Welcome to Kyoko French's website!
Name:    Kyoko French
Email:  kyoko.french@mpls.k12.mn.us
Phone Number:  612-668-3030
Voice mail: 612-668-5188
Room Number: 322
Assistant Teacher's name: Kasumi Tago
Miss Tago's email: vqe.ymy53@gmail.com
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.
Useful Links:    Please click here.
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!
At the Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Students enjoyed the Field trip to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts on February 2nd, 2016.  After that they ate their lunch at Zen Box and explore Japanese food at the United Noddles.  Here is a cute video.  Enjoy the slide show.
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.  
Two of our adventurous students are heading to Japan for a one-year study tour.  Copper Nesmith is going to Hokkaido, Japan as an exchange
New Year's Cards from Japan
student with American Field Service.  She is planning to leave Southwest on March 20th.  Korrina Chantland is going to Japan as a Rotary exchange student .  She is planning to leave during the coming summer break.  Please congratulate these two students who are anxious, but excited about their study abroad.
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.
Please click here to read Tago sensei's J-Leape-Newsletter.  Her report was published in December 2015.

Japanese students participated in the Japanese Day at the Minnesota

Cooper and Korrina
Zoo on December 8, 2015.  21 presenters of Japanese 4 and 5 classes showed five animals at the assigned stations.  This year, we were assigned  Ringtail Lemur, Colobus Monkey, Komoto Dragon, White Cheek Gibbon and Small Clawed Otter.  Students discovered fascinating facts about these 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.  

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 “Hon” which translates in English to "book". Writing one haiku is your student’s homework.  Please encourage your students to write more than one haiku to participate in this contest.  If parents and gurdians 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 Language Day at the MN Zoo
Japanese Language Day at the MN Zoo
Language Day at the Minnesota Zoo
On Tuesday December 8, the Japanese students will attend Japanese Day at the Minnesota Zoo.  Students will be excused from school for participation on this trip between the hours of 8:50 and 2:00.  Round trip transportation has been arranged between school and the Minnesota Zoo.  The total cost is $19.00 per student for the event.   Students may bring a bag lunch from home, as one will not be provided.  Please send a check and parent's permition slip with your student by Monday November 30th, payable to Southwest High School
I am looking for three chaperones that can join this field trip.  If you are interested in being one of the chaperones, please email me as soon as possible.  My email address is kyoko.french@mpls.k12.mn.us
Southwest High School received a huge grant for the Japanese Program from the Japan Foundation. Mr. Kaneko from the Consulate-General of Japan in Chicago presented a check on October 6th during staff meeting. Japanese Students got together in the Auditorium and do a celebration during period 1. A professional drumming group came and performed with four of our students. After that 11 students presented on their experience in Japan, the Japanese Culture Club sang a song in Japanese with Sign Language, and five students did a mine concert.  Please click here to see pictures and watch vidoes of the event.
Grant Acceptance Ceremony
; text-decoration: none;">Looking for host families for Kasugaoka High School' visit
We are  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 11 years.  Kasugaoka High School will be in Minneapolis from Tuesday, March 1st to Tuesday, March 8th. Many students at Kasugaoka applied to come to Minneapolis. I need as many host families for students as possible, or we will have to disappoint many and refuse their visit. If you are able to be a host family for a visitor from Japan, please let me know.

I would like Kasugaoka students to have a great experience, as many students as we can accommodate. We are looking for families that are willing to do some sightseeing in the Twin Cities with their guests and integrate them into their daily family lives. Since that school has shown us such great hospitality in the past, we would like to reciprocate in like fashion with warmth and generosity. 

