Rakuya

By Cyrus Johnson

This past Saturday, some of my classmates, Ms. Sally, Eshita-sensei, and I went to eat at Rakuya, a Japanese restaurant near Dupont Circle. I didn’t even know there was a restaurant there, and I pass it a lot. Maybe I wasn’t paying attention. When I got a menu I was kinda expecting more on it, but they had some really good food. I ordered the Tokyo broth ramen with chicken and egg noodles, and most of my classmates and I got a bottle of Ramune. The portions were a lot bigger than I thought, and I couldn’t finish it. Luckily, Alexx said they’d take my leftovers, so it wasn’t wasted!

Is crossing you legs impolite?

By Alexx Thompson

Did you know in Japan there are many cultural taboos considered polite in America? Things such as pointing, walking on the wrong side of the road can be considered rude in Japan. One of these things is crossing your legs. Here it’s considered a polite thing to do, especially for those who wear skirts. It saves space, compared to when people sit with their legs slightly spread out, so people can sit in tight spaces. In Japan, crossing one’s legs is seen as disrespectful. It is because when you do this you show the bottom of your feet to guests, and since they have picked up dirt,  you are showing that dirt to your guests. This makes for very bad business relations.

It’s okay to cross your legs in a casual setting, but in business relations it’s seen as too casual and improper. It is preferable to sit in seiza, the traditional Japanese way of sitting where you sit upright and your legs are tucked underneath you. If you are sitting in a chair, then simply keep your legs together, rather than folding one over the other.

If you are ever in relations with Japanese people, always remember to receive and give business cards with both hands, give gifts after travels, and remember not to cross your legs!

Almost done for the year

Jazmin Angel-Guzman

On Saturday, we went to the Japanese restaurant Rakuya at Dupont Circle. It was the second to last official day of Japanese Plus. Initially, I was really sad and torn apart that we were about to end Japanese Plus I. But I remembered that I’m coming back for Japanese Plus II. Going to this luncheon made me see how special my class is. My Japanese Plus class consists of students from all over the city and different DC schools, making me meet new people.

I had a blast going out to eat with my class. I ordered egg noodles with shrimp tempura and for my drink, ramune. By the end, I was so full I had to wait a few minutes in order to walk! It was a nice way to close out the school year, but it was surreal that it was our last luncheon together as a class of 2019. I wish I could repeat the day again not only to eat food one more time but spend time with my class one last time.

Our final presentation

By Jazmin Angel-Guzman

On May 29th, it was our Japanese Plus final presentations. The minute I walked in to Sumner School, the place we had our presentations, I had butterflies in my stomach. I was so nervous and I thought I wasn’t ready enough to perform our skits. The reception was nice, because we had food and interacted with our guests. I talked about the KAKEHASHI Project (our trip to Japan in 2018) with the photos we had, until it was about that time to perform. Although, there was a problem that I encountered.

On the day that I had to bring socks because I was going to take off my shoes for my skit, I didn’t because I forgot. I was very reluctant putting my feet where we were going to perform, because it was carpet. Before the few minutes we had to perform, I was thinking of a plan to not put my feet on the carpet, but still trying to show the cultural aspect in the skit – the cultural aspect of taking off shoes before entering someone’s home in Japan. But meeting a dead end, I decided I had to go with it and put my feet on the carpet for a few seconds and sit down for the last scene. We also had to present our reflections, which I wasn’t that prepared for either.

At the end of the program, I felt less nervous and we were given our certificates of completing Japanese Plus I. I felt happy for being a part of Japanese Plus, and growing in many ways during the program. I can’t wait to start Japanese Plus II next year. Although, I was sad that these were some of the last moments of the program, and I know I’ll miss it.

Final Presentation

By Theo Greiff

Our class recently finished our final presentations for Japanese Plus, on May 29 at Sumner School, and it was far more fun than I thought. I expected to be too formal during the reception and too nervous during the skits to enjoy myself, but I’m pleased to say that it was exactly the opposite. The reception was a far more casual experience than I expected as I was able to talk with my classmates most of the time and, during the times when I actually did have to explain the program, I felt excited to share my achievements to others, which overall made the reception extremely enjoyable

The skits were much of the same. I expected to feel nervous to show my Japanese in front of native speakers, but I actually just felt proud that I knew enough Japanese to put on a skit in the first place. As a result, the skit was really fun to perform and I got really into it, even improving certain movements and short lines. Overall, I enjoyed these final presentations far more than I expected and was very pleased with all that I could accomplish.

A World of New Opportunities

By Alexx Thompson

Visiting the NAFSA conference this year really was a very eye-opening experience for me. NAFSA: Association of International Educators is the world’s largest nonprofit association dedicated to international education and exchange. The NAFSA Annual Conference is a unique forum of attendees from many professional and geographic perspectives and backgrounds. It’s a large convention where you can interact with international businesses and colleges as well as gain information about the programs they offer. Five Japanese Plus students were the special guests of the American Association of Teachers of Japanese (AATJ) and NAFSA, along with other high school students from Maryland and Virginia.

When we first arrived at the hotel, on May 30, we were with the other students studying Japanese, and were introduced to the people behind the event. Getting to talk to them, as well as meeting the other students was really helpful for me to learn about what my next steps should be in going forward. Then we were led to the convention hall, where cute sakura trees surrounded the Japanese booths. There were many Japanese universities there and they were all really nice and willing to share their programs with us. Being introduced to more universities was very helpful for me, as I want to go to a Japanese university straight out of high school. I also got a chance to practice my Japanese with the people at each booth and I was really surprised to be able to understand the Japanese they spoke back to me. The only problem was sometimes I stumbled a bit and couldn’t format the sentences right in my head, so I said a few English sentences because I got nervous. Especially since I don’t really know much about college in English, so being able to understand the programs they offered in Japanese was very cool to me.

I also had the amazing opportunity to meet the vice president of Sophia University in Japan, and she was really sweet and wonderful. I really enjoyed talking to her and I’m really interested in applying to Sophia in the future. I want to be a translator as well as a polyglot, and immersion has always been the best tool for me.

Since the conference was an international one, it also brought my attention to studying abroad in other countries. I was really interested in the Korean universities, as I’m currently self-studying Korean, but I didn’t feel confident enough to talk to any of the representatives. I thought it really was amazing how I could go to so many colleges around the world. Not to mention programs I’d only seen online were there as well. I was able to talk with representatives from AFS, as I plan to study abroad in my senior year, and live in Japan for a semester or a year. It was really beneficial and was really cool to be able to see how many options I had. I loved the event and I really hope to go again if I ever have the chance.