I guess because of this covid-19 situation, the occurrence of hay fever might be reduced greatly since we wear masks and even stay at home.
If you think you might be at risk of getting hay fever, I recommend you get medical treatment as soon as possible. That can help you to hinder the progress of aggravation. It is always better to take action to prevent symptoms at an early stage before you actually get hay fever. I hope this information helps you.
Writer: Karen W. Editor: Theo F. Translator: Theo F.
Hi everyone! How is the start of the semester going? Through today’s article, we will be briefly recapping last year’s 3 language exchange workshops for a better understanding of Campus Globalization’s activities. Despite hardships, we were able to hold these small workshops. From the next paragraph, I hope you can see what to expect from future workshops.
Trick or Treat ~Halloween~
The first workshop was held on Halloween in October. Both E-Track and J-Track, dressed in spooky costumes, got together and compared language differences. Games such as quizzes and drawing monsters were held, where everyone shared their own culture.
Students were then divided into groups and combined their individualities into creating original horror stories. Through these activities, we were not only able to compare cultural differences, but also find common points between cultures.
Making a Habit
The latter half of November was probably stressful for a lot of us, as final exams approached. It was important for us to look back at our daily routines and identify bad habits. This workshop focused on how we can change these bad habits to good ones.
It was interesting how the number of participants meant that there were as many differences in daily habits. Something could be perceived as a bad habit by some participants, while others could see it as something irreplaceable in their daily routines. Therefore, this language exchange workshop highlighted the differences in thinking and values – it was impossible to decide something as a good habit right off the bat. Through discussions, participants were able to find ways to improve their personal routines for a healthier lifestyle.
Christmas approaches as we step into December. Through this last workshop, participants looked back on how they spent Christmas the previous year as they shared what an ideal Christmas season entails for them. In Japan, it is culturally dominant to spend Christmas with your lover – much to the shock of participants unfamiliar with the Japanese Christmas season.
Next, participants shared their values towards “love”. It was interesting to see how “love” means so differently for different people. We also studied the 5 steps of love languages (https://life-catalog.com/the5lovelanguages): confirmatory language, physical help, presents, quality time, and skinship. Participants shared their views on which of the 5 were more important to them.
Thank you for reading until here, we are also grateful to everyone who spent time with us during these workshops! We will also be hosting language exchange workshops this year, so definitely join us if you are interested! If you have any requests or concerns, do not hesitate to contact us on Instagram: @tiu_sli
A student’s narrative on saxophone, jazz and the young community behind it
Written by Camilla Chandra Lim Edited with an introduction and notes by Theo F.
Perhaps Camilla was rummaging through her old files in an attempt to organise them, as she reached out to me one evening with this article. Written a couple of years ago, Beat by Beat: The Soul of Jazz explores an untouched side of student life here at Tokyo International University.
The piece follows Camilla’s perspective as she visits Mellow Dolphin’s jazz café and her subsequent interview with Maria – who describes her experience then as one of the only few E-track students in the Japanese club. Camilla also provides an overview of jazz as a Japanese subculture.
On the stage, black-clothed musicians stood. After a brief prelude and a glance at the pianist — a gulp, a nod, and a sigh — the center figure closed her eyes and began to sing. It’s a piece everyone knows by heart: Frank Sinatra’s Fly Me to The Moon. Altogether they were there, and they were alone, save for the hushed chatters and muted bass that made the atmosphere unnervingly intimate.
Had you wandered away from the central area of the last International Festival, and into the quieter corner of the campus, you would have witnessed it all. The university’s jazz club, Mellow Dolphin, had converted the dining hall into a jazz café. Dimmed lights, golden brass and all, it was a scene pulled straight from a little-gemmed jazz bar in a tumbledown Tokyo alley.
“In jazz, the stage is yours. You have solo parts, and you can do last-minute improvisations. You don’t conform to what’s already arranged, so it’s very free-form,” says Maria, then a saxophone player for the Mellow Dolphin Jazz Club, in an interview. Upon persuasion from the club members, she settled on the stage for a song. “I guess that’s why I have always loved jazz.”
Growing up with a natural love for jazz, proliferated by Sinatra, Maria sheds light on her disappointment at how fast the community indulges with contemporary validation back in Indonesia. “We have the annual Java Jazz Festival. Strangely enough, the main lineups are not jazz artists or bands, but pop singers. They put the musicians on the smaller stages and gave more spotlight to more popular artists,” she explains. “It’s different in Japan; there are just more who will appreciate the music.”
Upon moving here, Maria reached out to the university’s jazz club and stayed for two years. In the days leading up to the rehearsal, the 10-pound saxophone (tenor, she emphasized) stood a stone’s throw away from her bedroom. Jazz is the belly of Japanese subculture, I thought, as she expands how the band is propelled by talent and justified rounds of nomikai (drink gatherings).
