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Onigiri Project 2018!

Japanese Class 2018-19 information

Name: Kyoko French
Phone Number: 612-668-3030
Voice mail: 612-668-5188
Room Number: W322
Grade/Subject: 9th-12th/Japanese 1,2,3,4,College In the Schools,IB SL, and IB HL
Japanese Program Overview: Please Click Here
Japanese Program Calendar:   Please click here.
Japanese Culture Club attendance: Please click here
Introduction of Southwest in Japanese: Please click here
Useful Links:   Please click here.
Google Form Survey:  Please click here

Onigiri Project

We did our
Cooking Takoyaki
Cooking Takoyaki
Onigiri project after school today with Japanese Culture Club.  We published  our pictures to our Facebook individually.  The program will make a donation for each picture posted and school meals are delivered to children in need!   Many of participants liked our KONBU onigir!

Global Classmates for Japanese 4/IB SL and HL class

Kizuna Across Cultures(KAC)facilitates the online language and cultural exchange program Global Classmates for high school students studying Japanese in the U.S. and English in Japan. Taking place in their everyday classroom, students become classmates with their peers abroad and engage with each other through the exchange of messages, photos and videos on a variety of topics, all without needing to travel. The 6-month exchange is an innovative educational program, in which the students develop friendships, deepen understanding of each other’s cultures, and naturally improve their language skills.  Our partner school is Tokoname High School in Aichi prefecture.  I hope we will have a chnace to visit this school during Japan trip.

Annual Trip to Japan June 2018

7 students went to Japan from June 15th. They are having a wonderful time at Kasugaoka High School, touring and with host families. You can see our pictures and comments by clicking the site below. Here is the link to see many pictures of the Trip to Japan 2018.  Please click here.
Global Classmates
 Tago sensei and Fumina came to out hotel first night in Japan.

Community clean up by Japanese Culture Club

Japanese Culture Club spent a cleaning up the area around Southwest HIgh School from 3:10 to 4:10 on Monday, May 21st.
You can see how much trash we picked up.

Annual Nicolet Island Cherry Tree Festival

There was an Annual Nichlet Island Chery Tree Festival at Nicolet Island Park from 2 pm on Sunday, May 13th.   Harisen Daiko Drum Group show their performance.   I saw many students from Anothony Middle School this year.  Korrina C.  organized a calligraphy session.  Thank you, Korrina!
It was a wonderful prom night at the Nicollet Island Pavilion. You dressed up so nicely. Girls look so beautiful and amazing. I had a wonderful time with you. Please click here to see more pictures.
Students went to the Festival of Nations at the Rivercentre
Japan Trip
on May 3rd.  It was a collaboration with more than 80 ethnic groups which created a truly unique experience – one that celebrates cultural heritage and provides our community’s immigrants with a platform to express their stories through world-class performances, exhibits, ethnic cuisine, and personal connections.  Please send pictures that students took at the Revercentre.  I will add more pictures to the site.  Food was expensive, but delicious!  We appreciate chaperones' support!

Haiku Contest Winners

Every year the emperor of Japan selects a theme for haiku poets. This year’s theme is “No” which translates into "Field." Ibaraki, Minneapolis’ sister city in Japan, sponsors a haiku contest. Southwest High School was notified that they placed with eight winners in the citywide contest.

A presentation of awards will be held on Sunday, April 15th, 2018 from 2 p.m. in the Pohlad Hall Auditorium at the Minneapolis Central Library downtown. The rest of the recipients are listed below. Please congratulate these talented students when you see them! 

Category C: Grades 9 – 12

1st Place: Tenzin Sangpo – Mrs. French
         We relax and think   Sitting in the mellow field   Doing nothing good
2nd Place: Natasha Levy –  Mr. Rees
         Field, empty space, free   Nature is everywhere   Possibility
3rd Place: Kyra Kennie
Tago sensei and Fumina came to see us!
–  Mr. Rees & Ms. Smeltzer
         Golden grasses grow   Before unforgiving storms   Wash them all away
Honorable Mention:
      Eliza Brindley – Mrs. French
           Waves and waves of green   The world is endless our here   And we are so small
      John Bonnes – Mrs. French
            Far as can be seen   Endless rows of golden grain   Fills my field of view
      Saida Mkomo – Mrs. French
            Running through the field   Smelling fragrances I love   Enjoying life Wow
      Alexander Wilbrecht – Mrs. French
            Remnants of a field   Throughout a barren wasteland   This is our future
      Morgan Stascavage – Mrs. French
            Calm, kind, beautiful   Peace does not last in this world   But it all changes 


Soran Bushi at Talentfest 2018

8 students of Japanese Culture Club participated in the Talentfest 2018 on Friday, April 13, 2018. They danced "Soran Bushi".   Please click here to watch the video published in the Youtube.

