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Welcome to Kyoko French's website!
Kaiser students with Japanese 2 class
Name:    Kyoko French
Phone Number:  612-668-3030
Voice mail: 612-668-5188
Room Number: W322
Co Teacher's name: Kasumi Tago
Miss Tago's email:
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.
Introduction of Southwest in Japanese: Please click here
Useful Links:    Please click here.
30 students came from Japan

30 students from Kaisei Gakuin (High School), Hokkaido, Japan came to Southwest on Tuesday, October  11th .  Conor J., Aella R.and Julis R. hosted five of them.  Nine volunteer students gave a tour of the new Southwest building to the visitors.  Volunteers are Megan B., Jibril I., Yoko K., Devon O., Aella R.,Isabel R., Tenzin S., Grace S., and Darius S.  Thank you!   Visitors did interactive activities with period 5 students.    They said that Southwest is big and students have a welcoming atmosphere and that they are very active and friendly.   It was a fun day with the Japanese visitors.  

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!
Ichigo daifuku making
Ichigo daifuku making
Apply Rotary Exchange Program !
Korrina Chatland who was a sophomore used this program and went to Japan as a Rotary Exchange student. She left the US at the end of August and was placed with a public high school in Osaka. She is going to stay almost year.
There will be a Rotary Youth Exchange meeting for parents and students on Thursday, September 29th from 7 to 8 p.m. at Minnehaha United Methodist Church, 3701 E. 50th Street in Minneapolis.  If you are interested in this program, please participate in this meeting.  More information about Minneapolis Rotary and their sponsored programs 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. 
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.
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!
At Miyajima ---Japan Trip 2016
Trip to Japan 2016
16 students went to Japan from June 8 to 21st.  They had a wonderful time at Kasugaoka High School, Izumo Hokuryo 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 2016 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
Children's Day
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.

Field trip to Festival of Nations

63 students went to the Festival of Nations at the Rivercentre 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.

National Japan Bowl 2016 

The Japan Bowl is a National Japanese Language and Culture Competition.  It was held at the Nationa 4-H Conference Center followed by the Nationa Cherry Blossom Festival at Washignton DC.  Isabella Gold, Taylor Nelson, & Devon Olson. were participated as a team.  Congratulations to the level IV participants who represented the

Festival of Nations
Minnesota region.

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
Concordia Language Village Scholarship recepients
village.  Congratulations!
13 students of Japanese Culture Club participated in the Talentfest 2015 on Friday, April 8, 2016.  They danced "Sonran Bushi, Soran Parapara, and Koisuru Fortune Cookie"  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.  Koisuru Fortune Cookie ("The Fall-in-Love Fortune Cookie") is the 32nd single by the Japanese idol girl group AKB48. It was released in Japan on August 21, 2013.

Japan Bowl 2016
Every year the emperor of Japan selects a theme for haiku poets. This year’s theme is “Hon” which translates into "Book." 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.  

Laila Chaplin’s mother got the 1st place, our colleague, Terry Kern got the 2nd place, and Michel Thompson who is a volunteer for the J-Quiz study session, got an Honorable Mention for the adult category.

A presentation of awards will be held on Sunday, April 10th, 2016 from 2 p.m. in the Doty Room at the Minneapolis Central Library downtown. The rest of the recipients are listed below. Please congratulate these talented students when you see them! 

at the Capital

Category C: Grades 9 – 12

1st Place: Naomi Klaila– Southwest; Ms. French
On the old bookshelf Nestled in crisp white pages Forgotten Language

2nd Place: Isabella Gold– Southwest; Ms. French
Hidden by covers A clandestine world awaits In paper and ink

3rd Place: Haley Downham– Southwest; Ms. Ebner
1st place at Haiku Contest
Soggy warped pages Watercolor coffee stains Whisper “I was here”

Honorable Mention: Cole Hummel – Southwest; Mr. Rees
I recline for hours Nose buried in my paperback Absent from the world

Honorable Mention: Nathaniel Murray– Southwest; Ms. French
Pages whispering Raindrops tap on the window Snuggled up with books

Honorable Mention: Isiah Anderson– Southwest; Ms. French
Talentfest 2016
all night long Trees up against my window They tell me secrets

Honorable Mention: Salma Mohamed– Southwest; Ms. French
In the dark alone Small light shines through a blanket Imagination

Honorable Mention: Mohamed A Mohamed– Southwest; Ms. French
Imagery in line Words come to life on the page Live inside the mind

Category D: Adult

Haiku winners 2016
Place: Beth Chaplin - Southwest
When reading a book Time melts away like snowfall The first day of spring

2nd Place: Terry Kern - Southwest
Last page, bittersweet Farewell to new friends I had For too short a time

Honorable Mention: Michael Thompson- Southwest
Unsteady tower Tilting against table leg Unread hard covers

17 visitors from our Sister School, Kasugaoka

Visitors from Kasugaoka High School, Japan
Visitors from Kasugaoka High School, Japan
High School, in Osaka, Japan came to Minneapolis on Tuesday, March 1st.  700 hundred students watched their presentation and enjoyed it.  March 3rd, visitors shadowed host students from period 1 to 5.  After that they did bookmaking with Mary and Werner.  They will do more activities with students at Southwest and stay with host families for a week .  Please welcome them when you see them in the building!  Please lick here to see their pictures.

The J-Quiz which is the Upper Midwest Regional Competition was held at Normandale Community College on Saturday, February 13th, 2016. There were three levels: level II, level III and level IV in this competition. The Southwest level IV-B students won first place in their level. This team is now eligible to participate in The 2016 National Japan Bowl Competition, to be held Thursday-Saturday, April 14-16, 2016 at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland. The Japan Bowl is a national competition to test the ability of high school students throughout America 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. After the competition, students will participate in the SAKURA MATSURI (Japanese Street Festival) in Washington
Japan Bowl participants

Please congratulate the finalists who represented Southwest at Regions this year: 
Level IV-B     Isabella Gold, Taylor Nelson, Devon Olson
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 Hall.  
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 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.  
Award presented to Level 4 B team
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 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 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.  

At the Minneapolis Institute of Arts
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 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
New Year's Cards from Japan
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
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.
Cooper and Korrina
ze: 20px; 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. 

Japanese Language Day at the MN Zoo
Japanese Language Day at the MN Zoo
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 such hospitality, please contact me by email at: Parents must respond to this email.   -------  Thank you for your support.  We found 15 host familes.
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
Grant Acceptance Ceremony
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 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.
visitors from Ehime University
visitors from Ehime University
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.
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
With Assistant Principals
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.
My name is Kyoko French. I have been teaching Japanese since 1991 at Southwest High School.   I will teach all levels of Japanese classes.  Ms. Tago is going to teach with me this year as futt time tteacher.  Students could take the IB test
Hailley won a fully funded trip
as well as the AP test at Southwest.  I am looking forward to studying Japanese with students.  Last June, 16 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. 23 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 12 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.