Challenging – but sooo useful…

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Middle school students experience ikebana – Japanese flower arranging – in their Conversational Japanese class.

img_1082by Anna Peters

You may have heard from others that Japanese is a hard class, however, with those hardships come benefits. Japanese is the most useful language in Hawaii because of tourism. “Tourism is a big industry in Hawaii and knowing Japanese is definitely helpful for you to get hired,” says Ms. Lisa Morisako, who goes by Sensei, the Japanese language teacher here at Waialua.

Sensei Lisa Morisako and Mauie Hokstra model Japanese kimonos.

Having Japanese language experience enables you to get hired in many places in Hawaii. Sensei has had many students graduate from her Japanese class then go on to work in Japanese businesses and restaurants. In addition, some of her students went on into college to pursue higher education in Japanese. Sensei says, “Some of my students went to college and were placed in higher Japanese classes and earned credits without having to take beginning level classes.”

Sensei Morisako and her Japanese students go out for some shave ice at the Haleiwa Store Lots.

In Japanese 1, students learn about the language and culture. “Language and culture are intertwined, therefore, we can’t just learn about the language. We have to learn about both the language and culture,” Sensei elaborates. In Japanese 1, you learn the hiragana and katakana writing systems, basic expressions, and dialogue. Then in Japanese 2, you learn kanji, Japanese word processing, and more grammar. Japanese 3 consists of more grammar, more kanji compounds, and more units of study. This year Sensei doesn’t have a Japanese 4 class, but in that class, more kanji, compounds, and advanced grammar will be taught. Some difficulties you would encounter in this class is that “you have to learn a brand new writing system, which is a challenge to memorize all of it,” Sensei explains, “that is probably the most difficult part of learning a new language.”

Sensei Morisako models character writing in her Conversational Japanese class.

Japanese 2 student Puaena Moiha is a senior at WHIS who works at Teddy’s Bigger Burgers in Haleiwa. Knowing Japanese has benefited Puaena at work, especially when she’s telling Japanese tourists how much something costs because they can better understand her. “One time this Japanese couple came and they were talking about the menu and how much something was. I learned a lot of the small talk in Japanese, so I was able to interact with the customers,” Puaena says excitedly. She thinks that this is a class worth taking because it opens up a lot of job opportunities and it’s something awesome to know. “I really love this class because it’s filled with joy and learning at the same time!” Puaena said.

Japanese 3 student, Mauie Hoekstra works at Surf N Sea in Haleiwa. Mauie describes her experience, “Most of the customers tare Japanese, therefore, being able to speak Japanese is a big bonus because you have the opportunity to help a lot of customers.” She helps explain to the customers in Japanese what type of material the clothing is and how it is used. Even though this class may be challenging, Mauie believes, “as long as you try hard in any subject, you’ll eventually get it.”

img_2633Another Japanese 3 student, Maeleah Lagua describes how having Japanese knowledge is useful, even though she doesn’t have a job. Maeleah says,  “It makes it easy to communicate with Japanese people.” There was this one time Maeleah went to a restaurant in Japan, and she made her order in Japanese. “This is definitely a class worth taking because I have learned more than I thought I would’ve learned. Sensei eases you through the steps of learning a new language,” Maeleah elaborates. “This is one of my favorite classes and I always look forward to coming to it.”  Yes it is challenging, but if you plan to live and work in Hawaii, Japanese language is definitely for you. See Sensei or Ms. Morisako in S201 for more infomation.

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