Education & Family

2015 Educators' Study Tour to Japan for Middle and High School Educators & School Administrators

10 Educators have been selected to participate in the 2015 Educators’ Study Tour to Japan.

Ms. Shannon Bonner
Arts, Ceramics, Crafts
Douglas High School (Box Elder, South Dakota)
Ms. Jennifer Cutler
World History I and II
The Baldwin School (Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania)
Ms. Timothy DeJulio
International Program Director / Biology, Biotechnology, Forensics Applied Science
Newtown High School (Sandy Hook, Connecticut)
Mr. William Estes
World Geography, US History, AP Government, AP Psychology, Psychology and Sociology
White Knoll High School (Lexington, South Carolina)

Ms. Nicole Fagundes
Honors World History, Contemporary Global Issues
Carson High School (Carson City, Nevada)
Ms. Katharine Hicks
7th Grade World Cultures
Mason Middle School (Mason, Michigan)

Mr. (John) Andrew Housiaux
Philosophy and Religious Studies
Phillips Academy (Andover, Massachusetts)

Mr. Jason Jamerson
Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School (New York, New York)

Ms. Emily Scibilia
Visual Arts
International High School of Health Sciences (Elmhurst, New York)

Mr. Daryl Schuster
World History, US Government & Law Studies
Bayside High School (Clearwater, Florida)

Study Tour Leaders: 
Jeffrey Miller, Director, Education Program, Japan Society of New York
Kazuko Minamoto, Deputy Director of Education Program, Japan Society of New York

Tour dates: June 28 – July 18, 2015
Onsite Pre-Departure Orientation: June 26–June 27, 2015

At Asakusa Sensoji, Tokyo in 2014. Photo by Kazuko Minamoto.

Program Description

The Educators’ Study Tour to Japan offers educators nationwide the opportunity to travel to Japan for three weeks to experience Japan first hand and bring their experiences back to the class­room. The program is open to middle and high school classroom teachers, librarians and school administrators (principals, as­sistant principals and department chairs only), and includes an intensive pre-departure orientation and a study tour to Japan in June–July for the cost of $1,200. Eight to 10 participants will be selected for the program through a competitive process. Demonstration of a firm commitment by the participants and the school administration to foster and sustain education about Japan on campus is essential. This program is open to all public, private and parochial middle and high school educators in the U.S. Both individuals and interdisciplinary teams from the same school may apply.

This three-week study tour acquaints participants with Japanese society through a wide range of site visits in Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara, Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Aichi. Homestays with families and school visits are significant parts of the program. The tour focuses on K–12 school visits to help participants have a better understanding of Japan’s education system by meeting their counterparts in Japanese schools. It also provides opportunities to connect with Japanese schools, and to meet A-bomb survi­vors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki who will talk about their first-hand experiences. Also included is an optional visit to a part of the Tohoku region hard hit by the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Applicants must have the following qualifications:

* Full time middle school or high school classroom educator, librarian or school administrator (principal, assistant principal or department chair accepted)
* Teach about Japan
* Minimum of three years of teaching experience
* Experience in interdisciplinary teaching preferred
* Commitment to attend all pre-departure orientations in their entirety and the post-trip sessions in person or via Skype
* Demonstrate school-wide commitment to further promote education about Japan
* Continue teaching or serve as a school administrator for 10 years and at least two years at the present school in which you teach
* Proven ability to work cooperatively as a team member
* Proven ability to be open-minded and adjust quickly to unfamiliar situations
* Applicants with no previous experience in Japan are given first priority
* Excellent health and an ability to sustain a rigorous daily schedule in hot, humid weather

Interview Process

Interviews take place through the second week of April, 2015. Applicants in the New York metropolitan area will interview at Japan Society, New York (333 East 47th Street, New York, NY 10017). Applicants from outside the New York metropolitan area will interview via Skype, telephone or another arrangement to be determined.

