Today was a day packed full of fun! After classes, the whole Academy dressed up in yukatas (traditional, Japanese, summer robes) and celebrated Tanabata. Tanabata, the star festival, celebrates the one day each year that the lovers, weaver princess Orihime, and the cow herder Hikoboshi, can cross the Milky Way and be together. It is celebrated by writing wishes on slips of paper and hanging them on a bamboo tree.
We had a demonstration on how to wear a yukata, followed by the opportunity for students to choose a yukata to wear! Yukatas were worn at dinner, followed by songs, pinatas, games, taiko drums, and pictures. Everyone really enjoyed wearing their yukatas.
We had an action-packed day of activities---after sleeping in a little, which was nice. After breakfast, we worked on our play projects. Then we played a variety of games with the Latin Academy students including a balloon toss. We had a pizza party for dinner, and a movie night to finish the holiday.
The Academy learned two new dishes, Onigiri (Rice ball) and Gyoza (Fried dumpling) and got to make it! Although not shown through pictures, students got to further work on the plays that will be performed for the family reception! The two plays received constructive criticism and advice from the Randolph-Macon College theater professor, Dr. Janet!
Students react to their first taste of Umeboshi, a Japanese pickled plum!
It was a hot but fun day in Washington, D. C. First we visited the Japanese Embassy's Japanese Cultural Center. We were able to talk to graduates of the JET program (Japan Exchange & Teaching) and receive instructions in ikebana (flower arranging Japanese style). Next, we headed to the Smithsonian Freer-Sackler Asia to America Museum, where we were treated to a docent's tour of the Japanese exhibits. Finally, we made our way to the National Arboretum. The Japanese bonzai exhibit was amazing!
Today, we started differently: We had options. We had three hours of time to study, go to church, or sleep in! After lunch, we had our first ever undokai (sports day). We participated in different events: Hands across the world, triathlon, six people legged race, and a watermelon smashing game. Tonight we'll be making keshigomu hanko (hand-carved rubber stamps).
Today started with language classes.Later, we were given the opportunity to make a Japanese street food: okonomiyaki for dinner. It was an interesting learning experience. Afterwards, we finished our final product for calligraphy. Many of our artistic abilities were able to flourish in this activity. The results came out very nicely.
Before the afternoon had started, the students got to meet Dr. Janet, a drama teacher at Randolph-Macon, who taught them how to warm-up for an upcoming show and assisted in the tips of making a play. Today, students also got to experience calligraphy writing! Everyone did an amazing job choosing a kanji (Chinese characters) such as: love, dragon, and happiness. Using a set of materials like a brush, ink, and special paper. Teachers helped the students write out the kanjis' they had chosen. After dinner, we'll be painting uchiwa, Japanese fans...pictures to come later.