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Japan Group Tour Programme for UK Head Teachers
26/11/2014
 

As part of the Japan Foundation’s Primary Japanese Campaign to support and encourage primary schools teaching Japanese language, we took 19 headteachers to Japan from October 25th to November 1st 2014 to give them the chance to learn more about Japan and the Japanese education system.


The programme included a whole range of Japanese cultural experiences to help deepen the headteachers’ understanding of Japan. They saw Japan’s modern side with a visit to the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (known as Miraikan), spent some time near the giant robot-like gundam in Diver City, Tokyo and rode on Japan’s fastest train, the shinkansen. In Kyoto, they were able to experience Japan’s more traditional side, as they explored the areas around Kiyomizudera temple and Yasaka shrine on the East side of Kyoto.


The headteachers also spoke to the Deputy Assistant Vice-Minister, Mr Ken Okaniwa, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They also visited the British Council in Tokyo.  Lastly, they enjoyed inspiring seminars from Lori Henderson MBE, Executive Director of British Chamber of Commerce who spoke about business in Japan, as well as Professor Mark Langager of the International Christian University, who spoke about the Japanese education system.


The highlights of the programme were the visits to two Japanese schools, Fujimi Elementary School in Tokyo and Ooyake Elementary School in Kyoto. The UK headteachers had the chance to observe the Japanese education system first-hand, as they took part in English classes, observed a whole range of lessons, and spoke to the Japanese teachers. One headteacher said the following; “the two school visits were inspirational and it was delightful to meet such lovely staff. I now am keen to develop the project further to have a link school in Japan that we can work with.”


So far we have had fantastic feedback from the schools involved in this programme. One participant told us “I had some experiences which I will never forget and will talk about for years to come!” While another mentioned that was an “amazing experience, thank you!”


The Japan Foundation would like to thank all the headteachers for joining us, as well as ANA (All Nippon Airways Co. Ltd) and Mitsubishi Corporation International (Europe) Plc for their generous support for this Programme. If you would like to see some further photos from this trip, they are available on the Japan Foundation’s facebook page here.



Japanese Plus Special: Friend or Foe? Understanding Japanese Thought and Culture through Yōkai
18/11/2014
 

What exactly are yokai, the monsters and ghouls of Japanese folklore? How were they thought of, and what purpose did the stories about them serve? And what might they look like if transplanted into a different cultural context, such as the modern-day UK?  These were just some of the questions answered by this month’s Japanese Plus course for advanced Japanese learners, “Friend or Foe? Understanding Japanese Thought and Culture through Yokai”, which ran from the 4th to the 12th of November.


The course, attended by 39 participants in total over the course of two weeks, was led by the Japan Foundation’s Assistant Japanese Language Advisor, Mio Tsunematsu. In the first week, the etymology and history of Japanese yokai were elucidated, with numerous examples examined from both traditional folklore and modern sources such as anime and manga. Week 2 focused on the purpose served by yokai legends, as explanations for natural phenomena or vehicles for moral instruction. Participants were then invited to create and illustrate their own yokai, adapted to reflect life in modern Britain, with imaginative and often amusing results.


All participants responded very positively to the course, particularly to Tsunematsu-sensei’s teaching and the opportunity to come up with their own yokai. Darcy Perkins, a Japanese Plus veteran, commented,  I like the courses because I get to maintain my Japanese, learn new Japanese and also learn something new about traditional or modern Japan.”


We’d like to thank all participants for taking part in Japanese Plus, and we hope to see more people take part in our next course!


To learn more about Japanese Plus, please click here.



Workshop - WJEC Japanese Language Units
10/11/2014
 

On the 22nd October 2014, 16 teachers of Japanese attended a seminar to learn more about WJEC’s Japanese Language Units. These qualifications can enhance Japanese language lessons by giving pupils the opportunity to gain formal recognition for their learning. The WJEC Language Units are small bite-sized QCF (Qualifications and Credit Framework) qualifications which enable learners to demonstrate their competence and progress by producing evidence in the classroom, rather than taking exams. 


The workshop started with an overview about the support, funding and resources that are freely available for teachers of Japanese in the UK. This was followed by the introductory assessor training course from Claire Parry, the WJEC Vocational Qualifications Subject Officer.  Claire spoke about the qualifications, and explained how to adapt the context and focus of the evidence to fit in with any school’s curriculum. Lastly Tadashi Sakai, a Japanese teacher from Wolverhampton High School for Girls, introduced the resources that he has been using to teach Japanese for these qualifications. These resources were created with Funding from the Japan Foundation’s Local Project Support Programme, and will soon be available (for free) from the WJEC website.


If you were unable to join us for this event, but you are interested in using these qualifications to accredit the Japanese language learning at your school, Claire Parry will be running other sessions to introduce these qualifications in Birmingham on 5th February 2015 and in Plymouth on 21st April 2015. You can find out more information here.



Introduction to Flipped Learning for GCSE-level Japanese with Anne Rajakumar
10/11/2014
 

Forty teachers learned how to successfully combine technology with innovative teaching methods on October 29th 2014, at the Introduction to Flipped Learning for GCSE-level Japanese seminar held by Anne Rajakumar at the Japan Foundation London.


Head of Japanese at Hockerill Anglo-European College, Anne-sensei has used the Japan Foundation’s Japanese Language Local Project Support Programme funding to create a series of short video tutorials which she uses in conjunction with her self-created workbooks, “Everything you ever wanted to know about the GCSE-level Japanese course.” These videos are used to teach Japanese via the “flipped learning” method:  Students learn vocabulary and grammatical patterns prior to using them in class through the videos, and can also consolidate their learning by watching the video after the relevant lesson. It is even possible for students to complete the Japanese GCSE course online if there is no specialist Japanese teacher available thanks to the videos.


In her presentation, Anne-sensei not only introduced her own videos and resources, but also explained how teachers can create their own multimedia resources for “flipped learning” and advised them on how best to use them with the students. She also demonstrated how effective the new “flipped learning” method has proved at her school, including video feedback from the students themselves.


