Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Imoni Wars 芋煮戦争

Now that autumn is coming, here’s a fun and interesting cultural note to share with your students and/or any others who want to learn more about Japan, especially those who may be interested in its various regions.

Have you heard of the Imoni Wars 芋煮戦争?

In the Tohoku region of Japan, there is a popular dish that one can try during the autumn.  This dish is imoni, a delicious soup consisting of locally grown potato, meat, and taro.  In Yamagata’s popular Autumn Imoni Festival, you can even find a giant pot of imoni being stirred by a building crane!  There are also smaller imoni-kai (get-togethers) that people go to with friends, family, and coworkers.  You might have an imoni-kai picnic outdoors, overlooking the beautiful mountain ranges along the rolling fields.  Or have it served in one of the exceptional, intimate traditional-style restaurants around town.  Wherever you have it, these imoni-kai will surely bring you closer to each other…


Depending on the region you are in, there are actually different ways to make imoni.  In the areas around Yamagata City, for instance, the meat used in imoni is beef, while in Sendai, which is in neighboring Miyagi Prefecture, many people use pork.  Even within Yamagata, the northwest Shonai area uses pork as the meat.  Meanwhile, further up north in Akita and Aomori, you may find dishes using chicken.

Check this map for easier visualization:

Although most people generally enjoy their imoni regardless of what it uses, there are also a number of passionate folks who (playfully) admonish other regions for using a different type of meat or soup base.  It’s a “battle” for the best way of making imoni!  This is the Imoni War.  You can even follow it on Twitter by searching #芋煮戦争2017 (You can also try searching different years going back to 2013) and seeing what people are actually tweeting.  Check it out - it’s quite amusing, and a great insight to “live” Japanese voices!

Which side are you on?


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Learning and Teaching Resources: ポップカルチャー New & Old

Many Japanese language learners are drawn to Japan through its pop culture.  This could be through its anime, manga, music, dance, and more.  What better resource than a text that focuses exactly on that?

「ポップカルチャー New & Old, edited by Yoshiro Hanai, teaches Japanese through an introduction to Japanese pop culture; it is very informative and provides the historical contexts from which learners can appreciate various cultural phenomenon, from how Sukiyaki became a hit in the U.S., to the history of anime in Japan’s postwar era, to the roots of popular music in Japan.  Reading materials utilize kanji complemented with furigana, and so learners will be able to rapidly familiarize themselves with kanji and their readings.  Contents are provided both through the textbook and on the website.

The book effectively makes use of content-based learning so that students can more smoothly progress to more advanced-level study.  Students will surely be able to increase both their cultural knowledge and linguistic skills.  This is an invaluable text worth checking out!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Who's Hiring? Jobs that use Japanese (August 25, 2017)

Here are just a few of the job opportunities out there that require Japanese. These ones were posted this week. 

VIP Bilingual Corporate Travel Consultant (Travel Agent)  at TSI USA (Los Angeles, CA).

Foreign Language Instructor at CIA (Washington D.C.).

 Client Relationship Coordinator-(Bilingual Korean or Japanese)  at Marquis Publications (Long Island, NY).

Bilinugal Japanese/English Business Planner  at Sumitomo Electric Wiring Systems, Inc. ( Farmington Hills, Michigan).

Specialist Librarian at TheUniversity of Iowa (Iowa City, IA).

AppleCare Team Manager at Apple (Austin, TX).

Export Coordinator at Hankyuu Hanshin Express (UK) Limited (Jamaica, NY).

Junior Japanese Translator (Contract) at PlayStation (San Diego, CA).

Monday, August 21, 2017

Programs for Students and Researchers

Here are some new programs that interested students and researchers may be interested in applying to:

Name: English-Japanese Bilingual Education Course for International Students
Institution: Shimane University
Type: New program
Application period: Dec. 4 – Dec. 8, 2017
Education eligibility: from undergraduate
General description: English-Japanese Bilingual Education Course for International Students in the field of science and technology, from April 2018

Name: Reischauer Scholars Program
Institution: Stanford University: Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education
Type: Online course for high school students
Application period: August 14 - October 2, 2017
Education eligibility: High school student (grades 10 - 12)
General description: The Reischauer Scholars Program (RSP) is an online course for high school students to participate in an intensive study of Japan.

Name: 13th Hakuho Foundation Japanese Research Fellowship
Institution: Hakuho Foundation
Type: Japanese Research Fellowship
Application period: June 9 – October 31, 2017
Education eligibility: must possess doctoral degree
General description: Invites researchers conducting research to Japanese language, Japanese language education, Japanese literature, or Japanese culture to do residential research in Japan

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Professional Development and Grants

Please make use of these resources and grants for your professional development!


AP Japanese Language and Culture Professional Development Workshop Stipend
-Financial Assistance to participate in workshop for AP Japanese Language and Culture

NFMLTA/MLJ Travel Support Grants for Foreign Language Professionals 2017 Award
-A grant of up to $1000 for foreign language professionals to defray the cost of conference attendance

Cheng & Tsui Professional Development Grants
-A grant for Japanese language teachers in K-16 to attend seminars, workshops, conferences, etc.


Global Competency and Japanese Language Education Workshop
-For promoting Japanese language education and provide advocacy and core practices information

Annual Fall Conference at ACTFL


Bridging Scholarships for Study Abroad in Japan
-For students studying abroad in Japan in Spring 2018

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Student Voices: Micah

What does learning Japanese personally mean to students? In this section, we highlight students and their motivations to learn Japanese!  Here Micah talks about his hope to learn Japanese so he can be able to use it in Tottori while living there as an Assistant Language Teacher on the JET Program, as well as practice speaking it with his mother, another language learner!

Click the link below to watch:

What does learning Japanese mean to YOUR students?  What inspires them?  Let us know!