But she spoke about the reluctance to accept international students that still exists in an opaque film within the community. When asked about this, she began to talk about what it was like to navigate her way through the predominantly Japanese club from the ground up.
Was playing the saxophone a challenge at the beginning?
Maria: I played the flute back in high school, so some of the fingering techniques were pretty familiar. That doesn’t necessarily mean I aced it; playing the saxophone and the flute are two completely different things. There were still a lot of things that I didn’t know before I began learning. For example, you don’t blow into a saxophone as you would into a flute. We had no teacher who could teach a noob like me. I was guided by other members for the basic techniques, but I mostly needed to learn by practicing.
What was the practice routine like? Was it as rigorous as how mainstream media portrays it?
It can get intense, especially during weeks before a concert or rehearsal. We could practice every day until late at night. We have short briefings at every start and separate the practice into three sessions: individual practice, section practice, and practice as a whole band. If there’s no particular schedule, we would meet every Tuesday and Thursday from 5 pm to 8 pm.
The Mellow Dolphin Jazz Club is mainly made up of Japanese students. How did you adapt to the community?
I was put in a very awkward and uncomfortable position when I first joined the club. Everyone seemed to know their tasks and position — most of all, everybody had already known everybody. It was hard for me to communicate in Japanese, but it got better with time. When we transitioned to the spring semester afterward, it was easier to organize everything and include me as part of the band. It took some time to warm up — both from me and the Japanese students.
How did you react to the language barrier as a new member?
The first time, it was hard for me to understand Japanese, although not in the way you’d think. It’s less about your necessary Japanese skills and more about how you can understand and interpret Japanese contextually. It’s something that you couldn’t have learned from the textbook. There was this one time where this club member told me he’s not performing for the night by saying, ‘honban ni denai (I’m not going out tonight).’ I couldn’t understand him because I was confused. What did he mean by ‘denai’? Also, if you’re saying you are going to play a song, you say, ‘noru (go up),’ which, if you translate it literally, means ‘to get on.’ It took quite some time for me to comprehend these terminologies.
What was it like to play as a beginner among other musicians?
Back in high school, I was in the orchestra club. No one had taken it seriously, and I didn’t improve on anything. When I joined the jazz club, I was more serious because I genuinely wanted to play the saxophone. You needed the skills and talent to play an instrument, but most of all, you needed the commitment. You’ve signed up for the club, and you can’t just test the waters. Sometimes we play easy songs, and sometimes we play more challenging pieces, and it’s okay if you can’t do part— regardless, you have to practice.
Where does Mellow Dolphin Jazz Club stand in the young community in Japan?
We have joint concerts with other bands. Every year, we would also play for the Kawagoe Big Band Jazz along with other universities. In terms of skill, however, I would consider our band underskilled. Most of us are newcomers and beginners. There’s this big jazz competition called the Yamano Big Band Jazz Competition, and we didn’t sign up because our skills aren’t there yet. We have some great, talented members, but the majority haven’t reached the level where we can compete.
In 1964, 15-year-old student Haruki Murakami got a ticket for The Jazz Messengers and fell in love with the music on site. He would then buy a building in outer district Kokubunji and open a jazz bar, called Peter Cat, with his wife Yoko. From the time Murakami shut the place down (business was slow) to his international success in Norwegian Wood (critics argue he’s just a peddler for global pulp), he had won four literary prizes and found passion in running.
Beyond the eclectic contours of his life, however, Murakami, disciplined and now acclaimed, exemplifies the footprint of other jazz enthusiasts: much like how it drapes the breadth of his books, the music cannot be alienated from their banal routines.
It was humid on that night of August. At her last sentence, silence nestled between us. The echoes of last year’s rehearsal oscillated in its first orbit, and in the feverish months after the worldwide pandemic lockdown, the shock had finally settled. The university announced it would cancel this year’s festival. The first online semester ended. Uncertainties rang among the creative groups and artists like the deafening summer cicadas outside the room: When will we play again? Will there be any shows this year? What will happen to our community from here?
For now, Maria, much like other musicians, must remain satiated with the hope that they will climb on stage again someday. “I’m happy with where I am today,” she solemnly adds. “Things were better before the coronavirus pandemic. By all means, I’m not the best with saxophone, but I genuinely enjoy playing with the band. I just wish we could be back to play again. A solo on the stage—that’s my dream.”
Across the room where we sat and on her desk, her saxophone reed rested and remained untouched in the following months after our conversation.
