Would you like to get connected to a community of Japanese and Japan-enthusiasts? Enjoy learning about the culture of Japan, or enjoy sharing your love of Japan with others? Interested in brushing up your Japanese while helping others learn English (or vice versa)? SJA is always looking for volunteers to help with our programs and events. Please contact us for current and future volunteer opportunities.
Perfect opportunity for college student or recent graduate seeking real world work experience! SJA, grassroots Japanese language and cultural advocacy non-profit based in Arlington, VA is currently seeking a part-time webmaster intern to assist with managing its WordPress website and adding new content. Primary duties are:
create web posts and design pages on SJA activities, as guided by the Board
manage co-editor content from volunteer contributors
The experience on WordPress or website management is highly desired. Interest in Japanese language and culture is most welcome.
Estimated time commitment of about 10 hours per month. Happy to coordinate with your school for academic credit if desired.
SJA offers origami workshops periodically for young learners and grown-ups alike interested in learning origami paper folding, an art form and one of the oldest parts of Japanese culture. We strive to provide easy-to-follow instructions to create simple yet adorable models anyone can enjoy. Our instructors are trained and certified under the Taro’s Origami Studio Artist Basic Certification Course.
Our workshops focus on basic folding techniques that will provide a lifelong skill to transform a piece of square paper into intricate sculptures. Incorporating elements of Japanese tradition, our workshops touch upon the importance of proper posture, mindful breathing and respect. Simple Japanese vocabulary, such as the names of models we create, are also introduced.
Past Workshops and Program History
Summer Youth Program – 2019
Origami and Paper Art – After school enrichment program at ATS (Arlington Traditional Elementary School)
Summer Origami Workshops (virtual) – 2020
Fall Origami Workshops (virtual) – ongoing
Summer Origami Workshop
We learned a lot and had great fun making origami this summer! Through a total of six sessions from July to August, students learned basic skills such as book fold and diagonal fold, as well as more challenging techniques such as petal fold and inside reverse fold. What do those terms mean really? It means that students can now have a skillset to make a samurai helmet, a paper balloon, a crane and Pikachu with ease.
At our workshop, we always start with steps to help us get ready for folding paper. We make sure that our hands are clean (no sticky fingers or covered with Cheetos powder). Sit properly in front of a flat surface without clutter. Have a long spine, relaxed shoulders and neck, we take a deep belly breath in and out. Now are ready.
The easy-to-follow instructions from Michiko and Seiko helped all students at different skill levels create adorable origami models. The workshops also introduced Japanese names and pronunciation for each model. The instructors enjoyed being together with SJA students and having the fun of folding origami as much as kids did or better.
Fall Origami Workshop
Fall workshops are on the third Sundays at 5:00 p.m. starting in October. Please register first and we will send you a Zoom link. The workshop will be suited for students of any age from kindergarteners to retirees looking for a new hobby. A great opportunity for a family activity as well. All skill levels are welcome.
October 18 November 15 December 20
Halloween origami Jack O’lantern and more Thanksgiving Turkey and Pumpkin Star, Snowman and Santa
Session Times: Sep 12 (8-9pm) Oct 10th (8-9pm) Nov 14th (7-8 pm) Dec 12th (7-8pm)
All Saturday evenings
Are you interested in Japan? Are you studying Japanese or want to communicate with Japanese students in Tokyo?
We’ll have a Language and culture Exchange with Setagaya, Tokyo, by Zoom. You can practice Japanese and help Japanese students to practice English. It’s a monthly event, and you can choose which date to register. Come for once or all four. It’s really flexible and each session is independently conclusive, so you do not have to worry about missing a session. We start a new session each month. It’s free!
Please sign up from the link below by two days before the session you would like to participate. We’ll provide you the zoom link.
What You’ll experience:
– Practice conversational Japanese (beginners welcome) – Learn local info – Chance to get connected and make new friends
Setagaya is one of the most populated districts in Tokyo, and the second largest in the capital, yet it is also one of the quietest and most peaceful. Near the bustling neighborhoods of Harajuku and Shibuya, Setagaya is a haven of peace. It’s mainly a residential area, and a great place to take a walk to discover the charm of Japanese houses. At the heart of this district, trendy Shimo-Kitazawa remains an island of artistic expression.
