Although Japanese is spoken almost exclusively in Japan, it has been more or less spoken in different countries. After the opening of Japan School in Doha, the Japanese embassy and its cultural wing has been planning a number of events to promote the language and culture.
Embassy’s Cultural attaché, Kimura Masashi spoke on culture and Language of Japan with the Peninsula.
How do you create acceptance of Japan’s Language and Culture?
Kimura: I think the Embassy of Japan in Qatar is smaller than those in other countries. Japanese language education has started since 2006 at Language Teaching Institute and Al Bayan Education Complex for Girls. I think it’s difficult to motivate Qatari people to study Japanese language because it is not necessary for their life and job. So we should promote it through our culture from traditional one to modern one. Especially, young people in Qatar have great interest in Japanese Anime, J-Pop and Drama. I hope these kinds of our cultures will give them a motive to study Japanese more.
We have introduced not only traditional cultures like tea ceremony, Kimono exhibition, Kimono Fashion show, Ikebana (flower arrangement) demonstration but also modern culture like digital anime production demonstration, photo exhibition of modern artists, Japanese movies etc..
To let people know more about Japan and feel real Japan, we will do our best to introduce many kinds of our rich cultures.
What are some general cultural traits of people in Japan?
Kimura: I think, we Japanese always respect our traditional culture which goes back to old period, while accepting new modern culture. Both cultures are well-mixed in Japan. New trend comes one after another, but it doesn’t vanish old cultures. It is very nice to see that they co-exist without any problem in Japan.
How does Japan wants to sustain and promote its Culture in Places like Doha?
Kimura: As I said, we are trying our best to introduce our rich culture through cooperating with Japanese Society in Qatar and other organisations. Since the Japan School of Doha opened recently, we are planning to cooperate with the school to start many events.
What is the Importance of the Japan school of Doha to its Cultural advancement?
Kimura: I think it’s very important to know other culture from childhood. As the Japanese students studying in the Japan School of Doha can learn about Qatari culture, I hope this school will be a place for Japanese students and young people to interact with Qatari and other nationals through many events. In order to promote these interactions, we would like to cooperate with the school more.
How is the current living conditions in Japan?
Kimura: It depends on the area you visit. Each and every districts (prefecture) has its own colour. Everyone says Japan is expensive, but we all think it’s not. I think the living expenses are almost same as in Qatar or sometimes less expensive than Doha.
I recommend you to visit Kyoto or Nara or other cities which have many traditional aspects. You can feel different kinds of nature in four seasons.
About the next activities of the embassy in the coming months?
Kimura: We are going to organise a Japanese Speech Contest for those who are studying Japanese language in Qatar. The number of participants might be small, but I hope this event will promote the Japanese language education in Qatar and increase the number of people who are interested in learning our language.
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