Yokota school's annual festival teaches students about Asian, Pacific cultures
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Students at Yokota’s Joan K. Mendel Elementary School learned about Asian and Pacific Island culture Friday during the school’s 14th annual JaPANDAsia festival.
Volunteers from neighboring cities gathered at the air base in western Tokyo, home of U.S. Forces Japan and 5th Air Force, for the event, whose name is a blend of Japan, Asia and panda, the school’s mascot.
Festivities kicked off with a morning fashion show — students strutted down a catwalk while modeling a range of Polynesian, Filipino, Korean, Chinese and Japanese clothing styles.
The students, ranging from pre-kindergarten to fifth grade, also saw a variety of cultural dance, music, cooking and martial arts demonstrations.
The Hawaiian dance presentation was a hit with fifth-graders; they hooted and cheered when classmates tried the percussion instruments hula dancers use in their performance.
Other activities included a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, taiko drumming, origami, calligraphy, flower arranging and a magic show.