Due to popular demand, Anne-sensei has created a website where her resources, including the videos, can be accessed for free: http://japanese4schools.co.uk


Anne-sensei’s presentation was followed by introductions to other resources and support services available through the Japan Foundation, including the new JFL Japanese Scheme of Work for primary schools and  Japanese Taster Lesson Resource Activity Pack.


The seminar was well-received by all participants. Some of the comments made by participants at the end of the seminar include:


「わかりやすい説明で助かりました。」 (“The presentation was easy to understand and a great help”)


“Anne sensei’s generosity always impresses me & puts me to shame as I am not doing much”


Flipped learningGCSEだけではなく、他でも使いやすいと思います。勉強になりました。ありがとうございました。」
(“I think ‘flipped learning’ would be easy to apply to any teaching, not just for GCSE. Really useful – thank you very much!”)


We would like to thank Anne Rajakumar for giving such an inspiring presentation, as well as the staff and students of Hockerill Anglo-European School for supporting her activities, and of course all the participants who came to the Japan Foundation London for this event.



French-Japanese Language and Culture Programme
04/11/2014


The Institut Français, the Japan Foundation London and Network for Languages have created a new resource to support high-level language learning in the UK. This resource will help support students that study French at AS and A level in order to improve their oral communication in French while at the same time, widen students’ language skills to include basic Japanese. The resource can be used as part of a programme will include intensive day(s) dedicated to languages within the students’ curriculum.


We are now looking for schools that teach A-level French that might be interested in taking part in the programme. Their students will have the chance to improve their French, by using their French language skills as a tool to learn basic Japanese. Students will also be given the chance to explore both French and Japanese culture. Teachers do not need any proficiency in Japanese to take part in this project.


The resources are available to download below, or you can also find the on the culturetheque website from Institut français du Royaume-Uni. Please let us know what you think!

Download Attachment



Japan Foundation at the 2014 Language Show Live
23/10/2014
 

A big thank you to everyone who visited the Japan Foundation’s stand at the Language Show Live on the 17th, 18th and 19th October at Olympia.


Held once a year, the Language Show is the UK's biggest event for language learners, teachers, linguists and anyone with a passion for languages.  The Japan Foundation’s stand gave visitors a chance to experience Japanese language and culture, including writing their name in Japanese.


On Friday, for the first time, the Japan Foundation held a presentation on kami-shibai (a traditional form of Japanese story-telling with pictures), and how this can be used effectively to teach not only Japanese, but any foreign language. This presentation used resources from the newly-developed Japanese Language Scheme of Work for Primary Schools, and Japanese Taster Lesson Sample Activity Pack.


On Saturday, we held a Japanese Language Taster session led by the Japan Foundation’s Assistant Japanese Language Advisor, Mio Tsunematsu. It was attended by enthusiastic language learners of all ages, who learned basic Japanese greetings and the writing system.


Finally, on Sunday, we were very lucky to be joined by Crispin Chambers, Head of Japanese at Tavistock College and winner of the Pearson National Teaching Award of Teacher of the Year in a Secondary School for his work in Japanese.  He held a seminar on encouraging students to study languages by introducing them to less common, non-European languages (such as Japanese).


Additionally, we held a Japan Quiz, which approximately 700 people entered. 


The answers to the quiz were as follows:


1. Japan is in which continent?  a) Europe       b) Asia      c) Oceania
Answer: b) Asia. Japan is in East Asia.


2. What Hollywood film was inspired by Akira Kurosawa’s classic Japanese film ‘Seven Samurai’?  a) The Magnificent Seven   b) King Kong   c) Jurassic Park
Answer: a) Seven Samurai. John Sturges’ 1960 movie The Magnificent Seven was inspired by Kurosawa’s 1954 movie, Shichinin no samurai, called “Seven Samurai” in English.


3. The kanji (Japanese character) means “words,” and the kanji  means “tongue.” What do you think their combination, , means? a) To taste   b) To read   c) To speak
Answer: c) To speak. 
The Japanese word to speak is “hanasu” (す).


4. What is Japan’s famous high-speed train, the Shinkansen, also known as? a) The Bullet-Train      b) The Maglev      c) The TGV
Answer: a) The Bullet-Train. 
The Maglev is the more recent “magnetic levitation” train, and the TGV is France’s high-speed rail service.


Out of those who answered the quiz correctly, we picked five at random to send our Japan Foundation Goody Bag. Congratulations to Luke O’Donovan, Michal Dzienio, Brigitte Barrett, David Bonnano and Honorata Radwanska who have all been sent Goody Bags!


We would like to thank Crispin Chambers and all our Japanese Taster for Schools volunteers who generously donated their time and expertise for the show.  Domo arigato gozaimashita!


Japan Foundation will also be attending the Language Show in 2015, on October 16th, 17th and 18th  at the Olympia, London. We hope to see you there!



Japan Foundation at Japan Matsuri 2014
15/10/2014
 

Japan Matsuri returned to Trafalgar Square in London on Saturday 27th September 2014. This popular annual festival brings members of the Japanese community and Londoners together to enjoy the many aspects of Japan with Japanese food, music, dance and other activities.


The Japan Foundation ran a stall at the festival providing information about studying Japanese in the UK, useful handouts about our support for schools and details about all of our upcoming events.  In addition, we held a Japan Quiz, which over 600 people entered. 


The answers to the quiz were as follows:


1. Japan is in which continent?  a) Europe       b) Asia      c) Oceania
Answer: b) Asia. Japan is in East Asia.


2. What Hollywood film was inspired by Akira Kurosawa’s classic Japanese film ‘Seven Samurai’?  a) The Magnificent Seven   b) King Kong   c) Jurassic Park
Answer: a) Seven Samurai. John Sturges’ 1960 movie The Magnificent Seven was inspired by Kurosawa’s 1954 movie, Shichinin no samurai, called “Seven Samurai” in English.


