Moon Tunes, a Magical Bunny and Fundraising

On October 15, Mehhgumi the Sheep made her singing debut in Tokyo at a fundraiser for a nonprofit benefitting kids in care homes. Mehhgumi, (who is also known as “Barbara”), with a bit of help from me, sang the Sesame Street classic, created by Jeff Moss, “I Don’t Want to Live on the Moon.” Have a listen:

I Don’t Want to Live on the Moon

Jones, that old hound dog, had begged with his big, old puppy eyes, to be taken along to the fundraising event. He was thrilled when Elvis showed up and belted out the “Hound Dog” song. Jones danced and howled along with the music, gracing us all with doggy breath and delirious drool.

Elvis with One Happy Hound Dog

We had a marvelous time, crooning tunes and dancing like loons. I did my best to help by singing and playing the harmonica along with the John Denver classic, “Take Me Home Country Roads.” Towards the end of the evening, something very mysterious and magical happened.

For several weeks, I had been planning trips to Nagoya, Kobe and Osaka on behalf of JOEE. I would be preaching at a couple of churches and visiting orphanages with my puppets. One event that I was looking forward to attending was a birthday party for a little girl in Kobe. The theme of the party was rabbits. Did I have a large rabbit puppet that I could bring to the party to perform with? No, I did not. I had lions, cats, sheep, frogs, even an elephant. But no large rabbits. So, I was thinking hard about rabbits that night. I was wishing for a rabbit puppet. Guess what happened?

While taking a break from singing up on stage, a woman approached me and, out of the blue, asked me, “Would you like to have a rabbit puppet?” My jaw dropped in surprise. “Yes! I would love to have a rabbit puppet!” I wondered how in the world did this woman, (whom I had never met before), know that I needed a rabbit puppet. “Wait here — I’ll be back soon.” She returned with a beautiful puppet that had sat in her house, unused, for forty years. “I would be happy if you could use this puppet with JOEE.”

My “Thought Rabbit”

I accepted the new JOEE puppet with joy and brought it back with me to my home in Nagano. I call it my “Thought Rabbit.” And because “thought” is “kanga-e” in Japanese and because JOEE or “joey” means baby kangaroo, maybe I can call it “Kangae-roo.” It was a thought in my head and then it magically appeared and jumped into my arms.

Kanga-e-Roo

We hope that good and magical things continue to happen through JOEE and that our supporters will share in our joy at helping others. Please help us reach our goal of raising $50,000 over the past three years by donating at the link below. Our Global Giving fundraiser ends on December 31, 2022. Can you help us reach our giving goal? Here’s the link:

Things Are Hopping with JOEE at Chofugakuen

Wonderful things are happening at Chofugakuen, a newly renovated children’s care facility in Chofu, located in the western part of Tokyo.

 東京都の西に位置する調布市にある新しく改装された児童養護施設「調布学園」で、素晴らしいことが起きています。


JOEE lessons started out here in November of 2021 with trained JOEE teachers bringing music and games to the children while teaching English.

2021年11月、ここでJOEEのレッスンが始まりました。研修を受けたJOEEの先生たちが、子どもたちに音楽やゲームを届けながら英語を教えています。

Annie leads an energetic lesson with little learners

Our first teachers were Annie and Lilian, followed by our most recent teacher, Tomoko who has now taught here since April of 2022. She has been assisted by our administrator, Hiroko, along with regular helpers, Jorge and Yushi and a special guest teacher, Chiyuki.

最初の講師はAnnieさんとLilianさんで、その後、2022年4月からTomokoさんが講師を務めています。そして、管理者のHirokoさん、ヘルパーのJorgeさんとYushiさん、特別ゲスト講師のChiyukiさんがサポートをしています。


Tomoko has carefully-planned lessons every week that build on the previous week’s material. Her lessons incorporate games, singing, action, books and puppets to keep the children engaged and excited. The children at Chofu Gakuen love JOEE time!

Tomoko先生は毎週、前の週の内容に基づいて丁寧に計画されたレッスンを行っています。 彼女のレッスンには、ゲーム、歌、アクション、本、パペットが組み込まれており、子供たちの心をひきつけ、ワクワク感を高めています。 調布学園の子どもたちはJOEEの時間が大好き!


