Support our mission
Taiko drummers from Fussa, Japan, perform for students at Joan K. Mendel Elementary School at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Thursday, May 5, 2016. Community members came to the school to introduce the students to Japanese and other Asian cultures.

Taiko drummers from Fussa, Japan, perform for students at Joan K. Mendel Elementary School at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Thursday, May 5, 2016. Community members came to the school to introduce the students to Japanese and other Asian cultures. (James Kimber/Stars and Stripes)

Taiko drummers from Fussa, Japan, perform for students at Joan K. Mendel Elementary School at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Thursday, May 5, 2016. Community members came to the school to introduce the students to Japanese and other Asian cultures.

Taiko drummers from Fussa, Japan, perform for students at Joan K. Mendel Elementary School at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Thursday, May 5, 2016. Community members came to the school to introduce the students to Japanese and other Asian cultures. (James Kimber/Stars and Stripes)

A girl performs a traditional Japanese dance for students at Joan K. Mendel Elementary School at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Thursday, May 5, 2016. The day kicked off with an Asian fashion show, followed by cultural dances, music, cooking and martial arts demonstrations.

A girl performs a traditional Japanese dance for students at Joan K. Mendel Elementary School at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Thursday, May 5, 2016. The day kicked off with an Asian fashion show, followed by cultural dances, music, cooking and martial arts demonstrations. (James Kimber/Stars and Stripes)

Anna Soh points out accessories on a hanbok, a traditional Korean dress, to students at Joan K. Mendel Elementary School at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Thursday, May 5, 2016.

Anna Soh points out accessories on a hanbok, a traditional Korean dress, to students at Joan K. Mendel Elementary School at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Thursday, May 5, 2016. (James Kimber/Stars and Stripes)

Taryn Alexander has a kimono fitted during a culture fair at Joan K. Mendel Elementary School at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Thursday, May 5, 2016. Members from the local community came to the school to introduce the students to Japanese and other Asian cultures.

Taryn Alexander has a kimono fitted during a culture fair at Joan K. Mendel Elementary School at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Thursday, May 5, 2016. Members from the local community came to the school to introduce the students to Japanese and other Asian cultures. (James Kimber/Stars and Stripes)

Students from Joan K. Mendel Elementary School at Yokota Air Base, Japan, pound rice into mochi Thursday, May 5, 2016. Afterwards, they got to eat the Japanese treat.

Students from Joan K. Mendel Elementary School at Yokota Air Base, Japan, pound rice into mochi Thursday, May 5, 2016. Afterwards, they got to eat the Japanese treat. (James Kimber/Stars and Stripes)

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan – Students at Joan K. Mendel Elementary experienced the staples of Japanese and other Asian cultures firsthand Thursday during the school’s annual JaPANDAsia festival.

Volunteers from Yokota’s neighboring cities gathered at the air base in western Tokyo for the event, whose name is a blend of Japan, Asia and panda, the school’s mascot.

The day kicked off with an Asian fashion show, followed by cultural dance, music, cooking and martial arts demonstrations.

“This is so cool,” a boy said while watching a classmate wield a large wooden hammer to help make mochi, a Japanese rice cake.

Mendel students enthusiastically raised their hands to volunteer in a karate demonstration, and cheered on a group of classmates who wiggled around the gym during a Polynesian dance performance.

Other JaPANDAasia activities included Japanese calligraphy, marionettes, storytelling, origami, ikebana and Taiko drumming.

news@stripes.com


Stripes in 7



around the web


Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up