Culture Classes

JASWDC’s culture classes are an opportunity to learn more about Japanese arts and culture, from traditional to modern. Below is a list of the culture classes that we currently offer, with a description and a link to more information and registration. If you have more questions about any of these classes, please feel free to call the JASWDC office.

Shodo (Calligraphy) Classes

JASWDC’s shodo classes are for both beginners as well as more advanced students. Classes cover all the basics of Japanese calligraphy, from handling tools properly to brushstrokes and artistic techniques. Students can expect to form a foundation or grow their knowledge of calligraphy with projects, weekly kanji practices, and tips from an accomplished calligraphy expert.

About the Instructor: Satomi Shoko China started learning calligraphy at age four and follows the Nihon-shuji school of calligraphy.. Currently, she is the head of the Japan Calligraphy Washington DC West branch. Previously, she studied under Suichiku Emura, a designated national heritage calligraphy artist. In 1989 she received her pen name “Shoko (brilliant light)” from Harada Kanpou, the founder of Nihon Shuji. She began practicing her art in the Kanpou hall in NYC from 1996, and proposed an “opera calligraphy performance” through art therapy and music therapy. In addition to the Soho Puffin Gallery and NY Orensanz Museum, she guest appeared in numerous art shows in Japan and the US and received favourable reviews. She is currently concentrating her efforts on raising the next generation of artists and promulgating artistic cultural technique.

The timing of the classes depends on the teacher’s availability. If information is not on our website in the Upcoming Events section, please check with JASWDC for the next Shodo class.

Lunchtime Yoga in Japanese

Would you like to make your lunch time calm and relaxing with yoga? With slow movements and deep breathing, you will learn different Yoga forms. The class will be instructed in Japanese so you will not only get a chance to relax but to increase your Japanese language skills. You will also be able to energize your body by freeing the mind and heart, and will find a balance of both the mind and body. This class is for beginner to experienced students and for all levels of Japanese.

About the Instructor: Akiko Chan began teaching yoga in Tokyo in 2005, and has since then opened her own yoga studio in Tokyo and published a book on the practice. She is currently a yoga instructor at Yoga District and is a guest instructor at Capitol Hill Yoga. She studied Ashtanga yoga with Sharath Jois, the director of the Ashtanga Institute in Mysore, India and also completed the Yoga Instructors’ Certificate Course with the Indian Yoga Institute in India.

The timing of the classes depends on the teacher’s availability. If information is not on our website in the Upcoming Events section, please check with JASWDC for the next Yoga class.

Monthly Kimono Class

Kimono is traditional clothing from Japan, which has been formed by harmonizing with nature and social surroundings throughout Japanese history. When wearing a kimono, one becomes a living sculpture. The kimono is very much praised worldwide for its beauty. The first time kimono learner will begin mastering yukata, the most fundamental kimono. Yukata is a casual summer kimono worn after taking a bath or at summer festivals. Please wear a V-neck top, slippery spandex pants, and have your hair up for the class. Please remove all jewelry. You can either bring your own set of kimono or rent one by requesting in advance. The class includes one follow up e-mail evaluation to your homework photos.

About the Instructor: Kuniko Kanawa is a certified kimono consultant, kimono model, Edo Tsumami Kanzashi artisan, and a Shinto priestess. She is the founder of the Washington DC Kimono Club. Kanawa-sensei obtained her kimono consultant certification through the All Japan Kimono Consultant Association after graduating from Sodo Reiho Kimono College. For more information about her training and other activities, please see her website.

The timing of the classes depends on the teacher’s availability. If information is not on our website in the Upcoming Events section, please check with JASWDC for the next class.

Quarterly Kimono in Motion Class

In this class, you will learn the fundamental decorum to present yourself in a kimono. Starting with the lecture of Waso-do (Kimono way of life), which is origin of Japanese decorum, and concept of Seichu/Kamiza/Shimoza (seat of honor/lower seat, based on sacred midline), students practice standing, seiza, walking, turning, and the four levels of bow. Students will learn the concept of Kamite/Shimote (stage left/right), practice as much as possible from walking on stage, speed, pose, posing positions, angles, attractive movements, and handling the sleeves and props for the kimono fashion show. Taking this class is required for all the Washington D.C. Kimono Club members to preserve their membership, as well as students who are close to completing yukata course and plan to apply for membership. Please take full advantage from this remarkable opportunity to learn how to present yourself in a graceful manner when wearing a kimono like a Yamato Nadeshiko.

About the Instructor: Kuniko Kanawa is a certified kimono consultant, kimono model, Edo Tsumami Kanzashi artisan, and a Shinto priestess. She is the founder of the Washington DC Kimono Club. Kanawa-sensei obtained her kimono consultant certification through the All Japan Kimono Consultant Association after graduating from Sodo Reiho Kimono College. For more information about her training and other activities, please see her website.

The timing of the classes depends on the teacher’s availability. If information is not on our website in the Upcoming Events section, please check with JASWDC for the next class.

Cooking Classes

Our cooking classes are designed to help you bring Japanese authentic cuisine to your own kitchen. Sponsored by San-J, these classes are held throughout the year and give you a real, hands-on opportunity to learn how to make Japanese food. Bring home the recipe and the experience so that you can have a new special dish to put on the table!

In the past, the cooking classes have made okonomiyaki, shio-yaki salmon, takoyaki, onigiri, and tamagoyaki (rolled omelette), among other dishes.

JASWDC cooking classes are taught by Society staff and volunteers. Cooking classes are offered 5 times a year and will be posted in the Upcoming Events section.

Other Cultural Classes

Throughout the year JASWDC offers a variety of Japanese and American cultural activities, including learning activities. In the past, JASWDC has conducted sushi making workshops, kitsuke (kimono dressing) workshops, “Living in the USA” Seminars, sake and shochu workshops, and many other events. Please see our Upcoming Events page for special classes/workshops that may not be listed here.