About Orange Coast Gakuen
OCG is one of the oldest and largest Japanese language schools in Orange County. Our students range from kindergarten through Senior High School. We teach students from all backgrounds and prior exposure to the Japanese language.
We hold classes on Saturday mornings in south Huntington Beach. The majority of our families live in Irvine, Huntington Beach, and south Orange County.
OCG is a parent-run school. Our Parents Association arranges cultural events throughout the school year, and is active in raising funds for the operation of the school.
Our Mission Statement
We at Orange Coast Gakuen are committed to teaching Japanese to all children, regardless of background and level of Japanese. We strive to integrate instruction in language and culture in an enjoyable and nurturing environment.
• OCG is now an Independent School !
2010 was a momentous one for us. Not only did OCG mark its 35th year in existence, it was also our first year as an independent school.
With the combined efforts of our teachers, parents, and our new curriculum advisors, our school has already become stronger than it has ever been.
• OCG Gets a Curriculum Makeover
After becoming an independent school, OCG was fortunate to enter into an agreement with three nationally-known experts on Japanese pedagogy from Cal State Long Beach.
These advisors, Hiroko Kataoka, Masako Douglas, and Kiyomi Chinen, are leading innovators in designing teaching methods and materials for Japanese learners from all backgrounds and at all levels. They have remade our curriculum and teaching approach, and are providing direct training for all of our teachers. They are providing exactly what we need to take OCG to the next level. For more information, take a look at our Curriculum page.
• OCG's Legal Status
Orange Coast Gakuen, Inc., is a non-profit Japanese language school. Founded in 1975, we filed our articles of incorporation with the State of California in April of 1991, and were recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c) non-profit organization the following year.
Orange Coast Gakuen, Inc. does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, age, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, parental status, or any other legally protected status in any of its policies, programs and practices, including its admission policies, hiring and retention of faculty and staff.
OCG offers a belated but sincere thanks to Antonio and Mary Palomo for their many years of helping with OCG’s printing needs, including our newsletters, our OCG textbooks, and our flyers and banners. Please check out Antonio’s printing company, myDesign2Print, a full service print and design center. They do quality work at a very good price. Please support them as they have supported us!
OCG thanks the Japan Foundation for its continuing support of OCG.
From July 25th through 28th, OCG co-sponsored a three-day teachers workshop, again led by our advisors, Professors Kataoka, Douglas, and Chinen, and supported by funds from the Japan Foundation.
On March 6 we hosted a teacher training workshop at OCG. This workshop was made possible by a very generous grant for Japanese Language Education from the Japan Foundation.
OCG thanks the Japan Foundation for its generous support of our curriculum. In September we received a very generous “Japan-Language Teaching Material Purchase Grant.” We purchased some collections of reading books, for use in our new lending library.
Click here for the Japan Foundation's main website, and here for the LA office of the Japan Foundation.
We are happy to acknowledge support from the Epson Corporation for allowing us to enter their “Epson Brighter Futures Program,” which allows schools to purchase AV equipment at a substantial discount. OCG has already purchased two projectors and two “document cameras,” as suggested by our teachers and curriculum advisors.
Once again, OCG is pleased to acknowledge a very generous donation from the Japan Food Corporation (JFC). As it did last year, JFC donated nearly all of the materials we needed to make our teriyaki sauce for the upcoming Food Fair. Our thanks to OCG's Mr. Gibo and JFC's Mr. Araki for making this happen. We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with JFC.
Come visit our friends at Habuya Okinawa Dining in Tustin. The restaurant is run by a former OCG parent, who has kindly agreed to display OCG PR materials. 14215 Red Hill Ave, 714-832-3323.
OCG has classes that are suitable for children of all backgrounds in the Japanese language. We divide our classes into two tracks, one for children who already understand and speak some Japanese, and the other track for children who have little background or exposure to the language. Students in both tracks cover all of the core language skills – listening, speaking, reading, and writing.
Our curriculum is theme-based and content-driven, with lessons constructed around topics that students find interesting and relevant. The approach is interactive and encourages students to be more active learners. Finally, our curriculum is FUN, making it more likely that children will want to continue to study Japanese, hopefully for a lifetime.
For full details on our classes, instruction methods, and more, click on the Curriculum page.