3. The kanji (Japanese character) 言means “words,” and the kanji 舌 means “tongue.” What do you think their combination, 話, means? a) To taste   b) To read   c) To speak
Answer: c) To speak. 
The Japanese word to speak is “hanasu” (す).


4. What is Japan’s famous high-speed train, the Shinkansen, also known as? a) The Bullet-Train      b) The Maglev      c) The TGV
Answer: a) The Bullet-Train. 
The Maglev is the more recent “magnetic levitation” train, and the TGV is France’s high-speed rail service.


Out of those who answered the quiz correctly, we picked four at random to send our Japan Foundation Goody Bag. Congratulations to the four winners M.F Stringfellow from Brighton, , and Melissa Schuh, Samantha Junak and Ashaar Shaikh all from London, who have now been sent their good bags!



September 2014 Japan Foundation-JGap Seminar
30/09/2014
 

On Saturday September 20th 2014, 37 teachers of Japanese and other individuals in the field of Japanese language education came to the Japan Foundation London to take part in a seminar by Prof. Koichi Nishiguchi of the Center for International Education and Exchange, Osaka University. Prof. Nishiguchi has produced several well-known Japanese textbooks, including books in the Perfect Master Kanji and Minna no Nihongo series.


The seminar was co-organised by the Association of Japanese Language Teachers in Europe e.V.and  Japan Foundation London as part of the JGap project to investigate articulation problems and possible measures within Japanese language education, using the UK as a model. It explored the theme “Self-Expressing Activities and Elementary Japanese Language Education.” In the first part of the seminar, Prof. Nishiguchi outlined the importance of social communication verses practical communication in terms of conveying one’s sense of “self.” This was followed by a workshop in which all participants discussed the issue and how they can effectively create their own self-expressing activities for their students within their classrooms.


Some of the feedback from participants included:


「とても勉強になりました!!」
(“It was really useful!!”)


「早速、使わせて頂きます。」
(“I’ll be using these ideas in the very near future.”)


「大変勉強になるセミナー、ワークショップを参加費無料で開催していただき、感謝しています。ありがとうございました。実践での活用、実際に使えそうなアイディアがたくさん盛りこまれていたのがよかったです。」


(“I’m so glad this really useful workshop and seminar was held for free – thank you. It was great that there were so many practical ideas that I can put to real-life use.”)


We would like to thank Prof. Nishiguchi and all the participants for contributing to such a lively and inspiring workshop.



Japan Group Tour Programme for UK Head Teachers 2014
25/09/2014


As part of the Japan Foundation’s Primary Japanese Campaign to support and encourage primary schools teaching Japanese language, we have invited 20 head teachers to take a study trip to Japan from the 25th October to 1st November on the Japan Group Tour Programme for UK Head Teachers. We are delighted to announce the names of the teachers that will be joining us:

Bowhill Primary School, Devon -                               Lynda Brooks, Headteacher
Brixham Church of England Primary School, Devon -  Melody Easter, Headteacher  
Charlton Manor Primary School, London -                  Timothy Baker, Headteacher  
Coteford Junior School, Middlesex -                           Joanna Martin, Headteacher
Edwinstree Middle School, Hertfordshire -                  Julie Michael, Headteacher
Elburton Primary School Academy, Devon -               David Bradford, Headteacher
Escomb primary School, Durham -                            Wendy Gill, Headteacher
Great Malvern Primary School, Worcestershire -         Robert Bothma, Assistant Headteacher
Grimley and Holt CofE Primary, Worcestershire -        Helen Hoarle, Headteacher
Madley Primary School, Herefordshire -                     Lee Batstone, Headteacher                     Netherthong Primary School, West Yorkshire -           Catherine Jubbs, Headteacher
Prince Rock Primary School, Devon -                         Simon Spry, Headteacher
Southfield Primary School, London -                          Simon Prebble, Headteacher
St Andrew's Primary School, Bath -                           Susan East, Headteacher
St Marks CE Primary, Kent  -                                    Christopher Hollands, Deputy Headteacher
St Mary's School for Girls, Essex -                             Hilary Vipond, Principal
St Saviours Infants, Bath -                                       Edward Harker, Headteacher
Tenbury C.E.Primary School, Worcestershire -            Jill Grant, Headteacher
The Octagon AP Academy, London -                          Angela Tempany, Head of School
Tollgate Primary School, Suffolk -                             Alison Earl, Headteacher
                                       
The programme will include Japanese cultural experiences to help deepen their understanding of Japan, as well as a visits to Japanese schools in Tokyo and Kyoto to observe the Japanese education system first-hand. It will also provide an excellent opportunity to network with teachers in Japan, as well as with other head teachers in the UK whose schools are enthusiastic about Japanese. 



Japanese Taster for Schools (JTS) Programme Volunteer Training Day September 2014
23/09/2014
 

On September 12th 2014, 20 current and prospective volunteers attended a Training Day for the Japan Foundation’s Japanese Taster for Schools (JTS) Programme, in which native and fluent Japanese speakers conduct free Japanese taster sessions in UK schools.


After an overview for new volunteers about the Japan Foundation and the JTS programme itself, the participants heard a report from a volunteer who had held a recent Japanese language taster at the Charter School, a secondary school in London. This taster had proved to be challenging yet rewarding, and the participants found it really useful to hear about the volunteer’s real-life experiences.


This was followed by workshops by Hiroko Tanaka (Japanese Language Advisor and co-ordinator of JTS at the Japan Foundation), who introduced a number of enjoyable activities that volunteers could use in their own taster sessions. These included using the “Hiragana Rap” to learn the basic sounds of the Japanese language, playing matching pairs and board games to learn vocabulary, and the highly energetic game “Fruit Basket,” similar to “Musical Chairs” but great for practicing new Japanese words. Several of the activities introduced came from Japan Foundation’s own online resources, including Ready Steady NihonGO! ,  JFL Japanese Scheme of Work for primary schools and the draft version of the Japanese Taster Lesson Resource Activity Pack.