You can also discover Kinuta Park, which is particularly beautiful during the seasons of hanami and koyo. If you’re traveling with children, Hanegi Park has one of the largest children’s playgrounds in Tokyo. And don’t miss Todoroki Keikoku, central Tokyo’s most unconventional green space, a forest-like park located in a ravine formed in the Yazawa riverbed. It isn’t far from Gotoku-ji temple, where the famous maneki-neko was born.
Do you like to play Rocket League, Fortnite, or Minecraft? This is the event for you! SJA & Game Gym is hosting an online game bash. In this free two-hour session, you will have a bit of training and a lot of gaming and will also get to learn about game arcades in Japan! While staying home safe, get connected to other teens via a safe and fun game environment supervised by Game Gym. Register here, but hurry. Spaces are limited.
DATE TIME WHO CAPACITY
August 16 4 to 6 PM Middle and High School gamers 20
Arlington Career Center is the sister school with Tokyo Engei High School in Setagaya, Tokyo. And Setagaya is the host town for American athletes for Tokyo Olympic 2021. The youth in Setagaya are going to report about their town live on 14th from 8:30-9:00pm.
We are excited to offer online workshops during this summer. As in-person events will be limited for the foreseeable future, we would like to explore digital media to engage our community of young students and adults who love to learn about Japan and the language. All workshops are free but some requires a prior registration as a number of participants/audiences is limited. Please review the information below and make plans to join our casual, fun, and friendly activities for everyone.
Hiragana & Katakana Mini Tutorials
Grab a “quick bite” of Japanese
During these 15 minute Facebook Live mini lessons, the instructor and SJA board member, Satoko Best, will show you how to write the Japanese alphabet with the correct stroke order and the essence of calligraphy. These classes are appropriate for beginners.
WHAT: 15 minutes quick lunch time tutorial WHEN: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 12:30PM -12:45PM June 16 – July 2, 2020 LEVEL: Beginner WHERE: Facebook Live
Classes are already underway, but you can watch the recordings from the prior classes on SJA’s Facebook page and join us for these additional classes:
June 23-25 – 6/23: Writing Japanese Katakana from ア行、カ行、サ行 (a-i-u-e-o, ka-ki-ku-ke-ko, sa-shi-su-se-so) – 6/24: Writing Japanese Katakana from タ行、ナ行、ハ行 (ta-chi-tsu-te-to, na-ni-nu-ne-no, ha-hi-fu-he-ho) – 6/25: Writing Japanese Katakana from マ行、ヤ行、ラ行、ワ行 (ma-mi-mu-me-mo, ya-yu-yo, ra-ri-ru-re-ro, wa-wo-n)
June 30-July 2 – 6/30: Writing Japanese Hiragana Dakuon が行、ざ行、だ行、ば行(ga-gi-gu-ge-go,za-zi-zu-ze-zo,da-zi-zu-ze-zo,ba-bi-bu-be-bo) – 7/1: Writing Japanese Katakana Dakuon カ行、ザ行、ダ行、バ行( ga-gi-gu-ge-go,za-zi-zu-ze-zo,da-zi-zu-ze-zo,ba-bi-bu-be-bo) – 7/2: Writing Japanese Hiragana & Katakana ぱ行＆パ行(pa-pi-pu-pe-po), youon(ex. kya-kyu-kyo), sokuon (small letter tsu)
Basic Japanese Class for Adults
Do you want to learn basic Japanese and brush up conversation skills?
Join our Zoom Basic Japanese Class over the summer for adults. You’ll learn how to say “I like something”, ” I eat/drink something”, and “What time is it?” etc. It’s free, but the slots are limited. Also, please sign up at least 24 hours before each class starts, so that we can send the Zoom link to you in time. If you haven’t used Zoom before, when you sign up for the class please mention that in the Comment Box. If you have any questions, please email email@example.com.
Let’s Make Origami Together! Learn basic folding skills to make simple animals to Pikachu
Come join us to learn the simple pleasure of origami crafts via online workshop (30 minutes) at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesdays in July and August. The first few sessions focus on basic folding skills and we aim at making crane and Pokemon characters at later workshops. It is free but a prior registration is required for a limited number of students. After registration, we will send you a zoom link.