1st Period: 8:45 – 9:30 am
2nd Period: 9:35 – 10:20 am
3rd Period: 10:40 – 11:25 am
4th Period: 11:30 – 12:15 pm
• OCG Japanese Courses for Adults
Back by popular demand, our Adult Japanese courses will resume in January, with our veteran teacher, Saito sensei, as the instructor. All classes are held on Saturday mornings, for 15 weeks. The beginning class starts at 9 am and ends at 10:30, and the Intermediate course starts at 10:45 and ends at 12:15 pm. Classes are open to any adult, even if you do not have a child at OCG. Cost is $225 for the 15-week session for parents with children enrolled in OCG, and $300 for those without children at OCG. E-mail us at email@example.com if you have any questions.
For a few more details, see our curriculum page.
• OCG also teaches Cultural Classes
A reminder to all that OCG continues to teach two culture-related classes.
One is our long-time course on oshūji, or Japanese brush calligraphy. This popular course is taught by our veteran teacher Tajima sensei. The class is held for an hour after class, and is open only to children already enrolled at OCG. For more information, see our curriculum page.
The other class is on the art of flower arranging (ikebana), held every other Saturday from 9 to 11 am. This class is taught by a highly ranked instructor of the Ikenobo school, Ogawa sensei. You may enroll even if you do not have a child at OCG. For more information, please refer to the curriculum page.
OCG IN THE MEDIA
• OCG has been on TV again lately !
Our friends at "This Week in Garden Grove" included us in their coverage of this year's Food Fair! OCG and our famous beef teriyaki is featured from 12:30 through 14:00. **
In August 2011, some of our teachers and parents appeared briefly on a unique UTB advertising show. On August 13 three teachers (Ms. Kato, Aso, and Usami) talk a bit about the school and curriculum (Click here and look at the 8/13 video; Aso sensei almost wins the isu-tori gamu up through 7:13, then the three teachers talk about the school from 9:30 to 10:50.)
On August 20, Rie Strong, Linda Sugiura and Mai Kato talk about the Food Fair. (Linda gets shoved aside in the isu-tori gamu up through 4:31, then the three appear from 16:15 to 17:25).
Very well done by all -- almost professional !! Our thanks to Linda Sugiura and Kishimizu sensei for creating these free media opportunities.
Earlier this year a handful of our students appeared on UTB for a segment called Yakusoku Sengen, which UTB translates as “Pure Promise.” [Link here, in Japanese with some English subtitles.] In February our students talked about what they want to become in the future, and then promise to do something to make their dream come true. They were interviewed again at the end of the school year to see if they did what they promised. Great job by everyone !!
(The students who were interviewed include Aki, Mina and Kaiya from Usami sensei’s class; Marina, Yuki, and Nagisa from Kishimizu sensei’s class; and Rie, Megumi, Chelsea, Taishi, and Midori from Foutch sensei’s class.)
A clip of the 2010 Summer Festival appears on "This Week in Garden Grove,"
This local food writer gave us a little plug before the 2010 Food Fair (see article).
UTB ran our very successful commercial in Fall 2010 and again in 2011, throughout Orange County.
Upcoming at OCG
• May 18, 2013
School trip to Griffith Observatory
Meeting Time for the bus is now 8:15AM. We will depart promptly at 8:30AM, so please do not be late. Everyone should bring their own lunch, drink and snack. Students should carry all of their things in a backpack or bag.
We are scheduled to arrive back at OCG between 2 and 2:30. We will send all parents a text message 30 minutes before arrival, so please check your cell phones.
This Month at OCG
Memorial Day Holiday -- NO SCHOOL
Morning Assembly; Open House;
OCG General Meeting
Open House; Committee and Food Fair Sign-ups
Last Day of School.
Graduation Ceremony and Party
School resumes July 13.
• April 27, 2013: Special Event: OCG hosts students from Beaver, Alaska
On Saturday, April 27th, OCG was honored to welcome a small group of students from Beaver, Alaska. Beaver is a small village of 84 Native Americans that is only 11 miles from the Arctic Circle. It was founded over a century ago by a Japanese explorer, Frank Yasuda. Students there still learn the Japanese language, and have visited Japan twice.
During the morning session the Alaskan students observed our classes. In the last two periods we held a cultural exchange. Ryan played three songs on the koto, and then our students performed some Japanese dances and songs. The Beaver students presentes some very interesting Native American dances and songs, and also gave a slideshow on their school and history. Our OCG students were very interested and had a lot of questions.
After we served a Japanese lunch (curry rice), we took the Beaver students to the beach, including a really interesting tour of the Huntington Beach Life Guard Station.
We thank our curriculum advisor, Hiroko Kataoka, for arranging this unique opportunity. Also, thanks to Donna Minamide for again leading us in the bonodori, Shoko for arranging for publicity, and House Foods for donating the curry.