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, but it is negotiable. We are now building a list of potential families who could host. If you are in a situation to be able to offer
visitors from Ehime University
visitors from Ehime University
such hospitality, please contact me by email at: kyoko.french@mpls.k12.mn.us. Parents must respond to this email.
We are going to participate in the J-Quiz T-shirt design contest !!!!!  There is no particular theme.  The design must be either in the form of an illustration or a phrase using Japanese characters and must be something to do with the Japanese culture. Students can use only one color for characters and / or drawing. The design should be done for only the shaded area of the front side of a T-shirt.  Please do not put anything near the bottom or sleeves.   Please turn in your design by October 31st.  Julian Kinneavy in CIS class won this contest two years ago.
Four students and a professor from Ehime University, Japan visited Southwest from Thursday, September 24th and Friday, September 25th.  They shadowed five students(Sophie D., Fadumo M., Miki S., Emma T., and Maggie W.,) at Southwest on Thursday, September 24th.  They also visited TOK class and experienced culture shock in an educational way.  They
Third Friday Breakfast taken by Somanta
also did presentations for us.  Every presentation was fun and we had a wonderful time with them.  The visitors felt very welcomed at Southwest and went back home with precious memories.   Please click here to see a video and  click here to see pictures.
There will be a meeting on Wednesday, September 16th, during ALL THREE lunch periods, in room 32. The meeting will be hosted by Ms. Glattly and Mr. Townsend, and will feature Lynn Keillor from Minneapolis South Rotary / North Star Rotary Youth Exchange. The Rotary exchange program is an excellent way to see the world and learn a language. Over the years, Southwest has seen students embark on successful trips to study in another country and be a part of host families’ lives. In fact, we currently have two Southwest students are on exchange right now, one in Germany and one in Austria, other southwest students have spent Rotary Youth Exchange years in France, Peru, Colombia, Japan and Switzerland. Ms. Keillor, herself a rotary student, is eager to talk with students who are interested in an exchange.  Laurel Blienski could not go to Japan, but went to
Switzerland instead
At Miyajima
with this program last school year.
We set a presentation board next to the West Gym and try to get some students for the Japanese Culture Club.  Thank you for coming so eearly to volunteer!
We will have an asistant teacher, Ms. Tago from the Japanese Language Education Assistant Program (J-LEAP).  She will come to Southwest every morning and team teach with me.  Her hobbies are calligraphy and travel.  She is very friendly and I hope my students will have a great time with her this year.  Please click Ms. Tago's link in the right margin (Assistant Teacher, Ms. Tago) for more information.  Here is a letter rom Tago sensei.
I am Kasumi Tago and I will co-teaching with Mrs. French.  Ten J-LEAP (Japanese Language Education Assistant Program) members have been sent to U.S. by Japan Foundation this year and I was selected to teach at Southwest High School!  I will be at Southwest every morning, then teach at Edina in the afternoon.
With Assistant Principals
I have performed Japanese calligraphy, tea ceremony, and Japanese flower arranging since I was a little girl.  Also, I have supported many foreign students who have studied abroad in my university, Kanazawa University.  I have also been to Russia, Korea, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Australia.  My travels have enabled me to experience many different cultures, visit a variety of places and discover new things about my own country.  This is my first time to stay in United States of America so please tell me about America and Minnesota when we meet!
I am looking forward to meeting you and sharing our cultures.
With best regards,
Kasumi Tago
Hailley Danielson-Owczynsky received a great opportunity to get a 19-day fully funded trip to Japan in July 2015.  The program is called JET Memorial Invitation Program (JET-MIP) for High School Students.  She met her group in Los Angeles for a pre-departure orientation on July 5, then traveled to the Tohoku region in Japan to participate in exchanges with students.  She returned home on the 25th.  Hailley is now thrilled to share her experience.  Please click here to see more than 350 pictures of her trip.
Eight students went to Japan from June 9 to 22nd.  They had a wonderful time at Kasugaoka High School,
Hailley won a fully funded trip
Izumo Hokuryo High School, touring and with host families.  Kazuki and Tommy who were exchange students from Japan joined us in Tokyo.  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 2015.  Please click here.
I took a few pictures for each event.  Please click the senior party/ Senior awards in the right section to see them.
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.
63 students went to the Festival of Nations at the Rivercentre
Festival of Nations (at Japanese Kiosk)
on May 1st.  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.


