Lucca’s Final Reflection

By Lucca Bey

I’m Lucca, I’m a 16 year old, black, trans dude, who, until last year, only knew two languages, Chinese and English. I had discovered Japanese Plus through my school, and I vibed with it immediately.

In the beginning, I truly didn’t have an idea to which extent the Japanese Plus program was going to have an impact on me. Though this is primarily a Japanese language learning program, the language and culture are intrinsically connected, and thus, we ended up learning a great deal of both. Japanese Plus really opened my eyes to how foreign, yet closely connected we are globally. Even though they’re completely different places, the similarities with Chinese culture, Japanese culture, and American culture were a huge surprise to me, and the differences and new concepts we learned about drew me in.

It felt a bit like an immersion experience as we got to experience first-hand Japanese culture inside of our own city. Through the enriching events that we attended to the guest speakers in our class, it really widened my perspective and taught me that Japanese cultural experiences are so much more than just Kimonos and Sushi.

A lot of the speakers we had in the program even exposed me to how valued a global education and vantage point are in both college and career settings. Seeing all these great people talk about how excited they were at the opportunity to have us study abroad in Japan, and how many colleges are more than happy to have students who spoke and understood another language, gave me this revelation.

In short, this program helped me diversify my mindset, and taught me the value of a global education. I am more grateful for this experience than I can put into words.

Respect: Angel’s Final Reflection

By Angel Njoku

While taking this Japanese class, I learned a lot about respect. Respect is a very important aspect about the Japanese culture. Learning about the different ways respect is shown in the Japanese culture has shifted my way of understanding in a world’s eye view. Since respect is already a prominent part of my upbringing, I can say that the respect in the Japanese culture is very different from the way Americans view and see respect.

This has impacted my thinking of the world view of respect, because Japan intertwined respect within many aspects, like staying at work to help a coworker even though your hours are up, or taking off your shoes when you are in someone’s house, and even giving people presents when you come back from a vacation or going to someone’s house.

Learning how respect plays a role in everything they do helps transform my knowledge about how my version of respect is different from the Japanese style. This has changed the way that I feel about the world, because it shows that while respect is important to other people, there are different places around the world that take respect into a more knowledgeable way.

This also made me realize that respect in Japan revolves more around the society being respectful rather than the individual aspect of respect. This has also made me understand that as a homogenous society, respect in general is under the iceberg, while the different aspects and ways of showing respect is on top of the iceberg. My former knowledge about Japan was that they are similar to other Asian countries that bow as a sign of respect. By now I know that there is more than bowing, and that respect is something that is built within their culture.

Carlos’s Final Reflection

By Carlos Ramirez

The time flies as the last minutes of the program seem to go down. Lately, I have been imagining what I would be with my life outside the program. It’s been a rough year. I had difficulties in my school (academically) and personal life. What the program did to me was giving a sense of family since I’ve been here in the US. Every time I went to the program I sensed a great feeling of community, outside learning a new language that is always a pleasant experience to better understand the variety of culture that this world could offer and the expansion of knowledge about Japan. However, even I have to say that my biggest motivation was not only learning the language but passing time with my peers. However, that does not mean that I went every Wednesday and Saturday to just talk.

I never expected to really, genuinely like a class as I did love Japanese Plus. Being surrounded with people who have the same likes as you, it feels comfortable. People who are really interested in learning like you. That sense of community, knowing if we get something wrong, we are going to be corrected from our peers. Be with people who think like you, and people who will support you because everyone wants to learn.

It is amazing to have this sense of community as the Japanese. Japanese people are more a community system, as Americans are more individualistic. I learned that making groups and hearing everyone’s expressions is really important, and that can lead to a great idea. I like that the program builds that sense. For me personally, I’m always being an individualistic person. This program taught me that I need to learn as others learn. It also taught me about friendship, cooperation, and unity.

This is the end of one chapter for a few of us. We have lost peers that for some reason decided to leave, but the sense of community is still there and now is stronger than before. I will miss everyone’s face from now on (at least in class). It was a great year with many smiles that I (most of the time) provoked. It was a safe space where everyone was the same but unique at the same time. Personalities have grown and most of our peers have experienced growth, thanks to the program. They were taught that everyone has a talent. However, even if you do not have the talent you want, we all have talents that complement us. In this class, no one is better than anyone. We are all the same but different at the same time. I am going to miss it, but encourage everyone to keep up the hard work. Keep having the community feeling, keep, keep being better, do not give up. Every day is a new day. Mina-sab Ganbatte! And Arigato!. Jyaa-ne! I will see you around.

Join us at our May 29th Final Presentation

Please join us for our


Our DC students will share some of what they’ve learned and experienced this school year
in our afterschool Japanese language, culture, and career exposure program.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019
The Charles Sumner School
1201 17th Street, NW (17th & M) – near Farragut North metro stop 

5:30 – 6:30 pm: Student Exhibit and Reception
(an informal meet and greet, with light refreshents)

6:30 – 7:30 pm: Final Student Presentation
(seating is limited, so RSVPs required to guarantee a spot) 

Please contact me at to RSVP, or if you need further information.

How far we’ve come

By Lucca Bey

As the school year’s close is fast approaching, so does a period of reflection. With our final presentation for our Japanese I class closing in, it’s crazy to look back on how much progress we’ve made as a class so far. We learned over 90 different Japanese characters, excluding Kanji, learned over 120 different vocabulary words, and too many cultural aspects than I can count.

While we still are in the beginning of our Japanese journey, it’s important to look back on how far we’ve come in just a year. Whenever you study a language you begin to recognize it in places in your everyday life more than you thought could actually be possible. It truly gives you an entirely different perspective on little tidbits on the world around you. The connections that can be made from the basics of Japanese that we already know is amazing.

For example, just the other day I was browsing twitter and saw a post with Japanese. Now while no one in our class is completely fluent (yet), I wanted to give it a go. I didn’t go into the post expecting to understand any of it, yet surprisingly enough, I did! Well, kind of.

One doesn’t become fluent in a day, but the post had so many of some of the basics we learned in class, and some words I picked up along the way. Before I start droning on, as I tend to do, I’ll cut to the chase. The post was about a girl who was studying art, and how she had progressed from her first year to her third year. While I can’t say “progress” in Japanese, I do know the words “study,” “art,” general number counters, and how to say “year,” so all I needed to do was some light guess work to fill in the blanks!

It was a pleasant surprise that really made me reflect on how much we’ve managed to learn in such a short period of time, and I’m excited to show that off during our Capstone project on the 29th!

Seeking Japanese teachers for next year’s Japanese Plus program

Globalize DC is growing its Japanese language programs in the 2019-2020 school year!! Japanese Plus is our innovative afterschool Japanese language, culture, and career exposure program for DC public high school students citywide. Review this website for much more information about the program.

We are seeking one or two new dynamic part-time Japanese teachers to join our team. Interested? Download the job announcement here:

2019 Japanese Teacher Recruitment

We will fill the position as soon as we find the right candidate(s). Please share this announcement with anyone you think might be interested.

Any questions? Contact