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TCI article
by Yoichi Fukui

Japanese instructor Yoichi Fukui

I currently teach the children’s Japanese class once a week. There are 11 classes with a combined total of more than 50 students. The children’s Japanese classes are a relatively new project for the Cultural Institute—which moved from SoHo to its current location in 2001 on its 10-year anniversary. [At that time] When we looked back on what we accomplished in the past 10 years, we felt the need to contribute more to the community—so we decided to start [the Children’s classes] in hopes that we could contribute in the education of the future generation.

We’ve received a lot of support from many places including Tenrikyo’s Boys and Girls Association, which had years of experience in childhood education, and from those at the Japanese Language Center in Canada.

In addition to the existing Japanese language classes for children at New York Center, there was already a plan for children’s classes at the time of [the Institute’s] founding—therefore the present is just the ripening of a long held desire.

The academic year ended last month on June 24 and the term concluded in the first ever graduation of two students since the program began. I rejoiced alongside the children as the graduation certificates were presented during the year-end ceremony.

We greatly appreciate your support and feedback as we continue in our efforts to contribute to our community.

A Breath of Fresh Air at TCI
by Masataka Odaka

Masataka Odaka in front of an installation by Naoki Takenouchi

Honestly, it was those big windows that first beckoned me to venture into the Tenri Cultural Institute (TCI). It’s been three years since then and I continue to come by at least once a week.

The glass panes up front seem to extend an invitation that translates into a warm reception once inside the expansive gallery space. The impressive use of glass throughout the interior achieves the functionality of a wall while maintaining a sense of spaciousness—a testament to the variety of mission of TCI. Having said that, TCI is one of the few places I know where the striking architecture of the building does not outshine the employees within.

Translation and website design are what I do when I come in to work once a week. But I find myself stopping by TCI every opportunity I get. The concerts, of course—but just to hang out and have a good time. I’ve come to rely on TCI to provide me with a breath of “fresh air”—the absence of NY-specific pollutants like car honks, cell yaps, and egos.

TCI employees prove that where humility and compassion are present, translation is unnecessary. In a materialistic city where the very concept of “priceless” requires a multitude of purchases, TCI is the metropolitan equivalent of a desert oasis, always welcoming and always its humble self amidst an environment of perpetual flux.

The writer is pursuing a double-degree in Jazz Performance and Theater at the New School.






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