Our JOEE teachers usually teach once a week at a children’s home on a regular schedule. When a regular teacher is unable to attend, other JOEE teachers may step in to substitute for that lesson. Our substitute teachers love meeting new children and enjoying the energy and enthusiasm that they bring to class time.

JOEEの先生は、通常週1回、定期的に児童養護施で教えています。正規の先生が出られないときは、他のJOEEの先生が代講をすることもあります。代理の先生たちは、新しい子どもたちと出会い、子どもたちのエネルギーと熱意を感じながら授業をするのが大好きです。

JOEE is active in several children’s homes in Tokyo including Chiba, one in Nagoya and one in Kobe. We are actively looking for more homes that would welcome free English lessons and we continue to train teacher volunteers. Contact us if you would like to help: ruth@joee.jp.

JOEEは、千葉を含む首都圏のいくつかの児童養護施設、名古屋の1施設、神戸の1施設で活動しています。無料の英語レッスンを受け入れてくれる施設をさらに積極的に探し、講師ボランティアの育成を続けています。ご協力いただける方は、ruth@joee.jp までご連絡ください。

Individual attention is very important for child development – programs like JOEE are crucial for children growing up in care homes.

Please donate by clicking on the “DONATE TO JOEE” button in the JOEE website: https://joee.jp

JOEEのウェブサイトの「DONATE TO JOEE」ボタンをクリックして寄付してください:https://joee.jp

Thank you for your support! ご支援いただきありがとうございます!

Taking a “Break,” but Still Working!

Many of you have heard about my unfortunate accident towards the end of the second day of the 500 km KIWL fundraising ride across Japan. Up until the accident, I was having a grand time, getting lots of exercise and taking in amazing sights.

After the hardest bit of climbing, we rolled into a small town and I stopped at a light, unclipped my right foot, put it down on the ground… then inexplicably fell towards the left where my other foot was still clipped in. Apparently, President Joe Biden had a similar tumble recently but was able to roll with it and brush it off. I was not as fortunate or as graceful. I broke the radius and ulna in my left arm.

My Apple Watch detected a fall and promptly called emergency services in Japan.

“Daijoubu desu ka?” said my wrist with concern. “Nope; not okay. Please send an ambulance!” was the reply from my cycling buddies. My wrist was sporting a new and strange looking angle. Breakage was obvious. Off to the hospital we went in my third ambulance ride ever. (Ambulance rides are free in Japan… in the States they cost about a thousand dollars — talk about adding insult to injury!)

I was in too much pain to cry so I yelled instead. I used my outdoor voice. No one told me to settle down and be quiet. They knew there was more pain to come. Bone-setting is no walk the park. The nurse had to pull on my arm in one direction while the doctor pulled in the other direction. They wore lead aprons and viewed the bone through an x-ray machine while they set it. My job was to yell and hang onto the nurse’s arm. I think I might have bruised her. “You’re a strong woman,” she said afterwards.

Below: Broken bone Above: Bone set and encased in cast
Back home with cast — cut is to allow swelling

Apologies to the nurse. I did entertain her afterwards with a short puppet show featuring a concerned Mehhhgumi. She recorded the skit with her phone. Maybe it will show up on the internet later. Here’s a recording from today, getting ready for surgery:

Sheep Smuggled into the Hospital – No Visitors Allowed

Sunday, June 19th: Now I’m in the hospital awaiting surgery. A hand specialist will put in a couple of titanium plates to stabilize the bones and speed the healing process. In the meantime, I have continued to work thanks to effective pain pills. Here’s a CT scan of the bone – they’re very thorough here:

CT scan of left radius and ulna

After the Break, Work Continued: On Sunday, June 12, I joined the KIWL cycling team for the final ceremony where we met some of the children for whom we were cycling and raising money. They were happy to meet a friendly pig and a sweet sheep. The children and their care home received a pile of new outdoor sports equipment. Then they cycled away on their own bikes as we waved goodbye.

Yukking it up with the help of painkillers

On Thursday, June 16, I was able to teach three classes at Green Hills School with the help of my son, Alec, who is visiting us from the States. He held each grade level in rapt attention as he described the different kinds of “bugs,” a generalized term for insects, spiders, arthropods and even gastropods.

