Children and adults studying Japanese in Ballygally have been putting their newly-aquired skills to good use this Christmas .
Japanese classes have been running in Ballygally since September and have proved to be very popular.
And to celebrate the festive season, children of the ‘Just Japanese’ Kids’ Club and their parents have made origami Christmas decorations to help decorate Ballygally Hall.
The decorations were made at a special class for members of the Kids’ Club and their families, during which children also had the opportunity to find out about Christmas in Japan, write their letters to Santa in Japanese, make Christmas cards, and play Fukuwarai, the Japanese version of pin the tail on the donkey.
On Monday, the Kids’ Club and adult class joined forces in singing in Japanese at Ballygally Castle after the switching-on of the Christmas lights.
The Kids’ Club also danced to ‘Maaka no Ohana no Tonakaisan’ or, in English, ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’.
There are currently 11 adults and seven children (aged from three to 11) studying Japanese.
The class is focused around the GCSE Japanese syllabus meaning that, should students wish to sit the examination, they have the option to do so.
Students have learned to sing in Japanese, rap in Japanese, played games had the opportunity to practice their language skills by speaking to someone from Japan.
The older children were very successful in asking Ryunosuke Murokoshi from Ooita, Japan, many questions in Japanese. Through the use of Skype, the students were able to speak to Murokoshi in Japan and see the interior of a Japanese house.
Caragh Reid, founder of ‘Just Japanese’ said: “Japanese appears to be a difficult language through the use of three different alphabets, one of which (kanji) has 4000 characters but, actually, Japanese is very similar to German in its sentence structure and, therefore, is not really any more difficult to learn than any other foreign language.
“It is my aim through ‘Just Japanese’ to make learning Japanese fun so that we break down this barrier.
“Perhaps, in the future, Japanese can become as popular a language as the European languages.
“Indeed the atmosphere in the class suggests that the students are really enjoying themselves.”
The Ballygally classes are proving so popular that students are coming from outside Larne to attend, including from Carrickfergus, Jordanstown and Ballymena.
For those people who are unable to travel to Ballygally for the classes, the use of Skype allows students to attend from right across Northern Ireland and further afield.
For more information about ‘Just Japanese’, contact Caragh Reid on 028 2858 3660 or 07817 110 404 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org