Soran Bushi at Talentfest 2015

13 students of Japanese Culture Club participated in the Talentfest 2015 on Friday, April 10, 2015.  They danced "Sonran Bushi"  Please click here to watch the video published in the Youtube.  

Soran Bushi (ソーラン節) 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.The dance moves depict 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!" "SORAN!" "SORAN!" are called. Those words were used in the past to encourage the fisherman during their work.


Each year the emperor of Japan selects a theme
for haiku poets. This year’s contest theme was "Shizuka" which translates into "quiet."  
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. That means we won all honors in the 9th grade -12th grade category again this year. Four students from Japanese classes received prizes. 

Cameron Fudeh’s mother and grandmother’s haiku and Lucy Millikan’s mother’s received the 2nd place and Honorable Mention respectively.
A presentation of awards will be held on Sunday, April 12th, 2015 from 2 p.m. at the Auditorium at Edison High School. The rest of the recipients are listed below. Please congratulate these talented students when you see them! 

Category C: Grades 9 – 12

1st Place: Maya Desmarais – Southwest; Ms. Perelman
My hearing aids off Quietness is all I hear Now I am at peace

2nd Place: Kyle Berglund – Southwest; Ms. Perelman
Soran Bushi Final
Soran Bushi Final
Ever silent life Not confined, not disabled Hands speak a language.

3rd Place: Isabella Gold – Southwest; Ms. French
The silver moonlight Bathes the snow that falls softly, Blanketing the earth

Honorable Mention: McLean Cozine – Southwest; Ms. French
Softly falling snow Shrouding trees and veiling ground Muffling footsteps

Honorable Mention: Talia Neidorf – Southwest; Ms. Perelman
My face looks at me The mirror shows my reflection My quiet portrait

Honorable Mention: Mira Morrison – Southwest; Ms. Perelman
Whispers all night long Trees up against my window They tell me secrets

Honorable Mention: Olivia Engel – Southwest; Ms. French
Haiku Award
Calm before the storm My heart beats softly inside Everything is still

Honorable Mention: Rhiannon Aldrich – Southwest; Ms. French
So young and so small The cub opens up its eyes Nothing yet to say

Category D: Adult

2nd Place: Lynn and Mary Smaagard - Southwest
Cat Naps in the sun Warm curled muffs of content fur So feline serene

Honorable Mention: Julie Millikan - Southwest
Quiet is the morn Before the alarm goes off My most peaceful time

Field trip to Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Students enjoyed the Field trip to the Minneapolis Institute

J-Quiz participants
of Arts on February 24th, 2015.  After that they ate their lunch at Zen Box and explore Japanese food at the United Noddles.  The slide show is below.

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
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
Meet host family
Kasugaoka Visit --- Meet host families at the airport
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.

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!

Name:    Kyoko French
Email: kyoko.french@mpls.k12.mn.us  
Phone Number:  612-668-3030
Voice mail: 612-668-5188
Room Number: 322
Grade/Subject: 9th-12th/Japanese 1,2,3,4,College In the Schools,IB SL, and IB HL
Japanese Program Calendar:    Please click here.
Class supply: You will need the following materials to attend any of the Japanese classes:
    1. Textbook
Spice & Slice of Asian America: Japan--Children's Day
FOLDER (to hold the printouts of the subject materialsand the homework assignments);
    3. 100 index cards (Blank 3"x5")
    4. one notebook (use for only Japanese class)
Useful Links:    Please click here.
My name is Kyoko French. I have been teaching Japanese since 1991 at Southwest High School.   I will teach all levels of Japanese classes.  Students could take the IB test as well as the AP test at Southwest.  I am looking forward to studying Japanese with students.  Last June, eight students went to Japan with me. 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 our sister school, Kasugaoka High School. 20 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.   I send an email about this program through the portal.


Found 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.