Dance and internet!
Day ten ended after the nightly meeting, but some students stayed awake, working up until curfew on certain aspects of their oshibai performances. Day eleven began, once again, with daily classes, but after lunch students began to learn yosakoi, a traditional fisherman's dance typically performed in the northern region of Japan, Hokkaido. Once dance class ended, hans met up and students alternated between an hour in the gym and 30 minutes of internet time.
Meet the Minister
Mr. Takehiro Shimada, Minister of Cultural Affairs from the Japanese Embassy in Washington D.C. spent a few extra minutes with us for a photography session with the students.
After dinner on day 9, the academy students were given the opportunity to create their version of signature stamps, traditionally called hanko. They carved one hanko with their signature, and one with a design that they entered into a competition. Day 10 started with the typical language classes. After lunch, the students attended a lecture given by one of their RAs, Kei Sempai. The presentation focused on the art of kabuki theater, a traditional type of Japanese play that features men in all roles. For dinner, the students gave up eating at the school's dining hall in order to cook yakisoba, a type of stir fry noodle eaten in Japan. Students then continued work on oshibai props and costumes before ending the day.
Last night, students continued work on their oshibai costumes and props before ending the day with their nightly meeting. Day 9 resumed daily morning language classes with both beginner and intermediate/advanced classes writing and rehearsing self introductions for the Minister of Public Affairs arrival later in the day. The intermediate/advanced class then moved on to reviewing the two different Japanese adjective types and the beginner classes began learning the second Japanese alphabet, katakana, as well as how to say they liked or disliked certain objects. After lunch, students went back to the dorms to change into their second set of business casual clothes in order to properly greet the Minister and the Superintendent of Public Instruction. Each student took time to introduce themselves in Japanese and after his speech on Japanese-American relations, received time to personally ask questions and take photos.
Students finished their kanji calligraphy characters last night which were delivered to the library this morning to be 3-D printed. Sunday was calmer, allowing students to take time to do laundry, sleep in, and catch up on their self study. After lunch, students congregated for undokai, a sports day in Japanese schools, where students participated in relays, rajio taiso, smashing watermelon, and enjoyed a performance of "Love Story" by the one and only Noah. Each han competed as a team and afterwards received prizes of Japanese snacks.
Classes, Cooking, & Celebration
After dinner on day 6, the academy students practiced calligraphy using kanji (pictographic characters representing various words) they chose themselves. Day 7 progressed as usual with language classes into the morning and afternoon. After reviewing topics such as counting in Japanese and how to tell time, the beginner class learned how to describe the weather. The advanced class created a presentation on how to properly prepare shiratamadango (a type of Japanese dessert similar to mochi). After classes ended, advanced students presented the recipes and academy students split into their hans to prepare the dessert. After a majority of students had finished cooking, they celebrated George's birthday with a personal cake and card signed by all the students. Shaved ice, ice cream, and anko (red bean paste) were also provided to enjoy with the shiratamadango. Students will receive an additional calligraphy class after dinner and finish their kanji creation which will be 3-D printed into a stamp traditionally called "hanko".
Traditional crafts and calligraphy
After the excitement of yesterday's field trip to Carytown, many students turned in for an early respite. Day five returned to the typical class schedule with the beginner class learning how to tell time and communicate their age. The advanced class reviewed particles and their uses as well as translated a Japanese recipe to be cooked by the students tomorrow. Once classes ended, students gathered to paint uchiwa (the fans shown below) in their own personal styles. Once the painted fans dried and the painting supplies were cleaned, students congregated to hear a lecture on Japanese governmental structure given by Professor Lauren Bell. Upon completing dinner, students will took part in calligraphy with traditional Japanese ink, writing their favorite kanji character.
First stop The Maymont Japanese Garden.
We stopped long enough to take several group photos and then explored the park and ate lunch.
This is the Memory Book/Blog Han: The ones responsible for these daily post.
This is the Undokai/Nightly Meeting Han: They are responsible for the field day coming up this Sunday, and the meetings we have at the close of every day.
This is the Pop Culture Han: They are planning karaoke and pop culture nights for some good, old-fashioned, Japanese, fun times.
This is the Closing Ceremony Han: They are working on putting together a great ceremony to close out the Academy.
This is the Tanabata Han: They are putting together a great Japanese Star Festival as celebrated in Japan every July 7th.
2nd Stop: The Virginia Fine Arts Museum
3rd Stop: Carytown
We explored several shops including the Tokyo Market, and then had a myriad of dinner choices!
Meeting the President!
Day three ended with the academy celebrating Libby's birthday with cupcakes and fruit. Day four began with the beginner students not only learning how to introduce themselves in Japanese, but also a song about the four seasons that will be performed on July 13th. Advanced students reviewed katakana (the alphabet meant for foreign words) pronunciation and received some self study time in order to continue working on the scripts for the upcoming plays. After morning classes, students received a guest lecture from a professor of music and film, James Doering, who discussed the importance and impact of music and sounds in Japanese films, such as Spirited Away, which the students watched the night before. Finally, students met the president of Randolph-Macon College, Robert Lindgren, and each received a college themed t-shirt. In return, both Professor Doering and President Lindgren received academy t-shirts from the students.
At the end of Day 2, students gathered for their nightly meeting and recorded the day's thoughts in provided journals. At the start of Day 3, students participated in 'rajio taiso,' a series of Japanese stretches that they perform each morning. After breakfast, the students split into three individual classes. The beginner classes played a game that helped with hiragana (one of the Japanese alphabets) memorization while the advanced class began work on the scripts for the plays that will be performed by students on July 13th from 3:30 to 6:30 pm. After lunch, students had another hour of class before attending a lecture on yokai, the supernatural creatures of Japanese folklore. During this lecture, students gathered in their hans to conceptualize and illustrate an imaginary yokai based on strange occurrences at the academy. Later, students were given the opportunity to go to the gym, or take time to study and reflect on what they learned.