Tampopo Kai

Tampopo Kai

Tampopo Kai

Tampopo Kai is a Japanese cultural program for preschoolers. Through various engaging activities such as singing, storytelling, and arts & crafts, children and their parents are exposed to the richness of the Japanese language and culture.

Topics that will be covered in Tampopo Kai classes are, but not limited to: Japanese holidays, customs, traditions; Japanese vocabulary words (e.g. colors, numbers, shapes, sizes, family members, greetings, seasons, weather, body parts); Japanese arts (songs, kamishibai-style Japanese storyboards, origami).

JASC - Tampopo Kai

The program is organized around three main ideas:

  1. Continue to present an impactful program that is responsive to the developmental needs of infants and toddlers.
  2. Encourage the appreciation of the Japanese language and culture through fun activities.
  3. Create an environment that nurtures positive self-identity by connecting participants to their ethnic heritage.

Who would be a good fit?

  • Children 5 years old and younger
  • Families interested in exposing their children to Japanese language, culture, and/or arts
  • Parents who want their children to develop and maintain a connection to their Japanese heritage
  • Parents who are looking for a tight-knit community of families raising multilingual children in the U.S.

Tampopo Kai Class Schedule

Online classes will be held on Mondays and in-person classes will be held on Saturdays. All classes will be held from 10:30 am until 11:30 am. For additional information about in-person or online classes, email

(English or Japanese) at


たんぽぽ会 根宜直美(ねぎなおみ)

Spring Session 1 Classes 1 2 3 4 5
Mondays on Zoom (Online) 2/19 2/26 3/4 3/11 3/18
Saturdays In-person at RFUMC XX 3/2 XX 3/16 3/23

Monday Online Class registration form is at the end of this page. Please click here to go directly to the registration form or scroll down after the photo gallery.

Saturday In-Person Class Registration is FULL. Please click here to sign up on the waitlist and to be notified when Spring Session 2 class registration opens.

Click image to enlarge photo.

Please Note: In-person classes are held at Ravenswood Fellowship United Methodist Church, 4511 N Hermitage Ave., Chicago, IL 60640. There is NO parking lot for the church. Please follow local signs for street parking. There is a loading parking spot at the entrance for drop off. Come in through the main office doors, two glass doors to the left of the green sanctuary doors, when standing in front of the building on Hermitage Avenue.

Frequently asked questions about the Tampopo Kai Program

  • Are all classes held online?
    Tampopo Kai offers both ONLINE and IN-PERSON classes. Online classes are on Mondays, In-Person are on Saturdays. All classes are 10:30 – 11:30 am.
  • Are infants too young to attend classes?
    Not at all! We encourage parents to bring their babies to let them hear spoken Japanese. We sing many Japanese children’s songs and read Japanese stories alongside simultaneous English translation. It is a great opportunity to immerse the child in the Japanese language.
  • Do parents need to participate in the class, too?
    Yes please! Tampopo Kai is geared towards children 5 years old and younger so a parent or guardian must attend alongside their children. For online class, we ask parents to assist with accessing the Zoom link and managing the on/off of microphones. It’s an enriching experience for the whole family!
  • Is Tampopo Kai a Japanese language class? Tampopo Kai exposes children to the Japanese language, but it is not explicitly a language class. Basic Japanese vocabulary words are taught with supplemental explanations in English. Tampopo Kai is more of a cultural program rather than a language program.

About Naomi Negi, Instructor of Tampopo Kai

Originally from Osaka, Japan, “Naomi Sensei,” as she’s known by the community, has been involved with Tampopo Kai as its instructor since 1987. She first became involved with Tampopo Kai due to her strong desire for her three children, who were all born and raised in the US, to build and maintain a connection to their Japanese heritage. She has dedicated 35+ years of her life to creating engaging lesson plans for multiple generations of multicultural children. Outside of instructing Tampopo Kai, she keeps busy as a cultural artist visiting schools, libraries, and museums running workshops and demonstrations of Japanese cultural arts, and remaining connected with the Tampopo alumni community.

For her many years of achievement and leadership, and her dedicated service in the communities we live, work, and play in, Naomi received an “Exemplary Community Service” Award at the 2018 Asian American Lunar New Year Celebration. She has also received a Cultural Achievement Award in 2023 from the Japan America Society of Chicago.

Click the photo for a video to learn more.

Trimming the Japan tree at the Museum of Science and Industry is a time-honored tradition for Tampopo-Kai families. Tampopo has been decorating the Japan tree with joy and pride for the Christmas Around the World exhibit since 1989.

Please contact Jenn at the JASC office with any questions about the registration form by email or by phone at (773) 275-0097 ext. 228.