Konichiwa! Weehawken Library hosts ‘An Evening Celebrating Japan’ on April 13

Weehawkenites will get a chance to venture to the “Land of the Rising Sun” just by paying a visit to their local library. On Monday, April 13, the Weehawken Public Library will host “An Evening Celebrating Japan” from 6 to 8 p.m. The event includes presentations for children as well as adults, which will go through the history, culture, and traditions of Japan.
“It includes a little bit of everything,’ said Samuel Jordan, event coordinator. “We are trying to hit a lot of stuff in two hours and it should be fun.”
After a recent trip to Japan, Jordan wanted to bring a sampling of the culture to his hometown of Weehawken, so he approached library Director Philip Greco with a proposal for the event.
“There is certainly a lot of good stuff for little kids,” said Jordan. “The youth culture in Japan is very interesting.”

The schedule

From 6 to 6:45 p.m., the library will hold a children’s session for ages 4 through 10, which will include Japanese stories and origami art activities. Then from 6:40 to 7:15 p.m., there will be a session for teens ages 11 to 18, which will include presentations from teachers and Japanese middle and high school students about Japanese Anime books and movies. Anime is Japanese animation. Along with Manga (Japanese comics), it is very popular in Japan and internationally including here in the States.
“[For teens], we are going to focus on anime,” said Jordan. “A lot of kids have an awareness of [anime] because it’s filtered into [American] TV, and I think there is information we can teach them about it, and the way that it differs from American cartoons.”
For the adults’ portion of the event from 7 to 8 p.m., Jordan and the library is working with the Japanese Society of New Jersey and the Japanese Consulate Office to provide an eclectic cultural presentation. In addition, there will be traditional music, Japanese snacks, and a raffle at the end the presentations. The Japan Society of New Jersey, which is based in Fort Lee, coordinated the participation of local Japanese art community for the event.

East meets West

Jordan works for the Officer of Special Education of the State Department of Education, and came up with the idea to provide an event celebrating Japanese culture after visiting Japan last October.
“I was part of a delegation that went to Japan this fall in October as part of the Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund [Teacher Program],” said Jordan. “It’s a program that has been going on a number of years that takes public and private [school] education workers to Japan to look at the way Japan does education.”
“I was looking at the way they did disability education,” he added.
While in Japan, the delegation met with several education professionals to see how they view education from a cultural standpoint.
“As a state education worker, I am able to share [this information] with some of my colleagues, and part of my goal was also bringing this back to my community,” said Jordan.
The delegation spent three weeks in Japan and met with community members from small towns as well as elected officials from Tokyo.
“It was amazing to look at how they view education as a community activity,” said Jordan. “In the schools and communities, we were able to view they really saw it as a community endeavor. Whether it was the mayor’s office or senior citizens, everyone is involved in some way.”


“When you get into how they feel about it, there is a deeper philosophy that really touches on Japan’s history.” – Samuel Jordan

Jordan discovered that Japan is very much like the U.S. in the way education is viewed as a community effort. However, the Japanese school system takes it to a deeper level.
“When you get into how they feel about it, there is a deeper philosophy that really touches on Japan’s history,” said Jordan.
It was this feeling and information that Jordan plans to share with his Weehawken community. All are invited to come and take part in this free event.
Jordan is also going to present the library with a set of books that were passed on to him by the Department of Education in Tokyo. The collection is a set of Japanese story picture books by Kenji Miyazawa.
Weehawken Library is located at 49 Hauxhurst Ave. For more information call (201) 863-7823.

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