The importance of communication: It can change your life!

I first learned of Carly’s story through YouTube. A long time ago (6, maybe or 7 years), I stumbled upon a video of a news report about her life. It made me think a lot about the way we communicate and interact with people, and also how we might end up taking things for granted in our lives.


As the video in question (click here to go watch it!) tells us, Carly Fleischmann was born with autism, which would be the general term for a group of complex disorders of brain development. She lived the first years of her life having difficulty doing the most basic things like walking, sitting up, interacting with the world around her and, most importantly, being unable to communicate with other people. Not even the excruciatingly long hours of therapy were of any help.


But one day, when she was eleven, something happened that changed Carly’s life forever. She ran to a computer and typed a word, the first thing she was ever able to tell her parents. “Hurt”. Then, she typed “help”. While this is a basic, mundane thing for most of us, to her it meant everything. A girl that had been labeled as “mentally challenged” her whole life could finally express herself and tell people what she needed, wanted and thought about.


And boy, did she tell people. Her words showed that she was just a girl that didn’t have full control of her body, totally capable of understanding and communicating normally. Also, being able to talk, even if it’s a non-verbal conversation, to other people helped her condition improve drastically. She even wrote a book about her life experience!


To think that something we do easily on a daily basis, like greeting a person or telling other people what we feel, has had such a huge influence on Carly’s wellbeing and development still amazes me. We normally don’t think about how privileged we are, especially when it comes to these regular, daily actions like communicating with other people, until when we leave our comfort zone and are not able to do those things anymore.


As for me, the first time I felt like that was when I came to live in Japan as an exchange student, in 2008. I had never been abroad alone before, and while I could communicate in English and Japanese to a certain extent, that was the first time in my life that I couldn’t be understood fully by my peers.
It was like being a child again, having to learn vocabulary, expressions and social customs that used to be obvious to me. Getting misunderstood and being scared of doing something wrong were things I felt on a daily basis, and will probably still feel as long as I live here. And while this experience isn’t even close to what Carly has to deal with in her life, it still makes me appreciate so much the fact that I can express myself. Also, it made me try harder in order to be able to tell people my thoughts and feelings in other languages.


I guess that’s why it makes me so happy to know that Carly has been doing well, against all the odds. Since the interview that brought her story to light, she has had to face many ups and downs in her health, but she never gave up on her work as an advocate for people with autism and on her dreams. To be heard, to be understood, to be anything that she wants to be. And now, one of her dreams actually came true! Some months ago, she uploaded on Youtube the video of her first interview as a talk show host, with her guest being no one less than Hollywood actor Channing Tatum. (Watch it here!) Again, by trying her best to make her thoughts into words, Carly showed us that it is possible to find your inner voice, in your own way.


And you? Have you ever thought about the importance of communication? Have you had any issues expressing yourself? How did you manage to overcome it? Or are you still trying to find yourself? Here at the ICC, through our many events, we try our best create a community that can help all Waseda Students express their inner voices too.


You can always count on us!




F. S. T. (ICC Staff)


Waseda=Countless opportunities / Waseda=innumerables oportunidades

Hello there! Congratulations on being accepted to Waseda University.


This is T.I., currently performing as a Student Staff Leader (SSL) at the International Community Center of Waseda University.


As your first classes start, you might have realized that you’ve just entered a world filled with countless opportunities. Having the freedom to learn from top-tier faculty, to exchange opinions with fellow students coming from across the globe and Japan, or to immerse yourself in the limitless number of circles and clubs, are just a few of the chances that will be offered to you upon entry to Waseda.


The International Community Center (ICC) at Waseda University is one of those. Currently, there are about 5000 international students enrolled in Waseda; number encompassing almost 10% of the total student population. The ICC was established 10 years ago in order to make use of this vibrant diverse environment, and further enrich on and off-campus cross-cultural exchange. I personally encourage you to make the most of your student life by actively engaging in the ICC’s activities as a participant or as a supporting volunteer.


My career at the ICC started like that: from a supporting volunteer to becoming a SSL today. Even though it has only been a year since my connection with ICC started, I have personally gained a lot. I have especially learned how to appreciate diversity in terms of internationalization and globalization—both of which have nothing but opportunities for current and future endeavors for everyone.


Besides being academically challenged, it is up to you to decide whether you want to partake in extracurricular activities that will shape and polish you as an individual. I encourage you to challenge yourself to opportunities that will provide you with tools that will help you grow. ICC plays a paramount role at Waseda and I invite you to come and join us in our activities! The choice to take this opportunity or not is up to you! 




