Hello, everyone!

First, I can't help mentioning the event in Italy! Federica, ikebana compositions by Mrs. Koka Fukushima just amazed me!They are so great! When you are near them you must have felt as if you were somewhere in the bamboo forest or in the jungle!






It is “The Japanese Fall” season right now in Moscow. There are a lot of events being on run or organized now. Though it feels like a marathon of events making us running faster and faster I would like to take a short pause and share with you my impressions of the brightest events held recently!

While Russians were fighting with strong cold wind the students who are studying Japanese were fighting with their fears and embarrassment making speeches on the Moscow Speech Contest in Japanese. It was the 25th anniversary of the speech contest held among students from Russia and the CIS countries. 21 students took part in this year’s contest. Almost all students’ speeches were of a very high level, so it was quite a tough competition.

The first place in the competition awarded to a student from Yakutsk (Russia). Her speech is called “Sisyphean labour”. She compared human’s everyday life with Sisyphean labour. Like Sisyphus, who was made to roll a huge boulder up a steep hill; before he could reach the top, however, the massive stone would always roll back down, forcing him to begin again; people have to do a lot of routine things around the house (like washing dishes, because they will use it again and will have to wash it again and again) or boring work. And they do give the meaning to their work not to lose themselves, not to stop respect themselves. The speech made a deep impression on most of the audience.


優勝者!The winner of the Speech contest!





The master of the Kirie Mr. Shu Kubo with his assistant/manager Mrs. Sakura Ueda visited Moscow. It was the first time when Kirie (Art of creating a picture by scissoring the pieces of paper out of the Japanese paper washi ) was shown in Moscow. Mr. Kubo and Mrs. Ueda explained how to hold an art knife, and told us about the washi paper producing process and the fusion of tradition and modern trends in the Kirie Art.

Here is a postcard students were trying to make themselves using some other picture they chose.



This one is made by the teacher Mr.Kubo and his assistant Mrs.Ueda



The exhibition of Mr. Kubo Shu’s works are still held.




1) マトリョーシカ

2) チェブラシカ

3) こぐまのミーシャ(1980年モスクワオリンピックのマスコット)

During the demonstration the master made a very big picture of the Japanese typical images (the Mount Fuji and a sakura tree), while telling many things about kirie. Ha also has created one Russian representative pattern.

Try to guess, what it is!

1) Matryoshka doll

2) Cheburashka

3) Misha (The Moscow Olympic mascot)


マトリョーシカ/Matryoshka doll




こぐまのミーシャ/Misha (The Moscow Olympic mascot)



Well, your answer is?

Ba dum tssssssh…


久保先生が作って下さったチェブラシカ/Cheburashka made by Kirie Master Shu Kubo

ところで基金モスクワのオフィスに飾ってあり、毎日喜ばせてくれています!By the way it welcomes us every morning in our Moscow Office!


Aw, it seems like the first runner is getting closer and closer and it’s my turn to grab the baton and start running. …..(voice over) That was it. The next moment she vroomed.







Hello, Everyone!

I am Elena, from Moscow Office of the Japan Foundation. I deliver Japanese Culture to Russians.

The new year of the JF blog has begun. And it means that you have a chance to make a round-the-world trip with the staff of the Japan Foundation! My congratulations!Don't miss this chance!




And I would like to start our round-Russia trip with the presentation of the Japan Festival held on the 11 th of August.

JF Moscow Office held the workshop on Origami (traditional Japanese art of paper folding) and Shodō (calligraphy); movies; exhibition of the UNESCO World Heritage photo exhibition.

Origami and Shodō were of great interest to those who came to the event. A lot of people came to try Origami and Shodō.

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It started raining right when the calligraphy workshop was going to start. JF corner was at the shade canopy, and since it has no walls the calligraphy teacher began the explanation while her legs were getting wetter and wetter when one of the participants standing by her and watching the workshop said in admiration: “Here is the representative of truly sturdy Japan”.

We had several groups of 5 participants. Groups were taking turns every 15 minutes in practicing Chinese character "Hana" ("flower").

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Although it was raining, the stream of people longing for unusual experience didn’t stop for a second. (Probably they just had no place to go in such weather though.)


The UNESCO World Heritage photo exhibition was arranged at the very space where the movies concerning recovery of Japan after earthquake 2011 were shown. Such combination create very homelike atmosphere. Besides you unlikely felt like strolling around in rain so you didn't have to.

