冬休み明け全校集会校長講話 2015年1月8日
Principal’s Talk at Assembly after Winter Holidays January 8th, 2015

Good morning, students, and Happy New Year!  
Welcome back to school, every one of you.  

The winter holidays lasted for 20 days, beyond the year’s end and into another bright New Year.
You are still halfway through the academic year, but the beginning of a whole year sounds brisk and refreshing.
Taking a deep breath on a typical winter morning enables us to appreciate the cool and crisp air -- particularly on a clear day. 

12th graders, the day of your graduation from GKA Secondary is definitely coming soon.  
Make much of each day at school and get ready for your new life starting in April.
Do your best to round off your school life in a favorable way.11th graders, it’s your turn to get ready for the future.
 Try to be conscious of the fact that only a little more than a year is left for all of you.
 Now is the time to be sure of creating an atmosphere needed to become responsible students in your next to last year.10th graders, whichever course you may take, IB or Domestic University, it is high time you were wide awake and aware of the crucial decision you will need to make about your future.9th graders, you are facing a most important period, a turning point in your secondary school life, regardless of whether you stay at GKA or move onto another school. Why not finish strong your junior high school life in the few months remaining?8th graders, you are going to be the eldest students at GKA Junior High in April.
You are expected to be good models in many ways.
Try to meet the expectations of others, particularly of your juniors or Kohai.7th graders, you have shown us physical growth as well as spiritual development since you entered our campus.  
This time, please get ready to welcome the new 7th graders coming here in three months.
 Today I would like to talk about something peculiar to Japan or Japanese culture.
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Cool Japan”.  
An American journalist triggered the concept of this phrase when he wrote in an article, “Japanese culture has a magnificent power.”  
As you know, the Japanese government is putting much emphasis on the promotion of the “Cool Japan” phenomenon.
That sounds great. “Cool” Japan covers a range of topics -- animated cartoons, fashion, traditional arts and crafts, even electrical appliances -- and so on.Yes, Japan’s unique dishes are there too.
Japanese food would deserve a place on any list of what’s “cool” about Japan.In fact, on December 16th, 2013, a little more than one year ago, Washoku or Japanese food was designated as an intangible world cultural treasure.  
Our five senses -- sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch, are all considered important in judging the quality of Washoku.  
Oh, and let’s not forget the spirit of OMOTENASHI  -- that is, how we display our hospitality to guests in serving our traditional food.Many of you must have eaten a great New Year’s feast or Osechi-ryori during new year.
 When I was a child, I didn’t know that each dish beautifully arranged in the tiered lacquer ware boxes has its own special meaning.
Kuromame or cooked black soybeans imply a wish for good health.
 Kazunoko or herring roe symbolizes prosperity in family. Lobsters are for longevity.
Also, red or pink and white colored food, such as pink and white Kamaboko slices, represent colors suitable for celebration, just like thinly sliced white radish and orange carrot marinated with sugar and vinegar. 

        When I have enough time back home, I love to cook Japanese dishes.
What I stick to is making transparent soup extracted from Konbu or kelp and slices of dried bonito.
Do you know the mixture of these different ingredients makes the clear soup super-tasty – a model example of our wonderful Japanese cuisine.  
And I’ve found, the more you get to know about Japanese food, the more interested in and amazed you will be by its extraordinary variety and overall quality.   I understand that you are often reminded to appreciate a variety of different cultures around the globe. That’s extremely important, but please never forget to appreciate cross-sections of our own culture here in Japan.
 I am well aware that those who go abroad for study would often be exposed to endless questions about our country and culture.  
And many find it regrettable that they can’t quite give a proper answer to every question.
Being able to make even miso soup by yourself in an authentic way would definitely make a big difference whether you are living in Japan or abroad. Here’s my suggestion -- Why not add increasing your knowledge about your own culture to your list of New Year’s resolutions. Even if you’ve already made your resolutions, it’s never too late to add one more – especially when it comes to spreading understanding about all aspects of Japanese culture, including our cuisine.More specifically, why not draw from your own background as sons and daughters of Gunma prefecture? That’s the great advice of a woman from Gunma-ken, Naomi Osawa.
She now lives in New York – and wrote an article in which she offered a few ideas.
Tell people what’s unique about Gunma – from your own experience and all that you’ve seen.
Did you know that Gunma is famous for the  production of Dharma dolls?
Can you explain what they look like in English? And don’t forget to mention Konyaku and Kaka-denka and much more. All right, let me now conclude by wishing you all good luck and good health.  
Please take extra care of yourselves so you won’t catch cold in these winter months.  
And keep going full speed ahead with your academic learning and extra-curricular activities for the final three climactic months of the school year.
Thank you all for your attention.