Yokota High students explore Asian, Pacific cultures
By LEON COOK | STARS AND STRIPES Published: May 3, 2018
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Students at Yokota High School learned about Asian and Pacific cultures from local volunteers Thursday during the school’s annual Asia-Pacific Day.
Japanese residents from communities near the home of 5th Air Force and U.S. Forces Japan in western Tokyo and American volunteers with Asian and Pacific heritage demonstrated traditional arts, cuisine, music, and clothing.
Students learned to use a wooden mallet to pound steamed rice into a mochi rice cake – a treat that’s traditionally eaten during the Japanese New Year but consumed year-round.
Other volunteers taught youngsters to play taiko drums, the large percussion instruments used at Japanese festivals to keep time during dances.
Students also tried their hands — and feet — at taekwondo, a Korean martial art emphasizing kicks, and kendo, a Japanese martial art using wooden swords.
Some kids practiced calligraphy, the traditional Chinese and Japanese art of painting Kanji characters, and played the koto, an ancient 13-stringed Japanese instrument.
Other activities included learning to wear a kimono and hula dancing.