Field trip to Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Award Ceremony at J-Quiz
Students enjoyed the Field trip to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.  After that they ate their lunch at Zen Box and explore Japanese food at the United Noddles.

  Please click here to see the calendar.

On the Valentine’s Day, 16 Japanese students participated in the J-Quiz at Normandale Community College. This is a bi-state competition to test the ability of high school students in Minnesota and Northern Wisconsin who are studying the Japanese language. It is modeled on a quiz show format and aims to make the study of Japanese challenging and enjoyable. There were three levels: level II, level III and level IV in this competition. The Southwest level III-A students got third place in their category. Congratulation Level III-A students! The finalists who represented Southwest at Regions this year were:

Level III-A: Taylor Nelson, Elijah Wallen, Devon Olson

Other participants who did a great job at Regions were:

Level IV-A — Mclean Cozine, Olivia Engel
Level IV-B — Rhiannon Aldrich, Pa Chia Thao
Level III-B —Fadumo Mohamed, Yanique Simpson, Starlight Thao
Level II-A — Zakeria Husein, Justin Andrews, Kongpang Vang
Level II-B —Virginia Culhane, Elizabeth Kofuji, Athen Schooler
Setsubun is the day preceding risshun that is the first day of spring according to the old Japanese calendar, or the so-called lunar calendar. On the day of Setsubun, there is the custom of throwing roasted soybeans while chanting "In with Fortune!
Kasugaoka High School has sent New Year's Cards for us.  Every card was very nice and we noticed that they spent a lot of time to draw them.  Everybody enjoyed his/her card.  Some students got their partners' email addresses.  We hope that this new year's card exchange will be a great opportunity to start communicating each other.  Southwest students who got their new year's cards from the visitors in March are looking forward to meeting them soon.  
The JET Memorial Program is a fully paid stipend opportunity for a student to go to Japan for 18 days during the summer.  Four students applied and three students wrote a one page essay.  All the students wrote really good essays and Hailley Danielson-Owczynsky got the highest votes by the selenction committee.   Thank you for participating in the selection process and good luck to Hailley to go forward to the next proficiency test.  I also appreciated that the committee members gave us their time to read these essays with their busy schedules.
J-Quiz participants
15 host families for Japanese visitors
The Japanese Program is looking for host families for Kasugaoka High School’s visit in March. Kasugaoka High School became our sister school in December 2013. We have been doing an exchange program for 10 years. I attached the tentative itinerary below for their visit. If you are able to be a host family for a visitor from Japan, please let me know.  The details are in the "Kasugaoka High School's visit" section on the right.  -------  Thank you for your support.  We found 15 host familes.
Students who are planing to go to Japan this summer, please open the Personal Profile in the "Annual trip to Japan" section on the right, fill in your information in the Participant Profile, and email it back to Mrs. French as soon as possible.  Mrs. French will send your profile to Japan to find your host families.
Japanese Culture Club and some volunteers visited the Waters (at Chowen and 50th) to help fold cranes to decorate their Christmas trees on December 8, 2014.  We make about 120 cranes for them.  We hope they can reach their goal.

Haiku Contest 2015

There is a Haiku Contest sponsored by the Minneapolis-Ibaraki Sister City Association (MISCA) and the Minneapolis Public Schools. Entries are divided into four categories: K-5, 6-8, 9-12 and Adult.   The entries will be judged by the Board of Directors of MISCA, and the top 30 entries in each category will be sent to Ibaraki, Japan for final judging. Final results will be available in March, with an award ceremony to be held in April.   This year’s theme is “Shizuka” which translates in English to "quiet". Writing one haiku is your student’s homework, but please encourage your students to write more than one haiku to participate in this contest.  If you are interested in entering a haiku, please write one and send it to me. I am happy to send your haiku to the committee.


Japanese Culture Club Meeting With World Language Clubs

Japanese Culture club met Nov. 17th in the media center with the ASL club, French club and Spanish club for an afternoon of learning a little about each World Languages. Japanese Culture Club taught some simple greetings and a children’s son in Japanese Sign Language.