All the volunteers enjoyed the training day and said that they found it useful. Shraddha Payyapilly, who was attending the training day for the first time, said, “I have learnt about so many simple, easy and extremely effective techniques about teaching Japanese. I am extremely grateful and happy to be allowed as a part of this training day. Special thanks to Tanaka sensei. She is very motivating and kind.”


Yasue Gunji, another newcomer to the JTS Training Day, commented:


「とても楽しく学ばせていただきました。体を動かしてのセッションもおもしろかったです。イギリス特有の、又それぞれの年齢においてリアクションの違いなども学べてよかったです。」


(“I really enjoyed learning about teaching Japanese taster sessions. The sessions where we got to move around were particularly fun. It was good to learn about the characteristics of British schools and how different age groups react to the tasters.”)


We would like to thank all participants for coming, especially our guest speaker!


If you are interested in taking part in the JTS programme as a volunteer, please click here for more information.



2014 Japanese Refresher Course for Teachers
28/08/2014
 

From August 18th – 20th 2014, 13 intermediate and advanced speakers of Japanese came to the annual Japanese Refresher Course for Teachers  to refresh their Japanese before the start of the new school year. This year’s attendees were non-native Japanese language teachers from a wide range of teaching backgrounds, from private tutors to secondary school teachers.


This year’s  theme was 「学ぼう!教室活動のネタ」- "Tips for class activities." The aim of the course was to explore various classroom activities and ideas for teaching Japanese, while at the same time brushing up on the teachers’ own Japanese language ability. Lead by the Japan Foundation’s Japanese Language Advisors, Dr Seiji Fukushima, Ms Hiroko Tanaka and Ms Mio Tsunematsu, the course gave participants the opportunity to explore all different kinds of teaching methods.


The course began with a look at some of the useful resources available for teaching Japanese – Reading Tutor and OJAD – followed by an introduction to teaching Japanese onomatopoeia using manga. This was followed by sessions on teaching Japanese using kinaesthetic learning; employing movement, dance and songs in order to re-enforce learning. Finally, participants presented their own tips for teaching Japanese


All participants enjoyed not only exploring teaching methods, but also the opportunity to network and practice their Japanese with fellow Japanese teachers. Some of the comments we received from participants included:


Very useful practice. Excellent tips from JF staff, especially on grammar and very resourceful participants.
(Olga Saburova, Rochester Grammar School)


“Very good balance of activities: song/dance/manga/grammar etc, targeting a wide range of age groups and abilities.” (Forum Mithani, Westminster Kingsway College)


“Overall, this was an excellent course. I would recommend it to all teachers of Japanese.” (Robert Fox, Aston University)


We would like to thank all participants for coming to the Refresher Course, and really hope to see them again at future events. お疲れ様でした!


You can download files from the Refresher Course below

Download Attachment



The Ishinomaki Children’s Newspaper - English translations now online
26/08/2014


Ishinomaki is a city in Japan’s Miyagi Prefecture, and is one of the areas that suffered severe damage due to the Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011. As they began to rebuild, the children of Ishinomaki published Ishinomaki Hibi Kodomo Shinbun; a newspaper created by the children that reports the current activities in their city.


On May 10th 2014, the Japan Foundation London held a second translation event with the Ishinomaki Hibi Kodomo Shinbun; a newspaper created by Japanese schoolchildren that reports the current activities in their city. Ishinomaki is a city in Japan’s Miyagi Prefecture, and is one of the areas that suffered severe damage due to the Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011. The children created their newspaper one year after the disaster, and now, three years on from the tsunami, the children aim to tell Ishinomaki’s story to people all over the world. To bring this goal to fruition, 32 volunteers spent their Saturday morning translating articles from the newspaper into English. You can read a little more about the event here.


Now, the children are ready to tell Ishinomaki’s story to people all over the world. All the translated articles are available on the Ishinomaki Kodomo Shinbun website (click here to read more in English, or here for the Japanese website.) They also have a twitter feed, which you can follow here. We hope you will enjoy their articles in English. The Japanese versions of these article are not published online, however if you are interested in reading the latest copy of the Ishinomaki Hibi Kodomo Shinbun, there are still some copies available at the Japan Foundation London, just outside the library.


We would like once again to thank all volunteers for giving up their time on this project, and to the organisers and children at Ishinomaki for their very genki participation!



Japan Foundation at Hyper Japan 2014
21/08/2014
 

A big thank you to the 2,000  visitors who came to the Japan Foundation’s stand at Hyper Japan on the 25th, 26th and 27th July 2014.


HYPER JAPAN is the UK's biggest celebration of Japanese culture, Japanese cuisine, and Japanese cool. The Japan Foundation London’s stand gave visitors a chance to find out more about Japanese arts and culture, and studying Japanese language.


One of the highlights of our stand was our Japan Quiz, which around 1,300 people entered. 


The answers to the quiz were as follows:


1. Japan is in which continent?  a) Europe       b) Asia      c) Oceania
Answer: b) Asia. Japan is in East Asia.


2. What Hollywood film was inspired by Akira Kurosawa’s classic Japanese film ‘Seven Samurai’?  a) The Magnificent Seven   b) King Kong   c) Jurassic Park
Answer: a) Seven Samurai. John Sturges’ 1960 movie The Magnificent Seven was inspired by Kurosawa’s 1954 movie, Shichinin no samurai, called “Seven Samurai” in English.


3. The kanji (Japanese character) 言means “words,” and the kanji 舌 means “tongue.” What do you think their combination, 話, means? a) To taste   b) To read   c) To speak
Answer: c) To speak.
The Japanese word to speak is “hanasu” (す).


4. What is Japan’s famous high-speed train, the Shinkansen, also known as? a) The Bullet-Train      b) The Maglev      c) The TGV
Answer: a) The Bullet-Train.
The Maglev is the more recent “magnetic levitation” train, and the TGV is France’s high-speed rail service.


Out of those who answered the quiz correctly, only five people could win the Japan Foundation goody bag. The lucky five were Simon, Kristian and Edward from London,  Roshni from Middlesex and Lynn from Essex. Well done to them!