Clean-up by Japanese Culture Club
Sōran Bushi (ソーラン節) is one of the most famous traditional songs and dance in Japan. It is a Japanese sea shanty that is said to have been first sung by the fishermen of Hokkaidō, northern Japan.  Sōran Bushi acts by acting ocean waves, fishermen dragging nets, pulling ropes and lifting luggage over their shoulders. This dance is taught in many schools across Japan as part of the curriculum.

During regular intervals of the dance, the words "DOKKOISHO! DOKKOISHO!" and "SORAN! SORAN!" are called. Those words were used in the past to encourage the fisherman during their work.


15 visitors from Kasugaoka High School

13 students and two teachers from our Sister School, Kasugaoka High School, from Osaka, Japan came to Minneapolis on Thursday, March 1st. About 400 hundred students watched and enjoyed their presentation. The visitors shadowed their host students for a half day. They did bookmaking with Mary and Werner and visited the University of Minnesota and Anthony Middle School. The Southwest Foundation supported this opportunity for visitors, IB students and host students to learn about Minnesota at the History Center in St Paul.  The visitors stayed with host families for a week . They had a wonderful time in Minneapolis. Please
Meet our Mayor, Jacob Frey
click here to see their pictures and videos.  

IB Writing Assignment and Oral Test

IB individual Oral      Oral flipgrid code:  9176c4
IB Written Assignment :  
Korrina at Cherry Tree Festival
Korrina at Cherry Tree Festival
students' site
まゆみ先生のEmail アドレスはサイトにあります。

J-Quiz 2018 --- Japanese language competition

On Saturday, February 17th, 15 Japanese students participated in the J-Quiz at Normandale Community College. Today we had the J-Quiz 2018 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. There were four levels: Level I (new this year), level II, level III and level IV in this competition. I was very surprised that none of our teams went to the final of their level. This is my first time while teaching at Southwest, that we did not have a team advance to the finals. Success in this competition is directly proportional to the amount of time students practice after school with our group to prepare. Therefore, I would like to start offering a study group to go to the final of this competition for next year. Please stay after school on Thursday, February 22nd to start organizing our preparation if you are interested in J-Quiz 2019. Students who win the final round in MN get to go to Washington DC to compete in the national round and see the cherry blossoms.

I am very proud of 15 students who gave up their Saturday and participated in this competition. This year:

Level IV-A — Jairo Sanchez Hernandez, Gitzie Simonson
Level III-A — Charlotte Zahn, Josephine Spanier, Maura (Alex) Nafziger-White 
Level II-A — Catherine (Gray) Jensen, Ella Pelican, Toby Mogendoff
Level 1-A —Isaac Faith Nahmad, Lily Flanders, Sophie Hrubesky-Mudrey
Level 1-B — Ava Cole, Eva Peters, Andrea Vargas Alvarado

Lily Drew won the J-Quiz T-shirts design contest. It was fun to see everybody was wearing her T-shirt’s design this year. Congratulations, Lily!

Festival of Nations
Festival of Nations
trip to Minneapolis Institute of Arts and Zen Box

Students enjoyed the Field trip to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts on February 13, 2018. After that they ate their lunch at Zen Box and explore Japanese food at the United Noddles. Enjoy the slide show.

Lilly Drew win J-Quiz T-shirt Contest 

There was a t-shirt design contest for the Japanese Language Competition, J-Quiz. It reminds us of the Japanese flag with a quiz bowl image. This is his second time to win this contest. Way to go, Julian!



Setsubun is the day preceding rishun which 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 out the door or window at a person wearing a demon's mask, while chanting "Good fortune is inside, and the devil is outside!" Period 2 students danced "ONI NO PANTSU". It is very cute! Click here to watch it.

Haiku Contest 2018

Haiku Contest time came back.  This Contest is sponsored by the Minneapolis­-Ibaraki Sister City Association (MISCA), the International Friendship Association of Ibaraki, and the Minneapolis Public Schools.  Entries are divided into four categories: K-5, 6-8, 9-12 and Adult. Last year Southwest High School did
Talentfest 2018
Talentfest 2018
a great job again. 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, with an award ceremony to be held in April.  This year’s theme is “No” which translates in English to “field”. For more information and entry forms click here.  If you put your entry or your students’ entry forms in my mailbox by 4:00 pm Friday, December 8th.  

Host a student from Japan for five nights?

