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“Japanese from Scratch: Sweet Talk Your Way in Japan” is a sweet success!

More than 30 people learned about the omoshiroi (interesting) world of Japanese sweets and souvenirs at the Japan Foundation London’s Japanese from Scratch workshop for absolute beginners of Japanese language, which was held on May 11th and 12th.

Led by Mio Tsunematsu, Assistant Japanese Language Advisor at the Japan Foundation London, the workshop began with an introduction to adjectives in Japanese, such as kirei (pretty), kakkoii (cool) and kawaii (cute). This vocabulary, and other useful words and phrases to do with sight-seeing and shopping in Japan, can be found in the Japan Foundation’s Marugoto A1 textbook and website.

After practising these words together in their groups, the participants then learned all about the Japanese culture of giving omiyage – edible souvenirs that one brings back home after travelling to share with friends and family, a culture that originates from the ancient customs surrounding pilgrimages. They also learned about the many different kinds of Japanese sweets, from traditional wagashi using ingredients such as pounded rice (mochi) and anko sweet bean jam, to Japanese versions of Western favourites such as the many different regional varieties of KitKat!

At the end of the session, all of the participants had the opportunity to try some oishii (tasty) Japanese sweets, such as daifuku (rice cakes filled with anko), dorayaki (pancakes with anko filling), and crisps flavoured with ume (Japanese plum) – all washed down with Japanese green tea!

Some of the comments from participants included:

“Very original (and delicious!) way to start learning Japanese.”
“Love the regional breakdown of sweets. Very interesting content for a first lesson”
“Very interactive and practical. Really useful!”

We would like to thank all the participants for coming, and hope that this session has inspired them to learn more about Japanese and Japan!

Photos from the event can be viewed on our Facebook page here