Game in Japanese

Where are you from?

Target Grade:4-6
Target English: Where? I'm from + country names

This is a game that lets you introduce other countries' flags, locations, and of course culture! You can also use it as preparation for giving the kids English passports.

First off, introduce the word "Where?" Do this by playing criss-cross and using questions that the kids will easily know such as "Where is Fuji Gran?" The kids answer "Imabari!". (Fuji Gran is the big super market in my next town, Imabari). Other questions could be "Where is Japan?" and throw them an inflatable globe !! Yet more questions could be "Where is New York?" The answer will be "America ".

Once you've done this you can try the "Where are you from?" song from the Genki English CD!!

Anyway, check to see if they know the countries and teach them the English names. Then......

1. Give the kids a copy of a handout like this.

Or click here for a version with the England ( not UK flag )

2. If you can only get a black and white copy then get them to colour in the flags. Of course a colour version is better. Kids Love Colour!!!!

3. Assign each kid a nationality from the list. Either do this randomly, or ask them what they want to be! They then draw this country's flag where it says "I'm from ______________"

4. The kids have to go around the class doing the following conversation!
"Where are you from?"
"I'm from (country). Where are you from?"
"I'm from (country)"
"Thank you, goodbye"
"Thank you, goodbye"

5. They can then tick their partners country off on their list. If it is already ticked off, well never mind, you can only do it once!

6. They keep going until they have ticked off all the countries.

Simple! It's sometimes a good idea to make only the teacher have one of the countries. This way all the kids have to talk to the teacher!

This is also a great time to teach the difference between "Britain" and "England" (in the song I say "England", but on the handout it is the British Flag ). I do this by first playing a video I obtained from the Embassy in Tokyo (for 1 minute!). I put up a colourful map of the UK on the board. I then draw the flags for the four countries. I draw the Scottish flag on top of the Northern Ireland flag (in chalk). Then I draw the England flag on top of this. I ask them if they've seen this before and they all go "ahhhhh!" (like a Bisto ad!)
NEW; There's now an animated version of this on the site, and on CD vol. 1

Japanese kids don't officially learn about countries until the 6th grade, so don't be surprised if your average 10 year old doesn't know where even America is!!!

When they give answers in the criss-cross part, DO NOT make them say things like "It is in England", kids would never say that in real life, so don't confuse the kids! If they really want to learn "text-book" style, they can always do that later! For now it's Fun English - make them think its fun, "England" on its own is fine as an answer!! This way they'll learn more and want to study it more later!

The countries I've chosen (after consulting with Japanese teachers) are the 8 nationalities that Japanese children are most likely to come into contact with. Please, please don't be offended if your country is not there (I can only do 8!), and of course change the country names to ones you feel are more suitable for your students. These lessons are actually called "International Understanding" lessons and I use this lesson as a launch pad for more detailed culture lessons later on - making the kids realise we are all the same human beings with admittedly different cultures, but fundamentally the same fears, dreams and feelings is the ultimate aim.


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