Fifteen students took this course (only Japanese students)
The students were divided into four groups, and each of the groups visited farmers running farmhouse inns in Semboku City, Akita Prefecture, to listen to their life stories.
1. Theories and cases
The students learned fundamental theories on community development and cases of issues and solutions in Japan and Akita Prefecture through presentations by the students on the assigned literatures and discussions.
2. Guest speakers
(1) On-the-spot Lecture by Akita Prefectural Government
On October 20, 2014, Ms. Masako Muto and Ms. Yuka Akata at the Department of Tourism, Culture and Sports in Akita Prefectural Government provided the students with a detailed lecture on changes, current situations, and issues of the tourism industry in Akita Prefecture, using statistical data.
(2) Representatives of an NPO, and an owner of a farmhouse inn
On October 22, 2014, Ms. Kinuko Fujiwara and Ms. Yoshiko Shibata at Akita Hanamaru Green Tourism Promotion Council (a non-profit organization) and Ms. Fujimi Kadowaki at Seisetsukan, one of the farmhouse inns, visited our campus. They provided the students with lectures on the state of green tourism in Akita Prefecture and of their activities, using more concrete cases.
The event was covered on the blog of Akita Hanamaru Green Tourism Promotion Council.
AIU × green tourism in Akita! (Class in the "Community Development" course)
3. Method of qualitative research
The students learned methods of qualitative research and life stories through presentations by the students on the assigned literatures and discussions. To improve the quality of the interview survey, the students in each group interviewed each other and made transcriptions. In addition, using video footage of movies or of interviews in previous fieldworks, the students practiced dictating life stories.
Each of the student groups stayed overnight at a farmhouse inn separately and listened to the life stories of farmers on November 22 and 23, 2014. Before the interview survey, all of the students visited the four farmhouse inns together, and at Katakuri-kan, they had a lunch that consisted of Saimyoji chestnuts, a specialty of the Nishiki region. After that, each of the student groups moved to a designated farmhouse inn and conducted the interview survey. In addition to it, the students participated in activities peculiar to farmhouse inns, such as seeing smoking of Iburigakko (smoked pickles), hands-on experience in farming, and a walk in the village serving as dog walking, during the stay at the farmhouse inns.
Owners of the farmhouse inns who helped the students (Arranged in order of the Japanese syllabary)
- Sato no Akari: Mr. Jiro Sato and Ms. Yui Sato
- Seisetsukan: Mr. Masashi Kadowaki, Ms. Akiko Kadowaki, and Ms. Fujimi Kadowaki
- Taizando: Ms. Keiko Fujii
- Nodoka: Ms. Yukiko Takahashi and Ms. Yoshiko Takahashi
5. Data sorting
The students compiled the life stories of the farmers who volunteered to be the interviewees, sorting out data according to field notes and video footage. Through the lives of the owners of the farmhouse inns, the students learned about life in the community and the joy and difficulty in green tourism activities. In addition, knowing personalities of the narrators, some students said that they learned the way of living. What the students listened to in standard Japanese or in the Akita dialect will be organized, analyzed, and discussed in class through English.
Briefing session on learning results
The briefing session on learning results was held on campus on Saturday, December 6, 2014. The three farmers who volunteered to be narrators participated in the session. The students gave group presentations on the farmer's life stories and the actuality of community development. The presentations were given using PowerPoint and video footage. After the presentations, a party was held and friendships between the students and the farmers/narrators was further deepened.