I want to foster helpful dialogue between women from different backgrounds and nurture the concept of “Happy Woman, Happy All” to prevent more war.

日本語 Interview by Isao Tokuhashi   Erin Shiraishi (Ukraine) Entrepreneur *Photo provided by Erin Shiraishi Last year, we received a message from someone after a long time. It was from Erin Shiraishi, a former journalist turned entrepreneur. Originally from Ukraine, Erin has lived in many countries. She told us that she recently came back to Japan from France and founded ProMaman – an online social platform to help women everywhere to discuss what they need. In celebration of her entrepreneurial achievements, we requested an interview with her. *Interview held online   Creating an online space for struggling women I organize

MET Column

A Stopover in Georgia

日本語 Daniel Penso Columnist/Proofreader/Translator Photo by Daniel Penso As one entranced by the cultures of Japan and other parts of East and Southeast Asia, going to somewhere in the former Soviet bloc would appear to be something out of the usual routine. Central Asia and Western Asia, albeit Asia, are not the same in all sorts of ways, be it food, language or ways people lead their lives. So going to Georgia was something I would not have imagined doing previously. I had been interested in the Georgian language (ქართული ენა Kartuli Ena) for the last few months and had

Happy Birthday to the countries!

Happy Birthday to Kazakhstan!

Ak Orda (“the white horde”) Presidential Palace, located in the capital city of Astana. *Photo from Wikipedia December 16 is Republic Day of Kazakhstan, celebrating the independence of the country from the Soviet Union. The territory of Kazakhstan has historically been inhabited by nomadic tribes. This changed in the 13th century, when Genghis Khan occupied the country as part of the Mongolian Empire. Following internal struggles among the conquerors, power eventually reverted to the nomads. By the 16th century, the Kazakh emerged as a distinct group, divided into three jüz (main territorial and tribal division in the Kypchak Plain area

Happy Birthday to the countries!

Happy Birthday to Turkmenistan!

Darvaza gas crater, known locally as the “Door to Hell” or ”Gates of Hell”, a natural gas field collapsed into an underground cavern located in Derweze, Turkmenistan. Geologists set it on fire to prevent the spread of methane gas, and it is thought to have been burning continuously since 1971. The diameter of the crater is 69 meters (226 ft), and its depth is 30 meters (98 ft). *Photo from Wikipedia October 27 is Independence Day, celebrates the independence of Turkmenistan from USSR in 1991. The region’s written history begins with the region’s conquest by the Achaemenid Empire of ancient

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Happy Birthday to Tajikistan!

Tajik young women during Navrūz (Persian New Year). They are holding sprouting plants which symbolize rebirth. *Photo from Wikipedia September 9 is Independence Day, celebrates the independence of Tajikistan from USSR in 1991. The area has been ruled by numerous empires and dynasties, including the Achaemenid Empire, Sasanian Empire, Hephthalite Empire, Samanid Empire, Mongol Empire and Timurid dynasty. The Tajik people came under Russian rule in the 1860s. The Basmachi revolt, an uprising against Russian Imperial and Soviet rule by the Muslim peoples of Central Asia, broke out in the wake of the Russian Revolution of 1917 and was quelled

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Happy Birthday to Uzbekistan!

Uzbek newlywed couple. *Photo from Wikipedia September 1 is Independence Day, celebrates the independence of Uzbekistan from the Soviet Union in 1991. What is now Uzbekistan was in ancient times part of the predominantly Persian-speaking region of Transoxiana, with cities such as Samarkand growing rich from the Silk Road. The area was later conquered by a succession of invaders including the Arab Caliphate and Turkic states such as the Göktürk Khaganate (a political entity ruled by a Khan or Khagan), after which it was laid waste by the Mongols. The region was conquered in the early 16th century by Eastern

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Happy Birthday to Kyrgyzstan!

Kyrgyz family in a region of Kyrgyzstan. *Photo from Wikipedia August 31 is Independence Day, celebrates the independence of Kyrgyzstan from the Soviet Union in 1991. Although geographically isolated by its mountainous location, it had an important role as part of the historical Silk Road trade route. In between periods of self-government it was ruled by Göktürks (突厥, a nomadic confederation of Turkic peoples in medieval Inner Asia), the Uyghur Empire, and the Khitan (契丹) people, before being conquered by the Mongols in the 13th century; subsequently it regained independence but was invaded by Kalmyks (the Oirats in Russia), Manchus

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Happy Birthday to Moldova!

Central market in Chișinău, the capital and largest city of Moldova. *Photo from Wikipedia August 27 is Independence Day, celebrates the independence of Moldova from the USSR in 1991. Most of the Moldovan territory was a part of the Principality of Moldavia from the 14th century until 1812, when it was ceded to the Russian Empire by the Ottoman Empire (to which Moldavia was a vassal state) and became known as Bessarabia. In 1856, southern Bessarabia was returned to Moldavia, which three years later united with Wallachia to form Romania, but Russian rule was restored over the whole of the

Happy Birthday to the countries!

Happy Birthday to Ukraine!

Hopak, a Ukrainian folk dance. *Photo from Wikipedia August 24 is Independence Day of Ukraine. It is celebrated in commemoration of the Declaration of Independence of 1991. During the Middle Ages, the area was a key centre of East Slavic culture, with the powerful state of Kievan Rus’ forming the basis of Ukrainian identity (*Kievan Rus’ is the East Slavic tribes in Europe from the late 9th to the mid-13th century). Following its fragmentation in the 13th century, the territory was contested, ruled and divided by a variety of powers, including Lithuania, Poland, the Ottoman Empire, Austria-Hungary, and Russia. A

Happy Birthday to the countries!

Happy Birthday to Belarus!

Minsk, the capital and largest city of Belarus. *Photo from Wikipedia July 3 is Belarus’ Independence Day, celebrates the liberation of Minsk from Nazi occupation by Soviet troops in 1944. The decision to celebrate Independence Day on July 3, the day of the liberation of Belarus from the Nazis, was made during the 1996 national referendum proposed by President Alexander Lukashenko. After an initial period of independent feudal consolidation, Belarusian lands were incorporated into the Kingdom of Lithuania, Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and later in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, and the Russian Empire. In the aftermath of the 1917 Russian Revolution,