Seminars / セミナー

Student Voices from Seminar Students

Seminars / セミナー

Rin Shigemura(Intersectionality / Diana KHOR)

In this seminar, we read papers and discuss social issues every week based on the research theme of other seminar members. Although each member has a different theme and interest, one thing they all have in common is that they all have the idea of intersectionality in terms of the deep roots of issues and social inequality. By critiquing papers, we can gain the ability to write comprehensive papers.

We also have sessions where we bring up recent news articles along with the topic of each week, so we can catch up with up-to-date developments. What I love most about this seminar is that everyone is open-minded and it is a safe place to share and exchange opinions. This safe space makes me realize points that I wasn’t aware of and repeatedly gain a new perspective.

I think I could enhance my knowledge of critical thinking in this seminar. I also like finding that what we think is normal, might not be normal for everyone, or that what seems equal is not necessarily equal for everyone. I am so grateful that I am a part of an intersectionality seminar. This is definitely the most precious experience in my university life!

Takaho Takemura(Literature in Theory and Practice / Gregory KHEZRNEJAT)

Our seminar is unique as it blends theoretical studies with practical writing exercises, allowing us to explore both domains thoroughly. Last year, we engaged in four main activities. Firstly, we delved into various critical theories relevant to literature and cultural studies, such as New Criticism, Structuralism, Deconstruction, Feminism, and others. These theories help us to grasp the literary landscape, interpret individual works, and understand the evolution of literature. Secondly, we analyzed Japanese short stories on a weekly basis. This activity was more exciting than I thought; it revealed how diverse our interpretations and perspectives could be, significantly broadening our textual insights.

Following each story discussion, we applied the literary techniques we identified to our own writing in the workshop (third activity) and then exchanged feedback with each other. The highlight of our seminar was crafting our own short stories (fourth activity). This process involved writing, revising bit by bit, and receiving feedback from both peers and our professor.

One of the most exciting aspects of this seminar is our professor, an author who is actively publishing fiction. It is really inspiring to hear professional thoughts about writing and the Japanese literary scene.

Of all the seminars in GIS, I think ours is the most creative and practical. Studying literature might seem theoretical and abstract, but the skills we develop—like creating stories from scratch and critically reading from multiple perspectives—are universally applicable and valuable soft skills.

Nami Kawajiri(Tourism Management / John MELVIN)

In the seminar, we deal with various case studies to learn how each destination manages tourism, what strategies are used, and what kind of problems they face from the perspective of sustainability. Each week, there is an opportunity to exchange ideas with other students and have discussions based on questions that help us to deepen our understanding of tourism-related issues. 

Each seminar member has a different point of view and different interests, which gives everyone new perspectives and a deeper understanding of tourism management. My view on tourism has changed since joining the seminar, and I have gained a more multifaceted viewpoint by delving into not only the benefits but also the negative impacts of tourism and the sustainability of tourism. Learning about issues such as over-tourism and environmental destruction caused by an increased number of tourists has changed my travel behavior to be more considerate of tourist destinations. Furthermore, tourism is interconnected with other fields of study, so I think it is also one of the valuable aspects of this seminar to be able to research how tourism relates to other fields through research projects.

For example, I am interested in Korean pop culture, therefore I am planning to investigate how Korean pop culture influences tourism and the possibilities for utilizing fan tourism for local revitalization. 

Besides the content that we cover in the seminar, I really like the atmosphere of this seminar where everyone is kind and supportive. 

I believe that the knowledge of business management and marketing that I gained in this seminar will be useful in my future career in tourism as well as other fields.

Rikako Asami(Language Teaching and Learning / Machiko KOBORI)

Our seminar, Language Teaching and Learning, explores second language (L2) education within the global context. Our focus is on both theoretical and practical aspects of related fields, such as global educational issues to support L2 learners and teachers with different ethnic backgrounds, L2 pedagogy, curriculum development, etc. We examine how these issues impact the learning of L2 learners and diverse learning environments, and how addressing them can improve L2 teacher education. It is fascinating to explore L2 education worldwide.

We learn about second language learning (SLL), such as L2 motivation, through reading materials and sharing our knowledge through presentations in class. Also, we put theoretical aspects of SLL into practice by teaching English to primary and secondary pupils in Japan and overseas. For instance, we hold an online English school as well as in public spaces like libraries. Dealing with young learners is very enjoyable, and helping them with their L2 learning is also rewarding.

These experiences allow us to broaden our perspectives on L2 education, and anyone interested in getting involved in related fields of language education would benefit from attending this seminar.

Koya Shimatani(Entrepreneurship and Innovation / Shiaw Jia EYO)

In the Entrepreneurship and Innovation seminar, we discuss various companies that have been great successes, such as Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft. We delve into their histories, how they started out, the struggles they overcame, and their continuous innovations that have greatly influenced society.

We learn about various companies and smaller businesses and how they work. We are also given presentation tasks throughout the seminar, which allows each student to share their personal opinions and ideas.

With many opportunities to present ideas, it is possible to enhance skills in critical thinking, problem-solving, and giving presentation. On top of that, for people looking to start a business after graduating, this seminar will give you many opportunities to learn about actually starting a business and the possible challenges that you might face in building a company.

The members of this seminar are highly motivated, supportive, and open-minded individuals, so you should not feel nervous or intimidated. Overall, if you are keen to learn about entrepreneurship and other business topics in more detail, this seminar is a perfect fit for you, as you will have the opportunities to learn, develop, and experience. I am really happy that I decided to enroll in this seminar.