T. I. (Student Staff Leader)




Waseda=innumerables oportunidades


Hola! Felicitaciones por haber sido admitido a Waseda University.


Te saluda T.I., actual Staff Student Staff Leader (SSL) en el International Community Center de Waseda University.


A medida que pase tu primer semestre, te habrás dado cuenta de que haz entrado a un mundo cargado de innumerables oportunidades. Tener la libertad de aprender de la mano de profesores renombrados, de intercambiar opiniones con estudiantes provenientes del mundo y Japón, o de sumergirte en el ilimitado número de circles y clubs, son solo algunas de las pocas chances que te serán ofrecidas al entrar a Waseda.


El International Community Center (ICC) de Waseda University es una de esas. Actualmente, hay casi 5000 estudiantes internacionales matriculados en Waseda, número abarcando cerca del 10% de la población estudiantil total. Para hacer uso y maximizar este ambiente de semejante naturaleza vibrante, y enriquecer el intercambio intercultural dentro del campus más a fondo, el ICC fue establecido 10 años atrás. Yo personalmente, te aliento a que vivas tu vida de estudiante al máximo participando activamente de las actividades del ICC como participante o voluntario coordinador..


Mi carrera en ICC ha empezado así mismo: como un voluntario coordinador, hasta convertime en un SSL hoy día. Aunque ha sólamente sido un año desde que mi conexión con ICC ha empezado, yo personalmente aprendí mucho más de lo esperado. Aprendí a cómo saber apreciar diversidad en términos de internacionalización y globalización—ambos, fenómenos completamente cargados con meras oportunidades para futuros y presentes emprendimientos para todos.


Aparte de estar siendo desafiado académicamente, depende de tí decidir si quieres participar en actividades extracurriculares que te moldearán y pulirán como persona. Yo te animo a que te desafíes a actividades que te proveerán herramientas que te ayudarán a crecer. El ICC juega un rol importante en Waseda y te invito a que te unas a nuestras actividades. La decisión de tomar esta esta oportunidad o no depende de tí! 


T. I. (Student Staff leader)


ICC映画上映会「東北ライブハウス大作戦ドキュメンタリー ムービー(英語字幕版)」を終えて

「東北ライブハウス大作戦」という、東日本大震災の被災地を応援する活動のドキュメンタリームービーを初めて観たのは、2013年7月17日渋谷CLUB QUATTROでの上映会でした。


当時はすでに、東北ライブハウス大作戦ツアーと題して、アーティストの公演とともに多くの人々が被災地を訪れていました。しかしながら、あの日の津波の光景があまりにも衝撃的であり、自分も何か力になりたいと思いつつも、被災地に足を運ぶことができずにいました。けれど映画を観て興味を持つことだけでも、少しは役に立てるかなという気持ちで会場へ向かったのを覚えています。この映画は津波で何もかも流されたところに、人が集まれるライブハウスを作るというドキュメンタリー映画です。上映に先立ち、オープニング・アクトとして登場してくれたのが、プロジェクトの賛同アーティストでもあるロックバンドのDOESでした。 『今を生きる』という楽曲の「僕らの存在が嘘にならないように、消えてしまわないように、今を生きる」というメッセージと、映画の中の宮古、大船渡、石巻の人々の姿がシンクロして、できることがあれば力になりたいと、改めて思うきっかけとなりました。






しかし、ムービーを上映するにあたり、「言語」の問題が出てきました。本学には世界各国からの学生が多く集まっています。内容をより理解してもらうには日本語と英語での対応が不可欠でした。字幕、音声の日本語に加え、90分におよぶ映画に、英語字幕を付けて上映するという企画がスタートし、発案から約1年半を経て実施に至りました。そして、この翻訳を担当してくれたのが、早稲田大学公認サークル ザ・ワセダ・ガーディアンです。早大生の凄いところは、大変だと思われることも「サークルの新人の翻訳練習になるからいいですよ」と、快く引き受けてくれることです。ICCでは学生サークルとの連携も数多くありますが、ワセダの気質でしょうか、そのパワーにいつも感心しています。



