SBS language | Stress-free environment to connect in Japan, Melbourne mums create their own learning community for themselves and their children

A Sydney-based Japanese mother and director of a Japanese-learning community in Melbourne, Naoko Inuzuka, has published a book to expand the community’s activities.


Ms. Naoko Inuzuka is the manager of Aozora Shokudo (Blue-Sky Cafeteria), a Japanese learning community in Melbourne.

Ms Inuzuka has taught Japanese in Australia and has seen some Y3 children begin to show reluctance to go to Japanese community language schools, this becomes more evident as they get older.

Learning Japanese as a second language and becoming bilingual is not for everyone. It takes commitment and dedication followed by consistent effort over years. Going to another school on the weekends and doing homework every week often becomes too stressful not only for the children but also for their parents.

Ms. Inuzuka decides to create her own fun environment to focus on celebrating ties to Japan in a more relaxing, non-school setting. She started Aozora Shokudo in 2015 with eight families in the garden of her house.

AT Aozora Shokudo, the teachers are not Japanese language experts, but mothers. They choose the subject they would like to teach, such as cooking, Japanese folk dancing and story time. Cooking together and sharing cooked snacks is one of the main activities of Aozora Shokudo.

in the sound, Ms. Inuzuka tells how the activities started and what they would like to achieve with their Aozora Shokudo Community.

Ms. Inuzuka recently published a book in Japanese in hopes that their activities can spread to Japanese communities around the world.

“Getting kids to be bilingual and fluent in Japanese is not our goal,” Ms Inuzuka said.

“We would like to create a place where children can have fun and, at the same time, celebrate their connection to Japan, regardless of their language skills.”

Aozora Shokudo (Blue-Sky Cafeteria) in Melbourne is a learning community for children and families of Japanese descent

Aozora Shokudo (Blue-Sky Cafeteria) in Melbourne is a learning community for children and families of Japanese descent.

Aozora Shokudo/Facebook

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