kiritsu, kiotsuke, rei, chakuseki

Elias Lovos

The first time I had done the routine, I was nervous. kiritsu, meaning to get up from your seat, kiotsuke is to get your attention, rei means to bow, and in a class setting you either say おはよう ございます meaning good morning at the start of the class, then ありがと ございます meaning thank you and chakuseki meaning to sit down. At the end of the class, the teacher finishes last minute information and then we say さようなら, meaning goodbye.

It was nice to perform a Japanese routine done in every class, it made me feel like I was actually a part of a usual Japanese class without being inside of Japan. I enjoyed the practice and look forward to doing it again in class as time goes on.

No No Girl

By Chamiya Carnathan

On March 5th, 2023, Penelope Morris, XiaoYi Luo, and I, alongside Ms Sally Schwartz, went to the DC Independent Film Forum (DCIFF) which featured No No Girl for its closing night. Directed by Paul Daisuke Goodman, the film was about a Japanese American family who buried a secret in their backyard garden eighty years ago, on the eve of war and incarceration. Three generations later, a clue was discovered which unearthed the trauma and truth of their historic past. 

No No Girl is a story narrated by generations of Japanese Americans who are still suffering from their relatives’ internment during World War II. Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, 120,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans were evicted from their houses and were transferred to barracks in isolated camps distributed across the United States by executive order. Several families, including the fictional one shown in No No Girl, did not want to leave behind beloved belongings that were too large or otherwise impractical to transport, so they buried them. After the war, Japanese American families would return to their homes to find them ransacked, destroyed, and vandalized as they faced racism and hate from white Americans. Sometimes, their belongings were outright stolen and they would have to start again and move on. No No Girl explored three generations of Japanese Americans who discovered the existence of family heirlooms in a home that is no longer theirs. In this film, we explored identity and family; nationality and pride as we watch the characters ask themselves: if it’s yours, is it really stealing?

Before the movie started, we had the opportunity to speak with Mika Dyo, the actress who played the main character in the film. Mika Dyo told us that she related to the movie because as a Japanese American, the internment camps impacted her family generations after the war, whether it was directly or indirectly. 

I asked her the question “Why is the film called No No Girl?” She responded by saying that the film was named after the No-No Boys, a group of boys who answered “no” to questions 27 and 28 on a loyalty questionnaire given to Japanese Americans during the war. Question number 27 asked if they were willing to serve on combat duty wherever ordered and asked everyone else if they would be willing to serve in other ways, such as serving in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps. Question number 28 asked “Will you swear to abide by the laws of the United States and take no action which would in any way interfere with the war effort of the United States?” The No-No Boys were castigated by both the Japanese Americans and the general public because they were seen as disloyal traitors to the United States. However, the group was embraced by younger activists in the 1970s who were looking for those who resisted mass incarceration. 

The movie explored topics that I had never learned in my history classes. The history books taught me about the internment camps but I had never learned about the generations of Japanese Americans who were still being affected by the events during WWII. This movie showed the bigotry, the racism, the exploitation of Japanese American families, and the generational trauma that followed in the aftermath of World War II. This is the kind of information that our #Stop Asian Hate Project believes should be included in DC’s new social studies standards so that future DC students will gain a much deeper understanding of Asian American history.

Confidence and growth

By Jenny Gonzalez

Want to study more of your Japanese? Well, don’t you worry about it! In this program, our teachers and mini teachers (tutors)  will take the time out of their day to help you. Don’t be shy to ask for help! Trust me, I was very shy to ask for help and shyness will leave you behind. I was capable to study more of my hiragana! Everyone has room to study and learn! If you want to get out of the house, come to the Japanese study session! It helps a whole ton, and the tutors are so nice and helpful! I’ll love to even thank Satsuki-san and another tutor, Hiroki-san, in this mini blog!

I love this program and I get to learn more about Japanese culture and language. A little fun fact – Japan and China were close to each other. In the number section, it wasn’t always いち、に、さん。 (ichi, ni, san) They were ひとつ、ふた、三つ、よっす。(hitotsu, futatsu, mittsu, yottsu) There’s always room to learn anything! I suggest coming and joining Japanese Plus!

おりがみ (Origami)

By Zitlaly Hernandez

This poem is based on my experience at the JCAW New Year’s Festival I attended on January 29 in downtown DC. When making the origami, I was able to create relationships. Also, when creating these relationships, we were able to all laugh and joke about how we couldn’t for the life of us create the origamis, well not without help at least. My friends Soyeon and Seunga decided to look for an “easier” way to create a heart origami. We laughed about how we felt embarrassed to have to look up an “easier” version.

This is how my experience went but the poem talks about what origami can bring into your life and what it is. When making origami, you can connect with someone and who knows, you might make new friends or create a better relationship with those you’re already friends with. This poem was how I wanted to briefly explain but describe my experience when making Origami with these lovely people who I still keep in contact with til this day.

A beautiful art. 
A control of technique.
A test of patience.
An art of focus.
A test of trusting the process, yourself, and your capabilities
A way to connect with others through the complex forms of this beautiful art. 

Finding true kindness in a different culture

By Kori Johnson

With the help of Globalize DC, I had the opportunity to experience Japanese culture in January in downtown Washington by attending a New Year’s festival, sponsored by the Japan Commerce Association of Washington, DC (JCAW). I had a wonderful day with my friends and had the opportunity to converse with people who aren’t originally from Washington, DC. The retail area was my favorite part of the whole visit.

I had the opportunity to see numerous Japanese toys, refreshments, and play mini games for rewards. I enjoyed two games available at the venue – fishing and hitting the targets! In the end, even if you didn’t hit any goals, the games still provided you candy since they give you the possibility to win sweets and adorable small toys that you can play with or give to your family. The snacks I could buy and consume from the kiosk were incredible; they had so many unique flavors and textures that weren’t present in the foods I often eat in Washington, DC. 

Sadly, I was unable to afford a sushi making kit I wanted to get after seeing it. However, this genuinely kind worker offered to buy it for me, which came as a huge shock to me because not many people treat me with such kindness. This opened my eyes. demonstrating how even initiating small talk can result in amazing outcomes. I only talked with the lady for a few moments and she had offered to pay for something I couldn’t afford. It really shows how those who partake in a different culture than you can be genuinely kind and giving when you first meet them.   

The event was amazing, and this program has given me many opportunities to do amazing things. I’d love to attend another festival like this one and play games, eat, and converse with people from Japan, and generally just enjoy myself with my  friends once more.