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Student Initiative Research Encouragement Project 2016

We had a poster presentation for the Student Initiative Research Encouragement Project on January 20th at the International Cafe, the School of Human Sciences.


Seven students got the project grants from Osaka University this academic year. Ena’s project was selected one of the best projects. Congratulations!


List of projects

Nami: Robotic Design and Construction Culture: Ethnography in Osaka University’s Miyazaki Robotics Lab


Ena: Social Role of Animal Assisted Education in Japan and their Tasks


Josh, Anna and Taku: Cultural Exchange: Exploring the Process of International Exchange Between Japanese Students and International Students


Rob: Educational in Post Earthquake Nepal: An exploratory Study on How Education Has Been Affected by the Great Gorkha Earthquake


Hanh: Coming to Japan and Working Has Been よかった (Good) for Me. Vietnamese Students as Unrecognized Transnational Migrants in Japan


Clara: Women’s Games in the Japanese Market: A Look at Gender and Contemporary Social Trends Literary Review and Content Analysis of Moshi, Kono Sekai ni Kami  ga Iru to Suru Naraba and Niru Adomirari no Tenbin- Teito Genwaku Kitan





Kinosaki onsen and Amanohashidate

Four students in our program visited Kinosaki-onsen (hot spring) and Amanohashidate with students from Monash university in the Frontier Human Science Program on January 13th and 14th, 2017.



Before going to Kinosaki, we made Soba noodles with a soba master in Izushi.



We used a special knife to cut the noodles.



The Izushi-soba noodles are local special noodles served on small plates. We ate our handmade noodles for lunch.











We stayed at Ryokan (traditional Japanese Inn)  at Kinosaki. Kinosaki is a historical hot spring town and famous for the seven hot springs in the area.












We strolled around the town in yukata (casual kimono) and enjoyed hot springs. It was snowing heavily and very cold, but hot springs warmed us up. 










Next day, we made our way from Kinosaki to Amanohashidate, that is one of the three most scenic views in Japan. It snowed heavily there as well, and we hardly saw a pathway called the bridge in heaven. However we enjoyed playing in the snow.


We gave up visiting a temple at Amanohashidate because of the storm warning for the heavy snow and went back to Osaka.










I hope everyone enjoyed the sights of Japan and experiences of Japanese cultures.


Winter Break

We had a winter break from December 23rd to January 5th, 2016. Some students in our program went home to see their families, some stayed in Japan during the year-end and New Year holidays. Here are reports from the first year grade students who had a good time in Japan during the holidays and Prof.Yamamoto.



Maya from Sweden

My winter break was really nice. I celebrated Christmas Eve in Swedish style with some of my Swedish friends living in Osaka! ! On new year’s day, I went to hatsumoude in Hiraoka (Higashi Osaka), and the other day I and my friend made a trip to Nagoya and なばなの里 to look at the illuminations.


Maya1 Maya2
















Maria from Spain

One of the highlight of my winter break is definitely the 31st. Refusing to spend this day at the dorms, my friend and I decided to go outside and experience this day together. For both of us, it was the first time we were spending New Years Eve in Japan.


With the help of Google, we came up with a plan. First, we would take a walk in Umeda to breath in the environment of the day and then head off to a temple that I had found on the Internet: the Kita-mido temple. Because we wanted to be as traditional as possible, we searched for restaurants in Umeda in hopes of satisfying our hunger with soba. A small restaurant in Umeda Station proved to be good enough for our expectations.












Kita-mido temple was easy to go to and we definitely did not regret going there. We waited until 10pm approximately to enter the temple. We were expecting some musical performances outside the temple but we were ushered inside the temple instead, where we were told to sit and wait for the religious ceremony to begin. Once that was finished, we were asked to go outside so that we could ring the temple’s bell. As we waited in a cue to ring it, the countdown began. I had brought 24 grapes for my friend and I so that we could celebrate the countdown as I always did back at home in Spain: eating 12 grapes, one grape for each chime till midnight.  

After eating the grapes and ringing the bell, I thought the year could not start in a better way. But I was proved wrong: we were offered free soba. We warmed our hands as we devoured soba for the second time that day in the cold night. It was a fantastic way to start the 2017.



















I stayed in the dorms and around the neighbourhood for the rest of the break except the day of my birthday, the 5th of January. I spent the day with some of the fellow G30 students in Kobe, a city that has become one of my favourite places in Japan. It was hard to feel homesick while having such a blast in good company. Eating Kobe meat definitely lifted my spirits as I celebrated this day away from everything that till this year, was familiar to me.


