By SHOKO ARAKI
HUNTINGTON BEACH — So you’re into anime or Japanese games and you want to understand what they’re saying or what’s written in Japanese characters. Learn the Japanese language!
On Saturday, May 21, Orange Coast Gakuen Japanese Language School (OCG) will host an Open House from 8:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Brethren Christian Junior and Senior High School, 21141 Strathmoor Lane, Huntington Beach. Students registered during Open House hours will receive a special discount on the registration fee.
The classes are interactive and include many cultural events and activities, including mochitsuki (rice cake pounding) and Natsu Matsuri (Summer Festival). In February, elementary students participated in a Setsubun activity called mamemaki (bean tossing), in which students throw soybeans at evil spirits to ward off bad luck.
The academic events students have participated in include Gakkushu Happyou Kai (Academic Exhibit) and Ohanashi Kai (Speech Contest). High school students can receive foreign-language credit (depending on their school district) by taking the CAJLS (California Association of Japanese Language Schools) Credit Test at OCG. Students can also take additional study sessions to prepare for the credit test.
OCG provides opportunities for high school students to develop leadership skills through Seito no Kai (Students Association) and Harvest Festival. At OCG, students are encouraged to support and serve the community.
In 2011, Seito no Kai raised funds for Tohoku earthquake/tsunami victims with several bake sales and an origami crane folding event. On March 11 of this year, which marked the fifth anniversary of the disaster, Orange Coast Gakuen Choir, consisting of OCG students and parents, sang “Hana wa Saku” (Flowers Are Blooming) at the Saddleback Church Japan Night 2016, a fundraising event to raise funds for Tohoku victims.
For the last couple of months, Seito no Kai has been raising funds for the Kumamoto earthquake victims with bake sales, curry rice sales, and donation collections.
For preschool-age children, OCG offers a head start program called Mikan Club, where children learn Japanese songs, hear Japanese stories, do crafts, and participate in some cultural events. This is a fun way to introduce Japanese language to children during their most important developmental stages.
Cultural classes in Japanese calligraphy and Japanese flower arrangement are also offered for an additional fee.
OCG is a nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching Japanese language and culture to students of all ages, levels and backgrounds, including students 5 to 18, high school students, and adults.
OCG’s curriculum was specifically designed and tailored for its students by CSULB professors Hiroki Kataoka, Masako Douglas, and Kiyomi Chinen, who now serve as OCG curriculum advisors. OCG Curriculum Advisor Sachiko Iwami has been instrumental in continuing to keep the curriculum relevant.
Schools from across the nation and internationally have sought out OCG’s hands-on, interactive teaching method. OCG teachers and advisors have led several teacher training workshops and have lectured on this method, including at a conference at UCLA.