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International Cafe Ver 2 : Fostering Community Through Cultural Exchange in Muroto

Thu, Feb 1, 2024

Event Overview

On January 7th, 2024, at the Hane Community Center, a cross-cultural event was held marking the continuation of a series dedicated to international understanding and communal harmony. The International Cafe, hosted by the Muroto Geopark Promotion Council in collaboration with Japanese classroom “NIHONGO Muroto”, brought together the local Hane community and two special guests from Canada, Ryan Brown and Marie-Hélène Perron, to share in an afternoon of cultural exchange and mutual learning.


A Canadian Afternoon in Muroto

Ryan and Marie-Hélène, both Assistant Language Teachers (ALTs) at local schools, have called Muroto their home since August of the previous year. Their presentation offered a window into Canada’s vast landscapes and diverse cultures, highlighting the stark contrasts between their homeland and their new surroundings in Japan, from the heavy snowfalls to the different educational systems. The attendees were particularly fascinated by the differences between English-speaking and French-speaking Canada, a testament to the event’s success in deepening local understanding of global cultures.

Following the insightful presentation, the floor was opened for a Q&A session, which turned into a lively exchange of curiosity and knowledge. The community’s eagerness to learn about the Canadians’ home culture and their views on Muroto was palpable, reflecting a genuine interest in embracing the foreign residents among them. This was complemented by a quiz game about Canada, adding a fun and interactive element to the educational afternoon.


More Than Just an Event

The International Cafe is more than just a one-time gathering; it’s part of a larger initiative by the Muroto Geopark to create a welcoming environment for foreigners in Muroto. Despite the small foreign population, which includes Filipinos, Indonesians, and Vietnamese, there’s a lack of opportunities for meaningful interaction within the community. This event series aims to bridge that gap, offering both locals and foreigners a chance to connect and share their cultures.

The dedication of the presenters, who practiced their Japanese to deliver speeches to the attendees, underscores the mutual effort in this cultural exchange. It’s heartening to see the positive impact of these events, as exemplified by the Vietnamese presenter who, after participating in a previous session, was invited to join a local Taiko group and recently made his performance debut.


Looking Ahead

The success of the International Cafe series hints at a bright future for international exchange in Muroto. Plans are already underway for more events, with a follow-up featuring the Canadian duo and potential sessions highlighting other cultures within the community. This initiative not only enriches the cultural fabric of Muroto but also fosters a sense of belonging and acceptance, breaking down barriers and building bridges between residents, regardless of their origins.

In conclusion, the International Cafe in Muroto is a testament to the power of community and cultural exchange. It represents a step towards a more inclusive society, where everyone, regardless of where they come from, can feel at home. As Muroto continues to host these events, it sets an example for other communities to follow, demonstrating that even the simplest act of sharing a cup of tea and a story can have a profound impact on fostering global understanding and friendship.



NIHONGO Muroto, a Japanese classroom nestled within the community, serves as a valuable resource for foreigners residing in Muroto. Offering Japanese language classes, NIHONGO Muroto plays a crucial role in aiding individuals in their journey to adapt and integrate into Japanese society.

To learn more about the services and resources provided by NIHONGO Muroto, we encourage you to visit their Facebook page for further information and assistance.