2017 Monday Adult Classes – Fall Semester

Monday Classes for Adults

All classes are designed to fit the needs of busy adults like you

Adult Class Orientation and Registration is at 6:00 p.m. at the Buddhist Church of Sacramento on Monday, August 21, 2017 in the annex classrooms. Park in the back of the church in the lot found through the gates and follow the signs to the registration. 

2017 Fall Semester

Beginning to Advanced classes available. New JLPT N3 Kanji class

Download the 2017  Registration Form

Orientation evening will be on August 21, 2017 at 6:00 pm.

Fall semester: September 11, 2017 to January 22, 2018

Spring semester: January 29, 2018 to June 4, 2018

Kodomo no Hi 子供の日 (Children’s Day)

May 5th is the national holiday known as, Kodomo no Hi 子供の日 (Children's day) in Japan. It is a day to celebrate the health and happiness of children. Until 1948 the holiday was called Tango no Sekku 端午の節句 and honored boys. Although this holiday has became known as, Children's Day, many Japanese still consider it a Boy's Festival. On the other hand, Hinamatsuri ひな祭り, which falls on the 3rd day of March 3, is a celebration for girls. Families with boys fly Koinobori 鯉のぼり (carp-shaped streamers) in the hope that they will grow up healthy and strong. The carp is a symbol of strength, courage and success. In a legend, a carp swam upstream to become a dragon. The Japanese proverb, Koi no takinobori 鯉の滝登り, Koi's waterfall climbing), means, to succeed in life. Warrior dolls and warrior helmets called, Gogatsu-ningyou, are also displayed in a boy's house for this holiday.

In Aichi Prefecture the town of Iwakura is known for its koinobori making history. In the winter and early spring you can find the hand dyed koinobori being rinsed in the cold river. This is called nobori aria. To learn more about this visit this informative site about this 400 year old family industry. Read an interview with one of these skilled craftsmen. Kodomo no Hi - Koinobori

At Sakura Gakuen this holiday is always celebrated with gusto and creativity. In recent years some families have shared their heirloom 8 meter Koinobori and gogatsu-ningyou (helmets). This is often the day for class photos. Crafts and food are always a part of the celebration. Manju from Osaka-ya, just up 10th street from the school, is also a staple of Kodomo no Hi as well as Hinamatsuri.

This year Sakura Gakuen's Kodomo no Hi (Children's Day) cultural celebration will be held on Saturday, May 13. This is a family event and ALL school families are invited. Please wear yukata (summer cotton festive comfortable robes) if you have them (students, families and Sensei). It will be a fun filled day for all as we learn about Japanese culture and history, and share the experience that makes Sakura Gakuen such a great place for our children to learn Japanese.

Christmas Season

Christmas in Japan? Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus in Japan (and Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty etc). With only a about 1 percent of the Japanese population following the Christian faith, Christmas is still celebrated, though in a uniquely Japanese way.

There is no Japanese word for “Merry Christmas.” People just say it as an English word with Japanese pronunciation: “Merii Kurisumasu” (Click to listen to the pronunciation).

Colonel Santa and Christmas chickenDoraemon SantasChristmas cake

Christmas in Japan is a festival of lights and rich decorations displayed primarily in the cities and depāto (department stores).In almost every shopping mall and cafe Christmas carols can be heard. (Listen to Silent Night in Japanese) Christmas tree and Santa shaped cookies and food displays fill the panya (bakeries) and food courts in the basements of the large depāto. Some families have cultivated traditions like the Christmas chicken dinner (from KFC) and pretty Christmas cakes. Many of the holiday light displays go up in November and until Christmas there is an atmosphere of celebration present. But almost immediately after Christmas day, Christmas disappears. The focus of everyone’s attention turns to Oshōgatsu, the New Year activities. See this post for more about New Years.

Christmas in Japan has been cultivated by corporations to create a “Hallmark Holiday” of sorts. Though more a commercial holiday than a traditional one, it is popular nonetheless. The Christmas atmosphere in the cities can be enchanting. Christmas eve is an important romantic day of celebration for young couples, something like our Valentine’s Day dating expectations.

