Makoto Shinkai in London: learning Japanese the anime way

Writer and director Makoto Shinkai was in London again last week. He went to James Allen Girls’ School to host a showing of 5 Centimetres Per Second and demonstrate animation techniques.

Shinkai recently spent a year in London working on his English skills.

When Japanese teacher Hiroshi Okura asked him to come and talk to the girls, it was the school’s latest step in a process that began with teaching Japanese at GCSE and A Level and went on to include introducing aspects of culture including taiko drumming, ikebana and kabuki, as well as setting up an anime club.

James Allen pupils are not just learning a language, they also have the chance to learn about the culture that surrounds it. It’s a great way to teach.

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