I was recently appointed to the board of directors of Nishimachi International School. I attended NIS 9th grade. I had just moved to Japan from Michigan with my mother and sister. It was a turning point in my childhood. I had been attending a public school in the suburbs of Detroit as the only Japanese kid in the school. It was a somewhat miserable experience where I often regretted being Japanese. At Nishimachi I joined a small but extremely diverse group of students and teachers that rebuilt my self-esteem and taught me the value and possibility of tolerance and diversity. My one year at Nishimachi was the most significant year at any school I've ever attended. I think the school produces an incredible group of mixed culture citizens who can really contribute to global communications. I'm excited to be able to participate in working on this important institution.

13 Comments

Joi, I met a few people who sent their kids to that school when I'd hang around Azabu after work... sounds like a great school. Apparently they emphasize Japanese a lot more than a lot of so-called "international" schools in Japan...

Any bursary/scholarship programs for middle class families? We may just be back in Tokyo by the time the little monkey is kindergarten age. :)

whoaa not about NIS - but I was at ASIJ 1 year after you! wow I did not realise that we had this common! small world!

Congratulations, Joi! It seems like an innovative, inspirational place.

wow.. It looks like a school I would love to go if I am still a 9th grader..


NIS is a great place, in my opinion mostly because of the diversity of the kids there, and the emphasis on learning both Japanese and English.

I think it's the only place you can go and see little American and British 2nd graders chasing each other and bantering in fluent Japanese.

I always felt the 'school family' stuff was cheezy, but I was always a rebel/nonconformist anyway. There are some great, great teachers there, though. Last time I was there, I was amazed that Tanaka-sensei still remembered me from his art classes 17 years ago.

Good luck in the new job - I hope you have the time to spend on it. ;)

I wonder if your inclusion in the Board seeks to incorporate communication technology into the curriculum. I bet it does...

If so, I would like to share some ideas about a truly innovative program integrating high level math and art with technology. I direct this program from a hub in Newport, Rhode Island. Google my name and keywords Necklaces and collares to obtain information about The Necklaces of Newport and let me know if what you see spikes your interest/curiosity.

Have a good weekend.

We had a lot of Nishimachi refugees at ASIJ . . . They either came to join us or went on to the single-sex schools downtown. They did seem on the whole to have a more solid background in Japanese, but I don't know whether that's because the academic program there pushes it harder or because that school happens to be where more bicultural kids go up through ninth grade. (Although I will freely admit that the ASIJ Japanese program isn't especially known for pushing students much at all. ;-)

I've been looking for a good school to send my kid, I'm seriously going to consider Nishimachi...

Congratulations, Joi-san!!!
It's very nice to hear about your comment on NIS which has had more spaces recently. Although I couldn't go there, it is my neighbor and hoping we will have more similar schools. It also reminds that I had a difficult time during my stay in Michigan.

Thanks for the the comments. Necklacer: Internet and communications is one area I hope to able to make a contribution in.

THe NIS's slogan : "To share, to live and learn together and yet keep a special identity... that is Nishimachi." It speaks for itself...

Congratulations, Joi! Great to hear that you'll be able to keep the spirit alive at Nishimachi.

My oldest son went to Nishimachi from the 2nd to 5th grade and to me the experience of being part of that community was one of the highlights of the years I spent in Japan in the 90's. Kids that could work, laugh, and play both in their native languages and in Japanese...and sometimes in both in the same sentence...I've always held that to be the ideal in bilingual/bicultural education.

If ever there was a school that promotes the values of raising a child in a global community I think it would have to be Nishimachi.

Dave

you remind me of my days at school when all puple moked on me only because I wasn't native american. Shame!

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