Meet J-House Tutor Norie Sakuma

Sakuma self portraitI was born and reared in Chiba Prefecture, Japan, where I flourished and derived my desire for a sound education and enriching life experiences. I sought my bachelor’s degree from Showa Women’s University and finished my master’s degree at Akita International University (AIU), where I studied Japanese Language Education. Akita International University is in Akita prefecture and is a proud partner institution with The College of William & Mary (W&M) in Williamsburg, VA.

In addition to the natural setting and great foods for which Akita prefecture is known, it also boasts a university in which all classes are offered in English and all students are required to study abroad for a year. In fact, for those 200+ international students who come each year, the Japanese studies program provides not only Japanese language courses, which are taught in Japanese, but also content courses related to Japan that are offered in English.

While enrolled in University, I had many opportunities to practice Japanese language teaching with those international students. However, I quickly discovered that teaching Japanese was surprisingly difficult. Thus, I began to study Japanese Language Education to facilitate my teaching skills. In addition to my academic courses, I also learned how to wear kimono, an elegant example of traditional Japanese attire. As a result of practicing kimono, I subsequently received prizes in Kimono competitions.

Now, I am living with students in the Japanese Language House and  working at W&M as a Language House tutor. My main job includes organizing events on a regular bi-weekly schedule, activities such as cooking lessons and cultural functions.  For cooking nights, we have made dumplings, hand-rolled sushi, and other Japanese foods. Also, I have hosted collaborative cooking nights with other language houses. Our cultural events have included making chopstick rests and discussing present working conditions in Japan with Japanese MBA students.

During my time here as the house tutor, I’d like to continue introducing more cultural aspects about Japan to students as well as supporting those students as they improve their Japanese speaking skills.

J-House students practice wearing kimono

J-House students practice wearing kimono

J-house kimono activity 2

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