Saitama JALT and the Junior Bonsai Ambassador Program
Omiya Bonsai Village has a long history of bonsai cultivation. The world renowned spot is an international tourist destination. In 2010 the Omiya Bonsai Art Museum opened there as the world’s only public bonsai art museum. Every year thousands of visitors from abroad make their way to the museum.
As part of Saitama City and the Museum’s ongoing efforts, the museum will hold its first Junior Bonsai Ambassador program event during the summer of 2015.
On Friday, August 21st 2015 at 2:00 pm, a number of young bilinguals will give their first tours of the museum. Saitama JALT members are invited to join this event to give feedback and advice to the young bonsai ambassadors. The event will last for about an hour.
This is the first step in Saitama JALT’s community outreach relationship with the Omiya Bonsai Art Museum and the surrounding Omiya Bonsai Art Museum. If you have any questions please contact the museum representative Brad Semans at firstname.lastname@example.org For more information, please read below:
1. About the JBA Program
The Omiya Bonsai Art Museum, Saitama was first opened in March of 2010. The museum “aims, through its activities, to promote the culture of bonsai -designated as a traditional industry of Saitama City- both locally and internationally.” In order to meet these aims the museum, affectionately referred to as Bonbi (a shortening of Bon from the word bonsai and Bi from the Japanese word for art museum,bijutsukan), engage in three main categories of activities.
The first is the undertaking of research into the art history, craft history and horticultural history of bonsai. The results of these investigations are then linked to the second umbrella of activities, which seek to serve as a sightseeing center for visitors from throughout Japan and abroad. Finally the museum hopes that as it guides visitors through the exhibits and the surrounding Omiya Bonsai Village, that visitors are exposed to ever-profound depths of bonsai culture and that they become students and supporters of that culture.
The Junior Bonsai Ambassador program has been created to meet the goals of the museum in a way that integrates its efforts relating to each of the above. The overall goal of the Junior Bonsai Ambassador program is as follows:
The goal of the Junior Bonsai Ambassador is to develop a group of young people who recognize the awe of and have pride in Japanese bonsai culture, history, and art, with Omiya Bonsai Village at its center, and who can serve as ambassadors of these to all people.
In practice, the program aims to give young people an opportunity to experience bonsai culture, history and art through the museum’s activities, then to develop the ability to introduce that culture to the international community through the common language of English.
2. About Contributors
The Role of a JBA Contributor
As contributors to the Junior Bonsai Ambassador Program, you will play an important role in its success and the success of the candidate ambassadors. Because of the young age of our candidates, and the fact that they are student volunteers, not professionals, it is important that they are able to grow into their roles as Junior Bonsai Ambassadors. As is described in the program description below, these students have had only one short 2-hour workshop to prepare them.
As a Contributor to the Junior Bonsai Ambassador Program you have several important roles. The first is to give students an opportunity to use what they have learned about being a JBA in a semi-controlled situation before they try with a visitor.
The second role is to provide the JBA candidate with encouragement and constructive feedback.
The final role of a contributor is to provide feedback to the program organizers so that the JBA Program can be improved over time.
3. About the symposium
On October 11th 2015 at a time to be determined the Omiya Bonsai Art Museum will host the first Symposium on Language and Culture. During this event JBA Contributors are invited to serve as panelists. For those Contributors planning to attend and participate in the symposium, please consider the following topics:
· What do MEXT plans mean for you as a professional?
· What roles do/should Japanese culture and history play in language education?
· What community facilities can play a role in the new direction in language and culture education?
The symposium will focus on these and related questions framed within the context of the Junior Bonsai Ambassador Program and the Omiya Bonsai Art Museum, Saitama.