Japan workshop at the Celtic Learning Centre in Glasgow


Every Friday

Celtic Learning Centre, Celtic Park, Glasgow



Koki Mizuno with pupils at the Celtic Learning Centre

Shunsuke Nakamura, one of the key players in Japan's World Cup squad for South Africa this June, may be the most well-known living Japanese person in Glasgow. During a successful 4 year spell at Glasgow's Celtic Football Club between 2005 and 2009, he helped his team to the Scottish Premier League title 3 times and to the top 16 in the Champions League 2 years in a row . Named Celtic's Player of the Year 2007, he helped raise the club's profile back home in Japan. Winger Koki Mizuno followed suit and moved to Celtic Park in January 2008, and still plays for the Glasgow team. It is no surprise, therefore, that since summer 2007, the first and only regular educational programme on Japan for primary school pupils and teachers in the city has been offered at the Celtic Learning Centre, a joint initiative between the Celtic FC and Glasgow City Council.

Every Friday afternoon primary school pupils come to the Celtic Learning Centre (Head of Celtic Learning - Mr Tony Russell) inside the Celtic stadium to attend a workshop on Japan. They try their hand at Origami, learn how to write their names in Japanese, try out Taiko drumming, watch a DVD on Japan, sing Japanese songs, do exercise in the Japanese style, taste Japanese sweets and matcha tea, use chopsticks, and practice some Japanese phrases. In addition, a workshop for primary school teachers has been held on how to organise a Japan-themed project. These workshops have been provided by Fumiko Nakabachi, Japan Desk Scotland, with financial support from the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation and the Embassy of Japan.

In England and Wales, the GCSE exams have a syllabus on Japanese and the language is taught at many secondary schools. In Scotland, however, the Standard Grades exams, the Scottish equivalent of the GCSE, do not have a syllabus on Japanese, and the language is not taught except at a few, mostly private, schools. It is hoped that, with its popularity among the pupils and teachers, the Japan workshop at the Celtic Learning Centre will help pave the way for the introduction of Japanese language teaching at state schools in Scotland.

Fumiko Nakabachi
Japan Desk Scotland