Welcome to Kyoko French's website!
At Miyajima
Name:    Kyoko French
Email: kyoko.french@mpls.k12.mn.us  
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
Japanese Program Calendar:    Please click here.
Class supply: You will need the following materials to attend any of the Japanese classes:
    1. Textbook
    2. ONE TWO-POCKET 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)
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.   
With Assistant Principals
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 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 won a fully funded trip
none;">Hailley's fully funded trip to Japan
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, 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.
Festival of Nations (at Japanese Kiosk)
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.
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.


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

Soran Bushi Final
Soran Bushi Final
2nd Place: Kyle Berglund – Southwest; Ms. Perelman
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
Calm before the storm My heart beats softly inside Everything is still

Honorable Mention: Rhiannon Aldrich – Southwest; Ms. French
Haiku Award
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 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.

J-Quiz participants
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.

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!

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

Spice & Slice of Asian America: Japan--Children's Day
style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; color: rgb(90, 64, 153); font-size: 20px; text-decoration: none;">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.  

Homecoming Parade
T-shirts Design Contest
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.


Field trip

Field trip to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts