Japanese - Term 3, 2021

2021 Japan Trivia Night

The annual 2021 Japan Trivia Night was held at eight various venues across New Zealand on the same date, Friday 11th June, and delivered at the same time.  This year I attended the event held in Tamatea, Hawke’s Bay for their third year of participation in this long held event. The Hawke’s Bay region was supported by sixty High School Japanese language and culture learners from the area such as Napier Girls, Taradale, Havelock North, Karamu and the host, Tamatea.

Registering from 5.30pm with a 6.00pm start, the students were excited and eager.  Working in teams of three and four, they were given fun, cultural questions from a range of subject areas like Geography/History, Pop culture, Daily life, Food and Sports & Festivals.  The accompanying Japanese Language Teachers also enjoyed the chance for discussion and interaction on the questions posed.  Trivia Question time was enhanced by a range of appropriate Japanese snacks available to sample during the evening.  Aside from the chocolate pokky sticks the gyoza (Japanese dumplings) were a favourite for many students.

Not only did all students receive a certificate of participation to acknowledge their involvement, all attending students came dressed in a variety of outfits befitting Japanese culture.  We had geisha, anime characters, manga icons, but the winning team on the night from Havelock North High School wore self-inflated rotund sumō costumes.  Such an impressive effort and visual delight!

After the energetically discussed five rounds, the school that has 2021 bragging rights for Hawke’s Bay region is the hosting school led by Ms Brownlee, Tamatea High School.  Second place was Napier Girls and third place went to Taradale.  A fantastic effort by everyone!

Many thanks to all involved, from the NZAJLT National organisers, the Japanese language students, their teachers, associated assistants, parents, friends and family on the night – it was such an enjoyable evening event and all are looking forward to encouraging other upcoming Japanese language learners to attend next time, to compete for the chance to have their winning school engraved on the coveted Japan Trivia trophy for 2022.

Article by Paula Kasper, Facilitator, FLS - Centre for Languages

Kyaraben o tsukurimasu – Character Obentō Boxes

At the 2021 Wellington Immersion Japanese Future Learning Solutions Day, prior to the NZALT Conference, those attending experienced a variety of learning sessions.
One of these was an opportunity to gain hands on experience with a personally constructed ‘Kyaraben’ Character obentō box.

Kyaraben or charaben (キャラ弁), a shortened form of character bento (キャラクター弁当, kyarakutā bentō), is a style of elaborately arranged bentō (Japanese boxed lunch) which features food decorated to look like people, characters from popular media, animals, and plants. Originally, a decorated bentō was intended to interest children in their food and to encourage a wider range of eating habits. It has now evolved into a cultural symbol, to the point where national contests are held.

Such fun was had by all.  Beginning with the overview, we moved into an ‘ear worm’ catchy song that plays in your head continuously called “I like to eat Japanese food.”
Embracing the surge in popularity, and with the many active pages and followers on social media, we worked together or independently, planned and kept our designs simple.  You can easily connect to themes, personal hobbies, animals, images, such as: cat, dog, cows, fish, ladybird, rocket ship, and dinosaur. Even special themed, Māori designs – koru, tekoteko, wai, and using a cross curricular approach with our foreign language connection – flag, Christmas, icons, sport …..

Food items used were rice, brown and white bread which leant themselves perfectly to being decorated with grated carrot, carrot sticks, parsley, cherry tomatoes, cheese, etc. Using formulaic expressions and language like Kore/sore/are (w)o kudasai, shapes and directions: maru round, sankaku triangle, shikaku square, naname diagonal as we went. We compared and contrasted the similarities and differences. Much individual expression was exhibited! Very impressive efforts and skills were shown.

Another great way from FLS to integrate Japanese language and culture, to take it back and utilise it in their classroom setting. Such an interactive and productive session.

Photo 1(Left): Eric Lindblom, Opihi College and Photo 2(Right): Hiromi Horsley, Ashburton College with the Obentō Boxes they created

Article by Paula Kasper, Facilitator, FLS - Centre for Languages