From Kanji to Kendo: Concordia Middle School Students learn Japanese Language and Culture

Concordia’s middle school has introduced a Japanese elective course for the 2022-2023 school year. The goals of the class are to help speakers with no Japanese background acquire some basic vocabulary and communication patterns they can use to engage with a Japanese member of our Concordia community, and to gradually introduce cultural elements. Three students and the teacher shared insights on the course - and its impact on the community. 

Micah G6 “We are learning how to say things in Japanese, like “how old are you?, what is your name?, and where are you from?” The teacher will ask us similar questions in Japanese and we need to answer in Japanese. We also learn ‘Hiragana’, which is the basic Japanese alphabet that beginners need to learn. I'm glad that I'm learning Japanese because it’s gone well and I discovered I’m pretty good at it.”

Hann Yang Au (G6) “I personally just wanted to learn Japanese because I just liked it and found it interesting. So far we have learned the Japanese alphabet called ‘Hiragana’, which is like the alphabet, and there's also ‘Katakana’ and ‘Kanji’ which is mostly for foreign names. We also learned about life in Japan and school life in Japan - including clubs like Kendo and karate.” 

KD (G8) “I joined the Japanese elective because I was interested in the culture. In 6th grade I started to watch Japanese cartoons and animation shows, which made me wonder what Japanese culture was actually like. So I decided to challenge myself to understand the shows I watch. We also had a Kendo expert visit the class and show us some moves - I was really interested because I think swords are cool.” 

“As a result of the class, I’ve seen a deeper connection with our Japanese students - students having questions about vocabulary words or expressions - and it's really helped our Japanese students in the middle school gain more voice in the community,” said class teacher Mr. Macfarlane, who lived in Japan for many years prior to joining Concodia.

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