Hayato Taguchi(Media Across Borders / Stevie SUAN)

At the start of the Media Across Borders Seminar, the class discussed Freidrich Kittler’s ideas on how “Media determine our situation”. In a society where we are constantly exposed to some form of imagery and even the images we present of ourselves, media seems to affect every aspect of our lives. This is even more apparent now, as we are on the verge of a new era through the development of AI. Because we are at the point where we are not fully aware of the full potential of this technology, we are confronted with various questions. To tackle these questions, understanding how to think in a world of continuous information exchange has become more crucial than ever. What is our relationship with devices that almost seem like an extension of our body? Are we animating ourselves through social media? Despite the transnational production of anime, why is it branded as a Japanese product? These are only glimpses of the questions that the seminar tries to answer throughout the year. We are also constantly questioning ourselves as the topics in the seminar are never ones that we can easily comprehend. Despite the difficulty in understanding these topics, all members of this classroom are willing to help one another. Because everyone has some form of relationship with the media in this day and age, we can appreciate all the insights that we receive through discussions and presentations. The seminar itself is very new, and there exists flexibility that doesn’t exist in other seminars, which in turn allows us to adapt to the rapidly changing world of media. From podcasts to seminar trips, the students are free to propose ideas to further improve our shared learning experience. Building a new culture with the professor and other classmates will become something valuable for me moving forward.

Haruka Ishiyama(Global Strategic Management / Takamasa FUKUOKA)

The Fukuoka seminar is a place where everyone is willing to join and have discussions about global strategic management. Our seminar is composed of three different teams (Culture and Communication, Business Model, and Marketing + Public Relations) and each team provides knowledge based on the readings that students chose. (Every week one of the three teams gives a presentation). All members have weekly readings before the seminar starts, and the assigned team gives a presentation about the reading and facilitates discussions.

Our seminar has a motto, which is “work hard play hard”. It shows how it is important to be both focusing on learning from the seminar, and spending time with seminar members. We have monthly events such as dinners, seasonal activities and so on…! The more you know about the other seminar members, the better the atmosphere is in the seminar.

I am looking forward to spending productive time with our seminar members! I believe that the Fukuoka seminar provides you with not only knowledge of business, but also the opportunity to learn what “careers” are.

Reina Minami(International Relations / Takeshi YUZAWA)

The seminar on IR allows me to see the landscape of international relations from various perspectives. For example, we explore not only superpowers' dynamics and conflicts but also development, digital technology, and energy transition. So, I touch on and analyze the issues surrounding international relations, then, I realize how the world is mutually and complexly interdependent.

Moreover, the seminar activities, including discussions, essays, and research projects, can strengthen our “critical thinking,” another keyword of this seminar. We focus on thinking of topics with logic and evidence-based ideas so that we can convince others of our perspectives. It is hard to spend time reading and understanding different topics and being prepared to defend our ideas.

However, at the same time, discussions with seminar members offer me a broader interpretation of international relations. Also, the open-minded atmosphere of the seminar enables us all to interact with each other, in this sense I don’t just mean seminar activities but also personal matters. Therefore, this seminar encourages me to develop my prospects in terms of international relations and my critical thinking abilities. This seminar has given me the opportunity to develop as a person, and I am glad that I can feel that I have developed as a university student. 

Mone Demura(Self and Culture / Yu NIIYA)

In “Self and Culture,” we aim to gain a more objective view of ourselves and others and find ways to improve our lives. Half of the class is devoted to discussions and half to conducting our own research. Last semester, our discussions focused on social media and its impact on social connections. We explored both the positive aspects, like social capital and a sense of belonging, and the negatives, such as social media addiction. Each week, we read three academic articles, bring our questions and ideas to seminars, and fully use our time in class for deep discussions. 

This seminar offers a comfortable forum where we can share personal experiences and gain new insights from both papers and the experiences of other students. We can freely express our opinions without fear of being judged. There are no right or wrong answers; we respect each other’s opinions and appreciate various perspectives. I believe everyone can relate their experiences to the topics discussed in this seminar, as psychology applies to our daily lives. Inspired by one of our discussions, I chose to investigate the relationship between help-seeking behavior and subjective well-being for my research. I am now conducting experiments to test whether help-seeking behavior enhances individuals’ relatedness and autonomy, therefore boosting their happiness. Through research, we learn to analyze social problems, propose solutions, and scientifically test assumptions. We also develop critical thinking and communication skills by explaining our findings to others, all of which are valuable for addressing future social issues.

Hitomi Onozeki(Diversity of English / Yutai WATANABE)

Among the good points of this seminar is its wide range of topics and flexibility in methodology which allow passionate students to deeply dig into their own interests under the guidance and support of the professor. I can recommend this seminar as really matching students who enjoyed the 200-level courses ‘English as a Lingua Franca’ and ‘Sociolinguistics’.

English is one of my favourite languages and was the first foreign language I learned. I like how it sounds and the benefits it gives as an international language, among other things, which I think is due to me studying at a secondary school in the UK for 6 months. I must have picked up a bit of a British accent during my stay, because since then my speech has often been commented on as sounding British when I talk with English-speaking people. This experience has resulted in my interest in the wide variety of accents of English that exist worldwide. 

I was also intrigued by ‘Singlish,’ which is spoken in Singapore. When I visited, I was surprised by how it differs from the ‘standard English’ that I was familiar with. For my seminar thesis, I am thinking of a topic related to the connection and integration of English accents around the world with reference to the history of the movement of people.