Give your students an authentic taste of Japan. Japan‑in‑a‑Suitcase is an onsite educational program that gives elementary school students a chance to experience Japanese culture, customs, and contemporary life. Choose among four topics — each aligned to grade-level TEKS — that will ignite your students’ curiosity and open their minds and hearts.

Virtual presentations are now available for only selected classes.

“We really enjoyed having you and the wonderful presentation on Japan. Our students are still talking about it…We want to include this for next year. At lunch yesterday, the students experienced eating with chopsticks. Some of them did quite well! Even our principal received instructions on chopsticks from the participants. It was a fun conclusion to our introduction to Japanese culture.”

-Dallas teacher


Kamishibai: Japanese Storytelling

All Grades

* Virtual presentation available

How did one-inch boy save a princess? Presentation includes an engaging Japanese folktale with picture cards, cotton kimono demonstration, plus origami activity.

Teacher Materials (PDF)

Kids’ Arts in Japan: Origami and Calligraphy

3rd – 5th Grade

*Virtual presentation available soon

How does a flat piece of paper become a three-dimensional animal? Can a single word be a work of art? Students will learn the history of ancient art forms that are popular with children in Japan even today. They will make their own origami creations and write Japanese calligraphy with a brush pen.

Teacher Materials (PDF)

School Life in Japan

3rd – 5th Grade

*Virtual presentation available

Who cleans Japanese schools? Why isn’t there a cafeteria in most schools? Students will discover the answers to these questions and more through a presentation of Japanese school items. They will learn to count to ten and write simple Japanese “letters”.

Teacher Materials (PDF)

Daily Life in Japan

3rd – 5th Grade

*Virtual presentation available soon

Why do Japanese leave their shoes at the door? If there are no beds in a Japanese house, where do people sleep? Students will learn about Japanese homes, food, entertainment, and money. They will practice Japanese manners and create an origami chopstick holder.

Teacher Materials (PDF)

guidelines

  • Presentation Length: 50 minutes
  • Maximum 30 students per presentation
  • Maximum of 2 presentations per day
  • Available Times: 9am – 2pm (Mon-Fri, except holidays)
  • Fee:
    • School Pricing: $70 (On-Campus), $50 (Virtual)
    • Other Org./Group Pricing: Please contact us.
  • Teacher must be present at all times during the presentation
  • To request Customized Presentations, please contact us

Content

All presentations include:

  • Introduction to Japan’s geography
  • Basic Japanese words & greetings
  • Oral presentation with photos & objects
  • Hands-on activity
  • Teacher resource materials

Learning Partners

Japan-in-a-Suitcase is an approved program of Learning Partners – A  Program of Big Thought, a nationally recognized collaboration that provides high-quality arts and cultural activities to all Dallas Independent School District elementary students each year.

Presenter

Ikuko

Ikuko’s academic and professional background is in TESOL and Composition. Her career has been devoted to instruction and supporting student success while promoting diversity and inclusion in educational spaces. She has experience teaching Japanese, ESOL and college composition at various colleges in the United States. She is committed to creating inclusive and meaningful learning spaces where people engage in cross-cultural/intercultural understanding and learn to use language in empowering ways.

Maki

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A native of Tokyo, Japan, Maki Hasegawa has been a Japan-in-a-Suitcase presenter since 2018. She enjoys sharing her knowledge of Japanese culture in classrooms throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth area and with the community.