Gastropods – boneless stomach-foot critters

Friday night, we collaborated during the 7pm online class for the children at Harukaen in Chiba. Alec was my “left-hand-man.” By using a wide variety of puppets, we had the kids identify which ones had bones and which ones did not. (They learned that sharks do not have bones, but instead have cartilage.) My most recent classes have incorporated information about bones helped by photos of my ride and my x-rays. Misfortune had might as well be instructive!

On Saturday, I met with the three students that I tutor and we had more lessons about biking and bones. This coming week, I may have to take a few days off to heal.

Thank you, everyone for your prayers and good wishes for a successful surgery and fast healing. If you still want to donate to a good cause, scroll down, use the link below and mention JOEE in the memo. Detailed instructions can be found in the previous JOEE post.

Knights in White Lycra Raising Funds for Orphanage Programs in Japan
https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/kiwl-2022-events/
Click and Donate!

500 Km Across Japan – Cycling with KIWL

KIWL Sponsor Jersey

FUNDRAISING RIDE: Tomorrow at 7am sharp, off I go — SHUPPATSU — on a 500 kilometer fundraising ride with the Knights in White Lycra. Will I survive? I hope so… after over 1,600 kilometers of training rides and having climbed over 24,000 meters of mountains, I think I’m ready. I am part of a group of 38 cyclists pedaling from Tokyo to a children’s care facility in Kanazawa from June 9 to 12. Please consider sponsoring me! Here is the link to the fundraiser with instructions below for making sure that your sponsorship is attributed to JOEE:

KIWL 2022 Fundraising Ride

Step 1: Click on link above (https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/kiwl-2022-events/ ) and find the following screen shown below.

Enter your donation amount and click on “Donate in honor”
Choose “KIWL 2022 Events”

Step 2: Choose “No Card.” (This will allow you to dedicate your donation to JOEE.)

Choose “No Card”

Step 3: Fill in the details: “From,” “In Honor Of,” and “Message.” (Screenshot sample below….)

Fill in your details!

Step 4: Complete your donation and then share the information with a friend!

TRAINING: I have been training for this event for a couple of months while continuing to teach JOEE classes online and communicating with our JOEE teachers in Tokyo, Kobe and Nagoya. Hopefully, the ride will help to raise awareness of the struggles that many children face while raising funds to continue programs to educate and empower these youth. Here are some photos showing the training process which took place in the hilly terrain of Nagano where I currently live and work teaching and farming.


Motivation: Why am I doing this? To raise funds for two organizations that help valuable but neglected children reach their full potential and be able to lead happy and fulfilling lives. JOEE and YouMeWe are committed to helping kids who are growing up in orphanages and care homes in Japan where about 60,000 children are in need of protection and help. Many have been removed from their homes for their own health and protection. A few are in foster care programs but the vast majority are in larger institutions and group homes. Adoption rates in Japan are abysmally low and most of the children that enter the care system remain there for the rest of their childhood. These children deserve a bright future. Japan needs healthy and happy children and youth to thrive and live in this beautiful country.

Please Help: I hope that you will consider donating to JOEE, sharing our vision and even volunteering as a teacher or helper to make a positive difference in the lives of children in Japan. Email me for more details: Ruth@joee.jp . In Japanese email: Hiroko@joee.jp . Thank you for caring!

JOEE to Ukraine

On Mondays, at 8pm Japan time, which is 2pm Ukraine time, children in Ukraine can tune in to a JOEE lesson crafted especially for them. Care is taken not to include any mention of planes, buildings or dangerous situations as the children are often tuning in from locations that are in or near to war zones during this time.

毎週月曜日の日本時間午後8時(現地時間午後2時)からウクライナの子どもたちは、特別に工夫されたJOEEのレッスンを視聴することができるようになりました。 この時期、子どもたちは戦地やその近くから視聴している場合も多いので、飛行機や建物、危険な情況に言及しないよう注意しています。

These lessons are organized by a non-profit in Eastern Europe, Smart Osvita, that seeks to bring educational moments to children who might need a joyful distraction from the stressful events that are happening in their lives right now. The website is here: nus.org.ua Daily lessons are listed in Ukrainian with information about the age group and subject matter of each lesson. The listing for Monday, April 18, is shown below. “A Hog Needs a Hug,” was one of the lesson offerings.