Don’t forget that the Japan Foundation will be at Alcon (Anime League’s Anime & Gaming convention at De Montford University) on September 6th and 7th, and at Japan Matsuri at Trafalgar Square on September 27th. We hope to see you there!



Introduction to NEW resources for primary Japanese Scheme of Work
07/08/2014


On the 1st of August 2014, 12 primary teachers joined Japan Foundation staff for an introduction to both the Japan Foundation’s new Japanese Scheme of Work for Key Stage 2, and easy to follow resources that can be used alongside the Scheme of work. These teaching materials have been created by the Japan Foundation’s Chief Language Advisor Dr Seiji Fukushima, and have been tested with two classes of Year 3 pupils at Southfield Primary School. Participants were each given exclusive draft versions of the resources, and Dr Fukushima gave explanations about how he taught his class, and how his resources might be adapted for other primary Japanese classes. The resources themselves include worksheets, plans, activities, games etc.


Dr Fukushima explained the structure of the new Scheme of work, introduced the kind of activities he had tried at Southfield Primary School, and showed examples of student’s work, including a video with the children acting out animal-related vocabulary using the story of Ookii Kabu (The Enormous Turnip).


This was followed by an introduction of the Japan Foundation’s new taster package by Hiroko Tanaka, the Japan Foundation’s Japanese language advisor. This package includes lessons on some basic Japanese vocabulary, games and several culturally-related activities (which can be chosen depending on the time of year). Ms Tanaka demonstrated activities such as “fruit basket” (where students have to switch chairs depending on what vocabulary is called) and “tama-ire” (where participants have to throw balls into a basket, and then count how many they have managed to acquire.) Lastly attendees were told about the vast range of support, training and networking opportunities available to schools that teach Japanese.


One teacher, Laura Parfitt, told us that “It has been so useful to have the SOW and resources ready-made and with such clear lesson plans.” After the event, Catherine Rodrigues mentioned “I feel very motivated to go back to school and start teaching Japanese. Thank you for organising today!”


We hope this event gave the attendees everything they need to start teaching primary level Japanese from September. If you could not attend the event, but are interested in the new resources and taster package, they will be available to download from the Japan Foundation website soon.



Yookoso, Tsunematsu-sensei!
24/07/2014

The Japanese Language Department are delighted to be joined by a new Assistant Language Advisor, Mio Tsunematsu:


「はじめまして、国際交流基金ロンドン日本文化センターに日本語指導助手として参りました、常松未央と申します。私は、タイで1年、その後は日本で日本語教師をしてまいりました。ロンドンへは観光で一度来たことがありますが、住むのは初めてですのでこれからの生活が楽しみです。」


"My name is Mio Tsunematsu and I am an Assistant Japanese Language Advisor at the Japan Foundation, London. I taught Japanese language in Thailand for one year and then I taught in Japan. I have visited London before as a tourist but it’s my first time to live here, so I’m looking forward to experiencing London life."


We'd like to offer Tsunematsu-sensei our warmest yookoso (welcome!)



Japanese for ALTs 2014 - Beginners’ Japanese class for JET participants
24/07/2014


The Japan Foundation London held its second exclusive beginners’ Japanese class for participants of the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme, in which graduates from English-speaking countries go to Japan to teach English and promote cultural exchange.


The course took place over July 19th and 20th, and 17 JET participants in total took part. Led by the Japan Foundation’s new Assistant Japanese Language Advisor, Mio Tsunematsu, the course was based on Japan Foundation’s coursebook Marugoto: Japanese language and culture, in addition to material from the accompanying MARUGOTO+ website and Erin’s Challenge! I Can Speak Japanese. The Marugoto coursebook, which is based on JF Standard for Japanese Language Education  and emphasises learning Japanese for practical communication and cultural understanding, was very appropriate to the JET participants, who will soon find themselves in situations where they will need Japanese in order to accomplish basic tasks such as ordering food, meeting new people, and teaching Japanese school pupils. To keep the course effective and enjoyable, Tsunematsu-sensei incorporated many different activities into the lessons, including role-play, games and videos of Japanese life.


We were also very fortunate to be joined by fluent Japanese-speaking volunteers, who gave participants the opportunity to practice their newly-acquired Japanese and ask questions about Japanese language and culture.


 Some of the feedback from participants included:


 “Very useful, and good value. Having volunteers to speak to was really good as we could explore related vocab and phrases and learn more about Japan.”


“Practising with native speakers was very useful. It was also enjoyable to hear about the culture first-hand.”


“Very good, very happy, inexpensive and met some lovely Japanese people. Very happy!”


The participants will all be travelling out to Japan in August, and we wish them all the best of luck – ganbatte kudasai!


A big thank you to all the participants for coming, and an especially big thank you to the Japanese-speaking volunteers  - ARIGATOU GOZAIMASHITA!



MARUGOTO Plus Global Homepage
08/07/2014


There’s been some exciting new changes to the structure of the Marugoto supplementary webpages which now means you can easily find the relevant Marugoto websites all in one place!


Marugoto Plus (https://marugotoweb.jp/) used to only feature content about the Starter (A1) course, but it is now the Global Homepage, with links to all  the other Marugoto sub-sites, including:



Enjoy using Marugoto Plus!



Nihongo Cup Japanese Speech Contest for Secondary School Students 2014
01/07/2014


The Nihongo Cup Japanese Speech Contest for secondary school students was held at the Embassy of Japan in London on June  21st 2014.


The 18 finalists, who had been selected from 205 applicants from 25 different schools across the UK, all demonstrated great creativity, thoughtfulness and outstanding ability in Japanese in performing their speeches – not to mention extraordinary courage to present their ideas in a foreign language to an audience of 130 people!


Between each of the three categories of speeches, the audience had the opportunity to watch videos and presentations from the Federation of Abbey Schools and Netherton Junior and Infant School, two primary schools which teach Japanese language and culture. It was the first time primary schools have been involved in the Nihongo Cup and it was inspiring to see primary-level children show such enthusiasm for Japan at such a young age.


