Tampopo Kai

Tampopo Kai is an online Japanese cultural program for preschoolers. Through various engaging activities such as singing, storytelling, and arts & crafts, children and their parents are exposed to the richness of the Japanese language and culture.

Topics that will be covered in Tampopo Kai classes are, but not limited to: Japanese holidays, customs, traditions; Japanese vocabulary words (e.g. colors, numbers, shapes, sizes, family members, greetings, seasons, weather, body parts); Japanese arts (songs, kamishibai-style Japanese storyboards, origami).

The program is organized around three main ideas:

  1. Continue to present an impactful program that is responsive to the developmental needs of infants and toddlers.
  2. Encourage the appreciation of the Japanese language and culture through fun activities.
  3. Create an environment that nurtures positive self-identity by connecting participants to their ethnic heritage.

Who would be a good fit?

  • Children 5 years old and younger
  • Families interested in exposing their children to Japanese language, culture, and/or arts
  • Parents who want their children to develop and maintain a connection to their Japanese heritage
  • Parents who are looking for a tight-knit community of families raising multilingual children in the U.S. 

Tampopo Class Information

ONLINE class: Mondays, 10 am – 11 am (Central Time)

Class meets virtually via Zoom with the following schedule:

Winter Session II: 1/9, 1/16, 1/23, 1/30, 2/6
Spring Session I: 2/13, 2/20, 2/27, 3/6, 3/13
Spring Session II: 3/20, 4/10, 4/17, 4/24, 5/1
Spring Session III: 5/8, 5/15, 5/22, 5/29, 6/5
Tuition: Fee per session (5 classes). Register one time for the entire family.
JASC Members – $90 / session per family
Non JASC Members – $115 / session per family

If you miss a class, you will receive a recorded class to watch at your convenience.
You may register for the session after it starts and you will receive a recording of all the prior classes.

For additional information about ONLINE classes, email Naomi Sensei (English or Japanese) at tampopo@jasc-chicago.org.

どうぞ、tampopo@jasc-chicago.org まで日本語でお問い合わせください。
たんぽぽ会 根宜直美(ねぎなおみ)

IN-PERSON class: Saturdays, 11 am – 12 pm (Central Time)

Class meets in-person at JASC with the following schedule:
Winter Session II: 1/21, 1/28, 2/4, 2/11 (Tuition for this shorter session are $72/child for JASC Members or $92/child for Non JASC Members)
Spring Session I: 2/18, 2/25, 3/4, 3/11, 3/18
Spring Session II: 4/1, 4/8, 4/22, 4/29, 5/6
Spring Session III: 5/13, 5/20, 5/27, 6/3, 6/10
Tuition: Pay per session (5 classes). Register each child 2 years old and older. Siblings under two years old are FREE.
JASC Members – $90 / session per child
Non JASC Members – $115 / session per child

Safety guidelines for in-person class:

  • Mask wearing is required for both parents and children (for children under two years old masks are optional).
  • Anyone (child, parents, guardians who attend the class) with symptoms of fever, runny nose, sore throat, or cough must stay home.
  • Disinfect hands with sanitizer as you enter a class.

For additional information about IN-PERSON classes, email Kaori Tabion (English or Japanese) at dongurikai@jasc-chicago.org.

Bundle Discount Option – You can register for both online and in-person classes at a discount! Twice the fun for your family.

The registration form is at the end of this page. Please click here to go directly to the form or scroll down after the photo gallery. If you have any questions about the form please contact Jenn at the JASC office by email at jtrautvetter@jasc-chicago.org or by phohttp://id=#registerne at (773) 275-0097 ext. 228.


Frequently asked questions about the Tampopo Kai Program

  • Are all classes held online?
    Tampopo Kai offers both ONLINE and IN-PERSON classes. Online classes are on break for Winter Session I but will return for Session II.
  • Are infants too young to attend classes?
    Not at all! We encourage parents to bring their babies to let them hear spoken Japanese. We sing many Japanese children’s songs and read Japanese stories alongside simultaneous English translation. It is a great opportunity to immerse the child in the Japanese language.
  • Do parents need to participate in the class, too?
    Because Tampopo Kai is geared towards children 5 years old and younger, a parent or guardian must attend alongside their children. For online class, we ask parents to assist with accessing the Zoom link and managing the on/off of microphones. 
  • Is Tampopo Kai a Japanese language class? Tampopo Kai exposes children to the Japanese language, but it is not explicitly a language class. Basic Japanese vocabulary words are taught with supplemental explanations in English. Tampopo Kai is more of a cultural program rather than a language program.

Trimming the Japan tree at the Museum of Science and Industry is a time-honored tradition for Tampopo-Kai families. Tampopo has been decorating the Japan tree with joy and pride for the Christmas Around the World exhibit since 1989.

About Naomi Negi, Instructor of Tampopo Kai

Originally from Osaka, Japan, “Naomi Sensei,” as she’s known by the community, has been involved with Tampopo Kai as its instructor since 1987. She first became involved with Tampopo Kai due to her strong desire for her three children, who were all born and raised in the US, to build and maintain a connection to their Japanese heritage. She has dedicated 30+ years of her life to creating engaging lesson plans for multiple generations of multicultural children. Outside of instructing Tampopo Kai, she keeps busy as a cultural artist visiting schools, libraries, and museums running workshops and demonstrations of Japanese cultural arts, and remaining connected with the Tampopo alumni community.

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