Community Connections – Introducing Aozora Shokudo

Our community includes a range of independent organisations running their own programs, events and workshops on a regular basis in various venues across our park on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis. This month we would like to introduce Naoko Inuzuka, founder of Aozora Shokudo.

  • Please introduce yourself.

I am Naoko, director of the Sunday Japanese class, Aozora Shokudo, at Eco House. Born in Tokyo, I grew up in several towns in Japan. It has been already 13 years since I arrived in Melbourne as an adult. After completing degrees in Fine Art and Education, I have been working at bilingual schools and Steiner schools, and also been exhibiting my artworks.

  • What do you do? What is Aozora Shokudo? What kind of activities or experiences happen in these classes?

Aozora Shokudo is a Sunday Japanese class, and the name means ‘blue sky cafeteria’. Children with Japanese background get together and share the fun learning time and experience. I want this class to be everyone’s place that they feel belonging. Also I hope that children will hold a good acceptance about themselves as having Japanese background. At the moment we have about 20 children for 2 different age group classes; the main 9-16 years-old class & the new 5-7 years-old class.

Our main activity for the main age group class is preparing a snack. We value the experience of having homemade snack around the table together. It is a delicious, heart warming and connecting experience that is seasonal, cultural and local. We also offer creative activities that are integrated with immersed language learning. We have done many fun classes such as making teacups and having tea ceremony, Kokedama moss-ball making, opening one-day café project, sowing an apron, growing Japanese herbs, sliding noodles, and lots of Japanese cultural activities. Our every-week activities are unique as well, incorporating music & rhythm, poetry readings and brain-gyms. We only communicate in Japanese language. 5-7 years-old class has just started in 2017. I run this class inspired by the Steiner education. It is beautiful class with lots of textures, colours and songs. I have many amazing parents and teachers, also people who have supported Aozora Shokudo. I have met and worked with great people to keep this place going.

  • What made you start Aozora Shokudo? What do these classes mean to you?

I wanted Australian-Japanese children to have a deep and positive connection to the self by having a good acceptance of the self as being Japanese descendants. I experienced struggles myself as being in Australia having Japanese identity in the last 13 years. It has been a place for myself to belong to and also being accepted. Aozora Shokudo means a lot to me.

We have classes during school term, every Sunday morning between 9:30-12:00. Please contact me and arrange a visit to our fun class in Japanese.
For more details see or follow Aozora Shokudo on Instagram.


By |2017-11-01T09:20:33+11:00November 1st, 2017|Community Groups, Venue Hire|0 Comments