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.
Class Schedule (*New in Fall 2014)
1st Period: 8:45 – 9:40 am
2nd Period: 9:45 – 10:30 am
3rd Period: 10:50 – 11:40 am
4th Period: 11:45 – 12:30 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
OCG is now on Facebook!
Come "like us" there, too!
Follow us on facebook for the latest photographs on school activities.
This Week at OCG
December 13, 2014
8:45 HOLIDAY SPEECH PRESENTATIONS
Please join us for our end of the year Speech Presentations. All of our students will be giving a short speech related to things they have learned this Fall. The speeches will be followed by a visit from Santa and a pizza party.
7:00 OCG Holiday Party
All are invited to our Annual Holiday Party, held at Board Chair Bob Uriu’s house. Let us know if you are coming and what you might be bringing.
(We will also hold our Food Fair hanseikaifor this fall’s event at 6 pm, also at Bob Uriu’s house.)
Upcoming at OCG
See's Candy orders delivered
7:00 Holiday Party
December 20 to January 3
School Resumes January 10
• November 15, 2014: Goodwill Fundraising Drive
OCG thanks everyone for all of the goods that were donated to Goodwill ! We had a very good turnout of current families, alumnae, and others, and filled more containers than we had hoped to. A great chance to clean out our closets, and all for a good cause.
A special thanks to Kyoko H. for arranging for the use of a truck last week, and for Jeff for doing all of the driving. Very much appreciated !
• November 8, 2014: Harvest Festival / Bunkasai
Our semi-annual Shukakusai or Harvest Festival is part of our curriculum, allowing students to cooperate to set up different stores, decide on how to advertise and sell, all in Japanese. This year the elementary school students created have four different stores, selling fruits, flowers, bread, and produce.
The High School students organized a Bunkasai, or Cultural Festival, selling handcrafted items and other art/cultural items, as well as a restaurant. We had a great turnout this year, and all of the students seem to have enjoyed themselves.
• October 4, 2014: Undoukai (Sports Festival)
On Saturday, Octboer 4, OCG held its annual Sports Festival. The Undoukai committee prepared an enjoyable event, with students participating in the tama-ire, 3-legged race, senbei eating race, tug-of-war, a relay race, and more. Our youngest students from the Mikan Club as well as teachers and parents also participated this year!.
Take a look at a short Undoukai promo video made by Shoko Araki.
• September 20, 2014: Semi-annual Fire Drill.
September is National Emergency Preparedness Month, and OCG takes school and student safety very seriously. In addition to our Fire Drill, held each September, we practice an Earthquake drill in the Spring. Thanks to our Safety Committee for taking your responsibilities as seriously as you do.
• August 2014: Orange International Street Fair
OCG had another successful Food Fair fundraiser. We thank all of the families, students, and alumnae who came out to support the school !!
Our special thanks to Japan Food Corporation (JFC), Kikkoman, Ajinomoto, Maeda-en, Mitsuwa, and Marukai for their generous donations.
• January 11, 2014: Mochitsuki)
OCG students once again enjoyed our traditional mochitsuki, in which rice is pounded to make omochi, or rice cakes. Students had the opportunity to use the wooden mallet (kine) to mash the steamed sweet rice in the traditional stone mortar (usu). Students then enjoyed eating mochi covered with kinako (sweet soybean flour), or wrapped in nori and dipped in soy sauce.
This year we also were treated to a demonstration of o-shūji (Japanese brush calligraphy) by our very talented teacher, Tajima sensei.
As we do with all of our cultural events, the teachers use the occasion to teach the Japanese language, incorporating vocabulary and activities into classroom instruction.
• December 14, 2013: Holiday Performance (Gakushū Happyōkai)
OCG marked the end of the year with another enjoyable Holiday Performance. Each class shared with us something they have learned this year. We thank all of the parents who came out to support the children. The presentation was followed by a visit from Santa, and then a pizza party sponsored by the PA.
Later that evening we celebrated the end of the year with a party at the home of Board of Trustee Chair Bob Uriu. A good turnout, and all had a very good time.
• October 26, 2013: Okashi-yashiki
Students once again enjoyed this unique OCG event, Okashi-yashiki.* As part of the curriculum, which features hands-on and interactive learning, our older students were formed into teams and given the task of selling a given amount of donated sweets. Each team had to figure out how to much to sell their products for, how to best advertise and decorate their booths, and how to maximize profits – all in Japanese. All of our students certainly enjoy this event, making learning Japanese actually FUN. We thank the many parents who donated sweets, and the teachers for organizing the event.
