Origami Update & Spring Workshop

In addition to offering an origami segment during the SJA Ikebana event in January (fan and Mt.Fuji), we did another Origami Workshop, the last one of the winter workshops on 2/13.  It was right before Valentine’s Day, so we folded two kinds of Hearts, and a sweet Cup Cake!  Naoko-sensei taught the first Heart, and shared how we can include our love message inside the Hearts.  The second Heart, a 2 color Heart, was a bit complicated, but everyone followed Michiko-sensei’s instructions thoroughly and folded so well!  Some did multiple Hearts!  The last was a Cup Cake by Satoko-sensei.  Everyone’s colorful cupcakes looked so yummy and perfect for getting ready for Valentine’s Day!  Hope everyone enjoyed the workshop as much as we did   We are offering the spring workshop from March.  Please register via the flyer. Hope to see you there!

SJA Spring Updates!

Dear SJA Community,

Spring is in the air!  There are so many in person and virtual events happening this spring for you to enjoy! SJA continues to move forward with participating in various in person events. 

We will be at the Cherry Blossom Kite Festival at Virginia Highlands Park on March 26, most likely doing origami, kendama and yukata dressing.   Please join us there!   https://www.arlingtonva.us/Government/Departments/Parks-Recreation/Parks-Events/Cherry-Blossom-Kite-Festival

We will be participating in Japan America Society’s Japan Bowl again this year, offering origami and tea ceremony workshops to their participants.  We have also been invited to be a part of the Children’s Corner at the Japan America Society Sakura Matsuri,  please come visit us there! https://sakuramatsuri.org/  We are also hoping to have a Japanese style flea market on May 22, so please save the date.  There will be martial arts demonstrations and other fun family activities – for the young and the young at heart.  We are always looking for new students, volunteers and collaborators, we couldn’t do anything without our amazing, dedicated board and stalwart volunteers. Drop by our website or FB to see announcements.  

Happy spring! 

Jennifer Swanson, SJA President

SJA-Sponsored Language and Culture Classes & Workshops

Adult Beginner Japanese Classes:  We are continuing to offer free adult beginner Japanese classes on the third Sunday evenings. Please see below to register. 

Register at: https://tinyurl.com/4hywkd8a  

Love Japanese Pop Culture? 
Represent SJA at a Con!

What is a con?  A con (short for convention) is a place where people of all ages can interact and meet fellow fans of popular and/or niche media. Cons are comprised of panels, artist alleys, vendor booths, photo/autograph opportunities, and more! 

Cons also allow for local, statewide, and nationwide organizations to table and share what their organization does and how people can join! These tables are usually placed at the front of the convention hall, but they can also be placed in random areas throughout the con. 

Some popular upcoming cons in the DMV area that showcase Japanese pop culture are GalaxyCon, Awesome Con, and AnimeUSA.  SJA is planning to participate with a booth at one or more of these upcoming cons.  If you are interested in representing SJA at a con or otherwise want to help us participate in one, let us know!  Email us at: sja2018sja@gmail.com.  

Kids Activity, Martial Arts Demonstration, and Boroichi Event

When:  May 22nd (Sunday) afternoon
Where: First Presbyterian Church near Ballston Metro station (601 N. Vermont St. Arlington, VA 22203)

What:  May 5th is Children’s day in Japan. To celebrate, SJA is planning a May event with some activities for kids, martial arts performances, and Boroichi ( a sale/flea market of kids items and Japanese items). 

What’s Boroichi? The most famous Boroichi has been held in Setagaya, Tokyo for over 400 years.  We got the idea from it as the grassroot group is trying to have the sister city between Arlington and Setagaya.

How:  If you’re interested in participating in Boroichi, please let us know. You’ll get a space (10 feet x 10 feet) for a donation of $40. The first 10 people (or groups) will get a free table. You can do your own Japanese item yard sale there and promote your group if you’d like to. You have some items and are willing to donate to SJA? Please let us know. We’re happy to receive and sell them at the SJA Boroichi table. We’re especially looking for manga/ anime books and items.  https://tinyurl.com/Boroichi

If you have any ideas or suggestions, or are interested in volunteering, please let us know here : https://tinyurl.com/SJAMayEvent or contact us at: sja2018sja@gmail.com

