Thank you for expressing your interest in our Japan-in-a-Suitcase (JIAS) programs. Please read below for more information about each program.
Applications for the 2017-2018 school year are now closed. Applications for the 2018-2019 school year will be available in July 2018.
Kindergarten – Grade 1 (40 minutes)
Japan in a Suitcase (JIAS) I is a program designed to teach the concept of different perspectives to our very young students through easy to comprehend examples. In JIAS I, we show enlarged photos of highways in Japan and the U.S. with people driving on opposite sides of the street to help students see things from a different point of view. We then use puppets to demonstrate animal sounds in the two countries, and teach various gestures used in Japan. All of these examples are simple and easy to understand. It is important that they are also neutral; in other words, they are neither right nor wrong. Following these examples, we explore with the students items in the suitcase. Included are artifacts used by Japanese elementary school children, such as a school backpack (randoseru), indoor shoes (uwabaki), and textbooks. We end by teaching “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” in Japanese.
Grades 2 – 3 (45 minutes)
JIAS II is geared for students in grades 2 and 3. Following introductions and greetings in Japanese, we show examples of McDonald’s restaurants in both countries as an example of something they are familiar with which may not be quite the same elsewhere. Students then explore items from the suitcase that show aspects of Japanese elementary school life such as a timetable and school textbooks, as well as community aspects such as traditional clothing (yukata). Time permitting we teach the students the Japanese style of Jan Ken Po, and have them try it with their classmates.
Grades 4 – 5 (60 minutes)
For students in grades 4 and 5, JIAS III uses more complex examples to teach and reinforce the concept of different perspectives learned in K-3. Following introductions and greetings, we start by comparing a Japan-centered and a U.S.-centered world map. We have students point out Japan on the two maps and ask them questions to help them see that Japan is in the center of the Japanese map but far off to the left on the American map. We stress that it doesn’t mean one map is correct and the other is wrong; rather, that people see or depict things differently depending on where they are from. Students then have an opportunity to explore various school items (calligraphy set, P.E. uniforms and more) in small groups. Following this exploration period, each group presents their items to the class for further discussion. We end with a slideshow on school life in Japan, which helps to reinforce what they have just learned.
Grade 6 (60 minutes)
For students in grade 6, JIAS III uses more complex examples to teach and reinforce the concept of different perspectives learned in elementary school. A Japan-centered and a U.S.-centered world map is compared to show that people may see things differently depending on where they are from. Students also have an opportunity to explore various school items used in Japanese schools (calligraphy set, P.E. uniforms, backpacks and textbooks and more) in small groups. Following this exploration period, each group presents their items to the class for further discussion. We end with a slideshow on school life in Japan, which helps to reinforce what they just have learned.