Language and Culture


A focus for this year in Japanese at St Aloysius College has been to bring as much ‘Japan’ into the classroom as possible. To kickstart a new unit of work on Japanese dishes and ordering in restaurants, Year 8 Japanese students designed and created their own キャラ弁 (character bento), which featured food decorated to look like characters, animals and plants. They enjoyed crafting their own character bento and eating their creation afterwards! In the Year 9 Japanese classroom, students were visited by Kenny Chan, a renowned Manga Artist, who facilitated a manga drawing workshop. Kenny taught the students how to draw manga-style faces with different emotions and helped consolidate some key vocabulary related to body parts and adjectives that students had learnt previously.

In addition to eating and drawing, there were also opportunities to dress up. The Year 10 Japanese students learnt how to wear a ゆかた (summer kimono) through a workshop facilitated by Leanne from Kimono House. Leanne brought a large suitcase full of summer kimono and explained each part of the garment while dressing a student. Students then helped each other get dressed to impress! One of the main challenges was tying the おび (belt) into a bow but with some guidance, the students quickly became experts. The Year 10 students also participated in an online workshop run by Japan Foundation Sydney, where they learnt about ふろしき (Japanese wrapping cloths) and its connections to sustainability. Students’ abilities to manipulate the cloth were certainly tested as they tried various tying and wrapping techniques.

Learning also took place outside the classroom during an excursion which took the Year 11 and 12 Japanese students to Melbourne CBD. During their exploration of Japanese culture in Melbourne, students tried their luck on the Gachapon machines at Nekocards and completed a scavenger hunt at Daiso, which tested their reading skills in Japanese. Their hard work was rewarded with a delicious Japanese-style crepe at Harajuku Crepes.

Students learning Japanese at St Aloysius College also have opportunities to participate in external competitions throughout the year. At the end of last year, number of Japanese students across all year levels participated in the JLTAV Calligraphy Competition where they wrote designated kanji characters and were judged on the balance and shape of these characters. The winners were announced this year and we have been fortunate to receive 3 award recipients for the secondary brush division: Katelyn Vien (1st place), Alex Del Mastro (2nd place) and Aurelia Raimondo (3rd place). We hope to continue to see more Japanese students embrace these opportunities and extend their learning.

Arina Mizuno, Languages Leader