このレッスンは東欧の非営利団体「Smart Osvita」が主催するもので、今生活で起きているストレスの多い出来事からの楽しい気晴らしを必要としている子どもたちに教育の時間を提供しようとするものです。 ウェブサイトはこちらです: nus.org.ua 毎日のレッスンと、その対象年齢層とテーマがウクライナ語で掲載されています。 4月18日の掲載情報は、次の通りです。 「ハグを欲しがるホグ(ブタ)さん」というレッスンが提供されました。


During the hour-long JOEE lesson, Hamlet the Pig, along with some of his friends, taught the children English words. About 63 children logged in to the lesson. The moderator was able to unmute children who had a question or a comment, or just felt like talking to a friendly pig. In the process, my pugnacious pig made friends with stuffed animals on the other side of the world. Here is a reflection that I wrote after meeting these dear children, many of whom spoke English quite well!

JOEEの一時間のレッスンでブタのハムレットとその仲間たちが子どもたちに英単語を教えました。 約63人の子どもたちがレッスンにログインしました。 司会者は、質問や意見のある子ども、人懐っこいブタと話したくなった子どものミュートを解除できました。 そうしているうちに、ぶっきらぼうなブタさんは世界の反対側のぬいぐるみたちと仲良しになりました。 この愛らしい子どもたちに会った時の観想を書きました。英語の上手な子も多かったです!

— Ruth Gilmore Ingulsrud

If you feel led to donate in time or money, please remember the children of Ukraine. May they be protected from harm and may the war cease and the residents of Ukraine be able to return to their homes. Please pray and do what you can to help!

寄付や奉仕へと心動かされた方は、どうかウクライナの子どもたちを思い起こして下さい。 この子どもたちが危害から守られ、一日も早く戦争が終わり、ウクライナの住民が自宅に戻ることができるよう、 どうか、祈って下さい。そして可能な範囲でご支援をお願いします。

Walking & Running for JOEE

What are some ways to “Get Fit and Give Back?” The upcoming KIWL Palace Walk is one way that you and a group of your friends or colleagues can get some fresh air and exercise while raising money for a worthy cause. Sign up for the Imperial Palace Walk/Jog that takes place on April 22nd and 23rd near the Sakuradamon Station exit. More details provided when you complete the registration. ¥5,000 (or $50 donation for adults) gets you an exclusive T-shirt. The minimum for students is less.

Photo by Japan Travel

KIWL Palace Walk Sign-Up Process:

1. Go to the KIWL page on the website relating to the Walk. https://www.kiwl.net/events/imperial-palace-walkjog 

2. Click on “register here.” (Note: Begin at the link above in order to get your t-shirt.)

3. At the bottom of the registration page, there is a link to make the donation. https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/kiwl-2022-events/

4. When that page opens up, click on “DONATE NOW” button.

5. After entering “full name” and “email,” there is a button underneath and to the right — ‘Donate in honor’ which should be clicked on.


The following screen will appear:

6. Click on ‘no card’ and there you can add “JOEE” under the words, “In Honor Of” when donating. (See example below.)

That’s it! You’re done. Have a lovely walk or run around the palace grounds on a beautiful day in late April. May your steps lead you to many more paths of caring and compassion as you “Get Fit & Give Back.” Blessings on your journey.

Note: If you would like to make a direct donation to JOEE with no running around involved, you can click on the DONATE button to the left on this JOEE webpage.

Duck vs. Dinosaur!

Ever wonder what goes on inside a JOEE online lesson? Here’s one sample of a lesson that landed on the Japanese festival of Setsubun which is celebrated before the start of spring. This year, Setsubun landed on Feb. 3, the same day as the weekly online Thursday lesson at St. Francisco Children’s Home. “The children want to chase away an oni” said the JOEE helper at the orphanage. “But we don’t have any soybeans.”

JOEEのオンラインレッスンの中身が気になったことはありませんか?今回は、日本の節分にちなんだレッスンの一例をご紹介します。今年の節分は2月3日で、毎週木曜日に開催している聖フランシスコ子供寮のオンラインレッスンと同じ日でした。「子どもたちは鬼払いがしたいんです。でも、こちらには豆がありません。」と、児童養護施設のJOEEのヘルパーさんは言いました。

The JOEE lesson was set to begin in a few minutes, so it was time to brainstorm. First of all, I had to locate a monster…. an “oni.” I found an old costume headband from Halloween that had horns on it. Most “oni” have horns. But what about the face or the head? In homes with a mom and a dad, usually the dad will put on a mask and play the part of the “oni.” The children shriek with delight as the monster enters the house and then “drive out the evil” by throwing dried soybeans at the “oni.”