One of the most impressive seasonal sights are the light displays, a.k.a., illuminations They can be extravagant and dizzyingly elaborate. We hope to soon hare some photos or videos of Japanese illumination displays taken by our students, faculty and friends.

Some of Japan’s best illumination spots
      2015 Sapporo, Osaka, Hiroshima’s Dreamination, Sendai’s Starlight Pageant
               Tokyo Dome, Tsuruoka (Yamagata), and more Illuminations across Japan

Roppongi Hills 2014

2015-2016 School Year – Begins

The new school year will start soon –

Saturday, September 12, 2015 for youth classes.
Adult classes begin on Monday, September 14, 2015.

It is not too late to enroll for a fall class
Click here for more adult class info and see how easy it is to enroll

Saturday Youth Classes begin at 9:00 a.m. on September 12th
Registration: 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. that day

Click here for more youth class info and here for registration forms
If possible, please print and complete forms to make the registration process faster.

If you can, register early for youth classes on August 29, 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
in classroom #6 (annex), to guarantee your spot and best volunteer duty selection.

Contact us if you have questions about the school or registration.

Obon Festivals Calendar

June-August, 2015 Obon Festival Calendar 2015, Dozens of festivals across the west many are free.     See more info about Obon here

 Obon dancers

Have fun, eat good food, enjoy this unique taste of Japanese culture at one or more festivals this summer. Obon participants gather in rings around a yagura, a central raised platform, and dance to the accompaniment of singing and taiko drums. The folk dances usually tell stories of traditional occupations such as fishing and farming. Everyone is encouraged to join in with the seasoned dancers as they circle around the yagura, often wearing colorful yukata (summer kimono) or happi coats representing various area temples. It doesn’t matter whether you are Buddhist or not, whether you are new to Bon odori or whether you have “two left feet.” The important thing is to leave your ego behind and simply express your joy and gratitude for life through the dance.

Responding to Web Input

Thank you for your constructive suggestions regarding these pages.
Some of this input has been implemented and some is in progress.

New this year –
more tasty recipes including basic home-style fare
listing of recent posts (found at bottom of right column)
links to relevant events like speech contests
WOTD and more learning resources
increased amount of information on local cultural events
resumed adding descriptions of traditional events in Japan
on-line volunteer sign-ups for PTC families
added a calendar for the teachers
added more PTC event history
and more

The school’s web presence serves three goals:
– outreach and resource for cultural events in the area
– educational and cultural resource
– in-house communication and management tool
We can fulfill these with your assistance, feedback, resources and use.

The site’s success is really based on the efforts of all enrolled, the volunteers, contributors and editors behind the scenes. Your input on the site and particularly input on resources, cultural activities and recipes is invaluable. Thank you to all who have contributed, visited and logged into the website.

Spring Holiday – No Classes – April 4

Spring Holiday. No Saturday classes April 4th. Enjoy the season and a well deserved break from Sakura Gakuen.
Remember that the next week, Saturday April 11, is the PTC meeting for nominating next year’s officers. The following weekend, April 18, is the annual youth school field trip to San Francisco’s Cherry Blossom Festival. Saturday families – watch your email for the latest details about the field trip and required forms.

Speech Contest – March 18

Continuing the annual tradition – Sakura Gakuen Saturday students will demonstrate their language skills with the Annual Speech Contest.

We encourage every Saturday School family to attend this event even if your student is not competing. This day is an opportunity for our students to show off what they have learned, express themselves, practice public speaking, and inspire other students. This event is a showcase not only for the students, but the great efforts of our teaching staff and you, the dedicated parents of our wonderful students.

