Meeting Ryoma San!

By Jazmin Angel-Guzman

Today, February 29, 2020, while I was walking towards the classroom, I noticed something blue. A blue that speaks to the soul and attracts the eye. My favorite color is blue, and whenever I see blue I’m always intrigued by that something. Then I found out that he was Ryoma Tatsuoka. Apart from having amazing blue hair, Ryoma san is an exchange student who participated with the YFU exchange program. He is from Osaka, Japan and he’s seventeen years old. He now stays with a host family and attends School Without Walls, a high school located in Washington, D.C. Today, I’m grateful I had the opportunity to meet Ryoma san. He’s funny and always helpful when you ask for help. He was always helping me with my Japanese when I made a mistake, or he would jump in to come out and help me. During our conversations in our small groups, he was the facilitator.

When I look at him, it’s still strange to me that I am older than him! I find it’s a great opportunity to be able to speak with a Japanese native speaker who’s around my age. I’m applying the Japanese I have learned thus far and putting it to practice. That is one of the things I love about learning languages. Learning languages is the key that enables you to speak, interact, and network with other people. You can learn so many things with just one sentence. For example, that one sentence can be a sentence of introduction about yourself. In my junior year of high school, I learned something really important about languages. Languages aren’t only about communicating with words, it’s about communicating and expressing your ideas to other people, in addition to sharing those ideas. Therefore, I’m glad I met Ryoma san today.


Coronavirus Cancels Anime Japan Event

By Katie Nguyen

On February 26, 2020, it has been announced that the Anime Japan event, a Japanese anime consumer show, has been cancelled due to COVID-19 or the coronavirus. The coronavirus is an illness that produces flu like symptoms. They are zoonotic which means that they can be transmitted between animals and people. The coronavirus has caused quite an epidemic and has started to spread in the United States. Many fans were upset due to the cancellation of the event, however, it does prevent them from transmitting diseases to each other as it is a big event. A fan wrote “I can’t help it. Now, to prevent the spread of infection, It’s good that we announced the cancellation one month ago.” Another fan wrote, “The most important thing is to take care of people. Hopefully things will calm down and we pray that everyone is well 🙏.” It is very important to ensure the people’s safety. I believe that this was a smart decision to cancel the event, if there is a chance that someone will catch the coronavirus; even if there is a small chance, it’s still too risky.

It is pretty devastating that the coronavirus has caused the Anime Japan Event. This could possibly mean that the Sakura Matsuri could close as well. I was pretty excited for the Sakura Matsuri as Japanese Plus is confirmed to have a booth there. I wanted to share what my class does and how it impacts and encourages me to further pursue my interest in Japan. I was also hoping to encourage DMV high school students to join Japanese Plus, as it was, in my opinion, the best language class I could hope for, and to promote our new book, Japan In DC. I hope that the Sakura Matsuri doesn’t close but it is still important to care for our health so it would be best for it to close in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus, especially now that it has spread to the DMV area.

Additionally, many people are exposed to it and most people don’t know how to properly put on a mask. To wear a surgical mask, you must wash your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap with water in order to prevent germs from getting onto your mask. Next, you should cover your mouth and nose and make sure that your face is covered, meaning that there should be no gaps from any sides of your face. If you want to touch your mask, you should wash your hands as you would when putting it on. You should replace your mask as soon as it is damp and you should not reuse it either. You should always take off your mask from the back and never touch it from the front. This is to ensure that you don’t catch any other germs that were caught from your mask. Afterwards you should wash your hands once more. This was all recommended by the World Health Organization, so please follow these instructions, even if the coronavirus hasn’t reached your country yet.

NOTE: The April 4th Sakura Matsuri was in fact cancelled, along with all other large public gatherings in DC.


My Experience as an OSSE Scholar

By Jonah Nguyen-Conyers

My experience as an OSSE Scholar at Northwestern University was pretty okay, everything has their goods and bads. OSSE Scholars are students who attend DC schools, and are from low income families and are looking to go to college, and have shown dedication to education with high school accomplishments through GPA, and other successful elements of a student.

Those who are selected as OSSE Scholars are sent to prestigious colleges over the summer for free. Students can stay at these colleges for 2-6 weeks, and study almost any summer course. The course I chose was a Level 1 Japanese course. Surprisingly, there were only 3 students, including myself.

I wish in the summer program at Northwestern there was more diversity, and a cast of people who were not from the same background, but there were some fun people that I had fun moments with during my time there. We still keep in touch. That was not a good part, but the best part was learning Japanese, and being able to practice and be more comfortable with the language I love to learn so much. I was able to be tested in a prestigious college, and speak with other high achieving students, even though I did have some hiccups in my study habits during my time there. I had two other classmates and my teacher, and we met 5 times a week, and I had so much fun. I felt that I learned a lot, but it sure was quite difficult. I do wish there were more people in my class, but I like the closeness I had with my classmates, and I can tell they felt the same in the discussions we had during class.

As a student, I was able to see the next steps of my education, and what the expectations might be for me, and it allowed me to understand the expectations of being a college student. This program was able to leave me with valuable knowledge and valuable experience like no other. I have learned a lot and know what I learned will help me reach my goals in later life. I can’t be any more grateful for this experience.