JOEEのレッスンは数分後に始まろうとしていたので、どうするかすぐに決めなければなりませんでした。まず、モンスター…… “オニ “を探さなければなりません。ハロウィンで使っていた、角のついた古いカチューシャを見つけました。鬼は角があるのが普通です。でも、顔や頭はどうなんでしょう?お父さんとお母さんのいる家庭では、お父さんがお面をかぶって鬼の役をすることが多いですね。子供たちは、鬼が家に入ってくると歓声を上げ、鬼に豆を投げつけて「鬼退治」をします。

“Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!” they yell, which roughly translates as: “Evil spirits get out! Good fortune stay in!” The pretend monster goes running away much to the delight of the children, who are feeling quite powerful at being able to drive off a monster with a handful of magic beans.

子どもたちは「鬼は外! 福は内!」と叫び、鬼がそそくさと逃げていきます。一握りの魔法の豆で鬼を追い払うことができたことに、子どもたちは強くなったような感覚を覚え、大喜びします。

So, I had to find a monster mask. Then I remembered the dinosaur head, sitting off to one side of my cluttered teaching studio. Yes, I have a tyrannosaurus head — a gift from an excellent teacher, Mr. Richards, with whom I had previously taught a summer school class… all about dinosaurs. My “oni” would have to be a T-rex with bright red horns.

そこで、鬼のお面を探すことになりました。思い出したのが、雑然としたスタジオの片隅に置かれていたティラノサウルスの頭でした。以前、サマースクールで恐竜の授業を一緒に担当したリチャーズ先生からもらったものです。私の「鬼」は、真っ赤な角の生えたティラノサウルスにするしかありませんでした。

I grabbed a pair of red gloves and a green jacket for the finishing touches to my costume. Now we needed something for the children to throw at the monster. Instead of soybeans, the children would throw tiny rubber ducks… but not at the screen (where the horned dino would soon appear). Instead, we would direct the children to throw the yellow ducks into the air! Yes, we just happened to have lots of little squeaky yellow ducks at the children’s home. We have used them for counting games and for teaching other vocabulary words.

赤い手袋と緑のジャケットで衣装を仕上げました。さて、次は子どもたちがモンスターに投げつけるものが必要です。大豆の代わりに小さなゴム製のアヒルを投げてもらいましたが、(このあと角のある恐竜が姿を現す)スクリーンには投げつけず、空中に投げてもらうよう指示しました。そう、たまたま子供寮には、キュッキュと音の出る小さな黄色いアヒルのおもちゃがたくさんあったのです。このアヒルは、数を数えるゲームをしたり、単語を教えたりするのに使っています。

Why would a dinosaur-oni be afraid of yellow ducks? Well, you’ll just have to watch the video and find out. And while you are at the YouTube channel that posts JOEE videos, why not subscribe and get notified when new videos are posted there? Click here to view part of the Setsubun JOEE Lesson:

なぜ恐竜オニは黄色いアヒルを恐れるのでしょうか?それは、ビデオを見てのお楽しみです。JOEEの動画を投稿しているYouTubeのチャンネルを登録すると、新しい動画が投稿されたときにお知らせが届きますので、登録してみてはいかがでしょうか?節分JOEEレッスンの一部を見るには、こちらをクリックしてください。

Another way to help the JOEE foundation, which brings free, lively English lessons to kids growing up in institutionalized care in Japan, is to send a donation in through the Global Giving link added below. Thank you for caring and sharing!

また、施設に入所している子どもたちに、無料で生き生きとした英語のレッスンをお届けしているJOEEの活動を支援するために、以下のGlobal Givingのリンクから寄付をすることもできます。ご協力ありがとうございます。

JOEE Global Giving Link

Christmas Gifts & JOEE-ful Music

Lining Up Gifts from CAJ with JOEE Teacher, Lexi (Names on bags blacked out for privacy)

The Christmas season was lively in the children’s homes that are receiving JOEE lessons. This year, with a well-organized gift drive carried out in coordination with Christian Academy in Japan, JOEE was able to bring personalized gifts to all 44 children in residence at the St. Francisco Children’s Home in Ota-ku and to the 5 children in the JOEE program at Chofu Gakuen Home. This year, the children (especially the teen individuals) were given an opportunity to request specific gifts so that we could meet their needs. Gift donors did their best to find the perfect gifts for all of the youth. The gifts were presented at Christmas parties – one held on Dec. 19 and the other on Dec. 23.

