Students learn Japanese basics before trip

Preparing for their departure in June to Narashino, Tuscaloosa’s sister city, students from Paul W. Bryant, Central and Northridge high schools met at the Children’s Hands-On Museum on University Boulevard Saturday morning for their first Japanese language class.

“The program is amazing, friendships have been formed,” said Lisa Keyes of Tuscaloosa Sister Cities International. “It is life-changing for the students.”

Tuscaloosa Sister Cities International has been leading this exchange program for 28 years. The location switches from Germany to Japan every other year, while every three years the exchange is in Ghana.

“What I am teaching in this class is just surviving Japanese,” said class instructor Yumi Miyatake during the first lesson.

Students were taught the proper way to greet, how to write their names and where different Japanese cities are located as a part of the first class.

Standing from their seats, the students practiced bowing to each other in pairs and using greetings including different Japanese phrases. Students will also learn numbers and some Japanese characters. This is Miyatake’s third time coming to the U.S., previously teaching English to Japanese high school students.

“I want more people to know about Japan. It makes me so happy that so many people are interested,” Miyatake said.

The class will arrive in Narashino on June 18 and will stay with Japanese host families through July 2.

This year, 40 students applied from the three neighboring high schools, 18 of which were accepted. Qualifications included a GPA of 2.8 or higher, an essay and an interview. The accepted students must complete the 10 Japanese language classes as well.

“I never thought I would get the opportunity to travel to Japan. I am excited to learn more,” said Tyler Redman, a junior from Bryant High School. “I am really excited to see the monuments and eat Japanese food when we get there.”

Japanese students will be visiting Tuscaloosa as a part of the exchange program in late July. Both groups of students will get to know each other through their time spent in either city.

The program gives students a chance to meet not only Japanese students, but also peers from their neighboring high schools.

“The students get to know a different culture, but they also get to meet different people from their own community coming from three separate high schools in Tuscaloosa,” Keyes said.

The program signed a partnership in 2012 with

Sunyani-Techiman in Ghana, West Africa as a part of the sister city program.

At the end of the class on Saturday, students were able to say “sayonara” — Japanese for goodbye — in harmony to Miyatake while leaving the classroom.

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Students learn Japanese basics before trip
japanese language – Yahoo News Search Results
japanese language – Yahoo News Search Results

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