Language class in Ann Arbor sending messages of hope to kids in Japan.
I’ve been taking Japanese as my language class for a year now at Emerson School in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and I really enjoy it! My Japanese teacher Kayo Nakamura has given me such a wonderful opportunity this year to learn and appreciate all-things-Japanese.
Ann Arbor has a large Japanese community. I recently attended a Japanese cultural celebration at the University of Michigan so I could learn about the Japanese culture along with the language. The last celebration I attended was Oshogastu, which celebrates the Japanese New Year. I had the chance to pound sticky rice (mochi) with a wooden mallet (kine) in a bowl (usu).
When the earthquake hit, my teacher told us how bad the earthquake and tsunami had affected Japan. Her family lives in the southern part of the country. The earthquake hit in the northeastern part.
Radiation has been leaking from nuclear reactors at one of the main power plants. Kayo told her mother not to go outside in the rain because it might contain radiation. Many people from the Tokyo area were told to evacuate.
I saw the YouTube videos of the tsunami sweeping across the country leaving a trail of destruction. Cars and houses were tossed around like miniature toys. Many people in Japan are bracing for earthquake after-shocks, some of which have registered over 6.0 magnitude. The original earthquake was a 9.0.
Emerson school just announced two ways that students can pitch in to help the victims of the earthquake and tsunami. First, we can bring in our own money to donate to the American Red Cross. Second, we are writing letters of support to schoolchildren in the Sendai area.
Ms. Nakamura showed us how to write HOPE in Japanese: 希望.
Now, my class is writing cards filled with hope to send to the kids in Sendai, one of the areas hardest hit by the earthquake. A Deputy Consul General to the Japanese Government will hand deliver our letters, notes, and cards upon her return to Japan.
I’m hoping that these letters will lift spirits by showing the Japanese people that schoolchildren from across the globe are thinking of them.
PHOTO: Kid Reporter Molly Pribble with her Japanese teacher Kayo Nakamura in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo Courtesy Molly Pribbble)