The Japanese Program is looking for host families for Kasugaoka High School’s visit from March 1st, 2018. The visit is five nights.  Visitors will be in Minneapolis from Thursday, March 1st to Wednesday, March 7th. We would like to be able to host 13 students, 2 males and 11 females. They spend their last night in a hotel, prior to departure (night 6).  Optimally, the hosts would be able to offer their prospective guests a private room and bed. Because of transportation concerns for group meetings and events, families should also be in close proximity to Southwest High School. If you are in a situation to be able to offer such hospitality, please contact me by email at:


New Year's Cards from Japan 

Haiku Award
Haiku Award
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.

Free trip to Japan during summer

Kobe College Corporation is organizing a High School Essay Contest. The winner will receive a free trip to Japan, with a one-month homestay and language instruction at the Kyoto Japanese Language School during summer.  If you are interested in this contest, please open an email from me and see the document attached to send your essay. The deadline is February 1, 2018. Four students from Southwest won this contest in the past.

Japanese Language Day at the MN ZOO

Japanese students participated in the Japanese Day at the Minnesota Zoo on December 5, 2017.  25 presenters of Japanese CIS, 4 and 5 classes showed five animals at the assigned stations.  This year, we were assigned  Amur tiger, Moose, Sea turtles, Garden eels, and Sea star.  Students discovered fascinating facts about these
Visitors and host families
and other Zoo animals, all in Japanese. Students can visit about 40 animal stations throughout the Zoo. Upper level language students use music, costumes, and props to interpret the animal exhibits. Students each received a "passport" which gets stamped after listening to the presenter at each station. All days are geared toward language students.

Zoo Day project material

Japanese classes are going to the Minnesota Zoo on Tuesday, December 5th.  Students are doing our Zoo Day project.  Our suggested internet website is provided.  Please click here to get to the site.

J-Quiz T-Shirt design Contest

The design must be either in the form of an illustration and/or a phrase using Japanese characters and must be something to do with the Japanese language or culture. Students can use only one color for characters and / or drawing.  Please turn in your design by Friday, November 17th.

Omiyage Exchange for Japanese 4/IB SL and CIS class

Japanse 4/IB class and CIS/Japanese 3 class did OMIYAGE (presents) excahnge with Sappro keihoku shogyo High School.  We packed OMIYAGE in the middle October and sent our omiyage to Japan.  We got omiyage from Japan one week later.  It was very fun.
Zen Box
Zen Box
 OMIYAGE is yummy!  Mia N.  made some sishi using the kit that she got from Keihoku.
Here is our youtube videos.  Please enjou watching them.

Message from Violet Baker, Rotary Exchange student 

Violet Baker is in Nagasaki, Japan. She left the US at the end of August and was placed with a high school in Nagasaki. She said " My trip so far has been really fun and everyone at my school is really nice!  The school work of course is really difficult but everyone here is helping me a lot". 

Apply Rotary Exchange Program !

This meeting will be on Tuesday, October 24 during lunch periods (room W322 for 1st lunch, room W318 for 2nd lunch).  
Korrina Chatland who was a sophomore used this program and went to Japan as a Rotary Exchange student. Now Violet Baker is in Japan. She left the US at the end of August and was placed with a high school in Nagasaki. She is going to stay almost year.
There will be a Rotary Youth Exchange meeting for parents and students soon. If you are interested in this program, please participate in this meeting. More information about Minneapolis Rotary and their sponsored programs
J-Quiz 2018
J-Quiz 2018
is available at: OR Minneapolis Rotary Youth Exchange on Facebook. In addition to the school year exchange, Rotary has created a summer short term exchange (STEP). It looks very nice and is maybe an easier program for some. 

Ichigo Daifuku Making

Students in the Japanese Culture Club did cooking lesson and made ICHIGODAIFUKU on Wednesday, September 28th. Victoria made a nice one. We enjoyed eating ICHIGODAIFUKU. Yammy!

Mayumi sensei is back!

Mayumi Sensei is back from Japan.  Mayumi sensei was an assistant teacher in 2002-2003. She is visiting Minneapolis and volunteering from the beginning of this year. She will be with us until middle of November.  Thank you, Mayumi sensei!


