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Japanese Taster for Schools (JTS) Programme Training Day May 2013

On May 17th 2013, 28 volunteers attended the second  training day of 2013 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 reports by two volunteers who had held recent Japanese language tasters. One presenter was a native Japanese speaker who had visited Woodridge Primary School in Barnet, while the other was a non-native speaker who held a taster at Virgo Fidelis Preparatory School in Croydon. It was a good opportunity to hear about two quite different JTS experiences.

Next, the Japan Foundation’s Japanese Language Advisor, Hiroko Tanaka, held workshops on how to introduce Japanese language effectively in a Japanese taster, including Japanese greetings using songs, bowing finger puppets and “jan ken” (Rock Paper Scissors). Several of the materials used came from Japan Foundation’s own resources, including Ready Steady NihonGO.

Finally, Tanaka-sensei demonstrated how Japanese culture can be integrated into language tasters. Taking the theme of summer, she introduced origami koi-nobori (carp streamers), a kamishibai (picture story) about the Tanabata star festival, and a game involving origami kabuto (samurai hats)!

Thanks to the enthusiasm of all volunteers, the training day was filled with energy and a lot of fun for all involved. Kazue Ono, a new volunteer, commented:


(“I was interested in the programme but I was hesitant to make the first step. But now, I feel confident and look forward to taking part.”)

Emma Gallagher, a veteran JTS member, said, “Another excellent session. Although I’d heard some of the ideas before, it’s still good to have a refresher. And I always meet new faces which is great. Looking forward to my next lesson now!”

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

Our next JTS Training Day is scheduled for September, when we hope to have some very special guests coming.... pupils from the Academy of Home Educators who have been learning Japanese for several months from a veteran JTS volunteer.

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