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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!



Invitation to Tender
16/07/2014


The Japan Foundation, London is inviting travel agents based in the UK to submit bids for the service of coordinating an organised group study tour to Japan in this autumn. The necessary procedures and specifications can be downloaded below.  


Please be advised that all the relevant documents concerning this project are provided in Japanese as, due to the nature of the tour, we will require the successful travel agent to be able to communicate comfortably in Japanese. 

Download Attachment



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



Japanese Taster for Schools (JTS) Programme Volunteer Training Day June 2014
30/06/2014


On June 26th 2014, 18 current and prospective volunteers attended a Training Day for theJapan 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 reports by two volunteers who had held recent Japanese language tasters. The first presenter talked about her experience teaching with one other volunteer at Whyteleafe Primary School in Surrey, and introduced lots of very interesting and new ideas for teaching Japanese language. The other presented her report on her taster with three other volunteers at Walthamstow School for Girls in Waltham Forest, and demonstrated the beautiful PowerPoint presentation they had created in order to teach the pupils about Japan.


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 teaching Japanese greetings and bowing using finger puppets, introducing the Japanese Tanabata “Star Festival” with a kami-shibai picture story and hanging wishes on a bamboo stem, and playing a variation of janken(Rock, Paper, Scissors) incorporating origami samurai helmets! Several of the activities introduced came from Japan Foundation’s own online resources, including Ready Steady NihonGO!


All the volunteers enjoyed the training day and said that they found it useful. Mei Grant, who was attending the training day for the first time, commented:


「とても良かった、いろいろを勉強になりました。参考になりました。」


(“It was very good and I learned a lot of things that will come in handy.”)


Dimple Singh, another newcomer to the JTS Training Day, said, “I really enjoyed today, I think that it is very important that these kinds of training courses are held in order to introduce more people to the Japanese language and culture.”


We would like to thank all participants for coming, especially our two fantastic guest speakers!


More photos from the event can be viewed at the Japan Foundation London Facebook page here


Our next JTS Training Day is scheduled for September 2014, and bookings will be open in due course.


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



Learn & Teach Primary Japanese 2014 Report
29/05/2014
 

On Tuesday 27th and Wednesday 28th May 2014, the Japan Foundation ran Learn & Teach Primary Japanese, a course for primary school teachers looking to teach Japanese to their pupils. This forms part of the Japan Foundation’s Primary Japanese Campaign, which aims to bring Japanese language learning to primary school children across the country. 


Twelve primary level teachers gathered at the Japan Foundation for the two-day course, which uses our own Japanese Scheme of Work for Primary Schools to provide lesson plans and ideas for teachers. The participants, who had little or no prior knowledge of Japanese, experienced model Japanese lessons led by Chief Japanese Language Adviser Dr Seiji Fukushima. Over the course’s duration, the participants received instruction on how to teach hiragana and katakana, greetings and self-introductions, and how to say colours and body parts in Japanese.


Throughout the course, the focus was on teaching methods that would be fun and engaging for primary school students. The lessons made use of videos of Japanese media, internet resources, colourful anime-style characters, active participation and games aimed at allowing pupils to memorise vocabulary in an enjoyable way. Many of the teachers praised the wide variety of teaching tools demonstrated, and enjoyed taking part in the games and activities themselves.


At the conclusion of the course, each teacher was given a CD-ROM with copies of the presentations, teaching materials, and links to resources used during the course. They were also provided with information on securing funding for Japanese classes at their respective schools, institutions in the UK which teach Japanese, and more. It is the Japan Foundation’s hope that all the educators who attended the course will make use of our Scheme of Work and its associated resources to create engaging, enjoyable lessons which will make their students enthusiastic about learning Japanese.


Here are just a few of their comments on the course:


“Teacher was fantastic! Very charismatic, informative, fun. The course moved at a good pace.” (Aiya Abe)


 “Loved the activities and how Sensei made everything easy to understand. The teacher was brilliant and the course was well prepared and delivered.” (Rishi Gohil)


“I loved the writing aspect- this really helped to clarify the different alphabets and their uses.” (Kimberley Devonshire)


We would like to thank all the teachers who took part in the course, and to wish them the best of luck with teaching Japanese in the future.



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.



Teachers Seminar: Use It! Teaching Japanese with Marugoto
28/04/2014
 

On the Tuesday 22nd April, 19 participants came to the Japan Foundation for a seminar  to learn about how Japanese language teachers can use the new Japan Foundation textbook Marugoto: Japanese Language and Culture (Starter A1- KATSUDOO & RIKAI). Marugoto is designed so that users learn competence in accomplishing tasks using their language alongside learning competence in intercultural understanding.


