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NIHONGO Partners @ Nanyang Polytechnic

By Ms Katherine Soo

Nanyang Polytechnic’s participation in the NIHONGO Partners Programme began in early 2015, when Mr Kazunori Matsunaga of the Embassy of Japan introduced the programme to our team.

Under this programme, native Japanese will be dispatched to ASEAN countries as NIHONGO Partners, to assist in the teaching of Japanese language and culture for a period of six to twelve months. At the same time, they will learn and experience the host country’s culture, customs and language.

Nanyang Polytechnic strongly supports this programme, as Japanese is the most popular foreign language among our students. The Sakuran Japanese Cultural Club (SJCC) of our Polytechnic also serves as a platform to further promote Japanese culture.

Ms Ayano Sato
NIHONGO Partner to NYP
1 May 2017 to 15 Feb 2018

Our first NIHONGO Partner, Ms Ayano Sato, started her attachment on 1 May 2017. She was with us for 9 months.

During her attachment, Ms Sato actively supported the Japanese language classes, conducted cultural activities, interacted with our students and promoted the learning of Japanese language and culture. She encouraged our students to think “out of the box” and stimulated their artistic creativity.

Ms Sato also took part in many NYP-wide activities such as NYP 25th Anniversary Dinner & Dance, Foreign Language & Culture Day and Open House.

As Ms Sato is not unfamiliar with Singapore, and knowing that she is interested in Peranakan culture, a beading workshop was arranged for her at the famous Rumah Bebe. While attending the workshop with her, I too developed a keen interest in this beautiful art. I really hope that she had enjoyed the workshop and gained a deeper understanding of a part of Singapore’s Peranakan culture.

On this note, I would like to thank Ms Sato for her dedication and the activities she conducted for our students and staff: tea ceremony demonstration Library’s lunchtime talk, logo design workshops using Hiragana, and the time she had spent advising our students.

We will never forget her bright smile, friendship, and contributions.

We received Ms Yoshimi Sekioka, our second NIHONGO Partner, on 2 May 2018. Ms Sekioka was a high school English Teacher and volleyball coach in Shizuoka. With this background, I guessed that she must be an energetic and sportive lady. True enough, ever since she has arrived, she has been taking part in the students’ weekly volleyball practice.

Since her arrival, Ms Sekioka has been assisting the Japanese language and culture classes, and taking part in SJCC’s activities. On 19 July, Ms Sekioka was the emcee of a talk delivered by Mr Kira, the CEO of Manga Designers Lab, in Nanyang Polytechnic.

She also works closely with our team on a PolyMall eLearning module – A Guide to Japanese Manners. This module is expected to be launched in October 2018.

At the end of October, Ms Sekioka and I will conduct a Kumihimo workshop for our students, under the umbrella of the newly-formed Student Life Academy of Nanyang Polytechnic, so as to introduce this ancient Japanese craft to our students. We will also be working together on Open House 2019, aiming to create a fun and enjoyable learning experience for our visitors.

Knowing that Ms Sekioka enjoys eating, I plan to introduce her to “Tok Panjang” for a special Peranakan culinary experience. Of course, I also enjoyed our dinner at “Aka no Ya”, where we had a very enjoyable evening with grilled Japanese food and sweet sake.

Ms Yoshimi Sekioka
NIHONGO Partner to NYP
2 May 2018 to 15 Feb 2019

Through the NIHONGO Partners Programme, the Japanese Team has received the latest news from Japan. Our students are also exposed to a lot more opportunities to interact with the Japanese people.

I would like to thank the Embassy of Japan and The Japan Foundation Asia Centre, for giving Nanyang Polytechnic the opportunity to take part in the NIHONGO Partners Programme. As the coordinator of the programme, I look forward to working with Ms Sekioka and the third NIHONGO Partner who will be joining us in April 2019.

About the Author

Ms Katherine Soo is the Manager of the Foreign Language Centre/Foundation & General Studies, Nanyang Polytechnic. A French language teacher by profession, she is also very keen in the Japanese language and culture. During her 25 years of career in the Polytechnic, she has brought Japanese language students to Japan several times for educational tours and cultural exchanges. She also loves to travel solo to Japan: Kyushu, Chubu, Shikoku, Shizuoka, Kyoto, Ibaraki and Hokkaido.

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