To wrap up our first week of academy, we got some much needed free time. We had the opportunity to attend church, go to breakfast on our own time, and catch up on some much needed sleep. After lunch, we attended a lecture by Kyle Sensei. This lecture was on Yojijukugo; four character (kanji) phrases. Some, such as 一石二鳥（いっせきにちょう）(isseki nichou) (one stone, two birds), have English idiom equivalents. Others, like the theme for the academy, 桜梅桃李（おうばいとうり）(ou bai tou ri) (Cherry Blossom, Plum Blossom, Peach, Apricot), express ideas of uniting as one, even though we may have our differences. Following this lecture, we got practice with kanji in the form of a scavenger hunt. After being divided into groups of three or four, we scoured the campus in search of red rocks with kanji characters on them. We gained bonus points if we could combine our rocks into Yojijukugo phrases. Most groups ended up gathering between 8 and 15 rocks. Following dinner, Joey Sensei gave a lecture on a novel written in the early 11th century, The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu. As a story with many surprising twists and turns (and a strange plot) we were on the edge of our seats the whole time.
As our final week came to an end, students were left with mixed opinions. While some loved the jam packed schedule, others felt the need for more free time. Some students have enjoyed the food in the dining hall, and others not so much. Many have felt a newfound sense of independence that they plan to carry into their lives after the academy. One thing everyone could agree on, however, was the memories we will cherish with the new friends we have made at the academy.