Due to the extremely high level of Japanese and the thought-provoking content of the speeches delivered by all finalists, the judges had extremely difficult decisions to make when choosing the final winners of the 204 Nihongo Cup. In the end, Rianna Shah (Key Stage 4 and 5 Post-GCSE), Aisha Mariam (Key Stage 4 and 5 Pre-GCSE) and Hana Khan (Key Stage 3) were awarded first prize in each of their categories.


We asked some of the winners and other attendees about their thoughts and feelings about learning Japanese. 1st prize winner Aisha Mariam commented, “Japanese is a language I hold dear...Learning the language is something I really enjoy doing and would definitely recommend to everyone. I can’t stress enough how brilliant and exciting it is! It may seem strange to study right now, but with the growing influence of Japan around the world, in all ways, I can see it being a MFL in every school in England.”


Theodore Nze, 2nd prize winner of the Key Stage 3 category, said, ““I studied Japanese as it geared me up to more possibilities, and it makes it easier to communicate to other people. It has changed my life, how I act, how I speak, everything. I can safely say it’s the best thing that’s happened to me.”


Many congratulations and a big thank-you to everyone who came together to make the day such a success. The full results of the contest are as follows:


Key Stage 4 and 5 Post-GCSE Category
Winner: 
Rianna Shah (North London Collegiate School) 
Speech title: “Food for Thought: Inspired by India”
2nd Prize: Dominic Oben (Whitgift School)
Speech title: “Let’s Study Kanji”
3rd Prize: Ridwana Uddin (Presdales School)
Speech title: “What I felt on the 5th


Other finalists:
Kirsten Bergfors (St Helen’s School)
Jane Liu (Wycliffe College)
William Sweetman (King Edward VII School)


Key Stage 4 and 5 Pre-GCSE Category
Winner:
 Aisha Mariam (King Edward VII School)
Speech title: “Relating Pakistan and Japan”
2nd Prize: Cynthia Dewi (Tile Hill Wood School)
Speech title: “My Experience in England”
3rd Prize: Thomas William Davies (Writhlington School)
Speech title: “Let’s Learn Foreign Languages”


Other finalists:
Yuting Feng  (Wolfreton School)
Lucy Hawksley (Bexley Grammar School)
Byung Sup Song (Whitgift School)


Key Stage 3 Category (Speech theme: “My Dream”)
Winner: 
Hana Khan (Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Girls)
2nd Prize: Theodore Nze (Aylesbury Grammar School) 
3rd Prize: Taranpreet Kalra (Greenford High School)


Other finalists: 
Joshua Anthony (Dartford Grammar School)
Mark Potts (Campion School)
Symran Wedge (Queen Mary’s High School)


The event was organised by the Japanese Language Committee of the Association for Language Learning, in association with the Japan Foundation London and Embassy of Japan in the UK. We are very grateful to Japan Centre, JOBA, JSA (the Japanese Speech Awards), JP Books,  Lingualift, Oxford Brookes University, Ricoh UK Ltd, and Toshiba of Europe Limited for sponsoring the event and donating prizes, and also to Sumisho Computer Systems for their generous sponsorship, to the Embassy of Japan for hosting the event, and to Soho Japan for contributing to the evening reception.


Finally, don’t forget that schools teaching Japanese or doing any kind of Japan-related activities can enter our Japan Webpage Contest for Schools – click here for further details



The Ishinomaki Children’s Newspaper Translation Project May 2014
15/05/2014
 

On May 10th 2014, the Japan Foundation London held a second translation event with the Ishinomaki Hibi Kodomo Shinbun; a newspaper created by Japanese schoolchildren that reports the current activities in their city. Ishinomaki is a city in Japan’s Miyagi Prefecture, and is one of the areas that suffered severe damage due to the Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011. The children created their newspaper one year after the disaster, and now, three years on from the tsunami, the children aim to tell Ishinomaki’s story to people all over the world. To bring this goal to fruition, 32 volunteers spent their Saturday morning translating articles from the newspaper into English.


The event began with a screening of the DVD “Ishinomaki to shinsai- sono ato” (about the quake-hit Ishinomaki) and an explanation about the project by Hiroyuki Takeuchi, Executive Administrator of Ishinomaki Hibi Shinbun and director of Ishinomaki NEWSée, via Skype. This was followed by a talk about the newspaper by some of its young journalists, including Momoka Saito (2nd year at Sendai Ikuei Gakuen High School), Hiroki Matsubayashi (1st year at Hebita Junior High School), and Riko Sakai (6th year at Kadonowaki Elementary school). All were fantastic speakers, overcoming their nerves to ask and answer questions from participants on the other side of the world, and even showed off their English language skills for us.


Lastly, the volunteer translators broke into groups and translated several of the newspaper’s articles from Japanese into English. If you would like to find out more about the Ishinomaki Hibi Kodomo Shinbun, you can visit their website here (in Japanese). English translations of articles from last year’s event can be found here; this year’s translations will be available soon.


Almost all the participants mentioned that they really enjoyed interacting with the organisers and with the children themselves. As participant Robert Henderson states, “It was great to be able to have the live conversation over Skype with the children in Ishinomaki.” At the end of the event, the Japan Foundation collected some messages for the children of Ishinomaki. Here are just a few of them:


 “I hope the children of Ishinomaki can fulfil their dreams and become stronger from their experiences. がんばって!(Keep at it!)” – Charlie Marshall


“I really enjoyed talking to you about the tsunami and life afterwards. It was also great to hear about your impressions of the UK. Good luck to you in all your future endeavours.”- Edward Scourfield


 “We learned a lot through our article about things we never considered before, such as how the salt water has affected the vegetation after the tsunami. Keep up the good work!”- Claire Thompson


「夜遅い時間に、遠いイギリスの私たちのために、こういう機会を設けてくれてありがとうございます。皆さんのおはなしを、これからも新聞を通して聞けることを楽しみにしています。ありがとう」(“Thank you for giving us this opportunity to speak to you from far away in England, even though it was late at night for you. I look forward to hearing all of your stories through the newspaper. Thanks!”) - Miki Kojima


We would like to thank all volunteers for giving up their time on this project, and to the organisers and children at Ishinomaki for their very genki participation!


