A Look Back At 2017

2017 is coming to an end in a couple of days. Let’s take a look back on what Bunka has done this year.

Friends of Bunka Night (FOBN)
FOBN is a social event where we connect Bunka students to our Japanese friends. Usually, it takes place twice a year. This year, however, we held it three times instead. When you learn a language, it is important that you make friends with native speakers so that you have more opportunities to practise the language.

The first event was in collaboration with Solo Group LLC from Japan. Bunka students had dinner with a group of Japanese university students who were on a study trip to both Singapore and Malaysia. We arranged some time to eat and interact with them.

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The second event was in collaboration with Single Point Pte Ltd, a Japanese company which places Japanese interns in Singapore-based companies. We held the event at Bari-Uma Ramen restaurant. It is located at Tanglin Shopping Centre, a mere 5-minute walk from Delfi Orchard. For your information, Bari-Uma gives Bunka students up to 30% discount a couple of times in a year. Check the noticeboard in your classroom for updates on their promotions.

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The third event was in collaboration with Intelligence, one the the biggest recruitment companies in Singapore. We were fortunate to have a team of seven recruitment consultants and two of their Japanese friends to join us for the event.

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Career Seminar
Local Japanese speakers are in hot demand now! Also, they can typically earn between $500 to $1000 more depending on their language proficiency. Thus, Bunka collaborated with Intelligence and held two career seminars to let Bunka students know about the job market and hiring trends, dispel some myths about working in Japanese companies and learn how to write proper resumes (both Japanese and English).

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Online Payment Method
Previously, only Elementary 1 students could pay via PayPal or credit card. Since April 2017, this initiative has been extended to all levels. Simply register and pay online so that you do not need to carry too much cash, or make an additional trip to pay over the counter.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
Since January 2017, Bunka has been providing free Japanese lessons twice a week to Singapore Association for the Visually Handicapped. This is part of Bunka’s CSR to give back to the society. We would like to thank Kato-sensei and Toguchi-sensei who are part of the team to support this effort.

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Cultural Events: Behind The Scenes
Bunka is probably the only Japanese language school in Singapore which holds cultural events once every seven weeks. Our teachers worked very hard in ensuring the success of each cultural event. Take a look at how they have prepared for the event.

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SkillsFuture Credit (SFC)
Since 2016, all Singaporeans aged 25 and above are given an opening credit of $500 from the Singapore government to learn new skills. All of Bunka’s courses are eligible for SFC.

These are two very important points to take note of:
1. SkillsFuture changed the claim process in May 2017. Funds can only be disbursed to Bunka instead of the individual.
2. Individuals who use SFC should ensure that they attain at least 75% attendance. If not, the credit may be recovered by SkillsFuture.

Do take note of these points if you are using your SkillsFuture credit to pay for classes.

Final Note
Bunka could not have done all these without the support of our students.

We would like to take this opportunity to express our heartfelt appreciation to our students, past and present, for choosing Bunka. Most importantly, we could not have done it without the hard work and effort put in by our teachers and staff. We would also like to thank all our vendors, partners and friends for their invaluable support.

We hope that more will continue to enjoy learning the Japanese language in 2018. Happy New Year!

The Bunka Team
29th December 2017

5 things you missed if you didn’t go for AFA 2016

As it has been for many years, this year’s Anime Festival Asia (AFA) took place in the cavernous halls 401 and 402 of Suntec City Convention Centre. The activities were straightforward – you could buy your fill of anime goods, marvel at the display of figurines and look at Overwatch characters strolling past Thunderbolt Fantasy characters (with their luscious locks and extravagant capes). Or you could get separated from your friends in the crowd but bump into them later by chance.

The Bunka Admin team went for the convention to bring to you 5 things you have missed if you were not here last weekend.

