Studying the grammar alone is not enough when studying a language. So we decided to have fun the Japanese way!!!
Sports day at Japanese Language School
Japanese language students at Belmont were invited to be a part of the Sports day event at a local Japanese language Saturday school where Japanese students (K-12) study. These Belmont students participated in some traditional Japanese games with local Japanese people. We cheered for Japanese children in Japanese, too! “Gambatte! (Go! Go! Go!)”
Japanese Language Choir
“Oh! The Kids from Belmont” is a Japanese language choir. “Oh! The Kids” pronounced “Oh-zah-keyz” is a pun that sounds like the last name of Ozaki-sensei. There is a Japanese tradition of apprentice receiving the head hancho’s name as a sign of official recognition for mastery of the skill they are trying to acquire. We are following that, and members of this choir can choose to inherit “Ozaki” as a new Japanese name if they choose to.
This choir is open to anyone from Belmont. We are now officially in the Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival, and we will be singing a popular song in Japanese. We think this is one of the best ways to show the combination of the Japanese language and music Belmont is often associated with! Oh, by the way, did you know that hancho from head hancho is a Japanese word?
Japan Club is still in the making as the Japanese program finally has a full-time faculty member; however its members have been planning many fun activities. Under the guidance of Dr. Naoko Ozaki (We call her Ozaki-sensee), we try to create environments in which students experience authentic cultural activities. Some of the activities include origami, cooking, and singing in Japanese.
Belmont Sushi Chefs
We make sushi together! We make sushi rolls and inari sushi (seasoned deep-fried tofu). If you have never tried inari, you need to join us! At this point, we have roughly 30 Belmont Sushi Chefs who can show other people how to make sushi.
With Ozaki-sensee’s outgoing personality, she manages to squeeze us into many local events organized by the Japanese community. Whenever there is a potluck event, we make sushi to bring with us. No matter how much we make, our sushi is a big hit and it disappears very quickly. When local Japanese people ask “Who made the delicious sushi?”, we proudly say “It’s us, the Belmont students!” Of course, we say this in a very humble way. Yes. We definitely try to incorporate the cultural aspect of the language in everything we do!
We go to local Japanese restaurants to learn how to eat the Japanese way. Sitting on the tatami mat floor, we experience authentic ways of eating traditional food. We order food in Japanese. While waiting for our food, we play charade. Ozaki-sensee writes some Japanese sentences using the grammar patterns covered in the class. Students take turns to act out these sentences. The other students start guessing in Japanese. That’s right. We never miss an opportunity to have fun!
Japanese Language Exchange Program
Students who are studying Japanese have opportunities to speak with local Japanese people for one hour. They help the Japanese people practice English for thirty minutes, and then they switch to Japanese.
We have an imaginary dog in our classes. Her name is Cookie-chan. She is our trilingual pet that speaks Japanese, English, and Doggish. Cookie-chan has her own kimono and a geisha girl wig. The real Cookie-chan actually lives in Illinois, and this is the reason she’s our imaginary class pet. She helps us practice Japanese in class.