• Photo DVD Sale
We have put together a DVD filled with pictures from the 2011-2012 school year! Hundreds of pictures of your child(ren) in action during class and all the various events have been put together onto one DVD. It will surely be a treasure for your child (ren). We are selling each DVD for only $5. Please contact any of the PA or Board Officers for an order form.
• February 16, 2013: No class, teacher training
On February 16 OCG was not in session so that all of our teachers could attend a training workshop sponsored by the California Association of Japanese Language Schools (CAJLS). This year’s workshop included sessions on “Activities and Strategies to Motivate Students,” “Using Pop Culture to Motivate Students,” and “Classroom Management and Engagement Strategies.”
OCG considers the ongoing training and development of our teachers as a very important priority.
• February 9, 2013: Class Observation Day and Parent-Teacher Conferences
On Febraury 9 OCG held a class observation day. All parents had the chance to observe their children’s classes, followed by individual meetings with their homeroom teacher. We thank all of the parents who participated in this important event, and for the comments and suggestions that we received.
• January 12, 2013: Mochitsuki
On January 12 OCG students enjoyed our annual Mochitsuki event. All students were able to take a hand in pounding the cooked sweet rice, and then enjoyed the fruits of their labor. This is one of events that or students enjoy the most! This year we again had the pleasure of watching our oshuji instructor, Tajima sensei, demonstrate the art of ink brush calligraphy. OCG thanks all of the parents who helped put on yet another very successful event.
• December 15, 2012: Holiday Performance
On December 15 OCG held its annual Holiday Performance (gakushū happyōkai). We had a very nice turnout of parents to support our students as they demonstrated some of the things they have learned so far this year. All of the students did a wonderful job! We thank our teachers for working so hard to get their classes prepared.
Afterwards, all enjoyed a visit from Santa Claus, plus a pizza party afterwards. Our events are a big part of the OCG experience, and something that our students definitely enjoy.
• November 3rd, 2012: Harvest Festival/Culture Festival
On November 3 OCG held a very successful Harvest Festival. Our older students organized and ran separate “shops” that sold bread, flowers, fruits, and vegetables. Another shop sold hand-made items being sold such as eco-bags and cards. The High School students ran a restaurant, Imo House, that featured a white stew with Autumn vegetables, mushroom rice, and Japanese-style cooked potato, and pumpkin pudding for dessert.
Not only was the event an enjoyable one for all, it was also a part of the OCG’s innovative curriculum. The teachers used the event to have some of our students form into small groups to decide what to buy, what prices to ask for, and how to attract customers, and afterwards to figure out how much profit was made. In the process, the groups used and improved their Japanese language skills in a fun and interactive manner.
We thank all of our families for donating some of the things that were sold. All of the money raised will go to the OCG Student Association.
• October 13th, 2012: Undokai (Sports Festival)
On October 13 OCG celebrated its annual undōkai (sports festival), as well holding a Welcome Ceremony for our new students.
The day opened with our current students giving a hearty welcome to our newest students and their families. We were gratified to have the largest entering class in our recent history.
Afterwards, all enjoyed competing in tama-iri, a tug-of-war, and a final relay race. It was great to see the smiling faces of our students, and to see them cheering each other on. A very important camaraderie building event.
Afterwards, all enjoyed a very nice potluck picnic, with plenty of food and drink and a very nice turnout of our families. We thank the Events Committee and Parents Association for putting on such an enjoyable event.
• September 8, 2012: OCG’s Fall Semester Begins
It is not too late to register for classes at OCG !! Although our school year is already underway, our classes and teachers have so far focused on our Summer Curriculum. From September 8, we will be starting our Fall curriculum, so it is a good time to join in!
We especially welcome local High School students. We have a specially curriculum designed for them. Students at many local High Schools are able to receive language or other credit from their schools, and will also receive instruction geared towards the SAT and AP Japanese tests.
• OCG Celebrates another successful Food Fair!
Our deepest thanks to all of our students, teachers, and families for helping out at last weekend’s Food Fair. We had a great turnout, and everyone who came out worked as hard as they could.
Despite the very hot weather, which limited the crowd, we did very well in terms of total sales. Final figures are not yet in, but it seems that our sales and profits were our second highest ever (behind only the records we set last year). This year we were surprised at how popular the gyoza was, so we definitely will try it again next year.
