Monday, March 31, 2014

日本語能力試験に申し込んでみませんか?/Let's go take JLPT!

Hi, everyone!! It’s been a while since my last post. This is Goo-Noo from Tokyo. It's getting pretty warm these days here in Tokyo as spring approaches. Hope everybody is enjoying the season in your country.

As the title tells, today I like to talk about the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT), which we will hold on July 6 and December 7 this year. If you do not know the test, please see the link below. It's a language test that measures your Japanese proficiency.

☆ 日本語能力試験について
About the Japanese Language Proficiency Test →

We hold the test twice a year, and for the next July test, we are going to have the test in 44 prefectures in Japan and 105 cities in 23 countries/ a region. Please see the link to see the detail.

List of overseas test site cities →

If you wonder why taking the JLPT is beneficial to you, I recommend you to read the JLPT bulletin, in which the past takers talk about how the test has influenced their courses and/or careers.

JLPT Bulletin →

The application period for the July test has been now open, so don't forget to submit your application on time! To check which local host institution you should apply to, please see the list of overseas test site cities above.

This year, JLPT turned 30 years old. (I want to do something to celebrate!) So please check your Japanese ability on this 30th anniversary of the JLPT !!

Thank you and have a good spring! !


Sunday, March 16, 2014

エジプトのアニメ・マンガオタク大集合Part Ⅱ~"Egy con"開催~/EGcon: The Biggest Gathering of "Otaku" in Egypt ~Part ll~

カイロからアッサラーム アライクム!
Hello from Cairo!

 201338日、国際交流基金カイロ日本文化センターでは、日本からアニメソング歌手の影山ヒロノブ氏をお招きし、中東初のアニソンコンサート&日本のポップカルチャーを紹介するGrand J-POP Festivalを開催、若者を中心に800名を超える来場者がありました。この日集まった若者たちは、実際にエジプト人コスプレーヤーや、J-POPやアニソンを日本語で熱唱する人々、マンガやイラストを展示するグループを目の当たりにし、日本の文化祭のような手作り感覚あふれるイベントに大変興味を持ち「今度は自分たちでアニメ・マンガイベントをやる!」と立ち上がりました。
On March 8, 2013, the Japan Foundation Cairo Office invited Japanese anime song singer Hironobu Kageyama (his representative work is an opening song of the anime series titled Dragon Ball Z) to Egypt and held the first-ever anime song concert in the Middle East. We held the Grand J-POP Culture Festival on the same day and had more than 800 visitors. Egyptian youth were so impressed by that festival which had a cosplay show, a Japanese song singing contest, an exhibition of manga and illustration of Egyptian manga artists, Manga café, a cosplay rental section, and Origami and Shodo workshops, etc., and they had decided to hold an anime and manga event by themselves.

Anime and manga convention “EGYcon” was first scheduled to be held on August 30, 2013, but just before the event, Egypt got into political instability, especially after Egyptian security forces cleared pro-Morsi camps in Cairo on August 14. Egypt’s interim government declared a state of emergency across the country and imposed a night-time curfew, and thus the “EGYcon” was postponed.
Despite political instability, OTAKU had kept having passion for hosting “EGYcon”, and it finally took place on February 8, 2014 at Sakia Culture Centre in Cairo. There were more than 1500 visitors to the “EGYcon” and I felt full of energy of Egyptian OTAKU at the venue.

I would like to show you around the “EGcon” venue.

エジプト人漫画家志望者たちのグループの作品展示+似顔絵コーナーです。昨年は「Egy manga」というグループのみの参加でしたが、今年は「COMICORE」「Comic life!」というグループも参加しました。マンガ・イラストソフトで作品を描いている若者も多く、イラストのレベルはなかなかのものですが、ストーリ-マンガの制作にはみな苦戦しています。エジプトでは、新聞・雑誌の風刺漫画を描く漫画家や、アメコミスタイルで子ども向けの漫画を描く漫画家、イラストレーターは職業として成り立っていますが、若者たちが目指している“日本スタイルのストーリーマンガ”というものは存在せず、出版社もコミックス=子ども向けという固定概念を持っています。一方、若者たちは、自分たちが愛する日本式のストーリーマンガをアラビア語で描く漫画家になるために切磋琢磨していますが、せっかく作品を仕上げても、それを出版・販売する道が開けていません。それでも若者たちは自分たちでお金を出し合ってマンガ同人誌を制作し、発表・販売しようと奮闘しています。
“MANGA Section”
Here is a section consisting of an Egyptian manga artists’ exhibition and portrait drawings. We had only one manga group “Egy Manga“ last year, but now we had COMICORE& Comic life”, too! They had a high level of manga drawing technique, but had a problem of creating an original story. In Egypt, there are manga artists who contribute caricatures to newspapers or magazines and who draw American comic-like manga for children, but there aren’t a “Japanese-style, story-oriented manga” for adult. Publishers have a stereotype image that manga is only for children. Although Egyptian youth create this kind of Japanese-style, story-oriented manga, there is no way opening up for them to publish it. But they haven’t given up and have worked hard to publish self-funded “DOJINSHI”, with the aim of showing their story-oriented manga to the public.

