Tampopo-kai Awarded by Grant
from Japan Foundation
• Consul General Naoki Ito, who brought a check for the grant and observed the Tampopo-kai program, said, “It’s great to come here to see that parents and children are enjoying together and learning Japanese songs and language here in Tampopo-kai.” He commended that the program was supported by Japanese Americans, JASC staff, and volunteers. “I think that the beauty of this program is really cross- cultural. The JAs, Japanese, and Americans are getting together, so the program is gaining larger audience and encouraging mutual understanding of Japan-Chicago, Japan-America relations,” Ito said.
• Tampopo-kai was started in 1983 by two JA mothers,
who wanted their children to learn Japanese language. Naomi Negi, a teacher,
took over it in 1987 and continues to the present day. “I started to teach
at Tampopo-kai because I eagerly wanted my children to know about Japan.
It was like grasping at straws or taking any port in a storm. This is
the 32nd year of my teaching. I think that I love doing it. That’s why
I continued,” Negi said.
• Michael Takada, CEO of JASC, said, “We are fortunate to have support from the Japan Foundation to help the programs in Tampopo-kai and Donguri-kai, a new program that was developed.” He also thanked support from volunteers, Noriko, Tomoko, and Shoko, for their devotion to continue the programs.
• Donguri-kai teaches advanced Japanese language to the
children who finished Tampopo-kai and want to learn more of the language,
but have difficulties to attend the Futabakai Hoshu-ko due to distance
and other reasons.
• Ishijima is an expert in the nutriology for seniors and strong in the IT field. Horike said that she was weak about IT, so the two could help each other and run Donguri-kai.
Place: Japanese American Service Committee
A class scene at Tampopokai
From left: Naomi Negi, Michael Takada, Consul General Naoki Ito