America in Japanese

About a week before her event, my friend Chika called me in a bit of a panic.  Apparently the office she worked for was having an international event and their speaker suddenly had to move a week earlier than planned.  Now they had something like 40 elementary schoolers coming to hear a presentation about America and no one to give the presentation.  After checking my schedule, I told her I would be happy to help.  It just so happened that I was going to be in Miyazaki City anyway, and would have the morning free.

I then had a week to prepare for the second most challenging presentation I’ve ever given: a 40 minute presentation about America, suitable for elementary schoolers, and all in Japanese.  I was nervous about this presentation, but for different reasons than the presentation I gave about studying Japanese.  I had never given such a long presentation in Japanese, nor do I work with elementary schoolers on a regular basis, other than reading to them at the library once a month.

I did the presentation twice.  The first time was a group of first-third graders and their parents.  The second was a group of fourth-sixth graders.

The first group of kids.

The first group of kids.

I’m honestly not sure how well the presentations went.  The kids were pretty quiet throughout, as were the parents.  I was nervous and I’m sure they could see that.  After my presentation the kids worked on two “American Crafts” I had found.  They made pinwheels and glue tissue paper to American and Missouri flags.  They seemed to enjoy it and while I was walking around helping, some of them even asked me questions about America.

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Probably my proudest moment was when I realized that I was actually understanding a large percentage of the little-kid-Japanese I was hearing.  I couldn’t understand kids at all when I first moved here, so I’m clearly improving.  Maybe one day I’ll be able to understand old-man-Japanese too.  It’s an ambitious goal, I know, but I’m holding out hope.



One thought on “America in Japanese

  1. The presentation looked fine to me, Jody. But maybe a bit much for the Japanese students (and parents) to fully grasp and ask question. But it does seem to give them a taste of America.

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