Photos from the event can be viewed on our Facebook page here.



The Ninth Japanese Speech Contest for University Students Finals Day
05/03/2014
 

The UK space industry, vampire folklore, and the arcades of Japan as a meritocracy were among the many fascinating topics presented at the Finals Day of the 9th Japanese Speech Contest for University Students, which was held on March 1st at SOAS, University of London.


Co-organised by the British Association for Teaching Japanese as a Foreign Language (BATJ) and the Japan Foundation London, the main purpose of this annual contest is to improve the speaking and presentation skills of students studying Japanese as a foreign language. It also aims to promote Japanese language learning at higher education level in the UK and Ireland. There are approximately 60 universities in the UK and Ireland offering Japanese as either a degree or elective course, and all undergraduate students enrolled in a university Japanese course are eligible to take part. 


This year’s contest saw a total of 117 students from 18 different universities apply for the contest, meaning that the competition for the 15 places in the finals was exceptionally high.  Approximately 200 spectators attended the Finals Day, including representatives from companies sponsoring the contest. 


The contest began with the new Individual Presentation Category, in which post-beginner learners of Japanese speak about their topic with the aid of a PowerPoint presentation. The winner of this category was Gen Nen Ho, a 3rd year student of Medicine at King's College London, for his very animated and intriguing presentation on The Mythical Cambridge.  “Despite being a medical student, I spend much of my time learning Japanese,” said Gen Nen after the contest. “When the opportunity to take part in a speech contest came to me, I took it without hesitation. I believe it would be a great chance to test my proficiency in Japanese and of course, to meet people who share the same interest in Japanese.”


This was followed by the Speech Category, the most challenging category of the contest, in which finalists may not use PowerPoint. After much deliberation, the judges awarded the first prize to Giulia Surace, a 4th year student of Japanese and Politics at SOAS University of London, for demonstrating excellent Japanese language and presentation skills through her thought-provoking speech on Political Indifference in Japanese Youth. She won a return air ticket to Japan, a Japan Rail Pass and £700 for her outstanding performance. “Being able to take part in such a challenging competition was the greatest reward after studying Japanese for four years,” commented Giulia. “My Japanese teacher encouraged me to apply, as I had already taken part in the Group Presentation Category during my first year. I remember watching the Speech Category participants and thinking that it would be amazing to be able to do it someday.”


Elliot Harvey, a runner up in the Speech Category, also enjoyed the experience. "It was absolutely thrilling," he commented. "Meeting the other contestants was a really lovely opportunity and by the end of the day I felt as though I had made some new friends rather than entered the terrifying speech contest that I was expecting."


Special prizes were also given to four groups selected to perform in the Group Presentation Category, aimed at beginner level students of Japanese. Liisa Veerus, a finalist in the Group Presentation Category from Imperial College London who talked about her home country of Estonia, commented, “I really enjoyed talking in Japanese about Estonia. I was really glad to receive a lot of questions about Estonia afterwards.” Her team mate, Michael Florea, also commented, "At the finals, I could hear other people close to my age speak Japanese a lot better than I did, which really gave a very good understanding of the great level one can reach with work. This really become a strong motivator ever since, and unlike before, I am now certain I will pursue Japanese to a professional level."  


We would like to thank all participants, their teachers and supporters, the judges, audience members and BATJ for making the contest such a success. In addition, special thanks must go to the generous sponsors: Baker & McKenzie LLP,  Bloomberg L.P., Central Japan Railway Company, Gendai Travel Limited, The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, Japan Airlines, Japan Centre, JP BOOKS, Mitsubishi Electric Europe B.V., SOAS University of London, Ricoh UK Ltd,  and Toshiba of Europe Ltd.


The 10th Japanese Speech Contest for University Students will take place in February 2015, and will be open for applications from autumn this year. We hope even more university students will apply!


Don't forget that applications are still being accepted for the Nihongo Cup, the Japanese Speech Contest for Secondary Students. The deadline to apply is March 31st - click here for more information and to apply!


You can download the full results of the contest below.

Download Attachment



Southfield Primary school in "恋するフォーチュンクッキー" dance
04/03/2014
 

On 20th January, Japan Foundation London visited the pupils of Year 3 from Southfield Primary School, to take part in the Japan Foundation's "恋するフォーチュンクッキー" (Fortune Cookie in Love) Dance Video. We chose this primary school because they have been working with Dr Seiji Fukushima, the Japan Foundation London's Cheif Language advisor, to try out the Japan Foundation London's Japanese Scheme of Work for Key Stage 2

This was part of an effort by the Japan Foundation to bring Japanese language learners from around the world to come together to have fun making a Japanese pop music video. The song chosen is by the popular Japanese girl band AKB48.  The music video for the song has had a massive impact online, similar to that achieved by the Korean music video “Gangnam Style”, with many people uploading their own versions of the dance craze onto sites such as Youtube. The Japan Foundation thought that making a dance video was a great way to introduce a bit of Japanese pop culture, learn a few words and phrases, and have fun. The pupils of Year 3, from Southfield Primary School, who are learning Japanese, represented the U.K. and enjoyed practising the dance moves, such as the onigiri dance – a dance that imitates the making of rice balls. In total, groups from around 20 countries took part, and the video is available to watch on the Japan Foundation's head quarters website here or in you tube here.  


When you watch the video, look out for Southfield Primary School at 0:46 and 2:40. If you would like to try to learn the dance, you can learn the moves by clicking here



Japanese identified as one of the “most vital” languages to the UK
28/11/2013
 

Japanese has been identified as one of the “most vital” languages to the UK over the next 20 years in the British Council’s Languages for the Future report, published on November 20th 2013.


The list of 10 languages featured in the report were chosen based on economic, geopolitical, cultural and educational factors including the needs of UK businesses, the UK’s overseas trade targets, diplomatic and security priorities, and prevalence on the internet.