The event began with an introduction to Marugoto as modelled on the JF Standard for Japanese Language Education by the Japan Foundation’s language advisor, Hiroko Tanaka. This was followed by an explanation of how teachers can use the Marugoto textbook by the Japan Foundation’s Chief language advisor, Dr Seiji Fukushima. Lastly, one of the Japanese teachers from SOAS Language Centre, Shinichiro Okajima, spoke about his experiences using the textbook as part of his language teaching for the Japan Foundation & SOAS Language and Culture Course. He mentioned the benefits he had found from utilising this methodology, which was very interesting and challenging.


The event was helpful for the teachers that attended. One of the teachers commented「まるごとを使ったクラスを教えてみたいと思いますね。」(I would like to try teaching a class using Marugoto)after joining us for this event.



BATJ Seminar: Designing a Reading Activity based on the JF Standard
26/03/2014
 

On the 22nd March 2014, the Japan Foundation London, in conjunction with BATJ, held a seminar titled ‘Designing a reading activity based on the JF Standard.’ The instructor at the event was Ms Sono Habuto, a Japanese Language Educational Advisor at the Japanese Cultural Institute, Japan Foundation Cologne, and the seminar was attended by 19 Japanese language teachers. 


In the first session, Ms Habuto focused on the act of “reading” and what it comprises. She illustrated this with a discussion of ‘schema’, which states that comprehension of text involves pre-existing knowledge on the part of the reader regarding the context in which the written material is presented. Other strategies also used in reading comprehension were also covered. This was followed with some example tasks. In the second session, the participants used various authentic reading materials to create and present their own reading activities, based on the ideas presented in the first session. These activities were divided up into “pre-task activity”, “main- task activity”, “post-task activity” and “recap” sections.   


Comments from participants included:
「とてもよかったです。分かりやすく、授業に使えそうな情報が多かったです。」
("This was very good. It was easy to understand and there was plenty of information that I felt I could use in my lessons.")



「先生のお話を聞いたあとで、実際にグループでアクティビティーを考えることができ、大変役に立ちました。」
("It was really useful to be able to discuss our thoughts in groups after hearing the lecture.")



We would like to thank all attendees and Ms Habuto for coming!



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 Plus: See Japan through Video Game Characters with Tomohiro Sasaki
20/02/2014
 

Advanced Japanese language learners were given the opportunity to discover the secrets behind the success of some of Japan’s most popular computer game characters in a special two-day Japanese Plus course at the Japan Foundation on February 11th and 12th 2014.


The course was run by Tomohiro Sasaki, a theatre director and former video game planner / scenario writer, with particular expertise in character design. Conducting the course entirely in Japanese, Sasaki-sensei introduced the basics behind creating an appealing character, including their external appearance and personality, and the many different kinds of characters one may encounter in game scenarios. His lectures also gave lots of insight into traditional and modern Japanese culture, and key words in Japanese associated with character creation. Participants particularly enjoyed the chance to display their linguistic skills, artistic talents and creativity by creating their own characters and presenting them to the class!


It was very interesting,” commented Andrew Niewiarowski, a regular attendee of Japanese Plus. “The level of Japanese was pitched very well – not too easy, not too difficult.”


Another participant commented, “Even though I know nothing about games/anime, it was interesting to learn about that part of Japanese culture. It was fun to design our own characters.”


Sasaki-sensei’s book about character design, 『ゲームシナリオの書き方』, is available to loan from the Japan Foundation London Library.


We’d like to thank all participants for taking part in Japanese Plus, and Sasaki-sensei for his fascinating and highly entertaining lectures. We really hope to see even more participants at our next Japanese Plus course!


To learn more about Japanese Plus, please click here.



Japanese from Scratch –Let’s eat Ramen!
18/12/2013
 

The latest Japanese from Scratch event took place on the 5th of December 2013. The theme for this event was ramen, a Japanese dish in which noodles are served in broth, which has recently experienced a surge of popularity in the UK. 47 people came to the Japan Foundation London to learn about these noodles, to learn about their history and how to get the most out of their ramen-eating experience.


The event started with a talk from Dr Barak Kushner, the author of “Slurp! A Social and Culinary History of Ramen - Japan's Favorite Noodle Soup,” who gave a really interesting introduction to the history of ramen in Japan and its special place in Japanese culture. This was followed by a session about ramen culture and an introduction to the types of ramen available in London by the Japan Foundation’s unofficial ramen enthusiast, Josephine Audigier. Next the Japan Foundation’s Chief Japanese language Advisor, Dr Seiji Fukushima, led an interactive Japanese language session focussing on the vocabulary and expressions relating to ramen.


