Monday Classes for Adults
All classes are designed to fit the needs of busy adults like you
2017 Spring SEMESTER: 1/30/2017 – 6/5/2017
It's not too late to register! Beginning to Advanced classes available.
Click HERE for more information
All classes are designed to fit the needs of busy adults like you
2017 Spring SEMESTER: 1/30/2017 – 6/5/2017
It's not too late to register! Beginning to Advanced classes available.
Click HERE for more information
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.
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 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).
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.
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.
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
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.
For those attending the trip on Saturday April 18, be on campus by 7:30 a.m. and ready with any completed late forms as the bus will depart promptly at 8. A regular class will be held on campus at the regular time for those not attending the school trip to San Francisco’s Tea Garden (Golden Gate Park) and Cherry Blossom Festival (Japantown). Last minute details will be emailed this week regarding what to bring and what not to bring on the field trip. The weather looks like it will be beautiful with a warm spring day in the city. See details of the current weather or a San Francisco short range forecast.
Remember to bring all completed SF Field Trip forms. Without ALL required forms completed and turned in to the PTC, you will not be able to go on the field trip.
This will be a fun and educational experience for all as we explore the beauty and history of the tea garden as well as the food and vibrant cultural celebration in Japantown. One of the many new attractions at the festival is the bright red Pocky Truck. Festival Map and Event Schedule
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.
Saturday April 18th the youth school will take a field trip to the 48th Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival in Japan Town, San Francisco. The trip will also include a short stop at the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park. Those going on the trip will meet at the school at 7:30 a.m. and those not going on the trip may attend Pugliani sensei’s class beginning at 9 a.m., the usual time.
Click here for more information from the festival homepage. Click here for an unofficial Saturday,April 18, summary of events compiled from the festival website. Golden Gate Park’s Japanese Tea Garden was started in 1894 with the California Midwinter International Exposition (aka, World’s Fair). Learn about the history of the garden, tea house, koi, invention of fortune cookies and the perseverance and people that has allowed the garden to thrive. The PTC will cover student admission to the garden, but if you would like to buy something tasty (see menu) at the tea house please bring some money for this. After exploring the gardens, tea house and drum (aka moon) bridge, field trip participants will take the bus to Japantown. Chaperoned groups are encouraged to use their Japanese skills to read signs and speak with the older Japanese employees in the mall as well as and try new things at the Cherry Blossom Festival. Lunch is not provided by the school. More details about what to bring and not to bring will be provided soon for your safety and comfort.
Return Bus Seat Reservation Form and any deposits by April 11th.
Available Soon – Field trip permission/release and chaperone insurance forms can be found under miscellaneous forms. Available Soon
This is an exciting day exploring one of the largest annual Japanese American cultural events and putting into practice the language skills learned at Sakura Gakuen. Ask your teachers about the learning activities they have designed for your class (scavenger hunt, make a video, try something new, record a conversation in Japanese, etc).
If you can not attend, do not fret, as a fun filled class will also be in session on campus that day. Expect something fun, but please let us know before this weekend if you plan to attend school so we can plan accordingly.
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.
» 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
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
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. An 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.
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, mashed 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?).
At 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.Mochi 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
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.
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.
Short (2 hour) lessons on various topics are offered on Saturday mornings. See registration form for dates and time. In recent years there have been classes on kanji, anime, and cooking as well as review topics. If you are interested contact our summer sensei ASAP to see what can be arranged this summer. Test preparation tutoring may be available.
– Iwamoto sensei’s summer classes 2014 registration form
contact Iwamoto sensei directly for more information
Saturday youth students will celebrate Sakura Gakuen’s 94th Promotion and 85th Graduation with friends, family and the sensei. This year we are holding this event in William Land Park under some nice shade trees. Potluck sign-up and directions to picnic site will be available on PTC Announcements page. Log in in to see more information about the promotion. Event set-up begins at 8, event begins at 9 and potluck around 10. It is predicted to be very warm so dress accordingly.
Let’s make this event memorable for our graduates. They have demonstrated their focus, perseverance and eagerness to master Japanese. They have learned about Japan and linguistic skills, but they have also learned a lot about themselves, their ability to master skills that may have been daunting initially. These students deserve a good send off. The graduates will give short speeches demonstrating what they have learned and motivate continuing students to pursue their passion for this language and culture. After a brief promotion ceremony where your student will get the final report card for the year and the gradation ceremony, the potluck picnic and fun follows.
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.
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
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, or 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.
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.
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. The 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. 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.
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.
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.
On April 13th Sakura Gakuen is planning to have a Cultural Festival. It is open to public. There will be a Japanese Taiko performance, a Koto performance and the students’ performances as decided by each class. You can join us to pound Mochi. Also there will be Japanese craft booths, Japanese game booths, Hina dolls, and other displays and of course Japanese food booths and much much more……. Admission is free.
For many centuries, the people of Japan have been performing rituals with the purpose of chasing away evil spirits at the start of spring. Around the 13th century, for example, it became a custom to drive away evil spirits by the strong smell of burning dried sardine heads, the smoke of burning wood and the noise of drums. While this custom is not popular anymore, a few people still decorate their house entrances with fish heads and holy tree leaves in order to deter evil spirits from entering.
In modern days, the most commonly performed setsubun ritual is the throwing of roasted beans around one's house and at temples and shrines across the country. When throwing the beans, you are supposed to shout "Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!" ("Devils out, happiness in"). Afterwards you should pick up and eat the number of beans, which corresponds to your age. Setsubun is not a national holiday.
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.
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.