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Japanese Culture Night at Dooley Elementary School

• “Japanese Culture Night” was held at Dooley Elementary School in Schaumburg on March 6, and Japanese calligraphy, karate, kimono dressing, and origami entertained the visitors. There were also games, a Kato railroad model exhibit, food, and a silent auction related to Japanese flavored goods. The seventh annual event was hosted by Schaumburg Oyanokai, which means parents’ organization.

• Dooley is well-known for dual language programs including Japanese-English dual education. However, no high school in the area offers Japanese classes, so a sign-up petition sheet was set up at the entrance to request that these classes be added.

• Japanese Culture Night welcomed Dooley’s Principal Beth Erback, Superintendent Andrew DuRoss of School District 54, Schaumburg Sister City Committee, Koji Kaneko from Consulate General of Japan, Principal Nobuyuki Ozaki of Futabakai Saturday School, and members from Chicago Japanese Club and Japan America Society of Chicago.

• The special guests for the night were 29 students from Ritsumeikan Moriyama High School in Shiga Prefecture, Japan. They introduced their school’s original dance, which was good for warming up for physical exercises. They also enjoyed conversations through calligraphy or games with the visitors.

• According to teacher Nobuya Tsubosaka, the high school has five different courses of field trip abroad, and the students can choose one from Vancouver, Seattle, Sydney, Tasmania, or Chicago.
• Another teacher, Ippei Ban, said that the school started an exchange program with Chicago four years ago and has visited Glenbrook South High School in Glenview for these two years. During their two-week stay, the students are able to experience not only meeting people in the host school and with host families, but also doing internships in five firms. The firms are Japan Airlines’ Chicago office, Shaw’s Crab House, the Museum of Science and Industry, Tomy, and Rapid Direction, which produces 3D printers. Each firm assigned a theme, and a group of students is going to make a presentation along with the theme.

• Teacher Ban has had a teaching experience in Thailand and said, “We have recognized that our students grow further when they are given learning environments.” He also said, “I feel closeness about American students because many of them are studying Japanese. Our students want to learn English, and American students want to learn Japanese. I hope that the students on both sides could make a good match. I appreciate having this good opportunity.”

• Moe Masui, leader of the visiting group, chose the Chicago course because it was well organized and provided an internship opportunity. She has been working for Rapid Direction, and her group is going to make a presentation on how to promote 3D printers in Japan.
• Masui said, “Chicago is an energetic city and gives me power, so I’ve been spending days with a fulfillment. My host family is very kind to me, so I’ve been really enjoying every day in Chicago.”

• Hiraki Yamaguchi chose the Chicago course because he heard about exciting internship experiences from students who visited Chicago last year. He said, “I didn’t have clear dream, so I thought that internship experiences would give me some ideas. Now I’m thinking of a job in something related with overseas.”

• Yuki Konishi had participated in an overseas exchange program before coming to Chicago and said, “I was interested in making a presentation in a company. It is a very high-level program.”
• His host family consisted of only a father. He said, “I’m comfortable talking with him. I’m delighted because the father does anything for me, whatever I asked him. My English was not so good at the beginning, but gradually I became comfortable talking with him day by day. I love music, so I want to be a music engineer in the future.”

• Yamaguchi and Konishi are doing internships at the Museum of Science and Industry. Yamaguchi said, “The Museum is going to open an exhibit of robot revolutions in Osaka and Tokyo. So we are going to suggest how the exhibit can be successful and the ways of promoting it.”
• Konishi said, “My school has made the same suggestion every year. The Museum gave us the same theme, and I think that we have to do something different, but it’s not easy. We are going to discuss about new things this weekend and make a presentation on Monday.”

• Saya Onishi said she was not good at English, but she was lucky because a daughter of her host family, who took Japanese classes at Glenbrook South, helped her a lot. She said, “I was frustrated because I couldn’t communicate well with the mother and father. I’m really thinking that I’ll study English vigorously when I return to Japan. Now I think that I want to work overseas and want to do something for people.”

Attendees enjoy Japanese culture and games.

The students of Ritsumeikan Moriyama demonstrate Japanese calligraphy.

The students of Ritsumeikan Moriyama introduce their school's original warming-up dance at Dooley Elementary School.

Moe Masui, leader of Ritsumeikan Moriyama's visiting group.

From left, Yuki Konishi, Hiraki Yamaguchi, and Saya Onishi