OSSE Scholars

By Lucca Bey

I’d just like to start today’s blog off with a big thank you to the coordinator of Japanese Plus, Sally, for connecting us to so many different resources and really pushing us to pursue them, because otherwise, I don’t believe that I’d even have applied for OSSE Scholars in the first place. OSSE Scholars was originally introduced to me last year, it being an opportunity that allowed DC students to go to college during the summer for no cost. This year, I decided to take the jump, genuinely not expecting to get in. From the phrasing of the last sentence, I guess you can probably tell that I was accepted to participate in the OSSE Scholars program.

While I had initially applied to OSSE Scholars in order to further advance my Japanese during the few weeks where Japanese Plus is out of session, I was matched to Cornell University’s summer program, which doesn’t offer Japanese classes, but rather my other major interest, a 6-week course on art and fashion design. Even if the arts program wasn’t my first choice, I would never have even pursued this opportunity if it wasn’t for Sally, and honestly, the Japanese Plus program overall and the connections we’re implored to make inside of it.

ISO “Japan in DC” Co-Teachers for Summer 2020 Program

Globalize DC is now recruiting staff for our summer 2020 “Japan in DC” Program. Maybe this is the experience for you!

Introduced in 2017, “Japan in DC” gives interested DC public high school students the opportunity to explore and document the presence of Japan in their own city – through its individuals, institutions, and landmarks. This fun and educational six-week program is scheduled to run Monday-Friday, June 29- August 7, 2020, 9 am – 3 pm.

We are now seeking two qualified and energetic teachers or international educators to lead this summer program. Graduate students, with appropriate experience and interests, are encouraged to apply. These are paid, part-time positions. We hope to select these individuals by the end of March.

Click here for more details and information on how to apply: 2020 Japan-in-DC-Staff-Recruitment.

Any questions? Contact

Special visitors from Japan

By Asa Marshall

On Wednesday February 19th, we had special guests. We were anticipating meeting Eshita-sensei’s parents, Toru and Yumiko Eshita. They came from Fukuoka and we were so excited to finally meet them. Class went as usual but we were all so shy and did not want to mess up while speaking. We all were so worried but we did our best. Her parents were so nice and I was so happy because they brought us the cutest gifts. They gave us small pouches that either had a ねこ(Lucky Cat) or a だるま(Lucky Daruma) print with rice crackers. I was so happy about the pouch and I use it all the time. They were so kind and supportive when we were trying to speak and they were so interesting to talk to. I found out that her dad was actually was a big fan of American baseball. I hope they come back again soon because I think we should give them something in return.

Lucca’s Great Wave of Knowledge

By Lucca Bey

On the Saturday of February 8th, we were given the wonderful opportunity to explore the Freer Hokusai exhibit with a tour guide who gave us an in-depth view about the art, as well as its origins. Katsushika Hokusai was a very well renowned artist during the Edo period, with his specialties being in painting, and woodblock printing. I originally thought I knew nothing about him, but it turns out that he was the painter of something that I’m sure even those who know nothing about Japanese art culture can recognize.

Does this ring any bells? It certainly did for me! I’ve seen this image so many times and always thought it was so beautiful, but for some reason never thought to explore the artist, and this trip was so full of making connections and delving into something that involved my two biggest interests: Art and foreign culture. This entire visit was jam packed with our tour guide, Robin, teaching us about things that we couldn’t have possibly known by just looking at the art itself. Did you know that Hokusai was most interested in depicting all stages and places in life (i.e wealth, age, social status) in his art, and was exceptional at doing so, which definitely can be attributed to the fact that he came up as a poor artist and gained wealth as well as fame as his art became more and more sought after.

The entire experience was just so enticing to me, as it really let me explore into a different type of artistic subculture in Japan, giving me a hands-on lens into Japanese culture as well as history in a setting that happens outside of the classroom, which is quite a valuable experience for me, considering that I’m a more kinesthetic learner (meaning learning by doing, and physical interaction). All in all, I do hope that we get to do some more museum visits that have to do with Japanese history and how it has laid down the foundation for the culture in today’s Japan!

Japanese reflections on a visit with Hokusai

On Saturday, February 8th, our Japanese Plus group had a special day outside the classroom. First we went to the Freer Gallery of Art to visit the very special exhibit, “Hokusai: Mad About Painting.” We are so grateful (again) to good friend of the program, Robin Berrington, who was our extremely knowledgeable and interactive docent. Then we walked across the Mall and into Chinatown – we were only allowed to speak Japanese the whole time! Last stop was the National Portrait Gallery, where we stopped by a painting by Japanese American artist, Roger Shimomura. Then Eshita-sensei asked students to write about their day – again, in Japanese. A fun challenge!

