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What’s Up in Japan?

Second event held in the 2017 Japanese Culture Series

By Jaylene Laturnas

The second event in our Japanese Culture Series, “What’s Up in Japan?” took place on March 3, 2017, and featured presentations by visiting students from Senshu University and Hokkaido University of Education. Each student selected an area of Japanese culture that personally interests them, which they shared with the University of Calgary and Hokkaido University of Education students in attendance.

First to speak was Saki Kaneta from Hokkaido University of Education. The title of her presentation was “Club Activity,” which focused on the importance of extracurricular activities in Japan. Clubs are a fundamental part of Japanese school life and have many benefits, from pursuing individual interests to making new friends. Outside of regular club hours, members take part in group bonding activities and local festivals, such as Hakodate Port Festival, building a sense of solidarity with one another and the community.

Next, Na Hyungjung, a Korean student studying at Senshu University, introduced us to what interests her the most about Japan in her presentation titled “Vending Machines in Japan.” Convenient and available 24/7, vending machines in Japan offer many products and services. From vending machines that use facial recognition technology to suggest drinks to customers, to vending machines that dispense hot food and drinks, there is a vending machine for everything!

Third to present was Shoko Matsushita from Senshu University, discussing the different modes of transportation in Japan with “Transportation Facilities in Japan.” To anyone visiting Tokyo for the first time, the subway and train system, with over 70 different lines, can be quite intimidating. However, with an IC card and smartphone transit application in hand, you can travel with ease... With the exception of rush hour, when the trains become crowded with people.

Lastly, Saya Nagano of Senshu University introduced us to her hometown with a presentation titled “I Love Kochi.” Kochi is located on the island of Shikoku and is abundant with beautiful scenery, rich history, colourful culture, and delicious food. Kochi is the home of Anpanman, a famous cartoon character in Japan, and is nicknamed the “cartoon kingdom of Japan.” It also hosts a number of celebrations throughout the year including the Dorome and Yosakoi festivals.


Following each presentation was a brief Q&A period in which students asked the speaker about their particular topic. Saki, Na, Shoko and Saya all did an excellent job in preparing their presentations and we thank them for helping enrich everyone’s understanding of Japanese culture.


This second event in the Japanese Culture Series of 2017 was organized by School of Languages, Linguistics, Literatures and Cultures, University of Calgary.


The next event will be on Monday, March 20th from 5:15 pm to 6:45 pm at SA 247. The event is titled “Japanese Tea and Sweets” and presented by Kodama Sensei. This event also requires registration, so please do so by emailing We hope to see you there!