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  • 2017.05.12 Friday
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Yahoo! news: 140 families applied for capacity for 30 family workshop! Why Shinagawa’s Parent & Child Cooking workshop in English received an overwhelming response.

Yahoo! news: 140 families applied for capacity for 30 family workshop!
Why Shinagawa’s Parent & Child Cooking workshop in English received an overwhelming response.

http://bylines.news.yahoo.co.jp/ogawatamaka/20140602-00035941/(Japanese)



Photos used for flyers.
We try to appeal to foreign residents by including foreign families in the group photo.

On June 1st, Tokyo has recorded high temperature of 31 degrees.
On the same day, Shinagawa City Office and recreational English Circle Ei-kids organized “Star Chef ★ Shinagawa Kitchen. A Parent & Child Cooking event with Foreign Residents” in Ebara Bunka Center in Shinagawa.

“We think this is the first time we had so much response from a public in Shinagawa,” said Ms. Rie Obata, Section Chief in charge of International Affairs, Community Promotion Section of Shinagawa City Office.

What drives 140 families apply for an event with capacity of 30 families?

■Many parents wish to learn English together with their children, but they do not have the opportunity to interact with foreign residents.

Mr. Ryoichi Yokoyama and his wife and secretariat Yukari are the representative of Ei-Kids. Since the early age of their daughter Mizore, in her fourth grade, they have put their effort in working with English education, intercultural understanding, as well as grass-roots exchange.

“English is a fun way to connect people across the world.
I personally experienced the joy of English language through studying abroad. I want our children to enjoy English conversation naturally in our globalized society,” explained Yukari.

Currently, number of registered foreign residents in Shinagawa are 10,500 about 3% of the total residents. At the time, Shinagawa City Office was looking to co-host an event to bring local residents and foreign residents together. They received three applications in response to the call of the proposal. Ei-Kids who proposed for an event to invite local and foreign resident families to enjoy cooking in English, was considered the most feasible among the received proposals.

“Through parenting, I have noticed many parents wished to learn English together with their children. These days I see more foreign residents in the streets compared to my childhood, but there are less opportunities to communicate with them. We need to create an opportunity for local and foreign residents living in Japan to get to know each other, and also to prevent foreign residents feeling isolated,” says Yukari.

Flyers laid out with same proportion of English and Japanese texts.
Getting to know each other through families will help them to continue building their friendship. Even though they have different cultural backgrounds, they can communicate with each other to share their stories about parenting. Based on these ideas, this family cooking event was planned. However, there was a concern if foreign residents would actually apply or not. It is possible to share event information by word of mouth to Japanese families, but there were less network to communicate with foreign family residents. Since it was not known know where foreign residents looked for daily information, so effort was made to advertise in Shinagawa City Office newsletter, various web sites and created flyers. In order to make flyers appeal to foreign residents at a glance, a large group photo of Japanese and foreign families together were prepared and contents of the event were described in English and Japanese with same font size.

■ “Sushi”, “Hawaiian Pancake” a menu also allowing fathers and children to enjoy while cooking.

The contents of the menu have been thought through.
The event will take place four times in total with dishes like “Keema Curry with Naan bread (Naan bread making)”, “Sushi (Boat-shaped sushi and Hosomaki)”, “Hawaiian Pancake with Tofu mix” and “Fun with Nagashi-Somen(Flowing noodle)”.
Methods of cooking such as kneading, mixing, forming, and also to enjoy by sight can attract interest in children who do not use kitchen knives. The menu contains some essence of Japanese cuisine as well as other food cultures.

“I opted for entertaining dishes like Sushi and Nagashi-Somen rather than an ordinary home cooking so that fathers would feel more comfortable to join in,” tells Yukari .

■ "I love Shinagawa because the people are so kind," says an American lady a Shinagawa resident for three years in Japan



During cooking, Story-telling in both English and Japanese were conducted.

The event received applications from total of 131 Japanese families and 11 foreign resident families. Applications varied from mother & child pairs, parents & children, and also father & child pairs.
“We welcomed participants from various background including foreign residents with fluent Japanese,” comments Yukari, “We had participants from English speaking countries as well as families from Asia.”

The first event held on June 1st started with a greeting “Please enjoy cooking and talking!” Explanation was conducted in both English and Japanese.

“My wife applied for the event when she found the announcement on ward publication. I have never been in an event like this,” a Japanese father in his thirties who married to a Chinese-English wife who joined the event with his twelve month old and two year old children. They mainly use English as their common language at home.

A British father in his forties joined the event with his five year old son. “I saw a flyer about this event and was interested to give my son an opportunity to interact outside his kindergarten and to cook. Shinagawa is not in the middle of Tokyo but it has lots of parks with spacious atmosphere and people are friendly.”

"My English is not very good, but I love cooking, I wanted to participate in a cooking event with my children," tells a local mother in her thirties who joined the event with her three year old daughter and her six year old son.
"There are a lot of cooking events but joining a cooking event while enjoying speaking English is the first time for myself," said another Japanese mother who joined with her Irish husband and her seven year old daughter.
“Normally we talk with foreign residents when we meet in parks but no contact are held afterwards. I wanted my daughter to communicate in English not just with us but with others in her peer group.”

An American mother, who has been living in Japan for three years, joined the event with her Japanese husband and ten year old son and eight years old twins smiled and said “I love Shinagawa because people are so kind,” “I have joined a few cooking events before but I was interested in today’s event with dishes which we can all enjoy like Indian dishes, Sushi and Pancake.”

“I applied for the event the moment I noticed the flyer when going through other application forms in the ward office,” tells a local mother who joined the event with her seven year old son.


The recipe of the menu during the event.

■ Opportunity to get familiar with multi-culture

“Star Chef ★ Shinagawa Kitchen ~ Parent & Child Cooking with foreign residents” will be held in two terms. The first term is from June to August, while the second term is from November to March. Each term consists of four sessions.
Applications for the first term has been closed. Applications for the second term will begin in September. Guest speakers and various activities are also planned.

Yukari says “I want to continue to provide a place and opportunity for the foreign residents to be part of our local community. For the local families, it creates new ways for parents and their children to communicate and interact with foreign residents.”

The importance to learn a foreign language and to interact with our foreign residence are increasing each year, but we are still not confident when dealing with foreign countries. “Shinagawa Kitchen” is hosted by parents who hoped that their children can naturally interact with our foreign residents.

Ogawa Tamaka


Writer / director of Press labo
b. 1980 in Tokyo, Shinagawa-ku. She started her career as a writer when she was studying Edo literature at Rikkyo University. In 2008, she became a director of Press labo, an editing production office located in Shimokitazawa. She is also an Editor in chief for the Shimokitazawa Economic Newspaper, working with education issues, corporate reporting and Edo culture.

Image of the banner is the roof of Shimokitazawa station food market. Odakyu line platform that ended their operations in March 2013, is visible in the background.


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  • 2017.05.12 Friday
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