This year was a year of first times, of discovery and change. And as I ended it with new experiences, I was happy.



Lily from Malaysia

Winter break was fun, as I experienced hatsumode at a Buddhist temple for the first time with Maria. I also went to Tokyo for a few days to visit my sister. Other than that, I spent most of my time in the dorm. All in all though, it was an enjoyable winter break. 



Shirley from China

I spent a great winter holiday with my friends and my host family. Ms Terada(my host family) invited me to spend the first day of new year with her family and cooked a delicious lunch.












Prof.Yamamoto, the Director of our program

I spent the festive season in Pasadena in California with my family. We had a number of special events including participating in a fun run at Long Beach on New Year’s Eve and attending the Rose Parade on January 2nd. However, the most special part of the holiday was Christmas Day, which was spent with family cooking a vegetarian feast, opening presents, Skyping family far away and playing games. We spent a couple of hours playing tennis in the beautiful beautiful sunshine, with clear blue skies and the mountains in the background.





Hiroshima and Miyajima trip

Now we are accepting 17 students from Monash University, Australia on the Frontier Human Sciences Program. They visited Hiroshima and Miyajima in early December along with our professors and our students. Here is a trip report by Varun in our program

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Seventeen Australian students from Monash University on the Frontier Human Sciences Programme went to Hiroshima and Miyajima on a cultural exchange trip that provided these students insight into Japan. The exchange was organized by the Frontier programme’s coordinators Varun Khanna, Rob Kuipers and Dao Vu Hoang Anh along with the supervisors Christie Lam and Viktoriya Kim. 
The group went to the island of Miyajima on the bullet train and a ferry and stayed at a traditional Japanese hotel (ryokan). Miyajima is famous for its giant torii gate, which at high tide seems to float on the water, offering beautiful views. They went on the ropeway to see the panoramic view of the sea and islands. The day ended with a traditional Japanese dinner. 
Next day, the group went to Hiroshima’s Peace Park where they were able to meet and listen to Keiko Ogura herself, who is an eighty-year-old world-famous advocate of peace and a critical of the global nuclear race. Keiko was just eight when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, she survived and she has dedicated her life to tell the story of the aftermath of Hiroshima so that it does not happen again. She now serves as the Director of Human Interpreters for Peace. 
They also contributed an event celebrating the 20th anniversary of the atomic dome being named a world heritage site by participating in the formation of a symbolic “20” in a park. The photo was widely circulated on local news channels; Varun and Viktoriya from the group were interviewed by the media. 
Of course, some of them didn’t miss the chance to eat Hiroshima okonomiyaki! 
hiroshima2 hiroshima3 hiroshima4 hiroshima5 hiroshima6 miyajima2 miyajima3


Academic breaks

We have two breaks during the academic year, the summer break and the spring break. The summer break starts in early August and is about 8 weeks in length. The spring beak  starts in early February and is also about 8 weeks in length. Some students go off traveling, some students get work experiences, internships and volunteer.


Asami spent her summer break productively this year as follows.


  1. She visited Manila, Philippines and Ho Chi Min, Vietnam from August 8 to 15 because her plan was

adopted by the Foundation for the Future Fund for Global Engagement, Osaka University.












2. She joined the Japan-the Netherlands Students Conference.










3. She is a member of the Global Terakoya, which is a study group to discuss global issues with Prof.Yabunaka who was the Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs. She took part in the summer camp of the group at a temple in Kyoto.











4. She participated the Japan, China and ROK Trilateral Youth Summit held in Tokyo and Kanazawa, Ishikawa from August 22 to 26.












5. She joined the German-Japanese Youth Summit called Hello Japan 2016 by the JG-Youth (Japanisch-Deutsches Jugendnetzwerk) from August 28 to September 4. They studied on environmental  problems, political issues and so on and made presentations.













6. She went to New Delhi, India for volunteer activities by the Japan Foundation. She got opportunities to meet people who were studying Japanese in New Delhi, a women who was involved in the partition of India, the vice chief of the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the Staff of the UNHCR.











Now she is working as a member of the International Development Youth Forum 2017 held in Tokyo from March 12 to 19, 2017 on top of her study at Osaka University. Here is a quote from the Forum.

 – Our mission is “Design Our Future”, which aims at creating a better future with people from both developed and developing countries together. People have different views about development depending on where they were born and raised up. We hope this conference contributes in establishing a mutual understanding and recognize development as a common challenge.