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The UNESCO World Heritage photo exhibition + Movies about recovery of Japan after earthquake 2011


ちなみに、「Russia Beyond The Headlines」の記事にもなっています。→ no title

Among other Japan connected corners there was one of the printing house where Tōrō nagashi was held. (Tōrō nagashi is a Japanese ceremony where participants float paper lanterns down a river.) Printing house arranged it to commemorate those lost in the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was held on the closest to the date of the anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings weekend - on August, 11. Participants made paper lanterns by themselves and then float them into two inflatable pools. It was the first time such ceremony was held in Russia.




Tōrō nagashi



There also was a cosplay show.


And at last I would like to show you something interesting I discovered there.





There was no caption at this piece of art. So I guess it was left to the imagination of the guests of the festival.

The sight of the object brought me to the Pirates Era when some lost people finding themselves on some uninhabited islands wrote messages, put it into a glass bottle and float into the sea.

And what about you?


モスクワの夏 - Summer in Moscow


Hi, everyone! This is Nina from Moscow!



Yui, thank you for the delicious excursion to the world of the Japanese food.

I’m already checking up the list of the Japanese food restaurants in Moscow.




Summer is over but…don’t you smell anything?

Oh, I know, it is Summer!




Moscow summer reminds me the scene in the movie about Gozilla right before Gozilla is to appear: cars and people, which just a few seconds ago were running in the street, suddenly disappear. It feels like the air is becomming fresher, and there are almost no traffic jams. (The latter is unbelievable phenomena for Moscow.)



The main explanation of such changes is that it is time of summer vacation. (For the pupils it begins in June and for the university students – in July.)

That is why you won’t meet students or teachers and professors in the streets.



So summer is a very special period in the life of citizens.

That’s why in our Moscow Office we also have a special program of events in summer.



This year we held a range of so called Kamishibai- performance with telling a fairy tale and showing pictures illustrating this story to the spectators - for the first time.

We told our youngest visitors (girls and boys of 5-7 years old) 4 japanese fairy tales using illustrated cards. The stories were: “Issun-Boushi” (“The one-inch boy”), “Kaguya-hime”(“Princess Kaguya”), “Kazuko to Noboru no Hinamatsuri”(The Japanese Doll Festival of Kazuko and Noboru) and the last one – “Tsuru no ongaeshi”(“Crane’s gratitude”).



After each fairy tale we were asking children different questions about the content of the story, folding paper into different figures with them, painting nice characters of a story and the ones children didn’t like that much.





When “Princess Kaguya”fairy tale was finished I asked girls what they would choose if they had been Princess Kaguya: to go back to her parents’ place or to stay with the Prince (Emperor). (There are two illustrated fairy tales of “Princess Kaguya”in Moscow Office. I was wondering which one is the original and find out that there are several versions of the story. According to the story I chose (one of the two we have) after five princes, who were trying to make Princess Kaguya fall in love with them but failed, the Emperor proposed to the Princess but she refused explaining that she came from another Planet and has to go back there because her parents are waiting for her there.)The girl that was the first to answer said that she would definitely go back home. The other girls’ answers were the same.

To tell the truth I was very surprised to hear such answers because I believed that a girl always chooses a prince! And it is still an unsolved riddle for me, whether the girls are too young (for making such difficult decisions), the Emperor was not enough attractive for them or despite their young age they are already good at judging people: it is much more stable to stay with parents then with a guy.:)





The next event of our special summer program I would like to tell you about is a lecture and a workshop in martial arts.

While the professor in martial arts was telling a brief history and the main principles of the martial arts Russian teachers of Kendo(Japanese swordsmanship),Aikido(a Japanese art of self-defense), Japanese archery, Judo and Karate were showing visitors techniques of each art.






And the last event I would like to say a few words about is a movie festival of the famous film directors’ movies, which were produced between 1950 and 1990’s. The film that attracted everybody’s attention is “The Ballad of Narayama”by Imamura Shohei film director.







It was the third time“The Ballad of Narayama”was showing on at Moscow’s cinemas. This time the cinema was so crowded that the space was hardly enough for those, who had already been watching it standing.

One may think that it happened because it is very hard to get “The Ballad of Narayama”in Russia. But what I believe is that the story itself is so touchable that each time we have it on in the cinema no movie fan can resist the temptation of watching it again.

