A Year in Japan: Folktales, Songs and Art for the Classroom (2nd Edition 2012)

This book contains 12 chapters, with each chapter representing one month. Following the Japanese school year, the chapters start with April and end with March. Each chapter includes the following sections.

1. Cultural Information Page See April Sample Page
The first page after the title page explains what the festival or holiday is about and how it is celebrated. It also gives its origin and a brief history. Key Japanese words are introduced and explained.

2. School is Cool! See April Sample Page
This section contains up-to-date information about public elementary education in Japan, including the school systems and schedules, school lunch and dress codes, special events and field trips, and Japanese writing system.

3. Music See April Sample Page
All songs were chosen from standard Japanese children's repertoire taught in elementary schools. Some of them are ancient, while others were written and composed in the early 20th century. Most songs are presented in their entirety. For longer songs, however, only the first verse is shown. In addition to traditional Japanese lyrics, each piece has original English lyrics written by Motoko Dworkin and Eshu Bumpus. The English lyrics, rather than being a direct translation, are designed to fit the melodic structure of each song.

4. Story See April Sample Page
All the stories are traditional folktales with original texts by Motoko Dworkin. These tales teach not only about the festivals and Japanese culture, but also the universality of human experiences and values such as kindness, responsibility, courage, and friendship.

5. Art See April Sample Page
Each art activity is connected to the particular theme of the festival or holiday, and can be done with materials easily accessible. Most are standard projects Japanese children do at home and in school. Ready-to-photocopy templates are included for some projects.

6. Topics for Research and Discussion See April Sample Page
This section also includes suggested readings and additional cultural information.

Click Here for Motoko's Homepage