By Akesh Mallia
My experience with the Tamago program started when I received a school newsletter and there was a program listed on there that talked about Japan. This caught my eye because I’m half Japanese so my whole family on my maternal side lives in Japan. In middle school, there was never any club or class that talked about Japan which is why I thought this would be a great unique opportunity and applied. And a great opportunity it was! What made the program for me was how Tamago brought greater connections to my roots in Japan. The obvious example of a connection to Japan is speaking Japanese more often.
Prior to joining Tamago, I could speak Japanese, but not very well. My Japanese studies back then consisted of saying “hi”, “what time is it?” and other simple phrases to my mom. This is why it was great that in breakout rooms during Tamago class, we practiced our Japanese through repetition and conversation. We would learn phrases that I wouldn’t say at home such as “I would like to get 3 bananas” or “nice to meet you” and as a result, I learned more phrases and vocab. This is important to me as my goal is to speak fluently to my family in Japan over the phone for example, and when I go to Japan, I want to be able to converse with others. And the Tamago program brought me closer to that goal.
The other connection that I found from Tamago to family back in Japan was when we learned about culture. We learned about topics such as the atomic bombing in Hiroshima, table manners, and prefectural dialects. This was valuable in that it helped remind me of parts of Japan that I may have lost or forgotten through living in the United States all my life. So overall, when I look back at my year in Japanese Tamago class, it was a club that kept me going through this challenging year. And for that I’m very grateful and appreciative of the speakers who came to class, teaching assistants, the donors, parents, and of course Eshita Sensei and Sally who made this program possible.