Monday, April 04, 2011
Hello Japan! April mini-challenge: Back to School
April 1st is the start of the new fiscal year. As such, it's a time when many recent graduates and young people enter companies to begin their working lives. It's also the beginning of the school year in Japan.
To people outside of Japan, Japan often brings to mind certain things, like sushi, or cherry blossoms. But there is much more to this unique country. The recent disaster along the north-eastern coast of Japan, has made the world perhaps slightly more aware of Japan, and also unnecessarily afraid, so it seems like a good chance to take a closer look and learn a little more about this special country. So for the month of April, it's your chance to go back to school too.
April's task is to learn something about Japan.
The original idea for this mini-challenge was to encourage you to learn some Japanese, a few words, or greetings, in either the spoken or written language.
A couple places where you can do that online:
There are also different free podcasts if you just do a search in iTunes.
A suggestion from Novroz was also to have everyone learn a kanji (or two) or learn how to write your name in Japanese. For the Japanese food fans, you could learn some Japanese cooking words.
Japanese is a difficult language to learn though, definitely, so there are many other things you could learn.
You could learn more about the area that was affected by the tsunami, or any other part of this diverse country. In terms of culture, geography, or local traditions.
Or you could learn about some event in the history of Japan. The recent instability at the nuclear plant has brought up memories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. You could learn more about what happened there. Or go further back, to the time of the shoguns and samurai warriors. And so on...
So whether you visit a website, read a book, watch a documentary, listen to a podcast, study a map, or however else you choose ... I hope you'll learn something about Japan this month. It'll be for a good cause too, see below.
I hope you'll understand, and agree with me, that because of the terrible devastation that took place last month from the earthquake and tsunami, I'd like to forego the prize this month. Instead, I'd like to contribute to a couple of organisations that are doing their best to help those in need. So, for every person that participates in this month's Hello Japan! mini-challenge, I'll give 500yen (approx. US$6) to either the Japanese Red Cross, who are providing much needed support to the survivors, or JEARS (Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support), because it breaks my heart to see pictures of the frightened pets left behind in the aftermath, and equally warms it to hear about the animals that have been rescued by these wonderful volunteers.
The other day I mentioned some ways you can help Japan as well, if you are so inclined. The Genre for Japan auction has ended but I believe all the other events I mentioned are still ongoing. I've also added buttons to both of the organisations into my right sidebar. But of course you are not required to donate anything yourself to join in the challenge this month. Either way, I do hope you'll join in the mini-challenge this month to learn something about this special country, and in your own way help Japan to recover.
You can complete this month's mini-challenge by writing a blog post, telling us about what you learnt, and adding a link to your post, or leaving a comment with your answers on this post. Or if you prefer, you can also email me at inspringthedawn AT gmail DOT com with your submission. You are welcome to post or comment more than once and add the relevant links below. I love it when you are enthusiastic about a topic! Please let me know if you have any questions.
Once you have completed the task, don't forget to come back here to add your link to the Mr. Linky below. Please submit the link to the actual post, not just to your top page, and please only submit links to posts relating to the Hello Japan! task for this month. Any other links will be deleted. Thank you for your understanding.
Classroom image courtesy of Wikipedia