Ukrainian evacuee gives lecture on international culture at elementary school in western Japan

Iryna Malysheva, left, explains the Ukrainian version of the rock-scissors-paper game during a lecture held at an elementary school in Ritto, Shiga prefecture on June 1, 2022. (Mainichi/Kenichi Isono)

RITTO, Shiga – A Ukrainian evacuee in Japan spoke to a group of elementary school children at an international culture conference here on June 1, encouraging them to discover other parts of the world.

The lecture was given by Iryna Malysheva, 31, who fled the Russian invasion of Ukraine and now lives in the town of Ritto, Shiga prefecture. Her son Mark Chuplyi, 8, attends a school that has a class teaching students about foreign culture and diversity, and she was invited to speak there. She spoke to 83 third graders, including Mark, and told them, “Please study hard, eat your school lunches and learn a lot about the world.”

Iryna Malysheva, right, wears a traditional Ukrainian costume alongside her son Mark Chuplyi at her elementary school in Ritto, Shiga prefecture, on June 1, 2022. (Mainichi/Kenichi Isono)

In the classroom, three other non-Japanese tutors of the school’s students taught the students about life and food in their home country while showing them pictures.

Dressed in a traditional Ukrainian costume with a floral ornament on her head, Iryna introduced school life in her country, saying, “Ukrainian schools have a three-month summer break from June and the enrollment ceremony is held in September. Each class is 40 minutes, and there are 20-minute breaks.” The speakers also talked about the rock-scissors-paper game in their country, and Iryna explained that Ukrainians also use gestures meaning paper, rock and scissors, like in Japan.

She said after the course, “Initiatives like this are really wonderful and I am moved. She also said she has gradually gotten used to life in Japan since arriving here about two months ago and now does her shopping by herself using an interpreter app on her phone. smartphones.

Ukrainian evacuee Iryna Malysheva, far left, presents dishes representative of her home country to students at an elementary school in Ritto, Shiga prefecture, June 1, 2022. (Mainichi/Kenichi Isono)

According to the school, Mark is looking forward to calligraphy lessons and is also very interested in swimming lessons, which will start this month. Iryna added with a smile that her son has friends who greet him in Ukrainian and he likes to play with everyone.

(Japanese original by Kenichi Isono, Kusatsu Resident Bureau)

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