2. Report on Recent "Cultural Education Outreach (CEO)"
Arthur Ashe Primary School in Queens
On April 11th, Mr. Kasahara, Ms. Yonemichi, and Ms. Brandt of the Japan Information Center at the Consulate General participated in the after school program at Arthur Ashe Primary School in Queens, where they presented an introduction to Japanese culture.
At the Arthur Ashe Primary School, students are learning about cultures from around the world and had just finished studying Japanese culture. About forty students from the 4th to 6th grades were present in the classroom. The presentation began with a simple quiz that asked questions like "Where is Japan's largest city?" Some students responded "Kyoto" or "Tokyo," while others confused Japan with other countries and answered "Hong Kong" or "China." The teachers actively participated in the quiz as well. Students who answered correctly received various JIC souvenirs, such as keychains as prizes.
Next, they showed a video introducing Japanese school life and then asked the students to identify what they thought were the differences and similarities between Japanese and American children. Differences included how students in Japan eat free, school-provided lunches (kyushoku), semesters begin in April, and students change shoes when they get to school. As for similarities, the students observed how children in both countries play video games at home after school go on field trips, and wear similar clothes.
Later, the visiting consulate staff explained to the students Japanese traditions, like saying "itadakimasu" before a meal and how the students themselves clean their school. Afterwards, they had a lively Q&A session and fielded questions like "When do Japanese people wear kimonos?" and "How do Japanese people celebrate New Year's Day?" After the end of the presentation, various educational materials were distributed, including pamphlets about Japan. The hour-and-a-half scheduled for the presentation passed by quickly and both students and teachers truly had a great time.