Skip to main content

Japan with Nanaka - Vol. 5

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


class with masks


On February 3, we made devil masks and enjoyed Mamemaki and Fukuwarai. The devil masks made by the students are very nice and show their individuality. They tried Fukuwarai under the rule that they had to say "up", "down", "left" and "right" in Japanese.

Class Visit

zoom class


On February 7, I visited the Experience the Arts class and taught origami. It was my first-time teaching origami online, and I am glad to see that the participants enjoyed it. We made an origami cat and Mt. Fuji. The cat was easy to make, but Mt. Fuji was a little difficult.

Weekly Shodo Lessons - Week 1

Students practicing shodo


The first Shodo lessons were held on February 8 and February 10. The students learned the basics such as tool placement, how to hold the brush, posture, and how to wash the brush. They also learned how to move their arms by writing horizontal lines, vertical lines, and Mickey Mouse (curved lines).

Valentine's Day in Japan

students taking class picture


On February 14, the students learned about Valentine's Day in Japan and were surprised to learn that in Japan, that day is mainly for women to give chocolates to men. They also learned that there are different types of chocolates in Japan such as Honmei Choco, Giri Choco, Tomo Choco, My Choco, Fami Choco, etc. There are also interesting chocolates such as chocolates shaped like medicines, Buddha statues, and Takoyaki. The students enjoyed making chocolate cards, chocolate magnets, and figures.

Weekly Shodo Lessons - Week 2

Students practicing shodo


In the second Shodo lessons held on February 15 and 17, students reviewed what they learned in the first lessons and practiced the kanji character "永 (Ei, 'eternally')" which contains eight basic Shodo techniques. The students also tried to write their first names in kanji.

Japanese Culture Presentations

zoom video call


On February 25, Japanese language learners and others from Michigan, Oklahoma, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, and other states gathered. The representatives gave presentations in Japanese, English, or both languages on the theme of what they like about Japan. The participants were able to interact with each other and learn various things.

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).

View the PDF newsletter

Learn more about the Japanese Outreach Initiative at 

Office of Web Services