All this talk (and photos) of ramen made most people hungry by the end of the event, but luckily we had already planned to take some participants to try authentic ramen at nearby restaurants in central London. Eight participants visited the nearby Seto restaurant in Camden, while another 14 participants walked over to the new CoCoRo ramen restaurant behind the British Museum. They all had a chance to use their newly-learnt Japanese to order ramen, and taste it for themselves.  If you would like to explore some of the various ramen options available in London, please download the ramen map below.


One participant mentioned that “It was very fun – made me hungry. It was my first time attending something like this so I was nervous, but everyone was really friendly. Thank you!”


 Another attendee told us the following:
“The first part was very interesting, providing knowledge about the history and culture of Japan in just an hour. Very good speaker. I found the info on the places to eat ramen very useful. Also, the language teacher was very good at interpreting the words and I liked the fact that it was an interactive speech.”


We would like to thank all participants for coming – arigatou gozaimashita.


If you have never studied Japanese before and are interested in learning, or have only just begun to study Japanese, please click here to sign up to our monthly e-bulletin to receive notifications of this and other Japan Foundation events. Click here to read more about Japanese from Scratch and view reports of previous workshops.

Download Attachment



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.



Japan Foundation at the 2013 Language Show Live
27/10/2013
 

A big thank you to everyone who visited the Japan Foundation’s stand at the Language Show Live on the 18th, 19th and 20th 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 and taking a purikura-style photo using Japan Foundation’s Erin’s Challenge! I Can Speak Japanese website (you can find the purikura game here).


On Friday morning, for the first time, the Japan Foundation held a seminar on Non-European languages in Primary and Secondary education: A case study of Japanese. Using Japanese as an example, the seminar aimed to give ideas to teachers of less well taught languages about how to go about introducing them into schools, and what support is available.


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


At the close of the show on Sunday afternoon, Japan Foundation were delighted to welcome back Tamashii Daiko for a performance Japanese taiko drumming and a taiko workshop. Tamashii’s exhilarating drumming drew an enormous crowd, and many audience members were delighted to get the change to try taiko themselves.


Additionally, we held a Japan Quiz, which approximately 700 people entered.  Out of those who answered the quiz correctly, we picked five at random to send our Japan Foundation Goody Bag. Congratulations to Maysoun Cesarato-Adel from London, Caroline Moses from London, Jeanette Shipp from Surrey, Kristin Barrett from Essex and John Parry from Shropshire, who have all been sent Goody Bags!


The answers to the quiz were as follows:


1. Japan is often known as “The Land of the Rising...”a) Sun b) Moon c) Ninjas
Answer: a) Sun. The Japanese word for Japan, Nihon (日本), means “sun’s origin.”


2. Japan’s tallest mountain was recently awarded UNESCO World Heritage status. But what is this mountain’s name? a) Mount Kilimanjaro b) Mount Everest c) Mount Fuji
Answer:  c) Mount Fuji. Kilimanjaro is in Tanzania, and Everest is in the Himalayas.


3. Which of these kanji (Japanese characters) means “tree”? (Hint – look at the shape!) a) b) c) 
Answer: c) (ki). 日(hi) means “sun” or “day,” while  山 (yama) means “mountain.”


4. Which of the following is a traditional Japanese performing art? a) Belly Dance b) Kabuki c) Peking Opera
Answer: b) Kabuki. Belly dance is from the Middle East, and Peking Opera is from China.


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


If you missed us, you will also have the opportunity to see the Japan Foundation exhibit and present seminars at Experience Japan Exhibition 2013 on November 16th.


Japan Foundation will also be attending the Language Show in 2014, on October 17th, 18th and 19th  at the Olympia, London. We hope to see you there!



Japan Foundation at the Japan Matsuri 2013
24/10/2013
 

The Japan Matsuri returned to Trafalgar Square in London on Saturday 5th October 2013. 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 600 people entered. 

The answers to the quiz were as follows:


1. Japan is often known as “The Land of the Rising...”a) Sun b) Moon c) Ninjas
Answer: a) Sun. The Japanese word for Japan, Nihon (日本), means “sun’s origin.”


2. Japan’s tallest mountain was recently awarded UNESCO World Heritage status. But what is this mountain’s name? a) Mount Kilimanjaro b) Mount Everest c) Mount Fuji
Answer:  c) Mount Fuji. Kilimanjaro is in Tanzania, and Everest is in the Himalayas.


3. Which of these kanji (Japanese characters) means “tree”? (Hint – look at the shape!) a)  b) c) 
Answer: c) (ki). 日(hi) means “sun” or “day,” while  山 (yama) means “mountain.”


4. Which of the following is a traditional Japanese performing art? a) Belly Dance b) Kabuki c) Peking Opera
Answer: b) Kabuki. Belly dance is from the Middle East, and Peking Opera is from China.


