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Language bridge to Nippon culture lesson

The Japanese Language Academy held its convocation ceremony on a recent Sunday at the AE Block community hall. Akiko Kubota, vice-consul of the Japanese consulate-general, distributed the certificates among students of the language.

“Japanese is not an easy language to learn. The process can take more than a year. And if one wants to be proficient, one needs to spend at least four years,” said Kubota. But she encouraged people to learn the language. “Careers as interpreters and translators can be rewarding. Japan is also emerging as a favoured destination for higher education,” she said. Abhijeet Mukherjee, a teacher of engineering at Jadavpur University and an executive committee member of the academy, translated Kubota’s words from Japanese.

Seven of the academy’s students figure in the east zone top 30 in the Japanese Language Proficiency Test conducted by Japan Foundation, with Sabyasachi Mukherjee topping the list.

Some of the students who had visited Japan through the Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths programme shared their experiences. “Japan is a beautiful country. On reaching there, I realised that despite being technologically advanced, they care a lot about the environment. I saw rich businessmen riding bicycles and the air was almost population-free. One would love to stay in such a land,” said Radhika Gooptu, a post-graduation student of animation who aspires for a career in Japan.

Sonali Roy, assistant professor of history at Jogesh Chandra Chaudhuri College and a final year student of the academy, said: “Our group was taken to see the famous Toyota car factory, and we were taken through the entire production process of the car. The most amazing part was how robots that can speak and dance are used to entertain kids and also help elderly people,” she added. The two students also presented Japanese songs.

Director of the academy Kumkum Nandy pointed to the civility inherent in the Japanese tongue. “Almost every sentence starts with a please and ends with a thank you,” she said.

The post-presentation discussion also included the arts, music, literature, cuisine and the super-fast trains of Japan.

Sourendra Kumar Das