Resolve to Exercise Your Brain

Learning a second language is good for you

» Studies indicate bilingualism is good for health – particularly your brain

Older adults who have spoken two languages since childhood seem to have better cognitive flexibility — meaning, they are better able to go with the flow in the face of a new or unexpected circumstances. This is true even for people who learned a second language later in life. People who speak two languages may process certain words faster. Alzheimer’s can strike anyone, but people who are bilingual may develop the condition four to five years later than people who only speak one language. These are just some of the reasons learning a second language can benefit you beyond the ability to get on the correct train in Tokyo or order something you want from a Sapporo menu.
Several Huffington Post summary articles on the subject:
    » How A Second Language Betters Your Brain
    » 7 Reasons Why It’s Good to Speak Another Language
    » 6 Multilingual Benefits That You Only Get If You Speak Another Language

So join us – keep your brain sharp
try our homework free way to learn Japanese for busy people like you

hello in 7 languages

learn a language & make friends

Register for a Monday Evening Class

Our beginner class, perfect for those with no prior exposure to Japanese. To get a spot in this class or others come to the registration/orientation – see calendar for latest details. Speak to a teacher, see what you can learn with our classes, and sign-up. It is easy.
If you missed this early registration –
    drop by your desired class on the first day to register

  » More Registration information
  » Registration forms
Registration will be held at the Buddhist Church of Sacramento, located at 2401 Riverside Blvd. Find a map here

Spring Food Festival – Pre-Order Feb 22

Enjoy delicious food and support our host, the Buddhist Church of Sacramento, with this annual harbinger of spring. This year the highlight will be shioyaki chicken. sushi and inariAn alternative to the sweetness of teriyaki chicken, this yummy chicken is soaked in a special salt mixture before being grilled. It is a traditional style of Japanese cooking that brings out the best in the meat. If you have never had shioyaki, come try it at this food festival. This event is very popular so do not hesitate – order before it sells out. Pre-order sales are required. Place your order by February 22. The menu includes Shioyaki chicken, sushi, chirashi (tossed sushi rice), udon, Spam musubi and more. Pick up is on Sunday, March 8th, 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. Order extra for “left-overs” and a tasty excuse to not cook and share it with friends.

Classes resume in January – Oshōgatsu

Monday classes start up again on January 5 and the youth students return on January 10th for the New Year’s Culture Day.
明けましておめでとうございます。 Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu.
The Japanese New Year (shōgatsu) is one of the most important annual festivals, with its own unique customs, and has been celebrated for centuries. Due to the importance of the holiday and the preparations required, the preceding days are quite busy, particularly the day before, known as Ōmisoka.

New Years has many traditions but the tastiest is called osechi-ryōri, typically shortened to osechi. This is a kaleidescope of dishes consisting of boiled seaweed, fish cakes, mashedosechi ryori and kagami mochi sweet potato with chestnut, simmered burdock root and sweetened black soybeans and usually served in a jubako, a set of stacking lacquerware boxes (though some families use a bent wood magewappa). Many of the osechi dishes are sweet, sour or dried, so they can keep without refrigeration as these culinary traditions date to a time before households had refrigerators. The osechi was prepared before the start of the 7-day New Year’s period of feasting and rest. The original reason for this period of rest or non-cooking was supposed to be to appease the fire god, Kohjin. Then in later years, this period of non-cooking was ostensibly to give the housewife a rest – though was this much of a break given the hours and days making tons of food in advance? Each of the foods in the osechi ryori jubako has a symbolic meaning.

A popular New Year’s dish is ozōni, a soup with mochi, that also has regional variations. Today, sashimi and sushi are often eaten, as well as non-Japanese foods. To let the overworked stomach rest, seven-herb rice soup is prepared on the seventh day of January, a day known as jinjitsu. A typical chilly New Year’s includes the family huddled under the kotatsu (low table with a heating unit under it and a skirted by a blanket), drinking tea and eating mikan (mandarins) and watching New Year’s Eve specials on TV, like Kohaku (紅白歌合戦?).

Chionin bell ringing New Year's EveAt midnight on December 31, Buddhist temples all over Japan ring their bells a total of 108 times, the number of passions and desires entrapping us in a cycle of suffering and reincarnation in Buddhist belief. The 108 bell chimes symbolize the purification from the 108 delusions and sufferings accumulated in the past year. The watching of the striking of the local temple bell is an attraction and some of the larger temples have large crowds and food stalls. Kyoto’s Chionin Temple bell is so large it requires 17 monks to ring it. Some families feast on soba noodles, toshikoshi-soba (年越しそば), as harbingers of “long life”. Visiting a temple at New Years is a common family ritual. Watch a family video of a shrine visit. Watch and listen to the sound of the Chionin-in bell on New Year’s Eve.

