It’s the opening scene in last year’s James Bond film, Spectre. Bond is seen chasing a villain through the crowds at a massive Day of the Dead parade in Mexico City. I’m probably not the only one who assumed that the parade was a traditional event and was fooled into wanting to go see it for myself someday. I was even more shocked to discover that the Mexican government decided to make this fictitious parade a reality this year in response to the James Bond film.(See scenes from the actual parade.)
Mexico, the country that underwent this clever development, is the theme of Chuo University’s Eighth International Week event. What comes to your mind when you hear the word “Mexico”? It’s likely to be the ancient Mayan civilization, the Aztec civilization, the country’s numerous World Heritage sites, the sounds of the Spanish language, mariachi bands, Lucha Libre, the auto industry, Frida Kahlo, a taco in one hand and a Corona in the other. These wonderful aspects of Mexico can all be experienced (unfortunately we couldn’t bring in the gorgeous beaches of Cancun) for a week between Monday, November 28 and Saturday, December 3 at Chuo University, primarily at the Tama Campus. The exciting event lineup was put together with the help of the Embassy of Mexico in Japan and the Mexico Tourism Board, and is sponsored by Aeroméxico. I and other members of the planning and operations team are greatly indebted to them for their support.
Enjoy the event at Tama Campus on Tuesday, November 29
Here’s how you might spend Tuesday, November 29—the second day of the weeklong event.
As soon as you pass through the entry gate to the Tama Campus Central Library, you’ll be struck by the displays of traditional costumes and crafts from indigenous Mexican people. There will also be books and photo collections featuring Mexican literature, history, culture, art, and the history of Japan-Mexico relations, with recommendations from Professors specializing in Mexico and Latin American studies, so be sure to stop by and look through the materials for yourself. In the International Documents Room, located in the back right of the library, you can enjoy a special collection of materials on Mexican World Heritage sites, provided mostly by UNESCO.
Once you’ve had your fill of Mexican culture, head to the Hilltop where you’ll have a chance to sample Mexican dishes in the student cafeteria—available only during International Week.
When you’ve satisfied your hunger, it’s time to leave the Hilltop and head to the Central Plaza, where a special Lucha Libre ring will be set up for the day. Lucha Libre is a Mexican form of professional wrestling whose name means “free fight.” You definitely don’t want to miss the tag match scheduled for 12:30–1:30 PM. A team of Japanese wrestlers who trained in Mexico, Secret Base, will put on a spectacular demonstration of their techniques. If you’re lucky, you might even be able to experience some of the Mexican-style training for yourself.
Once your interaction with the wrestlers comes to a heartbreaking end, it will be time to head out to Building #8, where a Japanese company will give a talk starting at 1:20 PM. The speaker will be Kazuyoshi Higuchi, Executive Vice President of Kiriu Corporation and Assistant to General Manager for Automotive Division No.1, Sumitomo Corporation. Mr. Higuchi lived in Mexico for more than sixteen years, and will speak about what leadership means in terms of understanding and working in another culture. For our current generation of students, who are destined to work either overseas (perhaps in Mexico) or in some kind of international environment—whether they want to or not—this lecture is an absolute must. (It is so important that Mr. Higuchi will be giving the same talk at the Korakuen Campus as well.)
Your intellectual curiosity now heightened, so you may want to visit the co-op shops to learn even more about Mexico. Related books, essential seasonings for Mexican cooking, and much more will be offered at the Mexico Fair shopping event. You can even purchase Secret Base goods as well.
The other days of International week will be filled with a variety of events as well, and the general public is welcome to attend free of charge. Don’t miss out on the fun!
Talk by the Mexican Ambassador to Japan and mariachi performance
- December 1 (Thursday) 11:00 AM–12:30 PM, Tama Campus, Building #8, Room 8308
Mr. Carlos Almada, Ambassador of Mexico to Japan, will give a talk entitled “Japan-Mexico relations: Historical perspectives and present situation.”
After the ambassador’s speech, stay for a performance by the Mariachi Saboten Brothers trio to be held on the Central Stage (or in G Square in case of rain). and enjoy the authentic traditional sounds of the same group that performs at official Mexican embassy events.
Talks from Japanese companies
- November 28 (Monday) 1:00–2:30 PM, Korakuen Campus, Building #5, Room 5336
- November 29 (Tuesday) 1:20–2:50 PM, Tama Campus, Building #8, Room 8203
Mr. Kazuyoshi Higuchi (Executive Vice President of Kiriu Corporation and Assistant to General Manager for Automotive Division No.1, Sumitomo
Corporation) will give a talk on the skills needed to work in a global environment.
Spanish language learning events
1. Spanish speech contest
- December 2 (Friday) 5:00–6:30 PM, Tama Campus, Building #8, Room 8303
Chuo student orators will talk about their passion for Spanish or for Mexico. The winner will receive a roundtrip ticket between Narita and Mexico City, courtesy of Aeroméxico. Who will be the lucky student who gets to fly to Mexico and put their language skills to the test as they tour the country’s must-see World Heritage sites?
2. Language Labo International Week Special
- November 30 (Wednesday) 12:30–1:20 PM, Tama Campus, G Square
Two student teachers who lived in Mexico and Peru will hold a Spanish conversation workshop. The class is designed to teach you basic Spanish expressions—even if you’ve never taken Spanish before. Take advantage of this opportunity to become more familiar with the Spanish language.
For more information
Visit the Chuo University official Facebook page or the event page for regular updates on International Week events.
Student reporters for the Hakumon Herald, published by the Chuo University English Newspaper Association, will be interviewing the people involved with the events and publishing news about the history and culture of Mexico, a country you’re likely to have never visited. They’ll also be discussing the relationship between Mexico and Japan, all in bilingual format. Be sure to take a look.
Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, Chuo University
Areas of Specialization: Applied Linguistics, Lexicography
- Professor Komuro graduated from the Department of Literature, Japan Women’s University in 1993. She obtained a Ph.D. in lexicography from the University of Exeter (England) in 2009. In 2005, she started working as a full-time instructor at the Faculty of Law, Chuo University and assumed her current position in 2007.
Her most recent publication is “Trends in Collocation Entries in English Learners’ Dictionaries [Gakushu eigo jiten ni okeru korokeshon kijutsu no hensen]” Kosei Minamide et al., eds. in English Dictionary Making (Taishukan Publishing, 2016).