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Japan with Nanaka - Vol. 4

Monthly Newsletter curated by Nanaka Okamura, a Japan Outreach Initiative (JOI) Coordinator

Akemashite Omedetoo Gozaimasu

Tiger drawing


Ms. Rylie Park's work won first place in the Nengajo contest I held last year. Using her work, I printed Nengajo and distributed them to the students of the Japanese Program and to the people who have helped me. In Japan, people send Nengajo in the New Year to express their gratitude to those who take care of them on a daily basis.

Elementary School Visit

Teaching origami and Japanese to elementary students


On January 6, we visited an elementary school. From 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM, we taught Japanese and origami to 52 K-4 children in 10 groups. I taught them how to fold a Kabuto (Samurai helmet) and they made it very well. I also wrote their names in katakana with Sumi ink and Fude brush.

New Year Decorations

Students with Japanese New Year Decorations


On January 21, the first event of the year at WCU took place. Many students participated in the event and learned about the three typical Japanese New Year decorations, their meanings, how to make them, when to decorate them, and when to put them away. They also made 鏡餅 (Kagami Mochi) out of clay.

Kakizome Taikai

students writing Japanese words


On January 25, each student wrote their favorite word with a brush and ink on an ordinary piece of Hanshi paper or a large piece of Hanshi paper at least one meter (about 40 inches) in length. All of the words chosen by the students were very interesting. I wrote samples in various calligraphic styles according to the image of each word. They also wrote their full names in the Japanese writing system, surname, and first name in that order. It is interesting to see how some students write boldly when doing Japanese Calligraphy, while others write very carefully.

Class Visit

Students practicing Japanese calligraphy


On January 27, I visited a typography class and taught Japanese Calligraphy. After practicing how to hold the brush, posture, and write the basic lines, the students chose their favorite characters from samples and created their own works. Most of the students were experiencing Japanese Calligraphy for the first time, but they did very well.

Japanese Conversation Table

zoom video call


On January 28, I co-hosted an online Japanese conversation table with Western Michigan University, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Mayville State University. We talked a bit with all the participants and then split into two groups (beginner-intermediate and advanced) to enjoy the conversation. We had three students from WCU, the largest number of participants.

For More Information

For more information about the events I am hosting, please check out my Instagram (@NNK_JOI19_WCU) and Facebook Page (@JapanwithNanaka). I also put posters up in the McKee Building and University Center, so please check those out as well. Please feel free to visit my office (G08C, ground floor of McKee Building).

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