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 sally@globalizedc.org.

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

フリアーサックラーにいきました。ロビンさんは私達のガイドでした。ツアーはとてもおもしろかったです。北斎のえはかんぺきでした、たしかに北斎はよくがんばったとおもいました。びじゅつ学校に入っていますから、本当にたのしかった。ロビンさんはとてもじょうずなガイドでした。私の一ばん好きなえはおしょうがつの女シリーズでした。スタイルはじょうひんだとおもいました。もう一回見に行きたいです!:D

Theo シオ

フリアーでとあるひとのれきしをみました。ツアーのあいだにほくさいさんのえはかわって、もっとうつくしくなりました。あのさいごのえはわたしのいきをとりました。あのいろとかげがとってもすばらしかった。

ツアーもすばらしかった。そしてロビンさんはちしきがありすぎました。ロビンさんからいろいろならえました。そして、わたしはたぶんひとりでもっとべんきょうします。つまり、たのしかったです。もういちどいきたい。

Jonah ジョナ

ほくさいはほんとうにゆうめいです。私の一ばんすきなえはらいじんです。ロビンはいいガイドです。ぜんぶのほくさいのえは、かっこいいです。

Jazmin ジャズミン

ふじがすきです。

みずがいちばんすきです。

ほくさいのまんががすきです。でも今のまんがはわかりません。

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

大きいびじゅつかんにいきました。このびじゅつかんはオバマのえがあります。私は2018ねんにみました。すごいですよ。日本のえもあります。日系アメリカ人がかきました。すごいけど、かなしいです。

みんなは三十分ぐらい日本ごではなしてみました。今日はさむかったですから、たくさんの人はコートをきました。でもジョナくんはコートがありません。みんなはほんとうの木をみました。この木はすごく大きいです。びじゅつかんのえもぐこし大きいです。そして、きれいでうつくしいですよ。

みんなはほくさいのびじゅつかんにいきました。ほくさいは日本のゆうめいながかです。ほくさいのえはほんとうにすごいですよ。そしてとてもちがいます。

 

DC Multilingual Fair

By Asa Marshall

On Saturday, January 25th from 10am to 3pm, Japanese Plus had a booth at the 2020 Multilingual Education Fair of DC at Roosevelt High School, held by the DC Language Immersion Project that featured 150+ exhibitors, 18+ languages and career connections.

At our booth we were spreading the word of our program and getting contact information for those interested in applying for the next school year as well as those interested in pre-ordering the new Japan in DC book I was happy to be featured in. I was not that excited to work the booth at first, because it was my birthday and it wasn’t the ideal situation to be doing community service activities but I don’t regret it. I had the first shift from 9am to 11am and me and Katie helped Sally set up and work the booth.

It was cool walking around seeing all of the programs in DC I never heard of! I enjoyed the JICC (Japan Information and Culture Center) booth the most, because they visited our class many times and everyone was so nice and I felt accomplished when I could answer their mini quiz! I entered a goodie bag giveaway and actually won! I was also very interested in the many other languages and travel programs, and one I never thought was offered in DC was German.

There were so many great programs that students hardly hear about, so the fair was a great way to allow the public to get language and career connections. DCPS languages are very restricted to focusing on romance languages, such as French and Spanish, but it would be more helpful for programs such as ours and those of other languages to be more open, because students have far more interests than what school offers! If you get the chance, you should definitely consider attending next year!

Mind Over Matter: Ikigai

By Theo Greiff

Ikigai is a way of life originating from Japan built around finding and pursuing your purpose. Upon hearing this, I was incredibly interested as the idea of purpose is one very close to my mind. I’ve struggled with the idea of purpose for a while because my interests are so varied that I can never seem to find one thing I really want to do. Additionally, I’ve never subscribed to the idea of a preordained purpose so the solution I came to was this: we have no purpose in life except those we give ourselves.

