My name is Shimpei Ishii. It has been one month since I became the Acting Director of JFLA after our former Director Hideki Hara returned to Japan. The situation has been one of total turbulence.
During the past few weeks, I have been asking myself ‘what on earth can we and I do now, being quarantined in my small apartment?’ and ‘how essential could our business be in this time of emergency?’, just like many of you might be doing as well. As the first step to answer the former question, we started live-streaming programs such as yoga, meditation and music concerts. This has just begun, and the first trials have gone very well so far thanks to the wonderful instructors, artists, and most importantly, viewers. We will keep doing these kinds of online projects more and more, so please stay tuned. As for the latter question, nothing but your voices are the answer. I appreciate the many of you who have kept contacting us even in this time of hardship to show your desire for Japanese language, arts and people. Although JFLA is neither able to fight in the medical frontline, nor has it been named an ‘essential business’, you, friends of JFLA, keep telling us that the joy of learning about and experiencing other cultures and languages is now even more crucial for our lives than ever. Some language teachers, artists and scholars have already shown speed and creativity in sharing positive messages through videos and other mediums online. We aim to follow their example and provide similarly positive and diverse content with you all.
We’re all in this together. And at the same time, we are all different in this. Although every one of us is being affected by the same virus, the circumstances of the fight we are in differ depending on each of our own situations (Well, I read Lady Gaga said this in an interview). We would like to hear your story, ideas and thoughts so much to bridge these gaps and connect despite the differences. Please shout out anything anytime. JFLA is always here to listen to you.