Open Cafe’: Derdians vs Japan

Open Cafe Magenta 09.10.2019
By: Tiziano Tomassini

The Open Cafè Derdians Vs Japan evening was very interesting because it developed in two different phases.
In the first part the volunteers created two groups. A group represented the village of the Dardians with specific uses and customs and with a very particular language made of gestures and rituals difficult to understand for the visitor.

The other group was composed by Japanese engineers who had to visit the Dardians village to help them build a bridge between one part and the other of the city.
The engineers, however, after having worked out their own strategy, clashed with the language and rituals of the Dardians. This has created many difficulties; the engineers were lost, confused and did not know how to approach the Dardians to make themselves understood and not to
create misunderstandings. On the other hand, there was a desire from the Dardians to get help, however, as long as the Japanese engineers respected the local culture.
At the end of the activity the two groups managed to understand each other and therefore were able to build the bridge; so the story had a happy ending.

After this simulation we had a debate on how difficult it is to dialogue with a different culture if we do not know the language, the uses and customs and how we should be tolerant when we have situations like this.

The activity was preparatory for the debate we had with Martina Lunardi, a young teacher and graduate in Japanese.
It was very interesting to discover curiosities about Japanese culture and language going beyond the stereotypes and the few notions we have regarding a culture so different from ours.