SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — When Megumi Homma arrived in the U.S. from her home in Yokahoma, Japan, it didn’t take long for her to notice some cultural differences.
Now in a continuing education class offered this summer by Marshall University on its South Charleston campus, Homma will share aspects of her culture and provide hands-on activities for each session of the four-week class.
Homma, who is the West Virginia Japan outreach initiative coordinator, will discuss facets of Japanese culture, including technology, holidays, songs, dance and cuisine. The class, “Discover and Experience Japanese Culture,” will meet on Wednesdays, July 20 through Aug. 10, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Marshall’s campus at 100 Angus E. Peyton Drive, in South Charleston. The cost is $50.
Among other things, participants will learn the delicate paper art of origami, Japanese calligraphy and the proper use of chopsticks.
One class will be devoted to holidays. In Japan, Homma said, while Christmas is celebrated with decorated artificial trees, natural trees are a rare sight. In addition, children have their own national celebrations — March 3 for girls and May 5 for boys.
Differing table customs will be discussed during the session on cuisine. While etiquette arbitrators urge Americans to stick to the “no elbows on the table” rule, it’s different in Japan, according to Homma. “When I first came to this country I noticed that people usually eat with one hand on the table and the other hand in their lap. In Japan, we’re supposed to keep both hands on the table—it’s considered rude not to—so that was surprising,” Homma said.
For more in-depth course descriptions, additional information, or to register online, visit www.marshall.edu/ce or call 304-696-2330.