SJA Advocacy Survey Results Show a Strong Interest in Japanese Language Program in APS

Thank you to those who participated in the SJA Advocacy Survey on the Japanese language program offerings in APS. The survey initially targeted Heritage Language Families due to lack of options for those students who already have a certain proficiency level in Japanese, yet their needs are not met by the APS. However, the survey was expanded to include regular APS supporters who participate in the SJA language and culture program offerings.
We are thrilled to report a strong interest in the Japanese language program. While the number of respondents was about 30, 80 percent of them expressed an interest in taking the Japanese language if APS had expanded to offer from Middle School or offer Japanese IV and AP Japanese which are not currently offered. About 55 percent said that their children are taking Japanese language classes outside APS. So why not gain an APS credit for this! SJA Advocacy Committee is meeting with APS officials to understand what it takes for APS to expand the program.
Let’s work together to expand the Japanese language program offerings in APS!

The Arlington-Setagaya Monthly Zoom Event.

Even though this is an “Arlington and Setagaya” (Setagaya is a city in Tokyo) event, anyone from the DMV area can join us.  This is to help youth to connect in both towns and to practice the language students study.

The next event is on March 18 from 8-9PM.

Please sign up at https://tinyurl.com/arlsetagaya2022. You can sign up just for one or all sessions! We’ll send you the zoom link by email on the day before each session. 

For more information about the program and Arlington-Setagaya group, please check our website , and if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us! 

Arlington-Setagaya group: arlington.setagaya@gmail.com

A Look Back — SJA’s New Years Ikebana 
and Origami Workshop

Finally, a HUGE thank you to the 46 participants who attended SJA’s New Years Ikebana and Origami  Zoom Workshop.  We were so pleased to have the accomplished Yukari-sensei, a certified instructor with training from the Ikenobo School of Ikebana in Kyhoto, give a brief overview of the traditions surrounding Oshogatsu (New Years) and the kadomatsu New Year’s decoration, followed by a flower arranging demonstration.  The second half of the program was a presentation by our wonderful origami team (led by Michiko-sensei) who led our participants through folding a fan and then Mt. Fuji.  

Don’t forget,  Ikebana International DC’s annual exhibition is coming up at the National Arboretum April 7-18.    Information is available at: 



A Year in Review

Dear SJA Community,

Seasons greetings to you from the whole SJA family!  As the year comes to a close, we hope you have been able to spend some relaxing time with your family and friends. 

2021 went by in a flash!  We were able to accomplish a lot with your help and support, despite the unstable nature of COVID in our area.  SJA remains dedicated to our three pillars: Education, Outreach and Advocacy.  With these goals in mind, we charged ahead in 2021 with our virtual Japan Day, held in March 2021.  We had over 270 participants and 11 online workshops, including origami, ikebana, an art workshop and anime watch party.  We want to thank all the leaders, teachers and supporters that made those events possible.  

With society opening up in late spring, we were able to hold two in person, outdoor events.  Tanabata in July saw over 300 participants and 6 different booth activities, including yukata dress up, tanzaku making and kendama.  We also held a mini boro ichi (flea market) in which we sold some Japanese books and toys.  In October, we partnered with Washington DC Omotesenke (tea ceremony) to host an Autumn Harvest Tea Ceremony.  We welcomed over 50 guests who enjoyed traditional Japanese tea and sweets under a lovely (but windy) autumn day.

We are hard at work planning a new year’s ikebana workshop that we hope you will come and enjoy as well.  Please pencil in Saturday, January 29 from 3-5pm for this spectacular workshop!

Throughout 2021, we continued to hold online origami and beginning Japanese language classes as well.  We supported adult classes with Arlington Community Learning and YEP (Youth Enrichment Program) with Arlington Public Schools.  

Finally, our advocacy team continued to meet with APS world language leaders to help ensure the vitality of the Japanese language program in APS.  Thanks in part to SJA’s efforts, APS was able to hire a second Japanese language teacher to teach expanded language programs at Wakefield and Yorktown High Schools.

I’d like to thank the SJA board and dedicated volunteers for all their effort and passion this year.  SJA would be nothing without you!  

As 2021 draws to a close, we hope that in some small part, SJA has been a part of your life, and that we will see you soon in 2022.


Happy Holidays from SJA!


Jennifer Swanson

SJA President