HOLIDAY — Her fascination with the Japanese language started in high school when a classmate propped open a laptop and played an episode of “Sailor Moon,” an anime series adapted from a Japanese manga graphic novel. Now in college, Brittany Christensen is teaching teens, many with the same love for anime, the basics of the Japanese language. “I’m hoping they’ll take away an understanding of some of the vocabulary and sentence structure and that they’ll want to learn more about the language or any language, that it’s not scary to learn another language, that it’s fun and opens you up,” Christensen said. Christensen, vice president of the Friends of South Holiday Library, taught her first Japanese course last summer at the South Holiday Branch Library. In “Basic Japanese 1,” teens learn Japanese greetings, vocabulary and basic grammar.
For the teens who take the basic course this year and the ones who took the same class last summer, Christensen is offering “Basic Japanese 2.” In this class, they’ll increase their knowledge of the language and begin learning Kanji, Chinese characters adopted into the modern Japanese writing system. Registration is now open for the basic Japanese class, which starts April 12. Registration opens for the second class May 1 and the class begins June 14 and concludes with a party at which teens can sample food and drink from Japan. Christensen is a student at the University of South Florida in Tampa where she expects to graduate in spring 2015 with a dual degree in mathematics and math education. The school requires at last two semesters of a foreign language, so following her love for anime, Christensen took Japanese. Enthralled by the language, she continued it for four semesters, two beyond the basic requirement. “ I wanted to start teaching something but people don’t really want to learn math so I said: ‘Let’s teach Japanese’,” Christensen said. “It went really well last year and the kids really enjoyed it so I thought lets do it again.” Although her goal is to one day teach high school calculus, for now Christensen really enjoys broadening teens’ cultural horizons. “Exposing kids to different cultures helps them open up and look at the world as being just one big place,” Christensen said. “Learning a new language helps open you up to a different culture. It helps you see that culture as something not foreign to you, helps you get a grasp on it.” The South Holiday Branch Library is at 4649 Mile Stretch Drive. To register for the class call the library at (727) 834-3331(727) 834-3331.
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