That is why I strongly recommend everyone to watch this movie! I promise you: you won't be able to stay indifferent to the story!







Hello, everyone! It's Any again and it's going to be my second year as a blog member! YOROSHIKU! This year, we are going to bring you news together with Nina, my co-worker, so it's going to be twice as much information and twice as hard looking for it.. But still, it's going to be really fun, so again, YOROSHIKU!




It's always a bit quiet here in Moscow office at summer for not only the number of events is much less comparing to other seasons, but also our different courses go off to summer vacation too. That's right. On the 25th of June, we held the big graduation party for all the students of our courses.




There are about 150 students attending our courses every year, learning how to make Ikebana, hold the traditional Tea ceremony and many other things. At the graduation party all the students showed their teachers and each other what they had learned during the year. And when looking at their serious faces you could tell, that not only they mastered the technical part but also the Japanese culture had become a necessary part of their life.







Changing the subject I'd like to tell you that it's REALLY HOT here in Moscow. And in Moscow we don't have the magical Japanese ice-desert called "Kakigori". But we have our own Russian meal called "Okroshka". Okroshka is a cold soup, made of cut vegetables (such as radish, cucumber, green onion and boiled potate), boiked eggs and ham (or pork), served with Kvass (fermented beverage made from black or regular rye bread. thank you, Wikipedia!) and sourcream. The Russians just LOVE it, especially when it's hot.


Oh, it's almost lunch time, so I'm gone to eat my okroshka at the office kitchen, passing the torch to the next blogger - Jaa-san from Bangkok!




Hi, everyone! I am Nina, a new member from Russia. I’ve joined JF blog team for 2011. I’ve been working at Japan Foundation Moscow Office for only 10 months.

I hope we will make a nice ‘blogger-reader’ team.


Russian saying goes: “When the work is done, go have your fun.” Since I 100% agree with these words I cannot have fun until I’m done with my work.

(I wish I could though)

So that’s why this time I’ll also begin with the work topic.




It wouldn’t be too much to say that nowadays there is a “Japan boom” in Russia.

Though I should notice that it is more of a Japanese pop-culture boom rather than a traditional Japanese culture boom.

A lot of young people wear Harajuku style clothes, join Cosplay fashion.

The part of the Japanese culture - which you can easily understand and which you can fall in love with from the first sight - is extremely popular here, in Moscow.

At JF Moscow Office my work is to attract people’s attention to a more profound side of the Japanese culture. We show and try to make understandable the side of the Japanese culture which probably needs time to be realized and accepted, the side that may be even shocking, the side you are going to adore with every single cell of your body.

We welcome culture workers from Japan and try to do our best to hold the meeting of the Russian auditorium with the amazing Japanese culture smoothly.

It was a very brief explanation of my activities. I will present you other sides of my work while meeting you here during this year.



A workshop on the Japanese tea ceremony (School Omotesenke), which was held in May gathered surprisingly many - about 65 - people.




Well, and now I guess we can move to another topic.

‘Walk’ ‘Run’ ‘Dream’.

Some of you probably have already thought: “How shall I understand such a strange combination of these 3 words?”







I start walking, faster and faster and then run.

“And what about ‘Dream’?” you may ask and start giving me your guesses such as: “Do you walk and run in your nightmares?” But no, my friends, ‘Dream’ doesn’t mean that I see myself walking and running in my nightmares. By “DREAM” here I mean “imagining something that is difficult to achieve”.

I love dreaming. So dreaming I put on sneakers and go out for a walk. Dreaming I begin running, dreaming I speed up and imagine, that I’m no longer running, but floating in the air. Finally I fly away into open space…full of dreams

なので、どこかで「あれっ?ロシアではそんなことがあり得るのか。」と疑問に思うことがあれば、ニュースの筆者は幻想の世界で迷子になってしまったNinaなのではないかご確認下さい。 (→ジョークです。うその話はしないので、ご安心ください。

(うその話はしないが、夢の話は... (^−^))

Welcome to my world of Dreams. I am not totally in dreams, though. Anyways, to make the long story short, I am just like you, every one of you: working, studying, dealing with everyday problems, going out with friends, dreaming, going through difficult times and through happy times and dreaming again. And I am eager to share my world with you! So let’s keep in touch from now on! NINA.


And greet the next blogger -Any!