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Catching the waves to the southern hemisphere

After the program with three groups of our new friends in the Philippines came to an end in March, we turned our eyes to the land of the long white cloud, Aotearoa or New Zealand. Our group there is a smaller one and the kids themselves are taking the lead in producing video letters to share with us.

Here in Japan, the kids have been really engaged in learning about the culture of New Zealand and Japan. At our first class, we had an in-depth discussion on what it means to be a global citizen, or 地球市民 in Japanese. This was a new term and idea for them...that they are connected not only to their family, but also to their community, city, country and the world.

Our second class was an eye-opening look at the culture of New Zealand. Did you know that New Zealand has a town called "Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu"? Or that they were the first country in the world to give women the right to vote in 1893? The kids were surprised by the views of Auckland that they saw in the video letter from our friends, but probably the most surprising thing for them was New Zealand-style sushi! The kids wanted to share one of the holidays with their friends and made up koinobori (carp-shaped streamers) that are flown for Children's Day here in Japan to send to their new friends.

Our third class took a look at "endangered languages" around the world, including in Japan and New Zealand. This was a jumping off point for learning about the languages, cultures, similarities and differences of the Ainu in Japan and Maori in New Zealand.

We're looking forward to our next class this month and are preparing for the arrival of a special guest speaker for our final two classes on New Zealand in June!

Learning the word for indigenous people

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