Aramco workshop captures Japanese children’s curiosity

Saad AlKhateib (standing, right), and Yugo Nakamura (standing, left) of Aramco Asia Japan(AAJ) teach children the importance of oil and Saudi Arabian culture at the AAJ booth during “Manabi no Fes” (Festival for Learning). The booth helped inform the students and stimulate their curiosity.

More than 2,000 children and their parents recently participated in the “Manabi no Fes” (Festival for Learning) held at the Science Museum in the heart of Tokyo over spring break.

Aramco Asia Japan (AAJ) joined 34 other companies — including Subaru, Nomura Holdings, and NYK — in this one-day educational event, which is a component of Aramco's corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives.

Featuring themes such as “The Importance of Oil in Daily Life” and “The Familiarization with the Culture and People of Saudi Arabia,” AAJ amazed the audiences at its booth with the customized interactive program “Discover Saudi Arabia and Oil.” The program included a short presentation and lecture with a game-like quiz to familiarize students and parents alike with the notion of how oil has changed their daily life, as well as the differences and similarities between Saudi Arabia and Japan.

“I was surprised to learn that Arabic is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. It is pretty distinct that it is written from right to left,” said one visibly happy and excited student. “For me, every stroke I used to write my name was really, really interesting.” 

Saudi for a day

Excitement filled the faces of all participating students when they donned traditional Saudi Arabian dress, which is very different and rare in Japan. After learning about oil and Saudi Arabia, hands-on experience activities for learning Arabic greetings and writing their own names in Arabic followed. The visitors watched attentively when AAJ's Saad AlKhateib played the role of the day's teacher for Arabic greetings and handwriting.

“What amazed me is that those kids just went back to their seats and immediately wrote their names after I demonstrated it just once, and I think they did it very well. No wonder, because Japanese kids grow up in a culture where someone is teaching you, then you have to listen patiently. That is exactly what they did,” AlKhateib said with a smile.

This semi-annual program is organized by Mainichi, the third largest daily newspaper in Japan. It hosts a wide variety of entertaining and educational activities that were aimed at teaching these school kids valuable lessons under various themes such as “Science Experiments,” “Be a CEO,” “Manage Your Money,” Operating a Ferry,” “Cooking,” and much more.

This creative yet educational festival provided an enjoyable and unforgettable experience for families during the students' spring school break.