When Makiko Nakasone's son Michael registered three years ago for Japanese 101 at Glendale Community College, she was thrilled. A native of Kofu, Japan, Nakasone was proud to see her son embrace his heritage.
Under the tutelage of professor Shihoko Tatsugawa, Michael began studying both Japanese alphabets and conversation skills, as well as history and culture. But soon he had exhausted all the Japanese-language resources available at the college.
Despite the growing popularity of the class — hundreds of students compete for a few dozen spots each session — supplemental materials were in short supply. There were no Japanese-English dictionaries in the library, nor any Japanese language software at the language lab.
Nakasone, then the president of the Glendale Rotary Club Noon, set about to stock the language department with all the missing educational tools. She began coordinating with the Kofu Rotary Club in Japan and the Glendale Rotary Club Sunrise to generate support.