How was your summer? Are you ready for the new term?
I wanted to write today about my research activities during a recent overseas trip to Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan from September 5 to September 16. I had two main purposes in organizing this trip.
First, I had arranged to do a three-day teacher-training seminar with Roger at Bishkek Humanities University in the Kyrgyz Republic from September 8 ? 10. These activities were part of our ongoing work with Teachers Helping Teachers, a group of volunteer language educators based in Japan.
Second, I wanted to lay the groundwork for several research projects that I plan do with CUBE students, including investigations of economic conditions and activities in various countries and the gathering of digital oral histories.
Here is a short overview of my (our) trip:
First, we flew from Osaka to Tashkent, Uzbekistan via Seoul, Korea. We stayed two nights in Tashkent and met with a colleague who is living and working there now. We also met a young Uzbeki gentleman who had been studying in Japan on a scholarship and who was at Pecha Kucha Night in June. Strangely, we arrived on a weekend and the downtown area was like a ghost town. We only got to see the city in full swing on our last day before we flew to Kyrgyzstan.
After a bit of trouble at the Tashkent airport, an one-hour flight took us to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. It was a bit strange to see all the U.S. war planes parked at the Bishkek airport, and we were stopped on our way into town by a shepherd and his flock of sheep crossing the road. This was an interesting way to start our visit.
The teacher-training seminar lasted three days and about 50 people attended. Most were language teachers from different departments (Japanese, English, Korean) at Bishkek Humanities University. Interestingly, the teachers from the different departments didn’t have much contact before, but became much closer while attending our seminar.
Our schedule was pretty busy with lectures, workshops and classroom visits, but we got to see a bit of the town with our student guides. The last night we enjoyed a farewell dinner with a group of teachers at a Japanese restaurant called Watari. ?The second party was with the head of the Japanese department and the school Rector. This party was in a yurt decorated for special occasions, and of course we had to drink vodka with our hosts.
After the seminar finished and Roger returned to Japan, I set out on my own to explore a bit and do some research. I spent a lot of time talking with people about their jobs, families and daily life. I recorded some of these interviews and will use them in my Active Listening class this term. Most interesting for me were my visits to the bazaars, where you can find all kinds of fruits, vegetables, spices, etc. I also visited an animal bazaar where they were selling cows, sheep, goats and horses.
This was my first visit to Central Asia but it definitely won’t be my last.
Oh, yes! A student from Bishkek Humanities University will be studying in Kyoto from October and I have invited her to CUBE. Please make her feel welcome and show her why CUBE is so special.
I have lots more pictures from my trip so please stop me some time and ask to see them.
Talk to you soon,