Out of those who answered the quiz correctly, we picked five at random to send our Japan Foundation Goody Bag. Congratulations to the five winners Karen Mason from London, Cathy Stroemer from Orpington, Guendalina De Luigi from London, Daniel Tilbey from Essex and Kiki Chiv from London, all of whom have been sent goody bags!


The Japan Foundation will also be at the Experience Japan Exhibition 2013 on November 16th. We hope to see you there!



1000 Words Campaign
26/09/2013
 

Speak to the Future has just launched a campaign calling for everyone to learn 1,000 words of a foreign language - a level that will allow them to hold simple conversations in another tongue. The project is funded by the British Academy and Routes into Languages, and is backed by a broad coalition of organisations including the British Council and the Japan Foundation, London. We hope that lots of people will try to learn their first 1000 words in Japanese!


How to get started for individuals:
A good way to get started is to have a look at the fantastic resources on the Japan Foundation’s portal website Nihongo iina (including various Japanese language application’s for Android or iOS.) or you can try the new Language and culture course website, Marugoto Plus.


We will continue to hold Japanese from Scratch events, that allow people to dip their toes into Japanese language learning, as well as our Language and Culture Course for Beginners. We will be giving out hiragana and katakana charts along with plenty of useful Japanese language learning advice at the upcoming Japan Matsuri and Language Show Live, so come and visit us at these events. Please subscribe to our ebulletin or check out our What's On page to see what other events are coming up.


How to get started for teachers:
Teachers that would like to take their first steps in learning Japanese can attend our free Basic Japanese Language and Culture Course for teachers during the upcoming autumn half term. We also have a free Japanese for primary schools event in November to demonstrate how to introduce Japanese language classes into primary schools (and have a go at learning Japanese yourself!) For teachers that already know basic Japanese, we have the J-Basic Online course that would like to build up their language skills, to get you closer to your first 1000 words.


How to get started for schools:
If your school would like to introduce Japanese, we have a huge range of support to help you get started. We have a network of volunteers who can visit your school to give a free Japanese language taster. We have a funding programme, a large selection of free online resources and a fantastic library (including a loan-by-post service) with approximately 10,000 items to help you teach Japanese language and culture.


日本語のことば1000語に挑戦!
Let’s get learning at least 1000 words in Japanese!



2013 Japanese Refresher Course for Teachers
02/09/2013
 

From the 19th to the 23rd of August, 22 intermediate and 15 advanced speakers of Japanese joined the Japan Foundation’s language advisors 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 primary schools to university-level.


This year’s theme was 「話すことを教える」- Teaching Spoken Japanese. The aim of the course was for teachers to study Japanese teaching methods while at the same time brush-up their own Japanese ability by trying out teaching activities. Lead by Seiji Fukushima and Hiroko Tanaka, the Japan Foundation’s Japanese Language Advisors, the course gave participants the opportunity to explore how to teach Japanese conversation, including pronunciation, looking at both pedagogy and practical teaching ideas.


Participants looked at the JF Standard for language education and had time to practice speaking in Japanese by creating role plays. They also learnt about spoken Japanese in terms of timing, rhythm and intonation and tips to improve pronunciation, such as shadowing. On the final day of each course, the participants gave speeches or self-introductions in Japanese. These were excellent and demonstrated the exceptional talent and passion that Japanese language teachers in the UK possess. Catherine Stead commented that she “liked the balance of activities that challenged us to use Japanese and that concerned discussion of teaching Japanese.”


All participants enjoyed not only exploring teaching methods, but also the opportunity to network and practice their Japanese with fellow Japanese teachers. One participant, Beth Smith summed this up by saying, “I really enjoyed the challenge – and I would recommend to anyone teaching Japanese or running a Japanese club. I learned so much that I thought I had forgotten.”


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 the data from the Refresher Course below.

Download Attachment



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.




Japanese for ALTs - Beginners’ Japanese class for JET participants
23/07/2013
 

For the very first time, the Japan Foundation London has held an 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 20th and 21st, and twenty JET participants in total took part. Led by the Japan Foundation’s Chief Japanese Language Advisor, Dr Seiji Fukushima, the course was based on Japan Foundation’s brand new 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, Fukushima-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:


 “Situation learning’ meant the Japanese study felt a more natural way to learn and my interest was held. The event was enjoyable!”


 “Really liked the course handbook & textbook. The sensei was excellent – very enthusiastic which helped keep me focussed. The additional help from the volunteers was very helpful.”


“I liked the contrast between group discussion and teaching and it was nice to get to know other JETs from the U.K. before going whilst learning some useful phrases.”


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!



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