Three high school students from Hokkaido

Three students from Kaisei Gakuin (High School), Hokkaido, Japan came to Southwest.  John B and Conor J. hosted them.  Visitors shadowed host students and Isabella G.  They did interactive activities with us.  The visitors envied Southwest as having more electives than their own school.  They said that Southwest students have a welcoming atmosphere and that they are very active and friendly.   It was a fun day with visitors.  

We are going to participate in the J-Quiz T-shirt design contest !!!!!  The themes of this contest are
"Bridge between  US and Japan" and "Cherry Blossom".  Students can use only two colors; one for T-shirts and another color for characters and / or drawing.  Please turn in your design by October 31st.  Last year's winner was from Southwest High School and his name is Julian Kinneavy in Japanese 2 class.
Japanese Culture Club made two banners for the Homecoming Parade.  14 students  participated in the Homecoming Parade on Friday, September 19th, 2014. Please click here to watch vide and here to see more pictures.
 The Japan America Society of Minnesota (JASM) decided to give all students who are studying Japanese a complimentary membership.
Level III-A team got third place
 Every student who gives his/ her name and email address to JASM is able to receive JASM's monthly newsletter informing him/her of activities and events.  Students are automatically entitled to all the members' discounts.  JASM is creating the JASM Diner's Card entitling all JASM members to a special discount at selected Japanese restaurants which are JASM corporate members.  I heard that Origami, Obentoya and Sajiya are some of them.
Students who would like to join JASM will give me his /her name and email address on Monday, September 15th 2014.  I hope parents and guardians are able to use this privilege and enjoy Japanese events in the future
Name:    Kyoko French
Phone Number:  612-668-3030 
Voice mail: 612-668-5188
Room Number: 219
Grade/Subject: 9th-12th/Japanese 1,2,3,4,College In the Schools,IB SL, and IB HL
My name is Kyoko French. I have been teaching Japanese since 1991 at Southwest High School.   I will teach all levels of Japanese classes.  Last year is the first year that my students were able to take the IB test as well as the AP test at Southwest.  I am looking forward to studying Japanese with students.  Last June, six students went to Japan. They did sight seeing in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Hiroshima, and Shimane. They visited two high schools. One is Izumo Hokuryo High School. They practiced martial arts. Another high school that we visited was Kasugaoka High School. 30 students from this school joined a field trip to Kyoto, English and had time to communicate in Japanese and English.   They visited Arashiyama in Kyoto.  In March, Kasugaoka High School is going to send 14 students and two teachers to Minneapolis. We enjoy their visit. There will be another trip to Japan in June for two weeks next summer also. We were able to establish many great relationships with communities and city governments for their continued support. Students who are interested in the trip should watch for details.   

  Please click here to see the calendar.


Here is the link to see many pictures of the Trip to Japan 2014.  Please click here.
To see more pictures, click on the Senior party link to the right.
We had six visitors from Graz International Bilingual School Graz, Austria from Tuesday, April 22nd to Friday, May 2nd.  They shadowed host students, participated in a field trip with our students, and gave 13 presentations to our students. Finally they will fly to New York to do sightseeing this morning on their way back home. They enjoyed their stay at Southwest and will go back to Austria with precious memories.  
Pictures and video footage of their visit can be viewed on this site. Please click the tile above to see them.  I hope you will enjoy pictures of their visit.

Soran Bushi is one of the most famous traditional songs in Japan. It is a Japanese sea shanty that is said to have been first sung by the fishermen of Hokkaido, northern Japan.Many of our Japanese Culture Club members danced this Soran Bushi at the Talent Fest on April 17th at Southwest. Please click the title above and enjoy watching their performance (It is youtube video).

Each year the emperor of Japan selects a theme for haiku poets.  For this year’s theme of our contest was "tatsu" which translates in English to " stand, to stand up ".

Ibaraki, Minneapolis’s sister city in Japan, sponsors a haiku contest.  Southwest High School was notified that they placed with eight winners in the citywide contest.  That means we won all honors in the 9th grade -12th grade category again this year.  A presentation of awards was held on Sunday, April 13th, 2014 from 2 p.m. at

The Best Dressed Man in the J-Quiz
the Minneapolis Central Library downtown. Congratulations to the haiku winners!

