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Category: UFRA Classes

Cooking Japanese Cuisine in English Workshop

Cooking Japanese Cuisine in English Workshop


On Thursday March 7, from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm at the Takasu Kominkan (community center) another of UFRA’s series of learning something new and the workshop being taught in English was done.  Naho Kuroda taught a workshop in Japanese cuisine in English.  It was a fun event and all the students learned how to cook an authentic Japanese meal.  The real treat was getting to taste all the delicious food after the hard work was done.




UFRA’s Introduction to Creative Photography Workshop

UFRA’s Introduction to Creative Photography Workshop

UFRA Creative Photography workshop braving the weather in search of photographs. 

On the last Sunday in October I was fortunate to have the opportunity to share some of my love of photography with others.  UFRA,(Urayasu Foreign Residents Association) helped me to organize a three hour workshop to introduce some of my concepts of creative photography to others. Additionally, all the students fees will be donated to a Myanmar charity that brings clean drinking wells to the countryside.

Despite the cold and the drizzling rain we had a turn out of 10 photography lovers including a Tanabe family of four.  We started off with a brief explanation of some of the basic numbers that you need to improve and understand a bit of the science behind photography.  I introduced them to f-stop (aperture), shutter speed, and film speed.  Stressing that if you understand how setting these numbers affect your photographs then you are on your way to improving your images.

We next went over the idea of rule of thirds.  I know, it is a bit formulaic, but to someone who has never even thought about how to compose an image it helps out.  One needs to learn some of the rules before one can effectively break them with dramatic effects.

I showed them how to use the view finder, and to look and try to see the image changes how they move around the subject.  Changing your perspective, being able to show the world as you see it is one of the most impact on my own photography style.

By the time we went outside there was a steady drizzle.  Honami, a young woman, came without an umbrella so I lent her my green raincoat.  Kazuki had to run down the street to the 100 yen shop to buy a clear vinyl umbrella.  And then we were off to explore a bit of the old part of town in Urayasu, in and around Flower Dori (フラワー通り).

I loved watching them all get their cameras out and start taking pictures.  Every so often one of the students would come up to me and ask me a question, or show me an image they had taken.  It really was warmed my soul to see them to be so enthusiastic about photography.

We walked around the backstreets across the old fishing canal and went into an old fisherman’s house that was built in the late 19th century.  The elderly volunteers were overjoyed to have so many visitors on a rainy day.  After spending some time in the old fisherman’s home we walked over to an old general store that also was built in the late 1800s.  This home even has a beautiful Japanese garden in the back yard.

I felt like I had wound up my student’s creative energy and now like the Energizer Bunny they just went on and on.  There was no stopping!  The weather, problems with their cameras.  They all were determined to go out and try new ways of seeing and using photography as a means of expression.

I stressed to them that the camera is only a tool, it is in the hands of an artist that the creativity happens.  One of my youngest students was only using her parent’s cellphone.  It didn’t matter she was still able to explore the world of photographic image creation.

All in all it was a fabulous day.  It helped to fuse my passion for photography with my passion for teaching.  I need to give a big shout out to Meme, who brought along her husband Hisaki, for helping me through UFRA to organize this workshop.  Also I need to thank the entire Tanabe family!  Also to Honami, and Kazuki too.

I look forward to sharing my love of photography in the future.


Each student was asked to select their favorite picture that are displayed below.  I am so proud of all the work that they did.


Jacob Schere, originally published on Lucid Communication website.

















Shoji Flower 障子の花

Jacob, Shoji Flower 障子の花


French Cooking Workshop Review

French Cooking Workshop Review

I joined the UFRA French cooking class on 24 October.
Originally it was planned only for one day on 1st October, but so many people singed up for the class that a second day was planned.
I am so glad that I could join the class and I had no longer wondered why the class was so popular.   It was so popular because we learned a lot about French cooking, but most of all we had such a good time and we made new friends.
I want to express my heartful thanks to UFRA for arranging the class and Marriane for her great volunteer spirit.
Saw Mi
Some Thoughts on One of UFRA’s new Classes

Some Thoughts on One of UFRA’s new Classes

This Spring UFRA has begun to offer some new classes. A
student writes to offer her experience in one of them:
One of UFRA’s new classes this Spring is the Mixed
Media Art Class taught by Jacob Schere. I attended the
first lesson and enjoyed it very much! The semester has 12
classes and we are going to work on 6 art projects, such as
stencil art, T-shirt designing, and linoleum printing. We
started with the creation of colorful collages – and the
interesting thing was that just after one class you could
see how much hidden imagination we have! I hope we’ll
be able to show our work in UFRA’s multi-cultural
exhibition in July.
Jacob’s student, “K”