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BLA Hosts the First Lady of Japan during her Boston Visit

Twenty Boston Latin Academy students got to practice their Japanese language skills today with a very distinguished visitor, the wife of Japan’s prime minister.


While her husband, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, spoke at Harvard, Akie Abe visited the elite Boston exam school to sit in on a Japanese 3 class and engage the Boston Latin Academy students as they took turns reading a popular Japanese folktale.


Abe, who fielded questions from the students, told them through an interpreter that when she studied in Japan the teachers spoke at a podium but at BLA the class was “managed in a very interactive way.”


She said that when was a teenager she liked to spend time with her friends and to ski. The students in turn -- some speaking in near fluent Japanese, others in English -- explained to her the reasons they decided to learn Japanese.


“I appreciate that she took so much time out of her very business schedule to visit our class,” said Nicole Dubov, 18, a senior and Japanese language student at BLA who presented Abe with a T-shirt made by the school’s Japanese Culture Club. “She seemed like a sweetheart.”


BLA Headmaster Emilia Pastor said the Japanese Consulate arranged the visit to her school because BLA is renowned for its Japanese language program, which includes two outstanding, full-time teachers, Michiko Homann and Kimiko Lange.


“It’s such a unique experience for us,” Pastor said of the rare visit by the prime minister’s wife, who will join her husband as he travels later to meet with President Obama in Washington D.C. “She enjoyed speaking to our students and got a flavor of what our youth is like. She was very down to earth.”


Before leaving, Abe told the students: “I am very much looking forward to seeing you again – in Japan.”