本編の上映に関しては、英語字幕を付けていただいた監督の木村真生さん、音響チームSPC peak performance代表で東北ライブハウス大作戦事業部本部長の西片明人さん、ライブハウス・クラブカウンターアクション宮古の太田昭彦さん、ライブハウス石巻BLUE RESISTANCE代表の黒澤英明さん、TOSHI-LOWさん(from BRAHMAN)、クハラカズユキさん(from The Birthday)、うつみようこさん(うつみようこ&YOKOLOCO BAND,うつみようこGROUP, UFOS)、東北ライブハウス大作戦に関わるスタッフの皆様のご協力により、本当に素晴らしいイベントを開催することができました。宮古市の山本正德市長からも「みなさんのパワーは、繋がって、繋がって私たちのところにも届きます。宮古市は必ずや復興します!復興した宮古のまちを、ぜひ見に来てください」というメッセージを頂きました。人と人とが繋がって、今後も早稲田から日本の地域へ、そして世界へと広がっていってほしいと願っています。






N. N. (ICC Staff)







“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” (より引用)






T. K. (Student Staff Leader)


築地市場には、もう行きましたか? / Have you been to Tsukiji yet?












Have you been to Tsukiji yet?


No? You haven’t been there even though it’s going to move to a new place very soon?


Tsukiji fish market has a long history. However soon it will be closed and moved to new site in Toyosu. Sadly the buildings are too old and too small for it to remain in its current location.
However I love the really narrow pathways and seeing the people working.
Watching a lot of visitors from foreign countries there, I’m so happy to show them the best place in Japan.
You can see some rare kinds, sizes and parts of fish you cannot see in daily life.
Also the area is a magnet for delicious food, even things that aren’t seafood.
Fried egg, curry rice, dumplings…, they are so great even though the place is a fish market!
I always seriously regret that I have only one stomach when I go there, though even if I had ten stomachs, it wouldn’t be enough!


Sorry but the truth is, I’m not a Tsukiji maniac.
I’ve been there only a few times.
I went there for the first time last February.
But I’ll never forget how tasty the fried horse mackerel I had that day was.
Because of that I couldn’t eat any other kind of fried horse mackerel anymore.
By the way, recently I found out Waseda was near Tsukiji by subway.
So you can have breakfast and lunch at Tsukiji, and have classes in the afternoon.
Probably, however I can’t concentrate in classes because I always feel so full!


If you have never been to Tsukiji, let’s go there!
What? You are not good at getting up so early?
But for this it’s totally worth it.
You don’t like the smell of fish? Tsukiji has no bad smells because it only has fresh fish.
Anyway, you should visit there and give me your impressions please.
I’d like to talk about how excellent Tsukiji is. I’m waiting for you!




H. K. (Student Staff Leader)


A Message for “Supporters” from the ICC Student Staff (from the “ICC Thank You Party”) / ICC学生スタッフからサポーターの皆さんへのメッセージ(「サポーター慰労会」より)

Many of the ICC’s events are held successfully thanks to the volunteer students called “supporters”.
On July 12th, we held an ICC Thank You Party to express our appreciation to the supporters who helped with our events during this semester. Below are the speeches made by 2 of the ICC student staff at the end of the party.


ICC will call for supporters for various events again in the fall semester.
We hope you come and join us as supporters!









Good evening everyone. My name is Yoojin and I’m from Korea.
I am a 2nd year at SILS and also a student staff member at the ICC.
On behalf of all the other student staff I am really glad to express our gratitude to all our supporters.


It’s already been 9 months since I entered the ICC.
Honestly, I didn’t really think about how much our supporters helped with the events at first.
I was busy adapting to my new work, memorizing speeches like this one, and shadowing other staff to learn about my responsibilities at the ICC.


Now, that I am not a rookie anymore, and actually take charge of events I have come to fully appreciate the help our supporters give us at every event we hold.


Especially, this semester, I engaged in most of the events and every time I organized them, there were supporters. Without supporters, I am sure that the ICC could not even start most of the events, let alone succeed with them.


There are so many different types of events that the ICC holds. Language events like the Japanese chat club, English chat club and language lunches.


There are events to deepen the understanding of other Cultures such as our country festivals, Japanese culture week and the LGBT ALLY WEEK.


And of course, there are our sports events, the International Karaoke contest and talk sessions.


From small scale daily events to occasional huge scale events, we all appreciate the help of our supporters.


Supporters, who are pure volunteers, have a strong ambition to contribute and change Waseda. Also, their engagement in events has a deep meaning to participants who appreciate that they have given up their time to help for free.


Therefore, from my heart, I would like to say THANK YOU.


I hope all the supporters do not forget that your kind, small engagement always makes a way bigger difference. You make the ICC what it is, and you make Waseda what it is.


In about a month I will take a flight to China for one year to challenge myself in another environment and culture.
During my stay in China, I will never forget the great experiences that I have had here.


Let’s enjoy tonight and let`s keep changing Waseda together.


