Remembering 3-11

By Katie:

The Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami began on March 11, 2011 with almost 22,000 deaths. I believe that to preserve the event and to honor what had happened, we should have a moment of silence and learn what happened on March 11, just like on September 11 when the twin towers had fallen. We should also be more supportive and caring to the victims of the earthquake/tsunami. I was thinking that we can integrate at least learning a bit of Japanese to honor the Japanese victims and I feel that others should be aware of what happened. It is really heartbreaking to see that Japanese victims are still recovering from an event nine years ago. Even after watching 10 mins of the film that Eshita-sensei and Sally showed us, I was pretty shocked by the impact of the tsunami and was disappointed in myself for not being aware of the effect the tsunami had on residents.

By Jazmin:

The Great East Japan Earthquake was a tragedy. I can’t imagine the loss of those lives who were swept from the tsunami in Northern Japan. An earthquake with a magnitude of 9.0, gives me goosebumps even thinking about it. In order to remember this tragic event, I think by more people being aware and or learning about this tragic event is one way to honor what happened there. There are others who don’t know anything about the 3/11 Great Earthquake. Another way we can remember this event is to visit areas that were affected by the tsunami, and help those in need. There are still people who haven’t fully recovered from the Earthquake. We can visit people in those areas and we can hear their stories. It’s one way we can connect with them, and can resonate with them one way or another. When I watched a clip while the tsunami was happening online, I saw people running to higher grounds. Those who ran faster were missed by the tsunami by mere seconds. The tsunami ran about 6 miles inland, and caused an accident at the Fukushima Nuclear power plant as well. It’s sad and heartbreaking that over 18,000 people died. I hope in the future, there are ways we can avoid this tragic event from repeating itself and doing things differently to prevent it from happening again.

By Theo:

I’ve been thinking about the events of March 11, 2011 for a while now and how I, as both a student and an American can honor the loss of so many people. I confess, I still haven’t found a satisfying conclusion, but for now I am content in submitting my philosophical ramblings for a wider audience.

I believe it’s honestly rather hard to sympathize with someone an ocean away, and harder still to empathize with them. Understanding can come easy; loss is, after all, something everyone experiences multiple times throughout their life and that shared experience breeds a shared understanding. Empathy, however, requires one to take the extra step and to share the same feelings as another person. Of course, emotion being so nuanced it is impossible to truly understand and to truly feel the depths to which an individual experiences loss and as such, we only feel empathy in a broad sense. In my experience, this vague form of empathy is present even among close relations, be they family or friends, and thus it should come as no surprise that our already incomplete empathy is spread thinner and thinner as it looks further and further away. The result is that, at least on a personal level, I cannot empathize with the many Japanese people who lost both possessions and relations at a truly meaningful level. Instead I’m left thinking “I’m sorry” or “that’s so sad.” The issue I have with these thoughts are that they exist to placate my own desire to empathize for fear that a lack of empathy would make me a bad person. Personally, after a great deal of thought, I don’t believe true empathy is necessary, nor is it a reasonable request for Americans in general to hold any deeper emotions than those on the surface when discussing Japan.

What I do think is necessary is understanding, recognition, and respect. Even if you cannot feel what the many people who lost their loved ones feel, it is important to realize where that feeling stems from and to respect the depth and enormity of such feelings. For an American, I believe this attempt is one of the best things one can do for those who know loss from a world away.

By Aeris:

Natural disasters are a very real and very scary threat in our lives. Some of us may be safe from them, and others see so many it’s as if they’ve survived a war. In class, we watched a short documentary showing the horrific tragedy that was the earthquake followed by a tsunami in Tohoku, Japan on March 11th, 2011. The class fell into a petrified hush as we watched people try to rescue people from the waves only to be pulled in themselves. From people describing how they watched their friends and loved ones be swept away in front of their eyes, to others recounting their narrow escapes from death. I think I was honestly near tears… I don’t even think I had noticed the subtitles and could honestly hear the pain in their voices which greatly upset me. Unlike in many situations, there’s always a way you could learn from the past, but having to write about this felt very weird, I feel like this is not my place to speak about it, it’s not my trauma to unpack. Many people only had moments notice before they were able to get away, and even those who did get away to evacuation zones also got swept away. Over 18,000 people died in the tsunami, and the rest came back to towns that were completely washed away. Many towns still look like they did after the tsunami today. I know there are also still many relief efforts going on and it reminded me of a story I heard from a JET participant, who spent their days off volunteering to help clean up in some of the affected towns. I would like to help with those efforts when I go to Japan.

By Jonah:

There are too many emotions running rampant after any catastrophe. All are appropriate for you to experience. There are pains and aches that will plague anyone after a loss this large, which are appropriate feelings. Time can only heal, and it always will take time. There will be better days and there will be more time to heal, there will be more opportunity to recover from this loss. Be sure to make the most out of each moment and live to the fullest, each moment should count.

3-11

The Disaster Prevention Building in Minamisanriku, Japan – after the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011

By Asa Marshall

To remember is to not forget
To not forget however is not enough

The clashing plates echo through the foundations of history leaving a permanent crack in the world of many
The tears make up the waves drowning the horizon in sorrow
The shouts spark flames in the smoke dense wind reaching from east to south plucking away the life of each passing blossom

To remember is to tell the story
To share experiences of yourself and others
To feel the pain yet console the truly broken hearted

Knowing does nothing until you use your voice
Be the voice for the unheard
Be the voice the world hears from the tops of mountains and troughs of the valleys resounding the message of yesterdays and tomorrows

To remember is to not forget
To not forget however is not enough

人生初の体験

Introducing the newest member of our Japanese Plus family – Ryoma Tatsuoka – in Japanese and English.

辰岡 稜馬(Ryoma Tatsuoka)

2月26日初めてJapanese Plusのクラスに参加させてもらった。僕にとっては外国の子供達が日本語を学んでいる姿を見るのはもちろんのこと日本語の授業というのも人生で初となる体験だった。授業に参加する前は生徒の日本語レベルは高く見積もっても自己紹介するので精一杯だろうと考えていた。でもいざ授業に参加して生徒の子達と話してみると僕の想像をゆうに超える日本語力に驚いた。例えば、授業に遅刻すれば「遅れてすいません」と流暢な日本語で言ったり、先生が日本語でかなり早いスピードで会話していてもそれを理解していたりとかなり驚く事が多かった。一番驚いたのは「を」や「に」などの接続語をしっかりと使い分けれていた事だ。留学に来て5ヶ月経つ僕でもまだ英語の接続語「of」や「to」などがまだ完璧にマスターできていないの、留学に言って分けどもないみんなが接続語をしっかり使い分けれていたのは本当に驚きを通り越して感動だった。

次に授業についてだが、かなり難しいことをしていて驚いた。僕が参加した授業では「〜してもいいですか?」という質問系をマスターする授業だったのだが、日本にいては絶対に気づく事が出来ない部分がたくさんあった。例えば、「〜してもいいですか?」の「し」が単語に言って着き方が変わるなんてこと何も気にせずに今まで喋って来たので「あ、本当だ!」

と驚いた。

In February 26 I attendant Japanese Plus first time. This is first time see other country people study Japanese. I’m really surprised when I take Japanese class. Because students Japanese level is really high. When we did introduction they talk Japanese very quickly. And also they can read ‘Hiragana’, ‘Katakana’ and little bit ‘Kanzi’. And also they can use ‘Romaji’.

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.

Sources:

https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2020-02-26/animejapan-2020-event-canceled-due-to-covid-19-coronavirus-concerns/.156866

https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/when-and-how-to-use-masks

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 sally@globalizedc.org.

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!