One of the reasons for the importance of Japanese to the UK given in the report is that Japan is the world’s third largest economy and a significant contributor to UK prosperity. The UK is by far the biggest destination for Japanese investment in Europe, with 1,400 Japanese companies located here. Japan’s roles in science, technology and development assistance were also highlighted in the report.


Despite this, currently only 1% of the UK's adult population report that they speak Japanese well enough to hold a conversation. There is therefore a clear need continue developing Japanese language provisions in the UK at all levels, including schools, universities and colleges.


There are many ways in which you can help to support Japanese language education in the UK:



  • If you wish to learn Japanese yourself, take a look at our information for potential learners here, as well as the range of courses we have on offer. We also have a wealth of free online resources for independent learners,  as well as around 10,000 books and other materials in our library. Lists of primary schools, secondary schools and universities that teach Japanese can be found here.




  • If you are a school or other educational institution looking to start Japanese classes, take a look at our information here. Our many support services for schools starting Japanese include funding, resources, training and Japanese taster sessions.  Institutions looking to start Japanese are encouraged to get in direct contact with the Japan Foundation as soon as possible for full details on how we can help you.



  • Anyone interested in supporting Japanese at primary level can register with our Primary Japanese Campaign – click here for more details.



Sensei-tional – Japanese Teacher wins teacher of the year award
28/10/2013
 

The Japan Foundation is delighted to confirm that Crispin Chambers, who teaches Japanese at Tavistock College in Devon, has won the award for Teacher of the Year in a Secondary School at the Pearson National Teaching awards ceremony held in London. His large group of supporters cheered loudly and even shouted “konnichiwa sensei” in unison as he collected his award.


Crispin learnt to speak Japanese when he took part in the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme, teaching English on Awaji Island for 2 years and then became JET programme co-ordinator for a year for the Japanese government at in Tokyo. After returning to the UK, Crispin gained an MA in Japanese at Sheffield University followed by a PGCE at Nottingham University. He has been teaching Japanese and French at Tavistock since 1996, and has trained several other teachers of Japanese. His lessons are inspiring and fun, and were described by the Teaching Awards judges as "a joy to watch".


As he collected his award, Crispin was asked why he thought his students do so well learning Japanese. He responded with several reasons:



  • Japanese has a strong visual impact, so those students that like art are good at Japanese

  • It is one of the most simple languages to study from a grammatical point of view, so students that like maths and science are normally good at Japanese

  • It is good to see pupils with various learning disabilities succeed in Japanese, and his dyslexic pupils have done well


Crispin finished by saying that Japanese was his passion and that he is just happy to be able to share it with the thousands of pupils that he has taught.


You can see Crispin receive his award on Britain’s Classroom Heroes here. The programme will be available on the BBC iplayer until the 3rd of November 2013.  You can learn more about Crispin’s fantastic Japanese lessons in our case study about the school click here or here  to read it.



Looking for a partner school to develop primary Scheme of Work and supplementary resources
01/08/2013


Japanese language in primary education:
The National Curriculum reforms mean that from September 2014, it will be compulsory for primary schools maintained in England to teach a foreign language of their choosing. In response to this, the Japan Foundation are developing a Japanese language education Scheme of Work and supporting materials for primary schools. We are now looking for a London-based primary school that would like to participate in the development of these resources, by working in partnership with us to test our draft Scheme of Work with a class of Year 3 pupils.


The selected partner school will be supplied an expert Japanese language teacher from the Japan Foundation London, who will plan and deliver an entire course of Japanese lessons completely free of charge. Should your school wish to receive further advice and support in continuing the Japanese lessons after the trial period has ended, the Japan Foundation will be more than happy to assist.


This is a very exciting and unique opportunity for the partner school to take an active role in creating a Scheme of Work and supporting resources that will be available to schools nationwide, as well as to develop their own Japanese language programme for their school and to give their pupils the rare chance to learn Japanese language.


Scheme of Work development project: Japanese language education for primary education
Aim: To develop a Scheme of Work (SoW) and supporting materials for KS2 (Year 3) by September 2014. Additionally, to develop teaching methods for Japanese classes incorporating Japanese culture such as anime (Japanese cartoons).


Target Class: We would like to test the draft curriculum with the following two types of model classes:


1. General Japanese Class (Year 3)



  • Target: Year 3 pupils

  • Period: September 2013 – July 2014 (We can discuss the duration at the end of each school term)

  • Time: 45 minutes once a week, for a total of 36 sessions (provisional schedule)

  • Content: Japanese class based on the new curriculum

  • Instructor: Dr Seiji Fukushima (Chief Japanese Language Advisor at the Japan Foundation London)


2. Short-Term Japanese/Anime Course



  • Target: Year 3 pupils

  • Period: Approximately one month (as appropriate) between September 2013 – July 2014

  • Time: 45 minutes once a week, for a total of 4 sessions

  • Content: Japanese language and culture class using anime (Japanese cartoons).

  • Instructor: Dr Seiji Fukushima (Chief Japanese Language Advisor at the Japan Foundation London)


The partner primary schools should:



  • Be interested in holding a Japanese class and a Japanese club for Year 3 pupils (Preferably held on different days)

  • Be willing to permit the Japan Foundation to use its facilities and equipment to be used for the purpose of running a Japanese class and club, including class room, PC, projector etc.

  • Be willing to provide an advisor for the instructor. The Japanese class will be run by a Japanese language advisor from the Japan Foundation London, but we would also like a class teacher from the partner school to attend the classes and provide appropriate advice from the point of view of a primary level educator.


Other points:



  • Both schools that are currently teaching Japanese, and those not currently teaching Japanese, are welcome to apply

  • The Japan Foundation will cover all expenses, including personnel expenses, travel expenses etc. incurred by the Japanese language advisor.

  • Priority will be given to schools with particular enthusiasm for introducing language education.

  • Priority will be given to maintained primary schools 


If you are interested in getting involved in the project, please contact Josephine Audigier josephine.audigier@jpf.org.uk or 020 7436 6698.




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