Home » Japanese Plus

Japanese Plus


Four years of co-coordinating the TOMODACHI US-Japan Youth Exchange Program taught us that we needed to do more to support DC students’ interest in Japan.

After spending time in Japan and forming close friendships with Japanese peers, many of our TOMODACHI participants are inspired to study Japanese, yet no DC public school offered Japanese. So, thanks to a generous grant from the U.S.-Japan Foundation, Globalize DC launched its new program, Japanese Plus.


Japanese Plus is a single site afterschool Japanese language, culture, and career exposure program for DC public high school students. This first-year program will run from the October 2016 through May 2017, and is offered at no cost to students. We expect that students will be able to earn world language credit for level I Japanese that can be applied towards high school graduation. The program meets twice a week (Wednesdays 4:30 – 6:30 pm) and Saturday mornings 9:00 am – noon) at Columbia Heights Education Campus, with many additional Japan-related activities scheduled. The plan is to expand the program in SY2017-18 to provide a Japanese level II program, as well as a new Japanese I program.

Japanese Plus is open to students in both DCPS and DC charter schools citywide. After a competitive application process, 23 students from across the city were selected for the program’s first class. Preference was given to 10th and 11th graders, but freshmen and seniors were also invited to apply.

Japanese Plus Students

A’mee Barnes (Wilson)
Raven Bluford (Banneker)
Kelvin Bonilla (EL Haynes)
Shawma Brown (Ballou)
Charity Chukwu (School Without Walls)
Skyy Genies (Banneker)
Jaiya (Nuu) Hightower (Bell/Columbia Heights Education Campus)
Jeffrey Jenkins (Dunbar)
Jennyfer Jimenez (School Without Walls)
Laura Lainez (Bell/Columbia Heights Education Campus)
Tara Martin (Banneker)
Dulce Monzon (Banneker)
Dakharai Murray (Banneker)
Ana Nguyen (Capital City)
Chidera Obiwuma (Banneker)
Chidera Onyeka (Banneker)
Kharan Pierce (Banneker)
Daniel Ruiz (Capital City)
Bryson Torgovitsky (Washington Latin)
Layana Turner (Bell/Columbia Heights Education Campus)
Rakiya Washington (Banneker)
Anastasia Wass (School Without Walls)
Talia Zitner (Wilson)

img_1182Our Japanese Teacher – Yoko Eshita

Our teacher is Yoko Eshita, originally from Fukuoka, Japan. Eshita-sensei was trained as a Japanese teacher through the ALLEX program at Portland State University and has taught Japanese to high school students in Australia, adults in Kyoto, and college students in the US. Last year she taught Japanese at the US State Department’s Foreign Service Institute. She is currently studying special education at Baltimore City Community College, and interning at Kizuna Across Cultures as a liaison between high school students in Japan and the US.