Egy Manga, a group who published the first-ever Egyptian "DOJINSHI"

 カイロ日本文化センターでは、浴衣や法被、制服などの他にアニメキャラのコスプ衣装を所有していますが、エジプト人の若者と日本の若者の交流グループJen Youthが取り仕切り、EGYcon来場者がコスプレ体験できるコーナーを設けました。
Cosplay Costume Rental Section
The Japan Foundation Cairo Office has YUKATA and HAPPI, Japanese school uniforms, and also some cosplay costumes. The Japan-Egypt youth exchange group Jen Youth hosted this “Cosplay Costume Rental” section, and provided visitors opportunities to enjoy wearing those costumes and taking photos.

Visitors enjoyed reading Japanese manga magazines such as JUMP, Margaret and other anime and fashion magazines at the café.
 “ORIGAMI and SHODO section”
 Staff members and volunteers of the Japan Foundation taught Origami and wrote visitors’ names in Arabian language by Shodo (Japanese calligraphy). It was very glad to see that people with an interest in anime and manga also get interested in Japanese traditional culture through participating in such cultural events.

次はステージパフォーマンス。アレキサンドリアのロックバンドEntity X”がアニソンヒットメドレーを演奏、ボーカルが都合で来られなかったため、インストルメンタルでしたが「ワンピース」や「進撃の巨人」などのアニメソングを演奏し、会場は大盛り上がりでした。漫画やアニメを題材に自分で小話を作り話すアニメスタンドアップコメディではエジプトのオタクたちがオタク・トークを炸裂させていました。 
“Anime song concert”
 Visitors enjoyed various stage performances at Egycon. Rock bands “Entity X” from Alexandrea played anime songs of the popular series such as NARUTO, Attack on Titan. Although it was only an instrumental performance due to the absence of the band’s vocal, visitors got very excited and the concert went very well.
For “Anime Stand-up comedy“, Egyptian Otaku created their original comedies themed on anime and manga and presented them at stage. It was very much like an “OTAKU” performance!

It is an anime song show. With great enthusiasm, participants sang Japanese anime theme songs such as Naruto, Hunter × Hunter, and Pokemon, in Arabic and also in Japanese.

【Egyptian cosplayers】



“Cosplay Show”
 More and more people get interested in COSPLAY in Egypt. We had anime characters of “L” from Death Note, “Ichigo Kurosaki” from Breach, “Sanji” and “Zoro” from One Piece, and these cosplayers gave us the short performances. ”GOKU” from Dragon Ball was showing breakdance! We also had a pretty little “Conan“ girl at the show.

  エジプト人コスプレーヤー集合写真/Egyptian cosplayers taking a group photo

エジプト人忍者登場??エジプト人の武術グループ”Egyptian Taijyutu dojyo”は、日本の古武術道場武神館と交流を持ち、本格的に体術に取り組んでいます。エジプトでは空手、テコンドー、カンフーなどは有名ですが、体術は全く知られていないため、PRの意味もあり、EGYconで迫力溢れる体術を披露しました。 
“Ninjyutsu Performance”
Egyptian Ninjya showed up??
“Egyptian Taijyutu dojyo”, a group of Egyptian practitioners of Japanese martial arts “Taijyutsu”, gave a performance at Egycon!

イベントの模様はROTANA MISR NILE TV(FRENCH),NHKNHKWORLDでも紹介されました。昨年開催した際にはコスプレというものをエジプトのメディアや関係各位に理解してもらうのにとても苦労しましたが、今年はコスプレーヤーと固有名詞としてすんなりと紹介していました。
Local TV channels Rotana Masr and Nile TV (French) and Japanese TV channels NHK and NHKWORLD covered the event. When we had the anime and manga event last year, it was very hard to let Egyptian understand what COSPLAY is. But this year Egyptian media used the term COSPLAY in their news as if it was a widely-known general word.

Rotana Masr の番組で紹介されたEgycon
EGYconwas introduced in a TV program broadcast by Rotana Masr

Egyptian Otaku, who used to enjoy anime and manga at home alone, met many other OTAKU at this Egycon festival and created a new bond among them. And they have already started to plan organizing other anime and manga events together and have brought many project proposals to the Japan Foundation Cairo Office.
 Anime and manga movements have just begun in Egypt and I am looking forward to see its expansion in the future!