Cyrus サイラス

今日クラスでフリアーサックラーにいきました。 フリアーサックラーはびじゅつかんです。ツアーをしました。北斎のえを見ました。きれいとおもった。ぼくのすきな北斎のえは「Storm Personified」です。らいじんとしんとうがすきですから、おもしろかった。

Aeris エリス


Theo シオ



Jonah ジョナ


Jazmin ジャズミン




Katie ケーティー

ほくさいはおもしろいです。Gazing into the Distanceがいちばんすきです。ふじと男の子があります。きれいでくろいです。

Lucca ルカ





JCAW New Year’s Event

By Aeris Golden-Thompson

This year I attended the annual 2020 Japanese New Year Festival Celebration, hosted by the Japan Commerce Association of Washington, DC. I attended this event last year as well, but this time was a little different, and a little more scary for me! This would be the first year I was going alone! I’m a very shy and nervous person by nature, and on top of that, going to an event where I’d only be speaking Japanese totally freaked me out!

I was running a little slow that morning, and after some makeup mishaps, I ended up getting a huge clump of mascara stuck under my eyelash that I just couldn’t get rid of without taking off my entire makeup look!  So my vision was slightly impaired, as a black dot obscured the top left corner of my vision (;___;). I think the nerves got to me in my makeup application process. So much so that I was frazzled after leaving the house, only to realize I was a few minutes too slow, and missed my bus! I ended up just walking the two miles to the metro station closest to me because another bus wouldn’t come in my neighborhood for another hour!

Soon enough, I arrived at the festival, and found it was just like I remembered. I went over to what I thought was the ticket counter and handed them my ticket, but failed to say anything! What an embarrassment! After they tied the band around my wrist I mumbled out a quiet 「ありがとうございます。」、 And went into the festival!

At first, I noted that I couldn’t see very well, and put on my glasses to see better. It was just like I remembered! There’s a vendors row on the right when you walk in, filled with Japanese toys, snacks, and assortments of candy! On your left is the entrance to the games area, with karuta, a Japanese card game in which you have to listen to a speaker announce the first half of the poem and you have to find the card with the second half before your opponent, being the eye-catching attraction. In front of me was the shrine. It’s quite hard to miss, with the big red gates and all.

Now, I was waiting for my other classmates to arrive, hoping I didn’t have to explore the festival alone. My palms were sweating, and I ended up standing in a corner on my phone for a whopping total of: 20 minutes! I’m sure I stuck out like a sore thumb. The whole time my internal warning system was screaming at me to turn around and get out of there! I really felt like I might cry. The event is mainly for Japanese families, and everyone there seemed to know someone, even the people who weren’t Japanese came in a group of friends, and I felt so awkward for being alone.

Thankfully, Sato-san from the Japanese Embassy (who’s visited our class many times), came and talked with me, and that helped ease my nerves a lot! In the end, I gave in, and decided I’d enjoy the festival for myself, and take the chance to step out of my comfort zone. I made four goals for myself before I could leave the festival.

1st: I had to go buy food from the food stalls near the shrine.
2nd: I couldn’t leave the festival until at least an hour and a half passed.
3rd: I had to buy something from the vendors tables.
4th: I had to go get an omikuji (fortune slip; basically describes your luck and gives you advice to boost it) from the shrine.

I managed to complete all four!

First I went to get takoyaki, a fried ball of octopus topped with Japanese mayo and bonito (dried fish flakes), which by the way, was the best takoyaki I’ve Ever Had. Seriously, it was so good! All the tables were full, so I ended up sitting on the floor to eat it, next to a group of girls I didn’t know. This was hard for me, and I got really self conscious, thinking that people would judge me or stare at me for eating on the floor, but I focused on my food and kept going. Then I decided to get up and go get my fortune told!

I slowly walked into the shrine, and quietly waited in the short line to shake around the container. Once it was my turn, I shook the container too hard, and when I flipped it, two sticks dropped out! I could barely mumble out apologies as my brain was so frazzled and didn’t know which language to respond in! Thankfully, the girl handling the container was very understanding and handed me my fortune. Not to anyone’s surprise…. I received average luck. At this rate I might as well have received the worst luck ;o;! How many more times must I mess up at this festival, I thought exasperatedly, and moved to go buy something from the vendor’s table.

I ended up browsing the table for a while before selecting three Hello Kitty Marshmallow Chocolate Pies! I really liked that type of treat, as I’d had it before, and I also like Sanrio, so I was very excited to get them. Sanrio is a Japanese company that makes cute character merchandise! My favorite of the Sanrio character series is Little Twin Stars and My Melody!  I opened one of the packages to eat, hoping it was Hello Kitty shaped; however it was just a normal circle pie. No problem, because pie is pie after all! It still tasted great!

I went on to go stroll around the festival a little more, and then I noticed the time, and left to go home, feeling very proud and accomplished. I made a lot of mistakes, but it was a good learning experience, and showed me that I need to start practicing speaking more, and be more outgoing. I really started to have fun after I broke out of my shell a little despite making mistakes. I want to go again next year! Hopefully not alone, but if I am, that’s okay too! 😀

I also wanted to do this blog in Japanese to help improve my ability to talk about the events I go to, if you would like to continue and read below!


朝に、化粧して時は、むずかしかったね。とても不安になっていたから、マスカラは目に落ちちゃった! 顔に見てるなら見えないけど、私の視覚はちょっと悪かった。大きい黒い点があった!でも、祭りに行きました。