With this in mind, I view Ikigai as a self-help guide to finding your self-appointed purpose. It is divided into four primary parts: what you love, what you are good at, what the world needs, and what you are paid for. Where these four meet is your Ikigai. For example, if the world needs better food distribution and you love cooking but are skilled at management, maybe your Ikigai could revolve around food drives. The philosophy of Ikigai allows people to help the world at large while pursuing their own, personal happiness.

However, the effects of Ikigai are not solely immaterial and practicing ikigai has been directly linked to a variety of very real health benefits. Within the body, the mindset of Ikigai balances out neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine and there is a negative correlation between Ikigai and anxiety. As a result, Ikigai is frequently cited as a potential cause for the longevity of Japanese people about which multiple texts have been written.

Responsibilities: A Complaint

By Theo Greiff

Japanese Plus has, for me, been one of the most enjoyable activities I have had over the past year and, importantly, was one that I pursued almost entirely on my own. That being said it remains a commitment and, no matter how much I may enjoy it, work is work. As such, I have decided to devote this blog to an unnecessarily meta discussion on the process and personal difficulty of writing a blog.

I should preface that my time management is, and has always been, abysmal. In school I consistently defer assignments to the last possible day and i do the same with my chores. I have an intense dislike of doing things I don’t want to do and I believe my consistent failure to manage this issue is the aspect of myself most in need of change. As such, it should be of no surprise that I am currently quite behind in my blog writing and as such am forced to rely upon the work of meta humor before you.

This being said, I am starting to view these blogs as a microcosm for my time management as a whole. Even if I have trouble with the stuff I don’t like, I should be able to do the assignments I choose to do which is, if nothing else, a start. Though I’ve never been a fan of New Year’s Resolutions, it seems appropriate to make one now dedicated to improving my ability to do the things I don’t want in order to do the things I do.

J.LIVE 2019!

By Alexx Thompson

Recently, I’ve attended the J.LIVE event for the second time! J.LIVE is an annual speaking competition for university students studying Japanese. This event is held annually at the GW campus. The competition is comprised of three levels – Level I, II, and III. Three students compete against each other in each tier.

I arrived in time for the second level, and I was really excited to watch the presentations. Since I’d gone the year before, I had a general idea of what to expect when I came, and I was grateful to find the setup was still the same. During the presentations, students usually have a slideshow prepared, and explain their topic all in Japanese. Then afterwards, they open up questions from the audience, and then the judges in Japanese as well.

There was one presentation that caught my eye however. Usually most projects I’ve seen while attending are experiences with Japan, or something relating to a research project. It’s a bit harder for me to grasp the concept of what they’re explaining since I’m usually not familiar with the Japanese terms, but one presentation was different!

A girl named Yiman Wang stepped up, and instantly my mind clicked in recognition as her title popped up, paired with the image of a gacha card from an idol game. Her presentation was called “Virtual Idol, Sena-kun.” I leaned forward in my seat, and watched as she explained that Izumi Sena, a virtual idol from the game Ensemble Stars (Enstars), was her inspiration. She displayed pictures of her making friends and even cosplaying as ways the game has helped her branch out and have fun in life. All because of one virtual idol.

I don’t know much about Enstars, as I don’t play it, but I have friends who like it a lot! I could also understand more of the vocabulary she used, as it’s something I’m very familiar with, as I’ve played idol games similar to it, like Love Live and Idolmaster (both which focus more so on girl idols). It was really nice to hear, and I also found myself agreeing with her presentation points, as in what makes us happy in life. What drives us to be great? Even something like loving a virtual idol can help us all get through the day! I could relate, as I find using fictional characters as encouragement is a great way to push through, and find happiness in the things you do in life!

Recently in my struggles in school, I was losing motivation, didn’t really feel like coming as it stressed me out too much. But I had started reading a new novel and found myself daydreaming scenarios of the characters urging me on, helping me find the strength to keep going when I felt like it wasn’t worth it anymore. I experienced a life-changing turnaround. I frequently showed up to school early and started becoming motivated to finish my assignments despite having none before! I know the idea seems rather silly, to rely on fictional characters for support, but it can help in more ways than you can really imagine.