JOEEのレッスンを受けている児童養護施設では、賑やかなクリスマスシーズンとなりました。今年は、クリスチャン・アカデミー・イン・ジャパンの協力を得て、大田区の聖フランシスコ子供寮に入居している44人の子どもたち全員と、調布学園のJOEEプログラムに参加している5人の子どもたちに、JOEEから個別のプレゼントを届けることができました。今年は、子どもたち(特に10代の子どもたち)のニーズに応えられるよう、子供たちが具体的なプレゼントをリクエストできる機会を設けました。プレゼントを寄付してくださった方々は、子どもたち全員にぴったりのプレゼントを見つけるために最善を尽くしてくださいました。プレゼントは、12月19日と23日に開催されたクリスマスパーティーで贈られました。

Christmas Helpers Joyfully Load the JOEE Van at CAJ

Our two JOEE Christmas parties were aided by volunteers from Tokyo Union Church and its sister congregation, West Tokyo Union Church. Helpers played the piano, the violin, bells and a harp to bless the children with beautiful Christmas music. The JOEE students had learned a few simplified carols and exuberantly sang, “Joy to the World, sing joy, sing joy… sing joy, sing joy, sing joy! Sing JOY, JOY, JOY! Sing JOY, JOY, JOY!” It was a good reminder that the foundation of JOEE is JOY!

2回のJOEEクリスマスパーティーには、東京ユニオンチャーチとその姉妹教会である西東京ユニオンチャーチのボランティアが協力してくれました。ピアノ、バイオリン、ハンドベル、ハープなどを演奏していただき、子どもたちに美しいクリスマス音楽を届けていただきました。簡略化されたキャロルを覚えたJOEEの生徒たちは、「Joy to the World, sing joy, sing joy… sing joy, sing joy, sing joy!Sing JOY, JOY, JOY! Sing JOY, JOY, JOY!」と元気よく歌いました。JOEEの基本は喜び(JOY)だということを思い出させてくれました!

Tokyo Union Church Brings the Music to St. Francisco
Meeting a Heavenly Harp and Harpist for the First Time
Singing in a Circle at Chofu Gakuen

After the singing, the children heard the story of Christmas, the reason for this celebration and gift-giving — how God sent His Son, Jesus, as a gift to the world, to be born in a humble manger in Bethlehem. The story reminds us that God especially cares for and blesses the poor and the outcast; God honors those who are put down by society, like these children growing up in institutional care homes. These kids, often cruelly labeled “throw-away children” in Japan, are actually valuable gifts and should be treated as such.

歌の後、子どもたちはクリスマスの話を聞きました。クリスマスを祝い、プレゼントを贈る理由、つまり、神様が御子イエスを世界への贈り物として送り、ベツレヘムの質素な飼い葉桶で救い主がお生まれになったという話です。この物語は、神様が特に貧しい人や身寄りのない人を大切にし、祝福しておられることを思い出させてくれます。神様は、養護施設で育つ子供たちのように、社会から貶められている人々を尊ばれます。日本では「捨て子」という残酷なレッテルを貼られることが多いこれらの子供たちは、実際には貴重な贈り物であり、そのように扱われるべきなのです。

Little Ones Help to Tell the Christmas Story

Every child at St. Francisco Children’s Home received a Christmas gift bag. Inside, they found pairs of new warm socks, books and school supplies and a gift chosen just for them. Our volunteers had great fun helping the children cut strings, open boxes and install batteries. The Christmas party ended in a joyful cacophony of thank-you’s and goodbyes. The children were even waving to us from the balconies as we drove away.