WHAT: 30 minutes origami crafts WHEN: 4 pm on Wednesdays from July 8 to August 12 LEVEL: Anyone (Beginner) WHERE: Zoom – Prior Registration Required
Session 1 (July 8): Simple Animals – Basic Folding Skills Session 2 (July 15): Flying Objects – Airplanes and such Session 3 (July 22): Samurai Hat Session 4 (July 29): Playful Things Session 5 (August 5): Origami Everyone Admires – Crane (you need to make water-bomb) Session 6 (August 12): Bonus Session – Pikachu and Evee (Session 5 is required or if you can make crane yourself)
Virtual Cultural Exchanges
Want to meet and talk to students and families in Japan? Two great ways for our middle and high school students to connect with students in Japan!
Online “Home Stay” with Japanese Middle School Students Hello, middle school students in Arlington! Do you want to make a trip to Japan but can’t? Join us for a Zoom chat with Japanese middle school students in Setagaya, Japan. Setagaya is a Host Town for Team USA for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in 2021. We’d like to connect students from both locations to experience a mini online homestay. What would you like to know or talk about concerning Japan? Please let us know. Japanese students want to chat in English, but if you know some Japanese, you can practice it, too. You can sign up for both days, 7/18 & 8/1, if you want. It’s free!
WHAT: 40 minutes zoom chat with Students in Japan WHEN: July 18 and August 1 LEVEL: Middle School Students WHERE: Zoom Link – Prior Registration Required
Zoom chat with Japanese University Students for High School Students Want to know about Japanese college? Want to chat with Japanese students in Japan? Tsukuba University in Japan is willing to do both (August 5th & 6th). One day is chatting with Japanese college students. If you know some Japanese, they’ll help you to practice it. Another day is an open house of bachelor Degree Program offered in English (science/engineer), where you can learn more about Tsukuba University, which has produced three Nobel Laureates and offers various degree programs in English, including International Social Science, International Medical Science, Global Issues, and Interdisciplinary Engineering.
WHAT: 40 minutes zoom chat with College Students in Japan and college information session WHEN: August 5 and 6 LEVEL: High School Students Media: Zoom Link – Prior Registration Required
Participation is free but space is limited. High School students in Arlington, VA, please sign up by June 30th. After that, we’ll open it up to the other High School students in the DC Metro area. Please sign up at this page.
Tea Ceremony Demonstration
Find beauty behind the ancient art of Tea Ceremony
Join to watch tea ceremony on Facebook Live every Sunday at 3pm. The tea ceremony live has been broadcasted since April and the response has been overwhelming! People from all over the world have joined. Some make their own cup of tea at home and enjoy watching on Facebook, while others have made their own matcha after the broadcast has ended.
Lockdown is hard for many reasons, but you will find beauty and tranquility through the Omotesenkeexperience.
WHAT: 60 minutes tea ceremony demonstration WHEN: Every Sunday at 3:00 pm LEVEL: Anyone WHERE: Facebook Live
Intro to Zazen & Japanese Zen Buddhism
Take Deep Breath and Calm Your Mind
Kanzenchi (Peter Pocock–delrayzen.org) will lead a class through online demonstration of zazen (half-lotus, Burmese, seiza or sitting on a chair) plus some introduction to Japanese Zen Buddhism (our lineage is from Shunryu Suzuki, who was in Calm your mind in the heat of summer! On Sunday, July 26, from 4-5 pm, SJA Board Member, John McLaughlin, and Del Ray Zen Buddhist priest Peter Pocock, will provide a brief introduction to Japanese Zen Buddhism as practiced by our Soto-shu lineage, as well as to Zazen. After some warm-up exercises, participants will have various sitting positions demonstrated, such as full and half-Lotus, seiza, Burmese-style, and sitting in a chair. Then, everyone will experience a brief sitting (5-10 minutes) followed by a chant in Japanese and English. After a Q&A session, participants are welcome to stay for a longer sitting of 15-20 minutes. Whether you already have experience with Zazen or not, you’re welcome to join us on Wednesday evening and Saturday morning sittings through a zoom link at delrayzen.org
WHAT: 60 minutes: lecture, guided sitting meditation practice, Q&A, and additional sitting (optional) WHEN: Sunday, July 26 from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm LEVEL: Anyone WHERE: Zoom link
Learn about undergraduate degrees in English at one of the top national universities in Japan!
The Future Global Leadership (FGL) program at Tohoku University offers three outstanding undergraduate degree courses that are taught in English:
Advanced Molecular Chemistry (AMC)
International Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (IMAC-U)
Applied Marine Biology (AMB)
All three courses provide curriculum that help students to build a solid foundation in the fundamentals of their chosen fields and to encounter the very latest cutting-edge research. High quality academics combined with horizon-expanding cultural experiences make FGL an excellent choice for students who hope to become international leaders during their academic careers and beyond.
