Japan On The Road Curriculum

A Day in the Life…

Japan on the Road (JOR) centers around the life of schoolchildren in Japan today, focusing on third through sixth grade. JOR teams of Japanese and Americans travel to elementary schools throughout SW Washington and Oregon. We bring a specially designed Japan on the Road kit which includes a model of a Japanese home, a traditional Japanese breakfast, and the randoseru, an elementary school book bag packed with all the books and materials that a Japanese student would use during the day. Our interactive video presentation, A Day in the Life of a Japanese Student, created specifically for this program, along with dynamic activity stations, help American students visualize a day in the life of their peers in Japan.

Sample Program

Japan on the Road has been designed to stretch the students’ minds as they learn about the people and places of today’s Japan. The 90-120 minute program is presented as follows:

1.) Introducing Japan
Before our visit even starts, we send pre-teach materials to educators that take their students on a “Journey to Japan.” A special video presentation is accompanied by maps and other materials to introduce students to Japan, its main islands, and some of the highlights of the country that appeal specifically to young people. Students will learn a little about Japan’s geography and be given the chance to brainstorm questions for our team.

2.) How does a Japanese student get ready for school?
In the classroom, we begin our visit with a stop at a Japanese home as our team members perform a short skit for the class which presents morning in a Japanese household. American students will discover what kids their age in Japan eat for breakfast, wear to school, pack in their school bag and how they get to school each day.

3.) Sensei, Ohayo Gozaimasu! (Good Morning Teacher!) and the school day:
During the Day in the Life video portion of our visit, students will learn how important respect is in Japanese society, starting with the role of the teacher in Japan. They’ll learn how to greet their teacher Japanese-style while meeting Sousuke and his teacher, Riedl-sensei, as well as all of his friends and classmates. The video presentation is designed to include class participation as it follows Sousuke and his friends through their school day from start to finish.

4.) Activity Time: What’s it like to live, eat, write, and share stories in Japan?
In smaller groups, students will learn more about Japan as they rotate through three activity stations. All grade levels will learn about life in a Japanese home, “touring” an architectural model of a Japanese apartment. An introductory lesson in writing kanji opens a door to reading and writing in Japanese. Younger grades (K-2nd) will see and hear a traditional Japanese folk story presented in a kamishibai theater box. Third, fourth and fifth graders will learn Japanese table etiquette hands-on, including the art of using chopsticks!

5.) My name in Japanese
As a final treat to wrap up our visit, the students are presented with their own names written in Japanese as a gift, while learning the etiquette of receiving something Japanese-style. Teachers often laminate these sheets so that students can save and take them home.

6. After our visit As an expansion exercise after our visit, teachers often ask their students to write thank you letters to our volunteers, and these are very appreciated! Volunteers are busy moms, professionals, retirees and college students who take time from their daily schedules to make these visits happen. As such, visits are at no cost to educators or schools; Japan on the Road and the work we do is made possible through generous support from members of JASO, local businesses, and educational grants from foundations. We love what we do and are excited to come and meet you!