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Visitors and host families

Japanese Class 2017-18 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.
Introduction of Southwest in Japanese: Please click here
Lilly won J-Quiz t-shirts contest
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, 6 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. 22 students from this school joined a field trip to Kyoto, English and had time to communicate in Japanese and English. They visited Nanba in Osaka. 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.
IB individual Oral:
Oral flipgrid code:  9176c4
Kasugaoka students received our cards
Written Assignment :  
まゆみ先生のEmail アドレスはサイトにあります。



15 visitors from Kasugaoka High School

13 students and two teachers from our Sister School, Kasugaoka High School,
Welcome banner by Japanese Culture Club
in Osaka, Japan came to Minneapolis on Thursday, March 1st. About 400 hundred students watched their presentation and enjoyed it. Visitors shadowed host students half day. They did bookmaking with Mary and Werner, visited the University of Minnesota and Anthony Middle School. Visitors and host students enjoyed sight seeing in St Paul and stayed with host families for a week . They had a wonderful time in Minneapolis. Please lick here to see their pictures and videos.

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
Mia N. made some sushi using OMIYAGE from Japan
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.

New Year's card ideas


Haiku Contest 2018

Haiku Contest time came back.  This Contest is
Takoyaki making (Japanese Culture Club)
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 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

Violet met the Mayor of Nagasaki
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:


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
Ichigo Daifuku making with Japanese Culture Club
is February 1, 2018. Four students from Southwest won this contest in the past.

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.

Mayumi Sensei with Japanese Culture Club
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.  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
Osaka sightseeing with Kasugaoka students
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 is available at: OR Minneapolis Rotary Youth Exchange on Facebook. In addition to the school year exchange,
Korrina is back to MPLS
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!

Global Classmates for Japanese 4/IB SL and CIS 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
Tago sensei's farewell party
cultures, and naturally improve their language skills.
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!
Korrina is back from Japan
Korrina Chatland spent one year of study in Japan as a Rotary Exchange student. She came back to Minneapolis on Monday, July 3rd. We are looking forward to seeing her in Japanese class at the end of August.

Annual Trip to Japan 2017

6 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 2017 Please click here.
Senior Party
Good bye Tago sensei
Tato sensei is going back to Japan in June. We will miss her!
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.

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.
Prom group picture
You can also get to that from here. On the right side towards the bottom. Second one from the bottom
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
Senior Awards
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.

Koi Dance at Talentfest 2017

7 students of Japanese Culture Club and Ms. Tago participated in the Talentfest 2017 on Friday, April 14, 2017. They danced "Koi Dance" Please click here to watch the video published in the Youtube.

Sometimes a song or a

Senior Awards
dance can be so catchy that we find our bodies moving involuntarily to the beat and before long, the whole routine has eventually wormed itself into our heads. That’s exactly what’s happening to thousands of people in Japan, as the “Koi Dance” craze spreads throughout the country, and it’s all thanks to the theme song for a new Japanese drama called Nigeru wa Haji da ga Yaku ni Tatsu, which translates to Running Away is Shameful but Helpful, but goes by the English title, We Married as a Job!

Haiku Contest Winners

Every year the emperor of Japan selects a theme for haiku poets. This year’s theme is “Hito” which translates into "Human." 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 23rd, 2017 from 2 p.m. in the Doty Room at the Minneapolis Central Library downtown.
Ink Painting
The rest of the recipients are listed below. Please congratulate these talented students when you see them! 

Category C: Grades 9 – 12

1st Place: Emma Grabowsk– Southwest; Mr. Rees
Red, yellow, white, black Invisible boundaries Don’t separate us
2nd Place: aria Gonzales Vivara– Southwest; Ms. French
People like to talk They want to share their feelings They could make a friend

Honorable Mention: Mazayah Vanzant– Southwest; Ms. French
Breathe in and breathe out Feel the blood flow through my veins And I am alive
Honorable Mention: Grover Warner– Southwest; Mr. Rees
Different, unique Skin color and religion But we are human

Honorable Mention: Isabella Gold– Southwest; Ms. French
Sitting in a chair A person thinks in silence Writing a haiku
Honorable Mention: Barrett Weems– Southwest; Ms. French
Busy so busy Losing too much energy So nothing gets done
Festival of Nations

Honorable Mention: Alex Saigeon– Southwest; Ms. French
He walks through the woods He stops, looks around, and thinks What will he do next

How will you lead with Japanese?

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.


J-Quiz 2017 --- Japanese language competition

On Saturday, February 18th, 13 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
Children's Day
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 VI-A students got second place in their category.
Please congratulate Level iV-A students! The finalists who represented Southwest at Regions this year were:
 Virginia Culhane, Megan Browne, Elizabeth Bieger
Please acknowledge these other participants who did a great job at Regions this year:
Level IV-B — Athen Schooler, Zakeria Husein
Level III-A —Maddison Blevins, Julia Reiswig, Jairo Sanchez Hernandez
Level II-A — Audrey Jenkins, Elena Graham, Annie Thao
Level II-B —Grace Smith, Darius Stone

Global Classmates with Hakodate Nish High School 

An online language and cultural exchange
Haiku Winners 2017
program, Global Classmates was completed. We wrote our farwell message and read Hakodate Nish High School message too.

Field trip to Minneapolis Institute of Arts and Zen Box

Students enjoyed the Field trip to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts on February 7, 2017. After that they ate their lunch at Zen Box and explore Japanese food at the United Noddles. Enjoy the slide show.

Hi from Cooper N.

Cooper Nesmith who was a sophomore, went to Hokkaido, Japan as a AFS exchange student in March last year. She has been studying Japanese to take the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test (JLPT). Before her winter break, she participated in a school trip that went to Nara. Nara is the name of the historical place which is regarded as the origin of Japan. She is having great experience in Japan and has improved her language skills tremendesly. I am looking forward
Meeting of Public Relations of Japanese Program
to talking with her in Japanese at Southwest soon.


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.

New Year's Cards from Japan 

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'
2nd place at J-Quiz
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.

Annual Trip to Japan June 2017

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.

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. 
Global Classmates
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. 
"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]
kakizome winners in IB class
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.

Hi from Korrina C.

Korrina Chatland who was a sophomore went to Japan as a Rotary Exchange student at the end of August. Now she switched to her second host family. She has been to art club, dance club and tea ceremony. She went to Kyoto though with her host family. She have Home

Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Economics class which is different from Southwest.


Global Classmates for Japanese 4/IB SL class

Japanese 4 / 5 class exchanged souvenirs. Each students got nice present from Hakodate Nish High School. Students become classmates with their peers in Japan and engage with each other through the exchange of messages, photos and videos on a variety of topics, all without needing to travel. We exchanged souvenirs. Each student got a nice present from Japan. Please click here to watch the Youtube video of opening the box from Japan. Please click here to watch our student's comments.
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,
Field trip to Sakura
Field trip to Sakura
9-12 and Adult. Please use the form attached. Entries are due by Wednesday, December 14, 2016. For more information and entry forms click here. 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 “Hito” which translates in English to "Person/Humank". 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. 

Third Friday Breakfast

We set a presentation board in the Cofeteria and try to get some
Suvenir exchange
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!
Kaisei Gakuin students with Japanese 2 class

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 Hall.

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TalentFest 2017
Furoshiki Rapping