Preparation, Orientation & Post-Trip Follow-Up

Pre-departure orientation: Study Tour members are required to participate in an intensive two-day pre-departure orientation at Japan Society in New York, Friday, June 26–Saturday, June 27, 2015. Teachers who are outside the New York metropolitan area must arrive no later than Friday morning, June 26. In addition, each participant will be expected to engage in online training beginning late April, 2015. Both online and onsite orientations will include targeted language training, introductions to Japanese history, culture and educational systems, and a discussion session about travel arrangements. Participants are required to attend all pre-departure orientation sessions, including a dinner meeting the evening of Friday, June 26.

Post trip debrief and follow up:

1. Post-trip meetings: Wednesday, August 5, 2015 and spring 2016 (TBD).
Tour members are required to participate in post-trip follow-up meetings at Japan Society, New York. Participants from the New York metropolitan area will attend in person, while those from outside the New York metropolitan area will participate via Skype.

2. Submit a written teaching unit based on experience in Japan by Thursday, October 1, 2015.

3. School visit
* New York metropolitan area educators: A member of the Japan Society Education Team will visit each teacher’s school during the 2015–2016 academic year.
* Educators working outside of the New York metropolitan area are required to submit a video of a relevant lesson, to be followed by a Skype call with members of the Japan Society Education team during the 2015–2016 academic year.

Points to Consider When Traveling to Japan

*July in Japan is usually extremely hot and humid.
* The main flavors of most Japanese food, including soups and vegetables, contain bonito (fish) extract.

The program fee for the orientation and tour is $1,200. Partici­pants will be responsible for the cost of any meals not taken with the group, personal shopping, incidental expenses and any supplemental travel insurance beyond what is provided. Japan Society will provide:

* Orientation materials
* Round-trip economy airfare between New York and Japan
* All in-country (Japan) travel expenses
* Hotel expenses (all hotel accommodations are double-occupancy rooms)
* All meals, with the exception of a few lunches and dinners during free time
* Basic travel insurance

Important Dates in 2015

Application deadline: March 26, 2015 (Thurs.)
Interviews take place through the second week of April, 2015
Participants are required to attend the tour and all of the sessions below:
By the morning of June 26 (Fri.), out-of-town participants must arrive in New York City
Pre-departure orientation: June 26 (Fri.) and June 27 (Sat.), 10 am–5 pm (Note: June 26 is an afternoon session only)
First group dinner: June 26 (Fri.), 6–9 pm
Tour in Japan:  June 28 (Sun.)–July 18 (Sat.), 2015
Post-departure follow-up meetings:  August 5 (Wed.), 2015, 1–4 pm and spring 2016 (TBD)
Deadline for the first draft of the assignment: October 1 (Thurs.), 2015


Required Assignment—A Teaching Unit
Each individual applicant or team applicant will submit a teaching unit, which can be worked on at the follow-up work­shop on August 5, 2015 at Japan Society. The purpose of the Lesson Plan Unit is three-fold: 1 Program participants focus on important areas of study about Japan that only an intensive program such as the Educators’ Study Tour can provide; 2 Refine and present a clear teaching unit consisting of scholarly research, photos, maps and other resources;3 Provide other educators access to Japan-related teaching resources via Japan Society’s website for educators. The dead­line to submit the first draft of the assignments is October 1, 2015. Assignments will be returned for corrections and must be resubmitted by November after all corrections are made. Japan Society reserves the right to make decisions as well as to edit the posted lesson plans.

View the 2014 Educators' Study Tour to Japan for Middle and High School Educators


Education Programs are made possible by generous funding from The Freeman Foundation.

Generous support for the Educators’ Study Tour, Professional Workshops for Teachers, and the Junior Fellows Leadership Program is also provided by the United States-Japan Foundation.

Additional support is provided by The Norinchukin Foundation, Inc., Chris A. Wachenheim, the Wendy Obernauer Foundation, James Read Levy, and  Jon T. Hutcheson. 

Images: © Kazuko Minamoto/Japan Society

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