Senior Awards Night

2 students of Japanese Program were recognized. Elizabeth Kofuji and Devon Olson
Stamp Test
The same URL is used for both Test Takers and Proctor/Results Viewing 
Here it is.
You can also get to that from here. On the right side towards the bottom. Second one from the bottom
Lilly won J-Quiz t-shirts contest
Ink wash painting, also known as literati painting, is an East Asian type of brush painting of Chinese origin that uses black ink—the same as used in East Asian calligraphy, in various concentrations.
58 students went to the Festival of Nations at the Rivercentre on May 5th. It was a collaboration with more than 80 ethnic groups which created a truly unique experience – one that celebrates cultural heritage and provides our community’s immigrants with a platform to express their stories through world-class performances, exhibits, ethnic cuisine, and personal connections. Please send pictures that students took at the Revercentre. I will add more pictures to the site.

Children's Day in Japan : KODOMO NO HI

Every May 5, it is Kodomo no Hi or "Children’s Day" in Japan. Families fly koinobori banners in the shape of a carp (a type of fish) for each child in their house. In Japanese folklore, the carp is a symbol of determination and vigor, overcoming all obstacles to swim upstream. Samurai warrior figurines and samurai kabuto helmets are also displayed in homes to inspire strength and bravery. Japanese Classes made kabuto heimets and wore them.


How will you lead with

Please click here to watch a Youtube video and tell me how you will lead with Japanese!



Kakizome (書き初め, literally "first writing") is a Japanese term for the first calligraphy written at the beginning of a year, traditionally on January 2. three to five kakizome were chosen each classs.



Kakizome (書き初め, literally "first writing") is a Japanese term for the first calligraphy written at the beginning of a year, traditionally on January 2. Traditionally, kakizome was performed using ink rubbed with the first water drawn from the well on New Year's Day. We did in class too. Here are Kakizome winners from each class. Click here to see pictures.

Study Kanji the fun way using mnemonic pictures and games

New iPhone & Android App "KANJI Memory Hint1"[English version] released! Study Kanji the fun way using mnemonic pictures and games.
There are so many kanji that it is quite tough to remember them all or to keep studying them. 
The Japan Foundation Japanese-Language Institute, Kansai developed this in hopes that having fun while learning kanji with associative drawings as memory hints and practicing them over and over again through games will lead to a sense of satisfaction. 
Kasugaoka students received our cards
"KANJI Memory Hint 1" is an app that lets you check whether you have learned a "kanji" in a game after you have studied it using associative drawings. 
We recommend it for Japanese language learners at the starting level.
You can download this app from the webpages below. [FREE]
For more information, see here.


Restraunt skit at Sakura restaurant

We went to Sakura restaurant on Tuesday, Nobember 18th. We practiced a restautrant skit in class and some groups performed it at Sakura. Please click here to watch Japanese 2 students' performance. Please click here to watch Japanese 1, 4, 7 5 students' Youtube video. Click here to see more pictures.


Zoo Day at MN Zoo
Zoo Day at MN Zoo
Friday Breakfast

We set a presentation board in the Cofeteria and try to get some students for the Japanese Culture Club. Yoko, RIn, Megan, Maddie, and Grace, thank you for coming to volunteer!

Scholarship to the Condordia Japanese Language Village

Thanks to a grant from the United States-Japan Foundation (USJF), Concordia Language Villages is excited to announce 15 scholarships for two-week villagers attending Mori no Ike, the Japanese Language Village this summer. This scholarship program is for middle and high school students from the Midwest who express a strong desire to learn about Japanese language and culture in an immersion environment, surrounded by other young people who are equally passionate about Japan.

There are three recipients of these scholarships at Southwest are below.
Mia Romsaas
Jibril Ilkuhor
Salma Mohamed 
I hope these students will have a nice experience at the village. Congratulations!

CIS Field Day

On Tuesday, February 23, the College in the Schools students of Southwest High School will join a Japanese language class at the University of Minnesota. Students must bring their textbooks and workbooks to the class. Before this class, we will eat Japanese bento lunch from the Obento-ya Restaurant in room 125 in Nolt Center around 11:00. After that they will attend a lecture by Prof. Marran in room 108 of the Folwell
Welcome banner by Japanese Culture Club

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      My name is Kyoko French. I have been teaching Japanese since 1991 at Southwest High School. I am teaching all levels of Japanese classes. Students are able to take the IB test (as well as the AP test) at Southwest. I am looking forward to studying Japanese with students.
      In March, our sister school, Kasugaoka High School sends 12 students and two teachers to Minneapolis. We were able to establish many great relationships with communities and city governments for their continued support.  We enjoy their visit every year.
      Last June, 7 students went to Japan with me. They did sight seeing in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Hiroshima, and Shimane. They visited our sister school. 21 students from this school joined a field trip to Kyoto.  We had a fun time by communicating in Japanese and English.  There will be another trip to Japan in June for two weeks next summer. Students who are interested in the trip should watch for details. I send an email about this program through the portal.