They’ve got (snail) mail: Mariner High students have Japanese pen pals

Mariner High School Japanese teacher Alicia Ceban takes a photo of her students Justin Mitosis (left), Christopher Araiza and Ethan Kwon with the pen pal letters they received from Itoshima High School in Japan. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Mariner Substantial School Japanese instructor Alicia Ceban usually takes a photograph of her pupils Justin Mitosis (remaining), Christopher Araiza and Ethan Kwon with the pen pal letters they been given from Itoshima Superior College in Japan. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

EVERETT — College students in this Japanese course attain a lot more than a new language.&#13

They also find out a missing artwork.&#13

What is up with that?&#13

The Mariner Substantial College college students are pen buddies with Itoshima Substantial School in Japan, about 5,200 miles from Everett.&#13

Compared with digital communications with quick outcomes, it requires months if not months to get snail mail.&#13

“I have never ever written a letter right before I arrived to Japanese course,” Mariner junior Ethan Kwon mentioned.&#13

“It’s really electronic outside the house this class, so I truly value having the bodily duplicate of the letter. It feels genuinely pleasant,” senior Nancy Le claimed.&#13

The pen pal method between the Mariner’s Japanese course and Itoshima’s English class commenced about 15 yrs in the past, but final yr was confined thanks to COVID.&#13

College students create three letters a 12 months, working with both English and Japanese. They converse about relatives, foods, sports, hobbies and college. Some also join on social media.&#13

Trainer Alicia Ceban claimed students place honest effort into the letters, decorated with stickers, drawings, pics and cash.

“Even my college students who may possibly not convert in each individual one assignment, they all make certain they have that pen pal letter completed,” Ceban mentioned. “It’s the most motivated I’ve viewed learners finish an assignment. There is that purpose to it, to hook up with that man or woman.”&#13

Snacks and pen pal letters sent from high school students in Japan sit on a table during class at Mariner High School. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Snacks and pen pal letters despatched from superior university pupils in Japan sit on a desk in the course of class at Mariner Higher University. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

The letters are keepsakes for the pupils.&#13

“I inform them, ‘Keep this so when your grandmother arrives around and asks what you are doing in school you can pull it out and display her this letter you bought from anyone in Japan,’” Ceban said.

Ceban, 29, lived in Japan from ages 5 to 13. Her mother, who is Japanese, met her father when he was stationed there the 1st time with the U.S. Navy. She graduated from Marysville Pilchuck High University. This is her next 12 months at Mariner, right after 4 several years educating Japanese at Roosevelt Large University in Seattle.&#13

In a current course, Ceban opened the most up-to-date batch of letters alongside with a surprise box of treats from their Itoshima mates. Learners read through the labels on the brilliant chews and sweets.&#13

Itoshima English trainer Toshishige Yamasaki reported of the 9 pen pal spouse educational facilities in nine states, Mariner has the most significant amount of individuals.&#13

Japanese teacher Alicia Ceban reads a letter with student Ethan Kwon during class at Mariner High School. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Japanese instructor Alicia Ceban reads a letter with scholar Ethan Kwon during course at Mariner Higher Faculty. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

“In 2022, social distancing is a norm of life: Lots of gatherings are canceled,” he wrote. “… Our bilingual letter exchange is …. a hole cracking breakthrough in this oppressive, suffocating, locked up faculty environment. A instructor of one more lover school reported that the letters crammed with a lot of sweet pictures, origami and stickers brightened up the learners in the dismal college environment. I hope the very same is true to the college students of Mariner Substantial School.”&#13

Yamasaki shared some of the reactions from his Itoshima students.&#13

Student Nina Tasuki reported, “I located in the letter the phrases we learned in English classes and some colloquial expressions we by no means discovered at university.”

Yuuki Day: “A snack was connected to the letter, and I could taste an American snack.”&#13

Miyu Nakamaru: “I am so joyful to have exchanged the letters simply because I had no pals abroad just before.”&#13

Itoshima is in Fukuoka Prefecture, about 560 miles south of Tokyo. The seaside metropolis has about 100,000 people, just like Everett, but with major shorelines and smaller enterprises. Students take the train or bicycle to faculty. Legal driving age is 18.&#13

Itoshima High School students hold letters from their pen pals at Mariner High School. (Submitted photo)

Itoshima Large College students hold letters from their pen pals at Mariner Higher University. (Submitted photograph)

For learners in Japan, English is a fundamental necessity. Mariner students pick out their international language choice. About 130 Mariner learners are enrolled in Japanese class.&#13

Nancy Le started off getting Japanese her sophomore yr at Mariner and it sparked curiosity in other languages.&#13

“Originally I wished to be a flight attendant, so I was considering understanding a good deal of languages could assist me,” she mentioned. “Now I prepare to go to med school.”&#13

This summer time, she is likely to Taiwan for a examine-overseas Mandarin Chinese plan.&#13

Anime was junior Christopher Araiza’s motive to get Japanese.&#13

“It grew to become the experience of obtaining to know the culture additional than it was to be ready to just to watch anime with out the subtitles,” he explained.&#13

He located widespread passions with his pen pal.&#13

“We share the identical passion of Pokémon,” Christopher mentioned. “It’s amazing to get to know him. He talks about his town. It is various from what I’m used to — the reserved culture they have in excess of there. They maintain to by themselves. Anyone minds their company.”&#13

His counterpart in Japan stays in the similar classroom all working day. The instructors modify rooms, not the learners.&#13

“I take pleasure in moving around,” Christopher reported.&#13

Andrea Brown: [email protected] 425-339-3443. Twitter @reporterbrown.


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