Visit to Oyabe Kanda 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 Oyabe Kanda Junior High School


The cloudy morning of November 19th saw my supervisor Ms. Sanno and me heading out to Oyabe Kanda JHS to do the Toyama-Oregon outreach lecture with a group of 3rd year students. We had left the office with little time to spare, and navigating the country roads proved to be a little bit slower than expected, so I called ahead and let the school office know that we would be arriving just as the lecture was scheduled to start. The school sat upon a hill, overlooking the surrounding area; Ms. Sanno commented that it must be tough for the students to get to school, since most kids walk or go by bicycle.

IMG_1456After arriving, we were quickly led up to the lecture room by Kitano sensei. Walking up the stairs she apologized while explaining that she had subconsciously assumed I was a woman, because my last name is Leon and there is a girl in her class called Rion (the names are pronounced the same way in Japanese). She said that she realized at the last moment after looking at my profile, but had told the students earlier that I was a woman. I laughed it off – these sort of misunderstandings are common when dealing with unfamiliar names! After reaching the lecture room where the students were already seated on the floor waiting, I quickly prepared my laptop, and was able to get started just on time.

My initial impression was that the group of 38 students was a bit quieter than the group of 1st year junior high students I had seen earlier in the month. I wondered to myself if students are more self-conscious about speaking out in front of their peers by 3rd year. Since I had 80 minutes for the lecture this time, I was able to incorporate more discussion activities, and I noticed that students began to open up more as the class went on. By the end, I saw that students were much more comfortable asking questions and expressing their opinions. I was surprised and happy that when the class ended, a group of students approached me and began asking questions about Oregon, U.S. culture, and my life in Japan. I could tell that they were genuinely interested, and also excited to use English. I even met Rion, the girl who shares my name! We talked for about 10 minutes, discussing their interests, reasons for wanting to study abroad. It was the first time that students approached me in such a friendly way after giving a lecture, and I felt energized afterwards, thinking that my presentation left an impression on them. I want to say thank you to those students for taking an interest and speaking with me!



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。