*The interview has been edited for brevity
Due to the COVID-19 situation, the International Festival got cancelled again last year (2021). However, Mellow Dolphin was able to host a small concert on campus, where Maria stood on stage one last time before having to graduate this summer.
Campus Globalization is grateful to Camilla for providing this write-up.
Camilla graduated from Tokyo International University last month with top grades. You can find her on LinkedIn.
Mellow Dolphin practices on Tuesdays and Wednesdays this semester, and can be found on Instagram: @mdjotiu
Writer: Karen W. Editor: Theo F. Translator: Theo F.
With the winter cold slowly escaping, the advent of spring was welcomed as TIU hosted its graduation ceremony for spring graduates on the 12th of March. Equipped with suits or traditional Japanese clothing, graduates wore pleasant expressions on their faces as they attended the ceremony. In order to record such a fascinating event, I decided to write an article about it.
Although I was not able to attend the ceremony itself, I was able to interview four distinguished graduates: Kotoko and Mika, former CG interns, Kazuki, an ESS junior who was able to graduate early with his extraordinary grades, and Saki, the representative of all graduates.
Pictured left: Kotoko; pictured right: Mika
・Former CG J-Track Senior: Kotoko
Thoughts on the ceremony:
“I joined the ceremony remotely through a classroom. It was great that we had some great speeches from the principal. I was surprised as it was revealed that former Japanese president Abe Shinzo sent us a congratulatory letter, but it was overall an amazing ceremony. One of the graduate representatives was my acquaintance, so I was really proud of them.”
Memorable parts of university life:
“I have a lot, but the most outstanding one definitely has to be the 4 months I spent in Australia for language studies. Through the language school, I was able to practice culture exchange with different people, which helped me realize my problems. It was a great experience.”
Working as a student intern:
I joined Campus Globalization for a year right after COVID-19 started spreading. At first, since I was the only Japanese member I felt a bit discouraged, but thanks to the support from other members, I was able to enjoy myself as I fulfilled my duties as an intern.
Regrets from university life:
“That is a bit embarrassing to talk about here so I’ll just say that I don’t have any in particular. But yeah, I feel like you don’t really have things that you MUST do during your university life, since for most things you can still do them after you graduate.”
Plans after graduation
“I’ll probably travel somewhere.”
・Former CG E-Track Senior: Mika
Thoughts on the ceremony:
“I was late for the ceremony, so I was not able to go to the Grand Auditorium but I was able to watch it in room 112. It was a special experience graduating during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Memorable parts of university life:
“The most memorable moment of my student life was during my stay at TEDxTIU where I met a lot of talented and hard-working people. I was able to interact with people and work together towards a common goal – hosting the first two TEDx events here at TIU.”
Club activities and internships:
“I was part of Peer Assistants where we assisted a lot of international students. I was also part of Campus Globalization where we worked towards making the university more global. I also did an internship at a recruitment firm.”
“I regret doing job-hunting a bit late, only during the last semester of my 4th year. I suggest working on job-hunting as early as during your third year second semester.”
Advice for juniors:
“In order to enjoy university life, join a lot of things but don’t work too hard, be smart about your choices.”
・Former ESS President J-Track Junior: Kazuki
Thoughts on the ceremony:
“It was refreshing.”
Memorable parts of university life:
“I was part of ESS. I was invited by a friend to join and it was a place where I could have conversations with international students. For me, having been able to hang out with people I met through ESS definitely gave me a fulfilling student life.
I was also a student staff member during open campus sessions. Through this internship, I was able to meet a lot of new people and even grab food with them on day offs. I was also able to let prospective students know the charm of TIU as I was also really glad that I came to TIU.”
“I wish I had more fun.”
Something you didn’t regret:
“I had a clear goal throughout my student life.”
Advice for juniors:
“As an undergraduate you are in control of most parts of your life, whether or not you get to live a fulfilling student life is up to you.”
・Former Wind Orchestra President J-Track Senior (Graduates’ Representative): Saki
Balancing academics and extracurricular activities:
“I had sorted my life between academics, club activities, and part-time work. I chose to prioritize academics, but whenever I had a concert I would prioritize practicing at the orchestra. As for part-time work, I only did it during my free time.”
Something you found difficult:
“I was the president of the TIU’s wind orchestra. Due to COVID-19, we were not able to have as many members as we needed. Additionally, it was really difficult to search for ways to improve the quality of our sound as concert dates approached. When my upperclassmen graduated, they did not really give us any clear directions to manage the orchestra, so it was really difficult for us. However, it was a fantastic experience being able to meet new people through this position.”
Something you regret and something you didn’t:
“I immersed myself in academics, club activities, and part-time jobs, so I wasn’t really able to have as much fun as other students probably have had. During my exchange study in the US, I also prioritized volunteer activities over having fun. However, thanks to that my horizons were broadened and I grew a lot as a person.”