Thank you.


Yoojin Choi



Visit here for photos!










自ら行動を起こして始めないと何も変えられないと思い、頑張って新しい友達を作ろうと、まずICCのwelcome weekのイベントに全部参加してみました。サポーターや他の参加者と出会えてとても楽しかったのですが、同時に自分にもイベントでもっとできることがあるはずだと考えました。


私にとって、大きなイベントを実施するよりもっと嬉しいのは、ICCのイベントで参加者同士が良い友達になる様子を見ることです。自分でもにほんごペラペラクラブに参加して、その時のサポーターと今同じ授業を取っていますし、Language and Culture Exchangeのパートナーととても良い友達になり、お正月の時彼女の家に誘われました。意図的に異文化交流をしようとして交流するというよりは、違う文化と考えを持つ人たちと同じ時間を楽しく過ごしていると、気づかずに異文化交流ができているという感じがします。

























R. T. (Student Staff Leader)


What I got in Vancouver

These days, many students go to study abroad in many different ways and with different purposes. When I decided to study abroad, some people asked me, “Why are you going abroad besides studying English?” or said “You can study English in Japan”. Because I couldn’t answer these questions clearly, I started asking myself what my purpose is besides studying English. People often say that going abroad is to learn about the cultural differences but I didn’t understand what that exactly means. I didn’t know how my body would react when I actually experience it.



When I look back, I feel that I learned 2 things while I studied abroad in Vancouver.
First, I improved my English skill. In my first few months, I pretty much struggled to improve my English. Even though I studied from 9 am to 4 pm every weekday at an English language school, my English didn’t improve quickly. I had to be patient and make some more effort. For my English, I did two things. First, I recorded all the classes that I took and, listened to it once or twice after school. The reason why I did it is that I thought stealing vocabulary or phrases from other’s conversation would be a very efficient and practical way to improve English. Second, I just kept my eyes open wherever I went because new vocabulary was everywhere. It was on the train, in restaurants, even in washrooms. When I found vocabulary that I didn’t know, I looked into a dictionary or just asked somebody. Looking into a dictionary each time I found any new vocabulary was such a pain but I thought that is what everybody does. Also, I believed that even taking lots of small steps would bring me progress. When I was in Vancouver, I was really thinking what I can do for my English, so that gave me probably some skills and confidence.



Second, I broadened my horizons. Honestly, whenever I saw news happening in different countries, I thought it was too far away. Therefore, I had little knowledge about different countries. However, since I met a lot of actual people from those countries, the way I think about the world has changed. They told me what is happening right now, and I started to think of it on a personal level because they are my friends.



In conclusion, I think going abroad by itself doesn’t mean anything, but when you put yourself into a situation where you have to do something, you will become stronger. Also, by meeting and talking with new people, you can expand your interests, and make your life more beautiful.



YO(Student Staff Leader)























H. K. (Student Staff Leader)


The Busiest Time of My Life

I can safely say that the past 6 months have been the busiest time of my entire life on this planet. More busy than the three days and nights that it took to finish my dissertation when I graduated from University. More busy than my first big move when I started at University in my hometown. More busy than when I moved to China. More busy than when I moved from China to Japan with only two suitcases to hold every possession I had. Busier than anything else I have ever done, and it’s still going on. I’m beginning to think that this isn’t a busy “period” but what the rest of my life may actually be like. To be honest it has been very tiring but it has also been a lot of fun. Every day seems to bring a new challenge and life is never boring.


I am still getting used to using Japanese every day at work. It can be difficult and stressful sometimes but it is great practice for me and I feel like I learn at least 3 to 4 new words every day through everyday events. I feel like this is the type of job I have really been looking for in my life, something that gives me a variety of challenges and teaches me something every day. The ICC staff members have been very good to me, and I feel like I’m slowly becoming part of the team here. I don’t want to let my colleagues down and I do feel pressure from that, however it is not a bad kind of pressure but a kind that gives me motivation, that makes me want to come to work because I feel like what I do matters.


Personal fulfilment is something that we are all searching for. We find it in different ways and at different times, but one thing that makes it even better is sharing it with others. Working together and living together I think brings human beings closer to understanding one another. This is one reason why I enjoy working at the ICC, because it is a place that brings people together, whatever their nationality, under this roof they are one. By celebrating and sharing their differences and experiences, people are brought closer together. Seeing the younger people smiling and talking together, working hard together on things, reading and broadening their minds. It brings me great hope for the future, and it makes me passionate about helping them achieve their goals.


C. W. (ICC staff)

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