Kururu Seminar

“Kururu Seminar” is a seminar that was designed by Vice Director Atsushi Makino. It is intended for elderly individuals (especially retired corporate employees). In Gifu prefecture, projects with
similar objectives have been going on since 2001 (about 14 years). In Kashiwa city, Chiba Prefecture, a demonstration experiment was conducted in Takayanagi district from October to December 2009 and from October to December 2010 in collaboration with Kashiwa city and the social welfare council. The objective of the seminar was to create connections among community residents through lifelong study and to promote voluntary social participation. The basic principles of the seminars are: lifelong seminars to create societies; town development through collaboration of public administration and education.
“Kururu” is a term that was coined by the IOG to describe three Japanese verbs: “kiku,” “miru,” and “suru.” These three verbs help create an image of active elderly individuals. The objective of the seminar is not just to participate in lifelong study courses, but to create connections among community residents and enable them to actively participate in community activities through group activities and volunteer activities.
Kururu seminars have been conducted in the Toyoshikidai Apartment Complex since 2013. In 2014, the seminars were implemented from the 1st term to 3rd term. The 1st term is conducted from June to July with 130 participants, 2nd term from November to December with 160 participants, and 3rd term from February to March with 180 participants. The number of participants increased by little and little. In popular courses such as “Singing Salon” and “Thinking About Lifestyles and Health in Older Age,” there were more than 70 participants. In many courses, people numbering more than twice the available seating applied. This indicates a high level of interest in these courses. Most courses are intended to organize groups through body movement, as in “Singing Salon,” “Walking Seminars,” and “Communicating through Improvisation.”
There are other courses which aim to develop groups in order to address issues in the community on a voluntary basis such as “Disaster Prevention Seminar,” “Caregiver Training Program,” and “How to Set Up a Mutual Assistance Organization.” There are classroom lectures which introduce courses on daily life and health-related issues in older age, like “Considering Daily Life and Health Issues in Older Age”. The IOG presents various Kururu seminars to offer an environment in which participants are able to make friends in the community by studying in a fun manner.
Participants seemed to get to know each other well as they participated in the various sessions. It seems that participants invite other participants to their own circles and have meals together after seminars. Also, through participation in the seminar, some participants with similar interests gathered and formed new groups of four or five. Hereafter, with the support of the IOG, municipality, and social welfare council, we plan to have opportunities to present activity results in the community facility.
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kururu1 This seminar aims to consider daily communication skills through games and working to create improvisational theater. Workshops are conducted by finding three things in common with other people, but without using words. The goal is to learn to facilitate communication with others more smoothly.
kururu2 The photo above shows a task wherein participants imitate the bodily movement of the other person as if standing in front of a mirror. Since participants are asked to imitate movements simultaneously and without the use of words, they come to think about the other party automatically.
kururu3 A group of people start and stop walking at the same time. A rule for this exercise is that participants are not allowed to talk to each other. Unless all participants observe the others using all five senses, each individual is likely to move in a different direction.
kururu4 In this course, Miho Takagi (Division of Clinical Psychology, Graduate School of Education) taught participants to learn how to get along with themselves. There were many male participants.
kururu5 There were enthusiastic participants who listened to the four-hour intensive lectures for two days in a row without showing any signs of fatigue.
kururu6 In the first session, participants repurposed kimonos and other fabric into small items. In the second session, participants watched the process of putting on and wearing traditional costumes such as twelve-layered ceremonial kimonos.
kururu7 After watching the kimono session, participants started to take photos using cell phones. There were enthusiastic participants who asked the lecturer many questions.