After the presentations, the rest I could understand the basic idea, but not any specific details. We went to go browse the expo booths, in which there were various Japan related companies and colleges! I even saw Kinokuniya there to sell books and manga! They even had a copy of Kimetsu no Yaiba (Demon Slayer), which is one of my favorite mangas that recently spiked in popularity, having sales that outsold One Piece which has been the long standing #1 for years! I really wanted to buy a copy, but unfortunately, by the time I’d circled back around, all the copies were gone! さすが鬼滅の刃ですね!

I got to see a lot of familiar faces, and some people had even recognized me from seeing me at various Japan events, which I was quite surprised to know they’d recognized me! At the end of the competition, and all the winners were announced, they introduced the new J.LIVE competition, now open for high school students! I really hope I can participate in it!!

What I met, at the MET!

By Alexx Thompson

Outside of our lovely Japanese Plus class, I went on a field trip to New York with my school! I go to an arts training school, Duke Ellington School of the Arts, which prepares us to work as an artist in the professional field, and there are various arts training departments you can audition into. I’m in the Visual Arts major/department, which means I learn a variety of art skills such as painting, sculpture, animation, drawing, and printmaking. Our first trip of the year was to the Frick Collection, as well as the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the MET).

Unfortunately, the moment I arrived in New York I had fallen ill, and could no longer keep up the enthusiasm I’d had prior to boarding. With great reluctance, I had to let my friend join a different group so I could leave the group to go get medication, and thus missed a great deal of the first museum. Luckily I was able to rush through it, although not to the extent I would’ve liked.

Still unwell, I made my way over to the MET, and had lunch, that was ridiculously overpriced, and overwhelmingly bland. However as I was ill, I didn’t really have any care for what kind of food it was. With new energy and my illness finally subsided, I’d returned to my earlier plan. The MET had an Asian art gallery, and I was determined to see the Japanese collection. I was beyond delighted to find a MET guide in Japanese, and used that to guide me. Not only that, I was more than happy that I could actually understand it enough to use it to get there!

Now that I was in the hallway leading to the exhibit, my excitement heightened as I admired modern Japanese pottery on display, noting the beautiful craftsmanship and effort put into it. My mother, who was accompanying me as a chaperone, was perplexed at the sight of one pot, exclaiming that it didn’t look as neat as the others. I thought about this for a moment before remembering the concept of wabi sabi—something I’d learned about in Japanese class—and explained to her that it was likely the artist’s intention for it to be that way. Or rather, nature’s intention if you will.

We finally headed into the exhibit and I was interested in the Chinese and Korean exhibits; however the exhibit for the Korean gallery was small, but still very nice. I also had recently become fascinated with the Chinese exhibits since at the time I’d started to read a fictional history/fantasy Chinese novel, and could now visualize what kinds of things the author drew on to create that novel.

As I exited the Chinese exhibit, I noticed two glass doors and atop them was a title reading: Sackler Wing Gallery! Now where have I heard that name before… None other than the Freer-Sackler Gallery of Asian Art! Thus I knew I’d found the Japanese exhibit and pulled open those doors to reveal a glistening beautiful glass statue of a deer. I gasped in awe and quietly made my way around each art piece, carefully examining each one, as well as the writing on pieces to see what I could decipher.

In many places there were very meticulously put together traditional rooms depicting historical architecture and interior design, or small enclaves displaying cooking pans and pots on tatami mats. My personal favorite however, was a large rock. To be more accurate, a fountain disguised as a large black stone. This is the Water Stone, created by Isamu Noguchi. Upon looking at the stone, I first thought it to only be rather shiny, but then I noticed the faint sound of water and realized that there was in fact, water flowing seamlessly over top the stone! It was very calming, and since the exhibit itself was quite silent, I simply sat there and enjoying sitting by it for a while.

Finally, I left the exhibit after looking around at all the pieces, and wandered around the museum until it was time for us to depart. Please do take time to visit the MET though, if you’re interested in Asian art, as their selection is gorgeous!