“Wasshoi!” is the phrase that people shout in unison at Japanese festivals as they work together to shoulder the heavy portable mikoshi shrine through the streets. One of the meanings is to carry peace or harmony. Part jubilation and part cooperation, we chose this word to represent our mission.
The Wasshoi Foundation was established to provide financial support for high school students to travel to Japan for the purpose of extending their study of Japanese language and culture.
Students who meet the Wasshoi Foundation grant criteria:
Have successfully completed two years of Japanese study
Are currently enrolled in an upper level Japanese class at Los Gatos High School, or in the Salinas Union High School District
Will be exceptional representatives of their school/community in Japan
Would otherwise be unable to participate in travel opportunities without financial assistance
The grant is intended for students with financial disadvantage or exceptional financial circumstances.
Print and complete the application form
Print two copies of the recommendation form. One must be completed by your current Japanese teacher, and the other by an adult of your choice. Be sure to give both recommenders a stamped envelope addressed to Wasshoi Foundation, 1434 Carnot Drive, San Jose, CA 95126
For Los Gatos students, all components of the application must be postmarked by January 18, 2019. For Salinas students, all components of the application must be postmarked by December 1, 2018.
The cornerstone of our fundraising efforts is "Komorebi Sansou," a serene and traditional Japanese living space nestled in the Santa Cruz mountains. Allow us to host you for a night or a weekend, after which we will gratefully accept a tax deductible donation of any amount that you are inspired to make to the Wasshoi Foundation. Or donate now, and we’ll book a date later. Or just donate. Every dollar you donate goes directly to the support of student travel to Japan.
Meet Our Board
Tei Ann Dacus Jordan
Ann recently retired from a 35 year career as a middle school and high school teacher. In 2001 she taught the first Japanese class at Los Gatos High School, and for the last 17 years has built the Japanese program into a thriving and popular course of study covering four years of instruction, including AP. She was a member of the AP Japanese Development Committee and served as the College Board Advisor for AP Japanese. Although “retired,” she is still very much involved in Japanese language education in her role as the current vice-president of the American Association of Teachers of Japanese, as well as traveling across the country providing mentoring support to teachers of Japanese in the J-LEAP program.
As a high school teacher, Ann frequently accompanied her students on enrichment study travel programs to Japan. Although Los Gatos has the reputation of being an affluent community, she quickly recognized that many of her students faced significant financial challenges. Ann was inspired by these students to create the Wasshoi Foundation.
Peter retired in the spring of 2016 from a thirty year career in education, and promptly left for Japan to complete a six-week 950 mile walking pilgrimage among the 88 sacred buddhist temples in Shikoku. Some of his other retirement projects include working on the “japartment” at Komorebi Sansou, which was inspired by his first stay at a Japanese ryokan, and training as a docent at Big Basin Redwoods State Park. He also likes to blog about things.
Kristi Gerrior is a California attorney with 25 years experience representing corporations and trusts. She graduated from University of Cincinnati School of Law as a full scholarship fellow with the Urban Morgan Institute for International Human Rights. In college, she studied Russian and spent a semester in the former Soviet Union. Afterwards, she promised herself that if she had children, they would not wait so "late in life" to learn a foreign language. True to promise, her two daughters attended a dual spanish immersion elementary school in Mountain View. She and her husband enjoy all things Redwood. Her favorite word "mir", the Russian word that means both peace and world, now has a friend in "wasshoi".
Kumi started teaching Japanese at Los Gatos High School in 2018 after Jordan Sensei retired. She started her career as an exchange Japanese language teacher in 1999-2001 through the JALEX Program, working with American Japanese teachers in Farmingdale, Maine. Later she moved to California to attend the Monterey Institute of International Studies where she received an MA in Teaching Foreign Language. She taught Japanese at Lynbrook High School for 15 years. During that time, she has taken her students to Japan and hosted groups of Japanese high school students and Japanese college interns.
Outside of classroom, she enjoys hosting Benkyokai meetings with local Japanese teachers for exchanging ideas and sharing resources. As a regional representative of the California Association of Japanese Language Teachers, she strives to build a strong support system for Japanese teachers in the Bay Area.
Brendan Nystedt is a writer, editor, and traveler. His work has been published in print and online at Reviewed, Wirecutter, USA Today, and WIRED. Currently, he's an account manager with WE Communications, representing Microsoft's Surface PCs. He's a native of Los Gatos and an LGHS graduate who was in the inaugural class of the Japanese language program there. He's been to Japan five times and is always looking for another opportunity to go back.