聖フランシスコ子供寮では、すべての子どもたちにクリスマスギフトバッグが配られました。その中には、新しい暖かい靴下、本や学用品、そして、その子のために選ばれたプレゼントが入っていました。プレゼントの紐を切ったり、箱を開けたり、電池を入れたりと、ボランティアが楽しくお手伝いしました。クリスマスパーティーは、最後に感謝と別れの歓声で大いに盛り上がりました。帰りの車の中から、子どもたちがバルコニーに出て手を振っているのが見えました。

While we wish that we could give every child a gentle and loving family to care for them, we do what we can in making sure that they are safe and have joyful and positive learning experiences as they grow up in a care home. Please help JOEE in any way that you can. Financial gifts can be made through Global Giving by going to this link:

Joyful Opportunity English Education – Global Giving

すべての子どもたちに優しくて愛情に満ちた家族の温もりが与えられることを願ってやみませんが、子どもたちが養護施設で育つ間、せめて安全で楽しく前向きな学習体験をしてもらえるよう、できる限りのことをしています。皆様もできる限りJOEEをご支援下さるようお願いいたします。上記のリンクからGlobal Givingを通じて寄付を行うことができます。

A week after the Christmas parties, I received a beautiful handmade thank you card from the children at St. Francisco Children’s home. Inside I found handwritten notes from 17 of the residents. It was so sweet and heartwarming and made my holidays very happy indeed. A Merry Christmas to all and a very Happy New Year. We have great plans and hopes for 2022! Thank you for your support.

クリスマスパーティーの1週間後、聖フランシスコ子供寮の子どもたちから、手作りの素敵なお礼のカードが届きました。その中には17人の子供たちからの手書きの手紙が入っていました。そのカードはとても優さに満ちて、心温まるもので、私の年末年始をとても幸せなものにしてくれました。皆さまにメリークリスマス。良いお年をお迎えください。2022年には大きな希望を抱いています!

JOEE Lessons at Chofu Gakuen!

Thanks to the generous volunteering talents of two of our teachers, Annie and Lilian, JOEE lessons have begun at a newly remodeled facility in Chofu in the western part of Tokyo. Hurray!

Annie is a veteran teacher of small, active children and she excels at using English to delight, engage and teach. She is joined by Lilian, who was a bit timid at first, but who is a hit with the children who love her furry puppet feline sidekick.

Listen in as Annie gives us a summary of the first full JOEE lesson taught at this lovely facility:

Introductions – First of all, we handed out colourful nametags to each child and introduced Lilian and Tabby the cat. Nametags are very helpful, especially when beginning lessons. Building connections begins with learning names.


Ice Breaker – We started by tickling our toes and head and wiggling our arms and bodies to get warmed up before singing the Hello Song. The children enjoyed tapping and clapping to the beat as we sang. The staff joined in singing with us and the kids seemed to enjoy having each of their names sung. Hopefully the kids will join in singing as they become more familiar with the song. 
Classroom Management – We established the signal “are you ready?” “oh yes!” rhythmic chant and practiced it sitting and standing. We used this signal throughout class and will use it throughout our lessons to make sure kids are ready to listen. They are familiar with this kind of activity in the care facility as they usually do this kind of greeting before meals etc. 


Colour Kuruta! – We elicited different colour responses by pointing out the colours on our clothes and things around the room. The kids said them in Japanese at first, but with a bit of encouragement they repeated them in English. They needed a lot of repetition to retain the vocabulary. With coloured cards we played a memory game, the older kids did very well but it was a bit challenging for the youngest. As they turned over the card the child had to say the colour in English. Seeing that this was difficult, we changed the game to a version of KURUTA (a traditional Japanese guessing game). To start, the children put their hands on their head and when I said a colour they had to touch the corresponding card on the floor. The aim next time will be for the kids to take turns being the leader and say the colour out loud. 


Colour Matching Game – I brought out my colourful parachute and the kids placed the corresponding colour card in the correct place on the parachute. Then we sang RED, YELLOW, GREEN and BLUE to the “William Tell Overture” melody while shaking the parachute to the beat. They loved this activity!


Goodbye – Our lesson concluded with the Goodbye Song. We will begin and end each lesson the same way as this is reassuring for young learners and helps to build their confidence as they demonstrate their ability to remember the words.

We look forward to continuing lessons with this dear group of young learners in the joyful JOEE program and we are so grateful to our teacher volunteers. Contact JOEE via email if you are interested in volunteering: ruth(at)joee.jp

Teaching English Out-of-doors

Compelling English lessons can be taught anywhere, but with young children, they can be especially effective when taught out-of-doors. JOEE classes are taught both indoors and out-of-doors at orphanages, but we are also giving lessons in and around Shinanomachi and in Iizuna in Nagano.

