Williams Japanese Language Program- Extracurricular Events

Japanese Language Table

Power Dinner and Power Lunch are times to practice your Japanese conversation and listening skills in a relaxed environment. All levels are welcome and there is no pressure to perform. It’s a great chance to meet other aspiring Japanese speakers and students, and to get to know your faculty outside of the classroom. Conversations at meals cover a broad range of topics and can often lead to valuable cultural insights by both students and professors. This is by no means a mandatory event, but all students who enjoy using and speaking Japanese should consider this opportunity to share experiences in a fun way.

Curry and Sushi Parties

In late September every year, a Curry Party provides new students a chance to meet the program faculty and fellow students over home-made curry prepared by the faculty. And on the last day of classes in December and May, students look forward to the end-of-term Sushi Party–a delicious way to end a semester of hard work.

New Year Festival, January 2014

December 2012.

Movie Night

Twice a semester, the Japanese Department holds a Movie Night, a chance to meet with professors and fellow Japanese students for dinner and a Japanese movie. It is an opportunity to both practice Japanese in a casual setting and to engage in Japanese culture through film. Announcements for Movie Night are made in the classroom.

Speech Conference

Advanced Japanese language students participate in Boston Area Japanese Speech Conference held every spring. Students from Boston College, Boston University, Brandeis University, Harvard University, MIT, Tufts University, Wellesley College, and Williams College, give 4-minute speeches and answer questions from the audience.

2011 at Tufts University
Kimberlee Sanders (’12) 「市電」
Madelein Watson (’12) 「はる君との会話」

2010 at Harvard University
Diqian Wang (’12) “Religion in Japan”

2009 at Wellesley College
Flora Lim (’10) “Tyoi-waru-oyazi and Japanese salary men

2008 at Northeastern University
James Whitledge (’09) “Yakuza In America

2007 at Tufts University
Matthew O’Donnell (’07) “My First Memories of Japan”
Matthew Rogers (’07) “Finding Japan at the Public Baths”

2006 at Boston College
Tomio Ueda (’06) “History of Origami”

2005 at Boston University
Romina Bernard (’05)”Unusual Experience”
Charlotte White (’08) “Why I, who likes cats, study Japanese”

2004 at MIT
Greame Biervliet-Schranz (’04) “A Brief Discourse on Mayonaise..”
Lillian Diaz (’04) “Wearing a Kimono”
Roderick McLead (’05) “Korean Summer”


Essay and Speech Contest

Consulate General of Japan in Boston Essay and Speech Contest is open to undergraduate students enrolled in a university/college within the six New England states with a Japanese language course.
In 2010, Jackson Lu won first place in the essay contest with his essay, “What we can do for Japan-US relationship.”

Tianyue Zhou won first place in the speech contest with his pseech, “Wings”.

In 2008, the essay theme was “Nihon ni Manabu.” James Whitledge (’09) won third place.

In 2007, the essay theme was “Watashi no Nihon”.
Youngkyoung Kim, who is a visiting student from Yonsei University in South Korea and studying Japanese at Williams College, won first place in the advanced level category.



Special Events

Tompkins Japan Series and Other Special Events

In addition to ongoing regular events, each year the program sponsors special events including lectures, performances, and workshops. These events are often sponsored in conjunction with other departments, and with assistance from the Tompkins Fund, as part of the Tompkins Japan Series.

Ikebana: Epiphany of Life by Yuji Ueno

Yuji Ueno, independent floral artist, will demonstrate the art of Japanese floral design. Formerly trained in traditional Japanese floral arrangement, Sogestu Ikebana, Ueno later sought greater freedom to chart his own course and to develop a flower concept that he calls Hanaike. His aim is to draw out the essence of the natural world and convey the true meaning of beauty in fine ‘flower arrangements’.

Photographs by David Robinson

Japanese Swordsmanship: Kendo and Iaido Demonstration by Thomas Hooper

The traditional martial arts of Kendo (The Way of the Sword) and Iaido (sword-drawing techniques) are direct descendants of the fighting arts of the samural warriors of old Japan. Together they comprise the core of Japanese swordsmanship.

On February 28, 2010, Mr. Thomas Hooper and four members of The Sei-Zan-Kai Kendo from Amherst, MA, gave a lecture and demonstration in ’62 Center of Theater and Dance.

Mr. Hooper, Head Instructor of The Sei-Zan-Kai Kendo, holds the rank of 6th Dan (degree) and the title Renshi (instructor’s certification) in both Kendo and Iaido.

Consul General of Japan in Boston, Masaru TSUJI,

gave a talk entitled “Japan’s New Administration and the Future of Japan-U.S. Relations,” in October 2009.

Mr. Masaru Tsuji arrived in Boston to assume the post of Consul General of Japan in February 2009. Mr. Tsuji received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Tokyo’s Faculty of Law, and is also a graduate of Williams College (class of 1981). He entered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) in 1978. His talk was timely, as it came right after the Democratic Party of Japan gained an historical majority, and it was well received.

Awaji Puppet Theater Company

The Awaji Puppet Theater Company is designated by the Japanese Government an Intangible Folk Asset and is often referred to as the origin of Bunraku Puppetry, one of the principal currents in a puppet performance tradition that dates back to the sixteenth century in Japan. The program will combine puppet manipulation with dramatic recitation an shamisen musical accompaniment and will include a narrative piece as well as intricate puppet dances from the company’s repertoire.