Quando (mais) uma porta se fecha e (mais) uma janela NÃO se abre…

Há pouco mais de um mês enviei um email para a Fundação Japão/Japan Foundation, uma instituição dependente do Governo do Japão mas com a função de apoiar projectos culturais fora do Japão. Infelizmente (e incompreensivelmente) a Fundação Japão não tem qualquer representante ou escritório em Portugal nem reconhece a Embaixada do Japão em Portugal como seu representante, por isso quem pretender dirigir-se à JF para pedir apoios para projectos culturais tem de escrever para a sede europeia (no Reino Unido) ou directamente para o Japão. Foi o que eu fiz.

Normalmente sou pouco paciente, reconheço… Mas como disse passou um mês e não tive qualquer tipo de resposta (apesar de repetir o envio). Por isso vou resolver a minha assumida frustração partilhando com os meus leitores e os visitantes ocasionais deste blog o email que lhes enviei. Se, depois de lerem isto e de verem por vocês mesmos tudo o que foi feito, também a vocês vos parecer que não há nenhuma razão para apoiarem o meu projecto e nem sequer mereço resposta então por favor façam-me saber que perdi o juízo e este é um barco afundado. Como se costuma dizer: se três pessoas te dizem que estás doente pôr-te na cama.

Dear Sir or Madam,

My name is Inês Matos, I’m a portuguese researcher on Japanese Studies, a PhD. Student in Coimbra University, an author of books about Japan, the creator and manager of the non-profitable cultural project “Um longo Verão no Japão” (it means “a long summer in Japan”, as in “since that long…”). The name came from my first photography exhibition after returning from my field work in Japan in November of 2012.

Since early 2013 I’ve been developing contents in portuguese language about Japan and using a facebook webpage to gather followers in Portugal and within the portuguese communities overseas, as well as in Brazil since they also speak portuguese and can enjoy the contents on the webpage.

I’ve worked all alone, with my own means and supporting it all by myself for this past two years and a half (even my field work as a researcher came for my own savings). Within that time period I’ve presented Japanese art and culture (I’m an art historian and cultural heritage expert) in schools, libraries, city halls, universities, cultural associations, and alike.

I’ve also done pro bono counseling to scholars, artists and writers in order for them to get their works known in Japan, using the contacts I’ve stablished there; and I’ve also helped groups (such as the scouts) to plan their trip to Japan.

Many of my texts, like the ones gathered under the title “Survivor Guide” are available on line for free.

Video-conferences for students and many other videos are available on my youtube channel, both in portuguese and english.

I’m very proud of what I’ve achieved so far with just sheer will and hard work. But right now I must turn to you to request information and guidance about what to do in order to keep this project going.

In December of this year I will lose the scholarship I’ve been living on. It wasn’t much but it allowed me to use all my time to learn about Japan and use all my free time for this non-profitable project. I even used part of the scholarship to pay for expenses such as creating exhibitions, traveling to remote areas of the country in order to give lectures, and so on. Without the scholarship I will no longer be able to support this project all by myself neither will I have any free time to do it since I will have to search for an income of my own.

It would be a pity for this project to end just because it can’t support itself. The results it achieved precisely because it was of open access and so close to people were immense when we consider that in Portugal there’s very few people aware of japanese studies and about the relation between Portugal and Japan.

I’m not sure how Japan Foundation can help support this project but I address you my plea. Please visit the FB page, the YT channel, the WP blog and see for yourself. Of course I’m available for your questions and eager to ear your suggestions. I can also say that the Japanese embassy in Portugal and the Embassador Mr. Azuma can provide their view about me and my work in Portugal.

Upon your request I can also send a detailed report about all the results of the cultural project “Um longo Verão no Japão” in this past years and the expectations and ideas to be implemented in the future.

Yours sincerely,

Inês Matos