“I’ve had this abacus for years but don’t use it anymore. Is there someone there who would?“ is what was heard over the phone at the Global Exchange Office at Osaka City University.
What a thoughtful offer from a person who read in a newspaper article* that an international student at OCU became “certified 1st level by the League of Japan Abacus Association” in only eight months.
Mr. Janek Fleper, a graduate school student at University of Bonn, Germany, had been working in the Ultracold Quantum Gas Laboratory under Professor Shin Inouye, Graduate School of Science, OCU, since last October. One day, while he was in the Global Exchange Office, a flyer for an abacus class for international students caught his eye. Janek always had a knack for math which he proved by becoming the fourth non-Japanese person to pass the 1st level exam.
Ms. Kuniko Yoshikawa, resident of Toyonaka City, saw this while she was reading the evening newspaper as her daily routine. She was astonished. A few days later, she while was organizing her drawer, and she stumbled upon an abacus that her parents gave her when she was a student. Just then she remembered the article about Janek. She felt it a pity to leave the abacus to collect dust when she knew a promising youth could make use of it. She looked for the article and called OCU, where Janek was studying.
On September 3rd, 2019, Ms. Yoshikawa handed Janek her abacus, now neatly polished and in a new case. “I really appreciate to receive such a wonderful gift. I will take it to my next abacus class and I cannot wait to show it to my family in Germany,” exclaimed Janek. He immediately showed Ms. Yoshikawa his abacus skill by correctly calculating everything she said. We thank Ms. Kuniko Yoshikawa for this unique and heartfelt international exchange. We hope Janek, who has now gone back to Germany, continues to make good use of his gift and becomes a "master of abacus".
*Sankei Newspaper, 30 July 2019 Evening Edition