魅力的な英語のレッスンはどこでもできますが、幼い子どもたちの場合は、特に屋外でのレッスンが効果的です。JOEEでは、児童養護施設を中心に屋内外でレッスンを行っていますが、長野県の信濃町や飯綱町の周辺でもレッスンを行っています。

For several months, JOEE has been teaching lessons at a unique school on the slopes of Iizuna called “Green Hills Outdoor School.” Their curriculum is largely focused on the out-of-doors and our natural environment and it appears that children really thrive with this approach to teaching.

数ヶ月前から、JOEEは飯綱山の麓にある “グリーン・ヒルズ小中学校”というユニークな学校でレッスンを行っています。この学校では、アウトドアや自然環境に焦点を当てたカリキュラムが組まれており、子どもたちはこの教え方のアプローチのおかげで、とても活き活きと勉強できているようです。

Follow a winding road up a hill in beautiful Iizuna, and you will find a jewel of a school tucked into the green arms of a forest. At “Green Hills School” in Nagano, Japan, a quiet revolution in education is percolating. Many lessons are conducted outdoors and children are encouraged to learn from their environment, ask important questions and be creative. This school is educating students who are learning to think for themselves and to value and protect nature.

美しい飯縄山の曲がりくねった道を登ると森の緑に抱かれた宝石のような学校に行き当たります。 日本の長野県にある「グリーン・ヒルズ小学校・中学校」では、静かな教育革命が湧き上がっています。 授業の多くは野外で行われ、子供たちは環境から学び、重要な問いかけをし、創造性を発揮するよう励まされます。 この学校で生徒たちは自分で考え、自然を大切にして守ることを学んでいます。

I have been hired by Green Hills School to bring native-level English lessons to the students in the elementary division. My lessons use the JOEE curriculum, teaching basic English words and phrases and adapting to the level of the students being taught. I use puppets, books, games and songs to teach English language skills.

私はグリーン・ヒルズ小学校で生徒たちにネイティブの英語レッスンを届けるために雇われました。 私の授業では、学習する生徒たちのレベルに合わせて基本的な英単語や表現を教えるJOEEのカリキュラムを使っています。 パペットや絵本、遊びや歌を使って英語スキルを教えます。

A few weeks ago, the students in grades 1 to 4 studied colors by enjoying a read-aloud “A Color of His Own” by Leo Lionni. They found colors on my I-Spy quilt and went on a scavenger hunt for colors. Our lesson ended with exuberant playtime as I made giant bubbles for the students. This week, we learned the words “Over,” “Under,” “Around” and “Between,” along with some other words. Students, with their puppets on their hands, went over a bench, under a table, and around some chairs as they experienced the words in English. Involving the whole body helps the children learn new words in a new language.

数週間前、1年生から4年生の生徒たちにレオ・レオニの「じぶんだけのいろ」を読み聞かせて色について楽しく学んでもらいました。 子供たちは、指さしキルトでいろんな色を見つけ、色探しの探検に出かけました。 生徒たちは、私が作った巨大なシャボン玉で元気いっぱい遊んで授業が終りました。 今週は「Over」、「Under」、「Around」、「Between」などの単語を学びました。 生徒たちは、手にパペットをはめて、ベンチを超え、テーブルを潜り、椅子を回って英単語を体験しました。 全身を使うことで子供たちは新しい言語の新しい単語を自然に身につけることができます。

As I teach, I am impressed by the creativity and curiosity of the students here. They are eager to try new things. They work hard at correcting their pronunciation. They have fun learning. This is what school is supposed to be like. I am happy to be teaching English at such a lively school that honors the bright spirit of the child.

教えていると、生徒たちの創造性と好奇心に感銘を受けます。 生徒たちは新しいことを試すのに意欲的です。 自分の発音を直すのに一所懸命です。 学ぶことを楽しんでいます。 学校とは本来こうあるべきです。 このような、子供たちの輝く心を大切にする活気あふれる学校で英語を教えることができて私は幸せです。(Translation by Tom Eskildsen)

— Ruth Gilmore Ingulsrud

Contact: ruth@joee.jp

Website: JOEE.jp

YouTube Channel: Ruth Gilmore Ingulsrud

Science Poetry Page: BelovedOfBeasts.com

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