The presentation will be broadcasted live via Zoom online conference site when registered online. Specific information on date and time will be made available shortly. If you are interested in receiving further information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Website for Tohoku University:
Website for Future Global Leadership Program-undergraduate courses:
Date&Time for Online Information Session: Postponed to further notice. Presentation& Q&A in Japanese Presentation & Q&A in English
Presentation by University of Tsukuba at Washington-Liberty HS on 11/25
SJA hosts the second Japanese University Presentation on Monday November 25th at Washington-Liberty High School in Arlington.
University of Tsukuba, which has produced three Nobel Laureates, offers various degree programs in English, including International Social Science, International Medical Science, Global Issues, and Interdisciplinary Engineering. The university also launched the Japan-Expert Program in such areas as Agricultural Science, Healthcare, Art and Design, and Japanese Language. The admitted students will go through intensive six months of Japanese language study before diving into their selected fields.
The average admission fees for National Universities in Japan are about $2,800 and the tuition is about $5,400 per an academic year. The presentation includes the most recent policy trend and changes in Japan’s higher education concerning National Universities. The first part of presentation will be provided in Japanese and the second half in English. The event is free but the pre-registration is required.
Date: Monday, November 25 Time: 7:00-9:00 pm Location: Washington-Liberty High School (1st floor Little Theater) 7:00-7:45 pm Presentation/ Q&A in Japanese 8:00-8:45 pm Presentation/ Q&A in English 8:45-9:00 pm Closing
Parking Information Use school parking lot or nearest free street parking. If you park your car at the school parking lot, the nearest entrance is No. 5 door. Main entrance is No. 1. Little Theater is located at the middle of the first floor.
Thank you everyone who volunteered, stopped by and shared your time and talent with us during Arlington County Fair this year. The SJA booth attracted many community members interested in the Japanese culture and the language. All the supporters and volunteers helped our booth lively and to be a wonderful display of SJA program offerings.
The last class of SJA Winter/Spring Youth Program ended in a high note packed with fun activities of traditional Japanese games and a recap of basic phrases in Japanese. Students were introduced to centuries-old card game,”karuta （かるた）,” board game, “sugoroku （すごろく）,” and how to play paper/scissors/paper or “jan-ken-pon （じゃん、けん、ぽん）” and more. Through these hands-on activities, students enhanced their appreciation and understanding of vocabularies and rules of how to play those games. In addition, they enjoyed savory Japanese snacks to celebrate their journey of studying with SJA for the past four months.
Savory treat included “butter mochi” with coconut toppings hand made by student family and onigiri by a volunteer. They were absolutely delicious and definitely crowd-pleaser, serving as a wonderful introduction to rich Japanese food culture.
Karuta are Japanese playing cards. Playing cards were introduced to Japan by the Portuguese traders during the mid-16th century. These early decks were used for trick-taking games. Karuta, as it exists today, is the hybrid descendent of 12th century clam shells and 16th century Portuguese sailors. Karuta fully evolved from a foreign Portuguese import into a distinct Japanese custom, combining traditional kai-awase gameplay with the European paper card medium. Now there are numerous variety of karuta ranging from Tonarino Totoro theme, Hello Kitty designs to traditional poems.
Sugoroku is a Japanese board game which has become a tradition for kids to play during the New Year’s Day. The history of Sugoroku can be traced back to the 12th century. There are many variety of sugoroku with popular anime-themes, educational and fun-filled rules.
In Recognition of Students’ Hard Work and Love of Learning…
Each student received a certificate of achievement from Jennifer-sensei. Prior to the presentation, they learned a proper manner to receive a certificate. They mastered it so well and quickly. We are so proud of you!
Let’s study Japanese and learn about the culture of Japan!
Come join us for a free Japanese program this summer. The program will be offered on four Sundays in July and August, and will be comprised of Japanese language lessons for the first hour and various cultural activities for the latter half. The language instruction will be led by Jennifer Swanson-sensei, who has been teaching the SJA Youth Class for the past year. No prior training? Do not worry. Want to improve your hiragana or kanji skills? No problem! Jennifer and a team of volunteers will provide personalized instruction according to each student’s abilities and levels.
Cultural activities include origami, tea ceremony, kendama and more!
Any youth from elementary to high school students are welcome to attend. Bring your love of learning Japanese and the culture. You can sign up for any session.