Coffee Break (Monthly Report) February 2024 issue

Marshall Elliott Ginsler Viner Exchange Coordinator

February of learning

Hello. This is Marshall Elliott Ginsler Viner of Sagamihara International Lounge. I wish you all the best in your health and well-being in the coming spring.

This year, I spent February in Japan for the first time, and I felt a difference from February in Toronto. When I noticed that the products and decorations in the store were all pink, I thought, oh, it's Valentine's Day. However, when I looked closely, I noticed that in addition to Valentine's Day chocolates, there were also cherry blossom-themed sweets and postcards. In Toronto, it's usually cold until April, so I felt like it was already spring. Also, for the first time, I learned about the custom of making raw chocolate on Valentine's Day.

On February 4th, we participated in the "Disaster Prevention Festival" held at Asamizo Community Center. I had never experienced an earthquake in Canada, so it was a meaningful experience for me. I was able to visit various booths to increase my knowledge and purchase disaster prevention goods. I also learned about useful apps for obtaining disaster information, such as Sagamihara City's official app. I also thought it was interesting to get stamps at each booth and exchange them for meal tickets, coffee, or baked sweet potatoes. Needless to say, the freshly baked sweet potato was delicious. I thought I would like to inform foreign citizens about this kind of event.

The next day, I went to Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture for a 5-day translation and interpretation training course. I was happy that I was able to concentrate and practice. I was busy with training and didn't have much time to travel around Shiga Prefecture, but luckily there was Lake Biwa and Karasaki Shrine, a 10-minute walk from the training center, perfect spots to soothe your soul. I don't think there are many shrines in Canada, but there is a beautiful emerald-colored lake called Lake Louise, surrounded by the Rocky Mountains. This is a recommended tourist spot.

It looks like it's going to get warmer from now on, but please continue to take care of your body.

See you next month!