Key’Mari’s Reflection

By Key’Mari Thompson

Since about 5th or 6th grade, I have had a steadily growing interest in Japan, especially through its pop culture. Like many others, I love Japanese media, including anime, manga, and video games, and over time this interest was able to expand into other things, such as its fashion, scenery and folklore. I had developed so much of an interest in Japan that learning the language was the next logical step to take. When I heard about Japanese Tamago from my peers at school, I was immediately interested and decided to apply. The program overall was very fun, and I especially love that beyond the language, we were also able to learn about various aspects of Japan’s culture, such as information about various prefectures like Osaka, or foods like onigiri and okonomiyaki. I also loved hearing from our guest speakers about their experiences in Japan, which helped to further increase my desire to travel to the country. Despite having to deal with one of the most hectic school years of my life, I was still able to enjoy the program, as it ended up being a peaceful distraction from the stressful events happening around me. Overall, I think that starting to learn a new language can be very intimidating, but I feel as though Japanese Tamago was able to ease the process enough to the point where I feel more confident in continuing to study the language on my own once it ends. I believe that if you are as interested in Japan as me and my peers, this would be a great opportunity for you!

Introducing Tamawan

Program Director’s Note: Working collectively, reflecting on the personalities and values of the group, our Japanese Tamago students have thoughtfully designed their own Japanese-style mascot for the program. Our student artist, Key’Mari Thompson, translated the concept into art. And so we are happy to have Key’Mari introduce Tamawan to our wider community. Kawaii!

By Key’Mari Thompson

Meet Tamawan, the official mascot of Japanese Tamago!

He is a scholarly dog who showcases the various different aspects and values of the class. Tamawan is a Shiba Inu, a very popular breed of dog in Japan, whose name combines “Tamago” and “wan-wan”, the Japanese onomatopoeia for dogs barking. His fur is red and white, representing the colors of both the DC flag and the Japanese flag, alongside symbolizing the cooperation and community between them. Since red is a very strong and passionate color, Tamawan’s fur shows off the strong dedication and passion that the students have for learning Japanese. He also sits inside of a cracked egg, not only representing the name “Tamago” in the literal sense, as Tamago means “egg” in Japanese, but it also shows off the open-minded attitude of the students necessary for language learning. As Tamawan himself is a student, he is excited to learn about the Japanese language, much like the students, and also like the alternative meaning of Tamago, apprentice. Much like an apprentice, Tamawan is always eager to grow and learn new skills.