A Showcase of Japanese Cuisine

Akiko Tsuda, Nakamura Gakuen University

Quick Guide

  • Keywords: CLIL, Japanese food, presentation
  • Learner English level: Mixed
  • Learner maturity: High School, University
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes to 1 hour
  • Activity time: 10 minutes per group
  • Materials: Computers, presentation software such as PowerPoint (student choice), evaluation sheet for student presentations.

Japanese cuisine, or washoku, is designated by UNESCO as an Intangible Heritage. As the country becomes more globalized, there is a greater need for food-related conversations with English-speaking people in local communities. In addition, food is interesting and accessible to a broad range of students of all levels, and even students beginning to learn the English language can contribute something to the class. Using a project based on group research, students can collaborate to describe a familiar topic and feel confident giving presentations.


Step 1: Check with school librarians and content teachers, such as culinary arts and home economics instructors, to ensure that they are willing to be used as resources for this project

Step 2: Look for various Japanese cooking videos in English to show students in class (For example, the video clip: “Learn About Kyushu Cuisine with Traditional Recipes: Chicken Namban.”)


Step 1: During the brainstorming phase, instructors show students some realia such as restaurant menus, Japanese cookbooks, or short video clips in English of Japanese cooking. If the class has international students, they can share their own experiences of Japanese food.

Step 2: Divide students into groups of four or five. Discuss which aspects of Japanese food they would like to talk about. Each group may focus on a particular food, a specific food culture, cooking method, or any other aspect relating to Japanese food.

Groups decide which presentation format they will use: PowerPoint slideshows, quiz shows, cooking performances, or role plays. There is only one rule, each group member should say at least five sentences in English. As an option, instructors can record the student performances.

Step 3: Students research their topic at home or in the school library and gather material. Content teachers might give some advice for cooking methods.

Step 4: Each student must bring books and/or printouts of the information they found to class and design a presentation with their group members. If students ask for help, check the scripts, PowerPoint slides of their presentations, or listen to their rehearsals. Encourage students to show creativity. Students are encouraged to practice their lines for homework.

Step 5: Next class, students deliver their group presentations. The rest of the class enjoys watching and checking the presentations using the evaluation sheet (see Appendix).

Step 6: Collect evaluation sheets, read aloud several comments to each group, and announce the best group based on their total points. If the class is large, this can be a weekly activity, and the overall best presentation can be decided at the end of term from among the weekly winners.


This activity works well, even in large, mixed-level classrooms. No lengthy explanations are required to describe Japanese food culture, such as the school lunch system, festive dishes, or local cuisines. Through this project, many students reveal hidden talents as cooks, quiz show hosts, or actors. Instructors themselves will learn a lot about Japanese food culture from their students. Additionally, instructors and international students can talk about their homemade recipes in English to Japanese students.


Mido, N., & Tsuda, A. (2017). Learn about Kyushu Cuisine with traditional recipes! Chicken Namban. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8yTAhdG0QA


The lesson plan of this activity is supported by Nakamura Gakuen University Jr. College Project Research (2017–2018) and JSPS KAKEN-HI (2019–2021).


Sample Evaluation Sheet

Group Name





Visual Aids





Eye Contact































1=Poor 2=Average 3=Good 4=Excellent

Comments for the best presenters: