22nd February is the day of the earthquake of Christchurch Earthquake. Five years has passed since the day. I exchanged mails with Di who is Director of Tamariki School which is one of the oldest democratic schools in New Zealand. Last spring I visited Christchurch and stayed at her house. I listened to her and her colleagues’ experience. At the campus of Tamariki School, there is still crack of the earthquake and some parts of school building was not in use because of the damage of the earthquake. At the city centre of Christchurch, there were so many damaged palaces. One of the staff of Tamariki told me he won’t visit city centre because he don’t want to see such damages. Christchurch Earth quake still hurts the city and people. Di thinks about the people who have hard time because of East Japan Earth Quake occurred on 11th March five years ago.
Shure University has concerned to Fukushima and fishers village damaged by the tsunami since then. Still many of them live in sheltered houses which has many broken parts. Fishermen bought their equipment and they have to pay back the debt since this year. Its another burden for them. Unfortunately the support from the society is decreasing. I have very complicated feeling and thoughts just before 11th March.
The big earth quake at the weekend in Taiwan surprised me a lot. The earthquake occurred in the southern place of Taiwan. One tall apartment house building fell down in Tainan City. I exchange mails with friends there. Also the organizers of APDEC are safe. Many Taiwanese supported when we had another big earthquake in 2013. We want to do what we can do for the people in that area.
We had Japan Democratic Education Conference/ The Forum for educators of Diverse Education Sites at the last weekend. Approximately 250 people came together we exchanged our experience and discussed some hot issues. The movement to make a law for diverse education is such hottest issue among us. I was asked to talk about self-evaluation at free democratic schools in the world and at Shure University. Thank Dana to help me about it.
We had a very exciting collaboration theater production with Moscow International Film School (MIFS) in late December. Thirteen people were from MIFS in the middle of December. We played two dramas. One is “Oleysha” which was written by Kuplin, Russian novelist born in 19th century. MIFS students focus on the prejudice towards social minority people and how do we live with this situation. Shure University students played “The Parrot Training” written by Tagore, Indian poet of 19th century. Shure University students focused on the issue of self-determination in education.
MIFS students played “Oleysha” without words for Japanese audience. They played through dance, pantomime and music. Shure University students made Tokyo version of short theatrical dance of “Oleysha” without words. As a prelude of MIFS “Oleysha”, Shure University students showed theatrical dance of Tokyo “Oleysha” then MIFS students played authentic “Oleysha”.
Shure University students played “The Parrot Training” at a family setting. One family played “The Parrot Training” in their living room. Later a child of the family members spoke out her conflicts about her educational decision making. The animation film made by MIFS students were shown before the drama show of Shure University students.
We had three shows: two shows on Saturday and one on Sunday. After Sunday show, we had a post performance talk. The student directors and actors and staff members and the professional actress and director had a cross-talk. Then we had a party in which everybody could join. Quite a few audience participated and talked with performers and stage staffs. One of the MIFS students said before he came to Tokyo for this production, he felt MIFS was kind of isolated islands of freedom of expressions but here at Shure Univeristy, he feels another place of freedom of expression. Now he feels there may be more of those in the world.