I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to visit the Lisa Sainsbury Library on an overseas secondment for three months from late October 2019 to the end of January 2020 as part of a programme established in 2012 between the Sainsbury Institute and Keio University Media Center (Library). Every year, one librarian from Keio University Library visits the Lisa Sainsbury Library and I was the eighth librarian to participate in the scheme. While helping catalogue books at the Lisa Sainsbury Library, I was also fortunate enough to visit other Japanese studies libraries in the UK and in Europe such as Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and Norway.
Libraries that house resources of their particular research field are indispensable for academic researchers. Especially in Japanese studies, librarians with an extensive knowledge of Japanese materials and resources have a particularly important role to play in facilitating their research activities. In the UK and Europe, libraries that specifically deal with materials related to Japanese studies have formed groups and associations which facilitate close cooperation, further supporting research on Japan. The experiences gained through this secondment scheme have given me insight into this support of Japanese studies in Europe, and I have gained an awareness that libraries in Japan should enhance international collaboration. I am looking forward to exchanging information and working together with the librarians that I have met throughout my time at the Lisa Sainsbury Library.
During my time at the Institute, I was also given a number of opportunities to take part and help out with various Japanese cultural events such as the Third Thursday Lectures that the Sainsbury Institute organise every month. I was pleasantly surprised that these events attracted so much local interest in Norwich, and that there were so many people keen to find out about cultures of Japan, a country that is so far away geographically from theirs.
The three months I spent in Norwich were particularly wonderful, and far beyond what I had expected. To be in such a beautiful setting and to listen to the bells of the Norwich Cathedral every day was simply a joy. Having enjoyed walks in the city, eating wonderful food, and meeting kind people, I was completely enchanted by Norwich. I will always remember the people of Norwich and their enthusiasm towards Japanese culture, as well as the deep engagement in Europe with Japanese studies, and I will continue to endeavour to support Japanese research as a librarian in a Japanese university library.
Finally, I would like to express my sincere gratitude towards the members of staff at the Sainsbury Institute without whom I could not have had such a great time in Norwich. I very much appreciate the Sainsbury Institute providing me with such a wonderful opportunity.
Ms Yoshii Yukiko
Librarian, Keio University Media Centre
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