Page 1 of 2

Nihongo (Japanese) - Middle School

Nihongo (Japanese) is available as a full year course to students who have studied Japanese in year 7 and 8. It covers all aspects of language learning (reading, writing, speaking and listening). Intercultural units include topics such as travel, shopping, parties, celebrations, school life and daily routines.

Reference Resources
Travel Japan
Daily Life
Additional Resources

Reference Resources

Reference tools on the shelf: The Library has the 2-volume encyclopaedia Japan: an illustrated encyclopedia on the reference shelves.

The CIA World Factbook is an excellent source for up-to-date information about any country, in this case Japan. You will find a good introduction to Japan followed by information on geography, people and society, government, the economy, energy, communication, transportation, the military and transnational issues.

Travel Japan

Unit 1: Travel Japan

Content: This unit involves learning about places and transport and being able to communicate about where one is going.

Culture assignment for Unit 1: Create a a travel brochure for a region of Japan.


Travel guides on the shelves:

AV on the shelves:

  • Japan [by the Discovery Channel]

Web Resources

Japan Architecture tours. Organises tours that feature the art, design and architecture of Japan

Japan National Tourism Organisation: This site includes information about: visa requirements, climate and weather, travel tips and tourist guides. They also provide links to useful sites, such as:

DFAT - Travel advice for Japan

Japan Foundation, Sydney - This is a Japanese public organisation established in 1972 in Tokyo. It is dedicated to promoting cultural and intelletual exchange between Japan and other nations.

JNTO - Japan National Tourism Organisation. Established in 1964 JNTO is involved in a broad range of activities promoting travel to Japan through various activities overseas as well as tourism-promoting activities in Japan.

JTB Australia - Japan travel and Japan Tourist specialist

Lonely Planet - Japan - Travel guide, information and booking

Rough Guides - Japan - Places to visit in Japan. Where to go, when to go and the essentials you need to get around


Unit 2: Festivals and celebrations

Content: The language component looks at time, date, using time phrases in sentences and creating invitations with basic verbs.

Culture assignment for Unit 2: This involves students choosing a famous Japanese festival (i.e. Children's Day, Hinamatsuri, New Year's Festival, Obon, Sapporo Snow Festival, Gion Masturi) or a celebration (e.g. Wedding ceremony).

What is culture? Culture is the value, beliefs and attitudes of a particular place. Japan has a unique culture that embraces both Western and Eastern traditions. Japan has theatre, art, games and ceremonies which go back centuries but it is also at the cutting edge of new computer technologies.

Heapy, T., 2013, Japanese culture, Raintree, London


The following books have a particular focus on Japanese society and culture:


From Feast with Stefan Gates, who visits Japan for the Naked Man Festival and Baby Sumo Festival.


The following chapters can be downloaded and read from the eReserve section of the Library website. Remember, you will need your User Name and Password to log on.

  • Shinto festivals from: Breuilly, E., O'Brien, J., Palmer, 2002, Festivals of the world: an illustrated guide to celebrations, customs, events and holidays, Checkmark Books, New York, pp.146-147.
  • Culture and religion from: Tidmarsh, Celia, 2006, Japan, Wayland, London, pp. 46-49.

Web Resources

General information about festivals

Japan National Tourism Organization. Festivals and events. An interactive list of festivals held around Japan throughout a calender year.

Japan Guide. Japanese Festivals (Matsuri). This site also lists some of Japan's most important festivals, and provides links to additional information.

Websites - Information about important cultural events and festivals in Japan

Children's Day which takes place annually on May 5, the fifth day of the fifth month. It is a day set aside to respect children's personalities and to celebrate their happiness. It was designated a national holiday by the Japanese government in 1948.

Hinamatsuri (Doll's Festival) takes place on march 3rd. This is a day to pray for a young girl's growth and happiness.

Japanese Tea Ceremony. The tea ceremony is called Chanoyu, Sado or simply Ocha in Japanese. it is a choreographic ritual of preparing and serving Japanese green tea, called, Matcha, together with traditional Japanese sweets tobalance the bitter tase of the tea.

Japanese Weddings. From the Yamasa Institute, Okazaki, Japan.

New Year's Festival, This is one of the most important holidays in Japan.

O-Bon (Lantern Festival)


Unit 3: Shopping

Content: The language component in unit 3 includes - money, shopping phrases, clothing, colours, verbs for clothing.

Culture: Japanese currency, exchange rates, custom of gift giving, language for shopping and cultural connections


Many of the books in the Library, and those highlighted in Units 1 & 2 will contain information on many of the topics in this unit. Some highlights in other books on our shelves include:

  • From Nations of the World series: Japan by Jen Green. Chapter 7 is on "The Economy" Published in 2001, some of the figures will need to be checked but the structure of the Japanese economy is still relevant and clearly set-out.


The following chapter can be downloaded and read from the eReserve section of the Library website. Remember, you will need your User Name and Password to log on.

  • From the chapter "Settling in" from Bramble, P. Sean, 2005, Japan: a survival guide to customs and etiquette, Marshall Cavendish, Singapore, pp. 119-133. These pages include information - Banking - Money - Postal services - Markets - Vending machines
  • 'Shopping and markets', in Ashburne, J, Abe, Yoshi, 2002, Japan: World food, Lonely Planet, Footscray, pp. 161-174.

Web Resources

The Guardian's '10 of the best fashion shops in Tokyo' from their Tokyo City Guide

Lonely Planet's guide to 'Shopping in Japan'

Japan shopping guide from

And finally the important Currency Converter to let you know how much an item is in Japanese yen and Australian dollars.

Daily Life

Unit 4: Daily life

Content: The language component - verbs, using time phrases, daily routines.

Culture: School life in Japan and Japanese households



The following is DVD explores Japanese food:

  • Food Safari with Maeve O'Meara - Japan


The following chapters can be downloaded and read from the eReserve section of the Library website. Remember, you will need your User Name and Password to log on.

  • 'Getting an education', from Kalman, Bobbie, 1977, Japan: the people, Crabtree Publishing, Toronto
  • 'The Home and daily life', from Sosnoski, Daniel, editor, 1996, Introduction to Japanese culture, Charles E. Tuttle, Rutland Vermont, pages 74-92.

Web Resources

Japanese Guide: Japanese education system

Tokyo: International Communication Committee: Japanese school system

Nakasendoway The Japanese family system

Additional Resources


  • The Ainu of Japan by Barbara Aoki Poisson. The Ainu are Japan's native people. This book describes ancient Ainu traditions and tells readers how the modern-day Ainu are teaching the rest of the world about their special way of life.
  • Japanese detail: architecure by Sadao Hibi. This sourcebook draws together the exquisite details of Japanese architecture while capturing the essential elements of this simple and elegant style.
  • Japanese style by Sarah Lonsdale. Includes chapters on - Fashion / Architecture / Interiors / Food & drink / Transport / Products / Homeware / Advertising / Communication & packaging
  • The Life of the Geisha by Eleanor Underwood.

Web Resources

Ainu history and culture from the Ainu Museum

A brief outline of the history of architecture in Japan from the Japan National Tourism Organization

Japanese design from the Japanese Design Shop

Learn about the Geisha (Geiko) from Japan Guide