Skip to main content

Japan with Nanaka - Vol. 6

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


zoom video call


On March 3, Michigan 4-H members, one former JOI coordinator, and four current JOI coordinators from Oklahoma, Nebraska, North Carolina, and North Dakota held a joint Hinamatsuri event. Participants enjoyed quizzes, origami, songs, and other Hinamatsuri-related events. In May, we plan to jointly organize an event related to Kodomo no Hi.


Edamame Champ


The #EdamameChamp event was held at WCU on March 16 and at the Jackson County Public Library on March 19. A total of 20 people participated in the two events, ranging from children to adults. #EdamameChamp is an annual spring campaign by Table for Two to promote healthy eating through Japanese cuisine focusing on soy and to raise funds for teaching healthy eating to more children.

Japanese Tea Ceremony Demonstration

zoom video call


On March 21, students from UNC-Chapel Hill's JAPN 418 hosted a tea ceremony demonstration with former WCU's JOI coordinator Ms. Suzuki. Several students from WCU attended and learned about the tea ceremony. Her explanation of the meaning of lifelong learning and Zen words was very interesting. The tea ceremony demonstration was very quiet and beautiful.

Japanese Calligraphy Exhibition

Japanese Calligraphy at library


On March 22, a reception was held at the Jackson County Public Library for my Japanese Calligraphy exhibition. This exhibition will be on view through the end of April, and I encourage you to visit. I hope you enjoy all 13 works and their respective commentaries.


The Rotunda Gallery at Jackson County Public Library

310 Keener St, Sylva, NC 28779

Class Visit

Students practicing Japanese calligraphy


On March 23, I visited 2 Two-Dimensional Design classes and taught Japanese Calligraphy. It was the first time for all the students to try Japanese Calligraphy, and they took it very seriously. We learned how to write basic lines and then each student wrote a favorite word in Japanese. I wrote their names in Japanese and was pleased that they liked them so much.


students by cherry blossom tree


On March 25, we enjoyed Sakura (cherry blossom) viewing near Alumni Tower. We played Darumasan ga Koronda (Red light, Green light) in Japanese. The students enjoyed this game very much and played it many times. Since it was very cold that day, we moved to McKee 121 and students enjoyed paper-cutting and drawing.

Japanese Calligraphy Workshop

Japanese calligraphy Workshop


On March 26, a Japanese Calligraphy workshop was held in the community room of Jackson County Public Library. The workshop was held with the assistance of the Jackson County Arts Council and was attended by 6 participants. The workshop lasted 2 hours, but the participants said that there was not enough time and that they would have liked to do more.

Weekly Shodo Lessons - Week 3-Week 6

student doing a shodo lesson


Shodo lessons are offered every Tuesday and Thursday. Students are very enthusiastic each time. The lessons begin with preparing Sumi ink to calm their minds, and in the third through sixth weeks, the students wrote kanji characters in various calligraphic styles and designed picture kanji characters. Look forward to seeing their amazing work at the International Festival on April 28.

SCC Cultural Fusions Festival

SCC cultural fusions festival


On March 30, the JOI program had a booth at the Cultural Fusions Festival held at Southwestern Community College. 3 students from the Japanese Program and I held the #EdamameChamp and over 25 people joined it. We also explained to the participants about the Japanese Program and the JOI Program and had a great time interacting with other booth exhibitors.


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