• August 18, 2012: Students Enjoy OCG’s Summer Festival
OCG held its third and most successful Natsumatsuri (Summer Festival) on August 18. Students first enjoyed practicing bonodori (dancing) under the guidance of Donna Minamide. Afterwards all were able to make paper fans and kumihimo, a Japanese weaving technique. We also provided a lot of traditional summer festival foods, from yakisoba (noodles) to okonomiyaki (a cross between pancakes and pizza), and kakigori (shaved ice). The festival also featured nagashi somen, in which students have to use chopsticks to catch noodles as they flow down a bamboo trough. We also had games including a bean bag toss and fishing for traditional Japanese balloons.
As with all events and lessons at OCG, we strive to incorporate culture and understanding of Japan with our teaching of the Japanese language. At the Natsumatsuri students were able to see, and taste, a part of Japan – an opportunity they normally could not enjoy anywhere else.
• July 14, 2012: New School Year STARTS !!
OCG has began a new school year, our third since becoming an independent school. We welcomed a large group of new students at our Welcoming Ceremony. Photos soon.
• June 16, 2012: Graduation Ceremony and Beach PartyOCG ended another successful school year with a formal ceremony. Congratulations to High School graduates Shiori Favela and Taishi Hori. We also honored a number of outstanding students.
Many of our families also enjoyed our second annual graduation Beach Party down at Huntington Beach. A great time for all !
• June 2, 2012: OCG General Meeting and Board Vote
Congratulations to the three Board members who were elected at the annual General Meering: Shoko Araki, Miho Favela, and Bob Uriu. Congratulations also to Linda Sugiura, who was voted in as our new PA President.
At the General Meeting we also honored Joel Minamide for the important role he played in leading OCG to its independence in 2010, and for the guiding role he played in helping us become a strong and successful school. We thank him for his service.
• May 12 and 19, 2012: Speech Contest
On May 12 all students from kindergarten through 6th grade participated in our annual Speech Contest. On May 19th all of our students in Junior and Senior High also performed.
• May 5, 2012: OCG Celebrates Children’s Day
This year OCG students enjoyed two special presentations for Kodomo no Hi. Our students were enthralled by a demonstration of Wado-ryu Karate by a local school. Five of our OCG students are members of this school. The demonstration included fighting sticks and nUnchaku. For more information, contact the school at usawadoryu.com or 949-233-2691.
During the break period, Ryan from Kishimizu sensei's class performed a number of tunes on the koto, a 13-stringed Japanese instrument. Ryan first learned to play the koto while in Japan, but is continuing his lessons here.
• February 18, 2012: No class, teacher training
On February 18 we will not hold classes so that all of our teachers can attend a day-long teacher training workshop sponsored by the California Association of Japanese Language Schools (CAJLS). The workshop, on “Improving Learner's Speaking Proficiency,” will once again be conducted by our advisors, Professors Kataoka, Douglas, and Chinen. OCG continues to demonstrate a strong commitment to teacher training and development..
• February 11th, 2012: Class Observation Day
On Febraury 11 all OCG families had the opportunity to observe their children’s classes, and then to have one-on-one meetings with the class teacher. The teachers, PA, and Board take the comments and feedback from our parents very seriously, and are doing our best to improve the school and curriculum. OCG thanks the many parents who participated in this important event.
• January 14th, 2012: Mochitsuki
On Saturday we held our annual New Year event, mochitsuki (rice pounding to make omochi). Students had the opportunity to use the wooden mallet (kine) to mash the steamed sweet rice in a stone mortar (usu). Students and parents then got to eat mochi in a variety of ways – with sweet red bean paste, covered with kinako (soybean flour), or with wrapped in nori and dipped in soy sauce. As always, an enjoyable event!
We thank the Japan Food Corporation (JFC) for providing nearly all of the materials this year! We also thank our friend form Orange Heart, Noriyo Yamamoto, for letting us borrow her home-made usu, and many of our parents for letting us use their mochi-making machines. A special thanks to the PA committee for another great effort.
This year we also had the pleasure of having our oshuji teacher, Tajima sensei, demonstrate Japanese calligraphy. Tajima sensei created two scrolls, with the entire student body looking on intently. (Remember that her classes are held each Saturday after our regular classes, and are open only to OCG students.)
(click on event for more details)
• December 17th, 2011: Gakushū Happyōkai
• October 8, 2011: Undōkai (Sports Festival)
• August 20, 2011: Summer Festival
• July 16, 2011: OCG’s New School Year begins !
• June 18, 2011: Graduation and End-of-Year Party
OCG Supports the Victims of the Tohoku Earthquake
• March 19 and 26, 2011: Ohanashi-kai (Speech Contest)
• Teacher training efforts at OCG, Spring 2011