Faculty, students to host Japanese immersion camp

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Faculty and students from Marshall University’s Department of Modern Languages will be leading Japanese Immersion Camps for students in Cabell County Schools Tuesday through Friday, June 14-17, and June 21-24, at Altizer Elementary School.

Participants in the 2021 Japanese immersion camp.

This is the 10th anniversary for the Cabell County Japanese Immersion Summer Camp. There will be a showcase at 1 p.m. both Fridays, June 17 and 24, in the Altizer Elementary gymnasium, featuring the president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia, David Rosier, as well as Marshall University President Brad D. Smith; Dr. Robert Bookwalter, dean of the College of Liberal Arts; and others.

This year’s theme is “peace/heiwa,” and some of the key activities are lucky cat pottery, Okinawa’s dance, origami crane, koto music, sado tea ceremony, jump rope, and RCBI’s 3D pen key chain making. The students learn and experience Japanese culture through four different classes every day: language, culture, art and physical education.

Among those who will help host the camp are Dr. Natsuki Fukunaga Anderson, associate professor of Japanese and chair of the Department of Modern Languages, as well as Akiko Praylow, Japanese outreach coordinator at Marshall; and Miyuki Cook, an associate professor in the School of Art and Design. Several Marshall students who are Japanese majors are volunteering as helpers.

“Cabell County Japanese camp offers a unique opportunity to work together with K-12 children and teachers, the Marshall University community, and the Japanese and local business community in the Tri-State area,” Anderson said. “This is an immersion program where the instructors only speak in Japanese. It is impressive that children quickly learn how to adopt and pay attention to what is going on, even when they do not fully understand the language. We hope this experience will stay with the participants in the long term and encourage them to continue learning different cultures and languages.”

Sponsors include Cabell County Schools, Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia (TMMWV), Nippon Tungsten, Okuno International, Simplified Solutions, Marshall University, RCBI, the Pottery Place and Taste of Asia Teays Valley.

Photo: Participants in the 2021 Japanese immersion camp.