A beloved New Year’s custom is making mochi, called mochitsuki. Boiled sticky rice is pounded in an usu (wooden shallow mortar) with a kine (large wooden mallet). This is made before New Year’s Day and eaten during the beginning of January.mochitsukiMochi is also part of a New Year’s decoration called kagami mochi, formed from two round cakes of mochi with a bitter orange placed on top. If you missed purchasing fresh mochi courtesy of the Sports Committee of the Buddhist Church of Sacramento in early December, you may find some on sale at Oto’s or Osaka-ya before the New Year. Watch mochitsuki in San Francisco’s Japan Town (2009).

Another tradition is the sending of New Year cards, nengajo. On the nengajo postcards is a unique six digit serial number in corner. This number is for the annual New Years lottery drawing. The lottery prizes run from a vacation trip, a television to postage stamps.

The Youth School’s first day of the New Year is a Culture Day event focused on Oshōgatsu and hands on exploring of the rich traditions of Japanese culture associated with this holiday. As with every youth school event, parents should check out the latest PTC Announcements for more details, what to expect and what is expected of them.

FYI – Upcoming deadlines for fun extracurricular opportunities

Welcome our new Saturday Sensei

The teaching staff is excited to teach our kids all about Japan and its language.
Let’s do all we can to assist them.

The indomitably energetic E. Redmond takes over the challenges of the Beginning class for the month of November. R. Kataoka, a professional bioengineer and student of kendo, teaches the Junior Introductory class. M. Nelson juggles teaching, scouting, sports and two young children along with her passion for cooking when not leading the Chukyu (intermediate) class in an exciting new project. T. Koga, studied literature at UC Berkeley and brings her enthusiasm for language and her wit to the Senior Introductory class. Expect a lot of hands-on cultural exposure with our talented and knowledgeable sensei.
We also welcome back our continuing staff: A. Pugliani (kindergarten) and S. Iwamoto (Advanced). Their dedication to teaching is exemplary.

Drop by and sayよろしくお願いします。 "yoroshiku onegaishimasu"
Look at this informative attempt to convey the complex sentiments behind that phrase.

68th Annual Food & Cultural Bazaar

The Japanese Food and Culture Bazaar is this weekend, August 9 and 10. If you have never been to the bazaar, check out this SacBee article. The bazaar is the principle fundraiser for the Buddhist Church of Sacramento. The funds support the Church’s activities, community projects and affiliated organizations. Sakura Gakuen teachers and families enthusiastically man the Ginza booth each year. Come by and ask about the school. We have lots of interesting things to sell from plastic samurai swords to origami books, phone charms to shoyu dispensers, sake sets to tea pots, fans to laundry bags. A wide selection of sundries can be found in the Ginza booth, named after the famous shopping district of Tokyo. Take this weekend’s opportunity to learn more about the oldest Japanese language school in Northern California, while enjoying food, music, dance and good company at the 68th Annual Japanese Food and Cultural Bazaar.

Memorial Day Weekend Class Schedule

Regarding Holiday Schedule –

Yes, Saturday youth classes will be held on Saturday, May 24th.

NO Monday classes will be held on Monday, May 26th, Memorial Day.

Pacific Rim Street Festival – May 18

Visit us Sunday in Old Sac – try your hand at origami and/or Japanese calligraphy. Talk with a teacher, student or parent to learn more about the programs offered. Sign-up for fall classes. Learn about our discounts and scholarship program. See Pacific Rim Street Fest home page for more details on the festival held Sunday May 18th, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. in Old Sacramento. Directions and map of festivities

Pacific Rim Street Fest

Immerse yourself in the diversity of Sacramento’s Asian communities. Learn, eat and enjoy a Sunday in Old Sac.

Onigiri Fundraiser – May 4

Celebrate Kodomo No Hi (Children’s Day) on May 4th with the School’s spring fundraiser. Tasty and kawaii (cute). See us in the courtyard Sunday May 4th between 10:30 and noon, Onigiri Flieror better still, pre-order before they are sold out. Pre-order tickets will be available after services this month – catch the announcements after service from our students for more details. If you missed the pretty sign in the hallway, check out the Onigiri Flier here to see the time, price and how kawaii they were last year. Support the language school in a tasty and fun way. There will also be a bakesale. Butter mochi and other tasty treats will be available that morning. Domo arigato gozaimasu.