Advice for juniors:
“The four years you spend in university pass quicker than you would imagine. To regret doing something is always better than to regret not doing it. Whenever you feel like you want to try something out, don’t be afraid and make that first step forward!”
Once again, congratulations and a great thank you to the four graduates who allowed us to feature them in this article. I hope this article gave you some new insight for your student life. I’m sure that other than the four graduates featured in this article, there must be other graduates with interesting experiences to share. If you have the chance, try using their advice to change your student life by making it a more fulfilling experience!
We are well into the spring break, and after that is graduation time for many fourth-year students. In 2020 classes were offered online for the whole year, and in 2021 the class structure changed into a combination of online/ in-person and on-demand. Compared to previous years, the opportunities to interact with other people, which is one of the best parts of college life, were reduced greatly. Many may wonder, how the students who were enjoying lunchtime with their friends, greeted fellow students when passing by on campus, or approached in every class they took made friends at TIU? Yours truly, who is very reserved and only has a few friends in school, had short interviews with some students who are considered “masters in socializing” and have a lot of friends. To overcome the distance between humans resulting from the pandemic and to have a more fulfilling campus life, let’s take a look at how these students spend their time on TIU campus. Let’s take their strategies as hints to a better college experience!
The first person I would like to introduce to you is Tamaki Hiraide, a third-year student in the Department of International Media Studies, International Relations major. When she walks around campus, she has such a wide network of friends that she often stops by to greet them. She says, “I’ve been able to build friendships since the new semester started. I am open to new opportunities, which allows me to actively challenge myself at any given time.”
When she was a freshman, she joined a cultural club on campus with the hopes of gaining a sense of belonging at TIU. During the club activities, she actively talked to people around her, regardless of whether they were her seniors or juniors, and asked questions about club activities, classes, or private matters as well. TIU has many clubs, such as sports clubs and culture clubs, which allow for students to meet one another and have joyful moments together.
In her second year, Tamaki was not able to participate in club activities as much as she wanted to due to COVID-19. However, in her third year, she participated in the COC Project, a tourism project aiming at reviving the city by planning events and implementing proposed plans. In the past, she knew a lot of senior students, but as the school years passed by and younger students turned into juniors, her acquaintances broadened and she was able to make connections with students of all years.
The second person I would like to introduce is Koki Yanagisawa, a third-year student in the Department of English Communication, Language and Communication major. He is currently a member of TEDxTIU, a club where TIU students gather and organize TEDx events. Koki used to be an intern of the English Plaza team as well.
He says, “I joined a community that interests me and provokes my desire to try different things, rather than just trying to make friends.” Back in the day when he usually drop by the Oregon Café inside the English Plaza, which is now temporarily closed due to COVID, he would ask international students, “What are you drinking? What did you do in class today?” In the beginning, he had a lot of small talk, but with the motivation of “challenging myself to have difficult conversations with international students,” he made great efforts to speak in high-level English at the Oregon Café with English-speaking students. This was an important part of his English learning process. As he engaged in more and more conversation with his peers, he found the people that he likes talking to and became friends with them.
The third and final person we’d like to introduce is Chiemi Magallanesu, a first-year student in the Department of English Communication, Language and Communication major, and a member of ESS. She has a lot of friends, with her attractive qualities such as friendliness, humor, and energy.
In order to learn English, Magallanesu often joins the group of international students at the Student Plaza on TIU campus, even when she has never talked to them before, and has conversations with them. Magayanesu says, “that’s how I expanded my network.” And according to her experience, “Her Instagram QR code is very useful in making new friends!”
Chiemi Magallanesu started using Instagram after entering university, and now she has more than 1,000 followers. She says that she has made many friends through Instagram connections and that she has been able to hang out with many TIU students in person. Whenever she has questions about any of her class, she usually asks anyone in the same class with her or her friends, and uses it as a chance to socialize.
[Conclusion] How to make friends at TIU:
The three students who were interviewed for this article had the following three points in common:
Joined a club or a community
Actively talked to others in their classes, clubs, or groups on campus
Acted on their own initiatives
From this, it is clear that people who have many friends do not just stand still and wait for others to come to them, but rather initiate the interactions and go to places where they can meet people. If you are in a place where there is little interaction or limited socializing opportunities, there will be fewer chances to make friends. There may be several people who can become good friends and have many things in common with you, but you just haven’t met them yet. It might be a good idea to step out of your comfort zone and to reach out to those future friends that you haven’t talked to yet!
Let’s all keep in mind how the aforementioned students have been spending their time at school, take the shot to make friends, and make the most out of your college life.