*Okashi-yashiki is a play on words. Obake-yashiki is the Japanese word for Haunted House, and Okashi is the word for “candy.”
• October 5, 2013: OCG holds its annual Undōkai
The fun-filled day
began with a welcome ceremony for our many new students. The OCG Events Committee did a great job once again!. This year we had our usual array of fun events, including relay races, a tug of war, tama-ire, and a donut-eating relay race!
This is one of our most popular events amongst the OCG students, who look forward to this day for many weeks. We thank the many parents and guardians who came out to cheer the teams on. We also thank everyone for contributing to the great potluck luncheon afterwards. Another great showing of our OCG school spirit.
• August 30 to September 1, 2013: OCG participates in the Orange International Street Fair.
OCG thanks everyone for helping out at the Food Fair this year. We had an amazing turnout of students, parents, teachers, alumni, and friends. Everyone worked so hard, and all were a credit to the school.
Due to the hot weather, the crowd was once again below par, so our returns were not what we had hoped for. But the more important thing is that all of us pulled together and showed our support for the school. It was especially great to see so many of our older students out there, working to make a better school. Thank you all !
As always, we thank the Japan Food Corporation (JFC) for donating so much – all of the shoyu to make the sauce, rice, gyoza, and other saucemaking supplies. We especially thank our friend and ally, Mr. Lone Araki, for his continued support.
• August 24, 2013: Natsumatsuri (Summer Festival)
OCG ended this year’s summer program with a fun-filled Summer Festival. Our PA outdid itself this year, with new events including a very neat archery game, a new ring-toss game, and mask making. Food included yakisoba, yakionigiri, hot dogs, and of course our nagashi somen. Turnout was excellent, and all had a good time. Thanks to all who contributed their time and effort.
• July 20: Food Fair saucemaking
Thanks to all on the Fundraising Committee and those who signed up for saucemaking. Job well done! We also thank JFC (Japan Food Corporation) and our supporter, Mr. Lone Araki, for generously donating 60 gallons of shoyu, mirin, sake, 400 lbs of rice and 1,500 gyoza! This is the bulk of the materials we need to purchase for the Food Fair (other than the beef, of course).
• July 13: Welcome Back Ceremony and Orientation
This week OCG welcomed back our returning students, and said hello to the largest group of incoming students we have ever had. After we introduced our new students, Marina gave a very nice welcoming speech.
The ceremony was followed by our Back to School orientation for our younger students (Kindergarten through 3rd grade). Parentsheard about the summer program and our school rules and procedures.
We look forward to a great school year!
• June 1, 2013: OCG General Meeting
The highlight of this year’s General Meeting was the election of our new OCG Board members, which included new members Rie Strong and Diane Yamamoto, and returning members Bill Tajima and Alice Tsuji. The OCG families also re-elected Linda Sugiura for another year as OCG PA President. We also honored one of our most important teachers, Nobuye Kato, for her 5 years of service to the school.
Senior Instructor Hiromi Kishimizu presented a review of this year’s academic efforts and a look ahead to the current year. With OCG’s curriculum becoming more developed every year, our academic future looks bright. Similarly, the past year’s financial situation was solid, allowing us to continue to save for our long-term goal of having our own facilities.
Finally, we thanked outgoing Board members Miho Favela, Takako Scott, and Joel Minamide. Miho-san has moved to a different state, but both Takako-san and Joel will continue on as OCG Board Advisors.
• May 18, 2013: School trip to Griffith Observatory
On May 18 the entire OCG school enjoyed a wonderful field trip to the Griffith Observatory up in Los Angeles. Nearly all of our students rode luxurious busses to the Observatory and were able to see one of the Planetarium shows, look at the various exhibits, and enjoy a group lunch out on the lawn. It seemed that all of our students (and teachers) had a very fun time.
The idea for the field trip came from our students, when asked what they would like to do with the funds that were raised at last year’s Harvest Festival (as well as the tips received at last year’s Food Fair). Also, some of our older classes have been studying about constellations as part of our curriculum, so the choice of the Planetarium made sense. In addtion, school field trips are an annual ritual at most schools in Japan today, so it was nice to give our students a taste of that experience.
For photos from this memorable field trip, click here.
We thank our PA for worrying through all of the details, thinking of all the contingencies, organizing the families, students, and teachers, and making sure everything went well. The trip went off without a hitch, and everything was right on schedule. We also thank the PA and Board for chipping in funds to cover the costs of the trip.
• 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.
To view our a photograph collection from the trip from Beaver, click here.
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.
• 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.