April 19 – No School

This Saturday there will be no classes. Next weekend, Saturday April 26th classes will resume. For the latest information on what is happening at the school and the school schedule please refer to the school calender. For Saturday family specific items login in and check the Parent Portal under Chōnaikai.

Mark your calendars – Onigiri Fund Raiser and Bake Sale on Sunday May 4th. Some preparation work is needed on Saturday morning, May 3rd. Recipes for the bake sale can be found at the Snack Info page once you have logged into the website.

Trip to Osaka, Japan – 2015

Osaka is the third largest city in Japan. It has some readily recognized landmarks, like the picture postcard perfect Osaka Castle. Visiting this modern city gives you opportunity to find the many hidden spots outside the tourist sites. See the blend of traditional and 21st Century that color this great city. Osaka Castle from gardenThe longer you stay, the more you will get to like the city. Just a short train trip takes you to Kyoto and Nara, centers of Japanese history, culture and art. Explore the juxtaposition of feudal antiquity and tomorrow’s technological innovations of the complex tapestry that is Japan. Relish a shaved ice treat and watching fireflies on a warm summer eve. Catch a local summer festival.
Grab a local eki-ben (box lumch) and learn how to navigate the trains to visit the city’s diverse neighborhoods, temples, koen, aquarium, or the art, history, peace and science museums. Safely meander off the beaten path with your sensei and guides. Nurture that wanderlust. Bring back stories for a lifetime. Osaka shopping This is a unique opportunity offered to Sakura Gakuen youth students as part of the school’s mission to promote understanding of oneself and the world we share. A tentative chaperoned trip to Japan for the summer of 2015 is in the early planning stages. The trip is for a small group of our more mature Saturday students. It will be an opportunity of a lifetime. Experience Japan in a way that many visitors may never see. Students can apply what they have learned and gain so much more from this immersion opportunity. Further details are pending. Those Saturday youth students interested in attending are encouraged to get involved in the planning to make the trip more valuable and exciting to all participants. Note that nothing yet is set in stone, this is just in the planing stages.

T-shirts are here

Sakura Gakuen t-shirts and sweatshirts have arrived. The PTC t-shirt coordinator, Keiko, will have a listing of orders and on March 29th she can remind you of what you ordered and the cost. Remember checks should be made out to “Sakura Gakuen PTC”.
If you did not place an order and you still want some of the SG gear, drop by school during Saturday school hours and check out what we have in stock. Students attending the field trip are expected to wear school gear.

Adult students may place an order by completing an order form and giving it to Mrs. Thomas of the Monday School. If we do not have what you want in stock we will add your item(s) to our next order list. When a sufficient number of items is reached, another printing will be made. This is not expected to occur until mid-fall.

Sorry but the on-line ordering of gear is not yet functional. That project is temporarily on hold.

RAMEN ラーメン

The 2nd Annual Ramen Fest was held Sunday November 24th between 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.in the kaikan. At only $6 per bowl of irresistable chāshū (pork) ramen – with limited on site sales – we sold out. There were raffles, baked goods, crafts for kids,and fun had by all. Thank you for supporting the school and sharing a beautiful fall morning with us.


We had our traditional UNDOKAI on Saturday, October 26th.

 All the students, parents and teachers had a great time!

20131026_undokai1  White team won this year.

(expect more photos in the gallery soon)

Osaka-ya Mochi Fundraiser

Just in time for Valentine’s Day!! This is a wonderful gift for someone special or… yourself! These are great sweets and gorgeous to look at too! Download the order form and sell mochi to friends, family, classmates and neighbors and they’ll thank you.

Osaka-ya wagashi shop has kindly agreed to sponsor this fund raiser for our school, and they have incredible reviews on Yelp!

They’re well known for delicious mochi and manju, enormous shaved ice, and quality ingredients.

Orders are due February 5th, so don’t procrastinate.

Among the mochi available for sale are the Smooth Peanut Butter flavor and the Peanut butter with chocolate.