Category C: 9-12 Grade
1st Place - Griffen Desai
       Dreams begin to fade
   As light pierces my window   I stand from slumber

2nd Place - Mohamed A Mohamed

       Hot tea in a cup
  Standing leaf in the middle
  Good luck and good day

3rd Place - Anna Kelly

       White falls softly down
  Children run outside to make
  Standing man of snow

Honorable Mention - Jackie Vo

       Early morning fog
  Settles on silent seashores
  Lonely fisher stands

Honorable Mention - Maggie West

       The sun rises high
  Standing up to meet the world
  A new day begins

Honorable Mention - Virginia Culhane

       Here I stand alone
  My gaze meets yours with a smile
  Here I stand with you 
Honorable Mention - Starlight Thao

       I stand among hills
  Even mountains and the clouds
  I will not fall down  
Honorable Mention - Emily Peterson

       The red wood stands high
  Above the clouds, towards heaven
The tree’s arms spread wide

Category D: Adult

1st Place - Mary Doyle (Nora Doyle's mother)

       Haystacks dot the field
  Stand guardians of the farm
  Silent warriors

Honorable Mention – Elizabeth Short ( McLean Cozine's Mother)

       Stand up, my dragon
  Push back the sorrows of time
  Blazing hope shines forth

Kasugaoka High School's visit

14 students and two teachers from our Sister School, Kasugaoka High School, in Osaka, Japan came to Minneapolis on Sunday, March 16th.  They will do activities with students at Southwest and stay with host families for a week .  Please welcome them when you see them in the building!


Kakehashi Presentation at the schoolboard

19 students and 11 parents of Kakehashi project members went to the schoolboard to present the Kakehashi Project on March 11th.  Fadumo and Susie gave their speech to the board members.  We are very proud of our complishment.  These are the pictures.  Please click here to see them.  Here is the viideo of the trip to Japan.  Please click here to see it.


Japanese language competition for high school students 

The J-Quiz is a bi-state competition to test the ability of high school students in Minnesota and Northern Wisconsin who are studying the Japanese language.  It is modeled on a quiz show format and aims to make the study of Japanese challenging and enjoyable.  The Regional Competition was held at Normandale Community College on Saturday, February 15th, 2014.  There were three levels: level II, level III and level IV in this competition. Here are the participants.  I hope many students will start studying for this competition next year.
Level IV  ---  Kimberly Vice,  Tressie Chamlongsong, Vicor Nieto-Vides,
                      Crisol Clemente-Mondragon, Diego Baumann, Jacqueline Vo
Level III   ---  Denys Karia, Kelsan Dorjee, Rhiannon Aldrich
                       Olivia Engel, Katherine Vo, Pa Chia Thao
Level II    ---  Fadumo Mohamed, Devon Olson, Emma Thvedt
                       Starlight Thao, Yanique Simpson, Taylor Nelson

Izumi High School's Visit

23 students and two teachers from our partner school, Izumi High School, in Osaka, Japan are coming to Minneapolis for a four day visit from Monday, January 20th.  They will come to Southwest from Tuesday, January 21st to Thursday,  January 23rd.  Please welcome them when you see them in the building!

Here is the video link of the visit.  Please click here for the first part.          Please cleck here for second part.

Here is the  picture link of the visit.  Please click here.


How to use this webpage -  Click here for video

Folding crains at the Waters
In front of the Christmas tree at the Waters
Showing greetings at the world language culture club meeting
Presenting a dchildren's song at the world language culture club meeting
Shadowing day
With host student
Japanese Culture Club participated in the parade
Japanese Culture Club participated in the parade
at Golden Pavilion in Kyoto
at Golden Pavilion in Kyoto
Visitors from Graz International Bilingual School
Meet host family
Kasugaoka Visit --- Meet host families at the airport
Setsubun is the day preceding risshun that is the first day of spring according to the old Japanese calendar, or the so-called lunar calendar. On the day of Setsubun, there is the custom of throwing roasted soybeans while chanting "In with Fortune!

Students wrote New Year's cards to Kasugaoka High School.  Coming year's zodiac is sheep.  There are many wonderful cards.