By SHOKO ARAKI
HUNTINGTON BEACH — Candy on Halloween is nothing new, right? But leave it to Orange Coast Gakuen Japanese Language School (OCG) to take it to the next level.
On Oct. 31, OCG transformed their school into a candy wonderland with their biannual Okashiyashiki Candy Sale.
Since its inception, this event has been one of the students’ favorite events. And it’s not just about selling and buying candy; they are taking away a useful lesson about the real world.
This unique hands-on experience teaches the selling students to work in teams to create a successful business, and the buying students to shop smart. Both groups of students practice their Japanese language skills during the entire event. The sellers plan and organize their store from business name and decoration through pricing and marketing.
Buyers speak in Japanese to buy candy at the various stores, as sellers try to persuade and compete for potential buyers with attractive prices and display. As the sale continues, sellers become more competitive, lowering prices and “sweetening” the deal. To make it more challenging, buyers are encouraged to bargain for discounts instead of just buying at sticker price.
Selected buyers, teachers and parents share their experience by judging and giving feedback on several categories for each candy store. These evaluations assist teachers in analyzing how students perform during this learning experience.
Okashiyashiki was an event initiated by OCG as part of their new curriculum/program when OCG became independent in 2010. OCG alternates Okashiyashiki with another biannual event, Harvest Festival. Various candies and snack were sold, including individually wrapped candies, chocolate bars, potato chips, Japanese snacks and rice crackers, lollipops, and much more.
Students left the Candy Sale with a great experience in running a business and bargaining for deals, and a bag full of sweet snacks.
Celebrating their 40th anniversary this year, OCG is a non-profit organization that teaches Japanese language and culture to students of all ages and various levels, including students 5 to 18 years old, high school and adults. Mikan Club is available for pre-school-age children to get a jumpstart on learning Japanese language. Cultural classes, including Japanese calligraphy and flower arrangement, are offered at additional fees.
OCG holds their classes at Brethren Christian Junior and Senior High School, 21141 Strathmoor Lane, Huntington Beach, on Saturday mornings and afternoons.