5. Amazing cosplay

What is a manga/anime/game convention without its die-hard fans dressing up as their favourite characters? If you didn’t know the way to the convention, you could easily follow the cosplayers to find your destination. Upon arriving at the third level of the convention centre, we found them at every corner, either posing for the camera or camping outside the halls. These cosplayers have been up early in the morning to prepare their look of the day, while we, dressed as normal civilians, slept in.

If you thought all of them were Singaporeans, you are utterly wrong. There is a number of cosplayers such as Kael (picture above) from neighbouring countries such as Thailand, Indonesia and much more. It is not uncommon for cosplayers to travel to other countries to attend events like this.

 

Granny from Looney Tunes
Granny from Looney Tunes

One cosplayer that really caught our attention was this lady, Aunty Shirley. Now 69, she has been cosplaying ever since 2011. (You can check her Facebook page here.) She is not the only person above the average age of cosplayers; we also chanced upon a mysterious man donning a full body armour.

When we asked for a photo, he immediately struck a battle-ready pose, his expression grim. After we thanked him with a thumbs-up, he relaxed his grip on the spear and marched away without a word. “Was that Genghis Khan?” We never got to know the answer.

4. Merchandise

If you are obsessed with a particular manga, anime or game, you could buy as much merchandise as you wanted. Honestly speaking, we prefer getting our things online but how could we not buy that keychain before our very eyes? Or that dakimakura (large character cushions)? Or the shirt? Or that figurine? We were really spoilt for choice.

There was also a corner for creators selling their fan-made goods, ranging from posters to EMW stickers and tape. Unfortunately, we saw a tweet regarding a certain booth stealing people’s artworks and selling them. Such things do happen so we must stay vigilant and spread the word!

3. The Main Stage

The key components of the convention were held at the main stage. It hosted talk shows, screenings and demonstrations in the day and the Anisong concerts at night. We entered the hall when the Wake Up, Girls were waving goodbye to the audience and suddenly, we found ourselves swimming against a great wave of hot-blooded men who were making an exit. Everyone settled down quietly for the next item.

After a while, the lights went dim and ear-piercing shrieks echoed across the hall as a movie trailer played on the screen. Then, the emcees and one of the notable Japanese voice actors, Okamoto Nobuhiko, took to the stage and the girls went absolutely crazy. We could only watch in amazement on how drastic the audience had changed.

2. PPAP

“Long baajon,” he spoke into the microphone and the audience cheered. There was PIKO-TARO, breaking into his quirky dance and singing the extended version of the viral hit, “PPAP”. The Japanese comedian came onstage at around 6:45 pm and everyone quickly fished out their mobile phones to take pictures of the man with leopard prints and a drawn-on moustache. When the song played, everyone literally shouted the lyrics of the whole song. Funny how he does not earn a single yen from it despite its huge success. For those who are still clueless about what we’re talking about, please watch this video:

1. The crowd

We don’t know about you, but we were blown away by the monstrous crowd when we first arrived at the convention. You can see for yourself the queue for entrance tickets:

 

It took about 30 minutes to get the tickets before we could saunter our way around the exhibition hall. In actual fact, we were rushing to watch a live interview with Okamoto Nobuhiko (as mentioned earlier), so the time spent in the queue was very, very intense.

From the food section
From the food section

It was a pity that we didn’t fully utilise our tickets (actually wristbands) to see the celebrity cosplayers – Yosuke Sora, Baozi & hana and KANAME, just to name a few. Yet, we were relieved that we went because of the sheer compassion displayed by everyone who was there. You could see the different worlds collide, with creators and fans gathering together, all for the otaku culture.

Billie

みなさん、 「ふくろう(owl)カフェ」 という ことば を きいたこと が ありますか。ふくろうカフェは とり や ふくろう が いる きっさてんです。さわったり いっしょに しゃしんを とったり できます。わたしの ともだちは ふくろうを こわがっていました。でも わたしは どうぶつが すきだから いっしょに しゃしん が とれて うれしかったです。みなさんも どうぶつが すきだったら にほんへいったとき 「ふくろうカフェ」へいってみてください。

しだ

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