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Neighborhoods in Japan: Learning and Teaching about Community through Stories, Videos, and Images


July 10 – 14, 2017
8:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
The University of Washington in Seattle


Neighborhoods in Japan used stories, videos, and images to build an understanding of community life in contemporary Japan. The seminar’s guiding question was be “How can we introduce our students to diverse stories of life in Japan?”  In addition to exploring a rich variety of resources, the week focused on adapting content and materials for use in grade 2-8 classrooms.

Seminar goals were:

  •  Learn about multiple characteristics and ways of life in a variety of Japanese neighborhoods.
  • Encourage students to explore ways of living in neighborhoods in another country.
  • Compare and contrast neighborhoods in Japan with your local neighborhoods through features such as police and fire departments, places of worship, and shops.
  • Consider how neighborhoods contribute to a sense of identity and belonging.
  • Discover common and unique neighborhood festivals.
  • Study maps for hints about neighborhood characteristics and history.

Teachers left the seminar with:

  • Reliable resources and knowledge to support their teaching of Japanese culture in their curriculum
  • Creative ideas, lessons, and activities ready to use in their classrooms
  • An interest in learning more about life in Japan
  • A framework for exploring neighborhoods in other countries


View this collection on Goodreads.

Other books will be added before the start of the seminar.


Participants were required to complete assigned readings before the seminar started. During the seminar, participants committed 1-2 hours per day outside of seminar sessions to writing about how they might apply that day’s content and activities to their teaching situation. These written descriptions were refined, edited, and submitted as a final project for the seminar. Final projects were shared within the group.


Patricia Burleson


Aside from the registration and housing fees, this seminar was offered free of charge thanks to the Freeman Foundation NCTA grant to the East Asia Resource Center. Seminar benefits included:

  • 40 Washington State OSPI clock hours (free) OR two 400-level UW credits for a fee of approximately $230
  • A certificate of completion
  • All course materials provided
  • $100 stipend for the purchase of additional teaching materials, granted upon completion
  • A one-year subscription to Education about Asia
  • Morning snacks and lunches
  • Dormitory housing, meal allowance and partial travel stipend of up to $300 for a limited number of out-of-town participants


  • $100 registration fee for all participants, due upon acceptance
  • Additional $100 housing fee for out-of-town dorm guests