Sharing Japanese culture


A presentation of onigiri, or rice balls. Japanese language students taught lower school students more about the culture. Photo credit: Nami Grafia.

As Sacred Hearts Academy high school students are required to take a world language, many learn about their language’s culture and history.

Recently, the Japanese language classes dove deep into the culture, by creating their own cultural confections and sharing their knowledge with lower school students.

The students needed to understand the concept of (Japanese) culture deeper to prepare the presentation and activities,” teacher Nami Grafia said.

Japanese II Honors students achieved this by way of their taste buds. They had the option to either buy or make mochi, a Japanese rice cake. The class held a contest, in which students tasted each other’s edible projects.

Making mochi for Japanese class from Sacred Hearts Academy on Vimeo.

Grafia arranged a point system that students used to judge the taste and presentation of the mochi. With many different types of mochi, such as green tea and even ice cream filled ones, deciding the winner was a difficult task for the class.

Sophomore Xavier Downey-Silva, along with fellow classmates, spent their weekend making different types of mochi.

“I wanted to be different by making it with others (so that I could) obtain more knowledge about another culture,” she said.

In addition to learning about the culture through food dishes, Japanese III, IV and V students learned through teaching. They taught second graders how to make lanterns, rice balls (onigiri) and origami. They also shared about obon festivals, Japanese Disney characters and the 12 Chinese zodiac animals.

At the end of the presentations, the lower school students reciprocated what they learned by acting out a book titled, “Suki’s Kimono.”