Welcome to Mori no Ike! Join our community to explore the exciting world of Japanese language and culture. This summer at Mori no Ike we will be offering nine weeks of one-week Virtual Village programs. Each week we will explore a different aspect of Japanese culture and language. There will be one five-week virtual high school credit program and one four-week residential high school credit program. The residential program will be held at its own secluded lakeside campus near Cass Lake, Minn., about 16 miles away from the main Concordia Language Village campus near Bemidji. Come expand your cultural awareness through a fun, interactive adventure centered around the culture and lifestyle of Japan.
Explore Japanese language and culture further with these FREE videos created by our Mori no Ike sensei (staff)!
Villagers at a Mori no Ike Virtual Village will live the language and culture of the 127 million people of contemporary Japan — from here, there or anywhere! The course of each day is spent pursuing a series of community and cultural activities—both traditional and modern—including music, fashion, martial arts, traditional arts and anime.
At a Mori no Ike Virtual Village session, villagers may try their hand at karate, create origami art or perfect their shodo (calligraphy) talents. Activities are all based in the Japanese culture and further villagers’ language acquisition.
In order to best take advantage of this interactive experience, you will need the resources necessary for e-learning (reliable internet access, a device per villager with a webcam and microphone) and any individual adaptive devices needed; headphones are recommended but not required. Use of Chromebooks is not recommended as villagers cannot access all the features of the Virtual Village platform. As a program of Concordia College, we are coordinating our efforts with the college so that all virtual platforms will have the necessary and appropriate security features to protect the privacy of users, including compliance with FERPA and COPPA.
Hanna Hana Brandt is dean of Mori no Ike (first half), the Japanese Language Village. Hana has been with Concordia Language Villages for 21 years as a counselor, credit teacher, and abroad program leader. This is her 9th year as dean. She is currently the academic year program Leader for Japanese youth, adult and family programs. Hana was a villager at Lac du Bois for four years before joining the Mori no Ike community.
Hana earned her B.S. in Japanese language from Georgetown University. She also has a M.Ed. in elementary education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and holds a license in Japanese language and culture education from the University of Minnesota. She currently teaches Japanese at Harding High School, an IB school in St. Paul, Minn. Hana has spent over three years studying and working in Japan.
Along with her husband, Hana also leads a family-week program at Camp Manito-wish YMCA in Northern Wisconsin.
Jack Tamaki Shimizu
Jack Tamaki Shimizu is dean of Mori no Ike (second half). Tamaki staff at Mori no Ike since 2008, and he has also held leadership positions as a Two-Week Curriculum Facilitator and Credit Facilitator. Tamaki has served as dean of Mori no Ike since 2017. Tamaki also previously attended Concordia Language Villages’ Japanese program as a two-week villager, credit villager, and a credit abroad villager in Japan. In his home state of Virginia, Tamaki earned his bachelor’s degree from the College of William & Mary with dual majors in Psychology and East Asian Studies. During his undergraduate studies, Tamaki also studied abroad at Keio University in Tokyo, Japan. He went on to earn a Master’s in Japanese Language and Linguistics from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, with a focus in pedagogy and sociolinguistics. During both his undergraduate and graduate years, Tamaki spent many semesters in his universities’ Japanese classrooms as a teaching assistant and later as an independent instructor of his own Japanese courses
Midori Maya Soderberg
Midori Maya Soderberg is the lead teacher of our academic-year Club Mori no Ike program. Her background includes a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Grinnell College and teaching experience at schools in Japan. Maya has worked in our summer Village since 2015 and helped found our Club Mori no Ike program in 2020.