High school students in Riverside and elementary school students in Gardena experienced Japanese traditional arts in their schools – Japanese dance (buyo) and kimono dressing (kitsuke), respectively – via the generous volunteer cooperation of expert practitioners through a special version of the Consulate General’s school visit program in January.
On January 19, the Japanese dance group Sakura Kai, led by teacher Mihoko Powers, joined the Consulate General and performed several festival dances and a classical dance for about 350 visual and performing arts (VAPA) students and others at Ramona High School in Riverside. Ramona introduced their students to Japan and to their city’s sister city ties (which are with Sendai City in northern Japan and now in its 66th year) by also inviting Taiko Mix of Riverside to demonstrate their art and Ms. Yoko Boucher of the International Relations Council of Riverside to tell the inspiring story of the origins of the Riverside-Sendai sister city ties.
On January 31, Kindergarten and 1st graders in Amestoy Elementary School’s new Japanese dual language immersion program experienced Japanese culture through a presentation on kimono by the group Nadeshiko Kai, Japanese Culture and Traditions and its president and master kimono instructor Ms. Takako Sasaki.  Students got to wear kimono or yukata, and after posing for many pictures by teacher and administrators, several appeared to want to stay dressed up in kimono as long as they could!   
Amestoy Elementary School’s Japanese dual language program, in which students learn in both English and in Japanese, is the first in Los Angeles Unified School District.  It began last school year, and each year a new class of Kindergarten students is formed as the other students move up a grade, until there is a Japanese dual language class in all grades through 5th grade.
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For more information about the Consulate General’s availability to visit your school virtually or in person in Southern California and Arizona, please contact us! The Consulate General’s School Visits program aims to share basic facts about Japan, encourage language study, and stimulate increased awareness of the world.
For more information on Amestoy Elementary School’s Japanese dual language program, for which application is available to all LAUSD students, and even students in other school districts, contact Ms. William, Dual Language Coordinator (Shellely.Williams@lausd.net or 310-327-5592). Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grades are to be offered in the 2023-2024 school.