Visit to Yoshie Junior High School


This blog entry forms part of the “Toyama-Oregon Friendship Project”, in conjunction with the series of outreach lectures conducted by Abram Leon, Coordinator for International Relations with the International Affairs Division of Toyama Prefecture. The primary goal of the lectures is to raise awareness about the Toyama-Oregon sister state relationship by introducing information about Oregon and the history of exchange to students of Toyama Prefecture.

The blog entries aim to encourage students and members of the community in Toyama and Oregon to become more personally involved in the relationship. After each school visit, I will write an entry and encourage students and other readers to leave their questions and thoughts in the comment section, as well as respond to the questions and comments of others. In this way, I hope to get a new generation interested in communication across cultures and the wonderful friendship between Toyama and Oregon.

Visit to Yoshie Junior High School

Nanto City Yoshie Junior High School

On Friday, October 2nd, I visited Yoshie Junior High School in Nanto City, for my first Toyama-Oregon friendship lecture. Driving out to the school, I mentally rehearsed what I would say to the students, and as we got closer I began to see more and more of the wide fields of persimmon trees which the area is famous for.Upon entering the school, I received a warm welcome from Ms. Kaneko the principal, and Ms. Ishisaki, the teacher with whom I had been corresponding. After taking off my shoes and sliding into some comfortable slippers, they escorted my supervisor and me into the office where we chatted about my plans for the lecture over a cup of tea. As we made our way to the room where I would be presenting, I was impressed by the nice wooden floors and spacious, open layout of the school. When I reached the media room, it reminded me more of a college lecture hall, with a stage, large projector screen, and ample elevated seating.

View from the auditorium window

After I had set everything up, the students began to come in, and to my pleasant surprise they all sat right up in the front row, and seemed genuinely excited about my lecture. Ms. Ishisaki pointed out to me a couple of students who had visited Mt. Tabor Middle School in Portland last year. They had only stayed for about a week, but as I started my talk, I could tell right away that they seemed more engaged and interested as a result of their experience. During the lecture, I took a couple of minutes to let them share their impressions of their time at Mt. Tabor. I could tell that the difference in school culture had surprised them a bit; I giggled along with the other students as they talked about the shocking lack of school uniforms and dyed hair, and students and teachers eating snacks and chewing gum in class. After hearing what they had to say, I responded that going abroad is a great way to understand what Japan is like. After all, one can only realize what they perceive as being “normal” after learning that there is a different “normal” in other places!

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Toward the end of the lecture, I showed students the Facebook page of Beaverton High School, and my Toyama Hot News blog. Studying a foreign language is tough, and sometimes students can get discouraged with too much grammar and homework. In the end, language is not something that you ‘study’… it is something that you use! I shared the school’s page and blog as an example of a more meaningful way to learn language; where English is a tool which serves to communicate with others and learn more about the world!


このブログは、富山県国際課の国際交流員アブラム・リオンによる出前講座とともに、「富山オレゴンFriendship Project」の一部となります。講座の目的は主に、富山県とオレゴン州の友好関係についての認知度を上げるため、オレゴン州の情報や友好関係の歴史、交流に貢献している人たちを紹介することです。



Ms. Ishisaki, Teacher



講座の終わりに、ビーバートン高校のFacebookページと私が管理するToyama Hot Newsブログを紹介しました。外国語を学ぶことは、必ずしも簡単ではありませんし、学生たちは文法や宿題の大量に気落ちすることもあるでしょう。私が思うに、言語は「勉強」するものではなく、「使う」ものです。Facebookやこのブログを紹介することによって、自分にとって興味深く、意味のある勉強方法を探しましょう。言語習得に大切なのは、その言語力を使うことによって、コミュニケーションをとり、世界についてもっと理解しようとすることが、欠かせないことだと思います。