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Students don traditional Japanese kimono with help from local volunteers during Asian-Pacific Day at Yokota High School at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Thursday, May 3, 2018.
Students don traditional Japanese kimono with help from local volunteers during Asian-Pacific Day at Yokota High School at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Thursday, May 3, 2018. (Leon Cook/Stars and Stripes)
Students don traditional Japanese kimono with help from local volunteers during Asian-Pacific Day at Yokota High School at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Thursday, May 3, 2018.
Students don traditional Japanese kimono with help from local volunteers during Asian-Pacific Day at Yokota High School at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Thursday, May 3, 2018. (Leon Cook/Stars and Stripes)
Students play the koto, an ancient 13-stringed instrument important in traditional Japanese culture, at Yokota High School at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Thursday, May 3, 2018.
Students play the koto, an ancient 13-stringed instrument important in traditional Japanese culture, at Yokota High School at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Thursday, May 3, 2018. (Leon Cook/Stars and Stripes)
Students pound steamed rice to prepare mochi, a type of rice cake enjoyed during Japanese New Year, during Asia-Pacific Day at Yokota High School in western Tokyo, Thursday, May 3, 2018.
Students pound steamed rice to prepare mochi, a type of rice cake enjoyed during Japanese New Year, during Asia-Pacific Day at Yokota High School in western Tokyo, Thursday, May 3, 2018. (Leon Cook/Stars and Stripes)
A Yokota High student smiles while playing a taiko during Asia-Pacific Day, Thursday, May 3, 2018, at Yokota Air Base, Japan.
A Yokota High student smiles while playing a taiko during Asia-Pacific Day, Thursday, May 3, 2018, at Yokota Air Base, Japan. (Leon Cook/Stars and Stripes)
Austin Fisher, a sophomore at Yokota High School, Japan, demonstrates taekwondo during Asia-Pacific Day, Thursday, May 3, 2018.
Austin Fisher, a sophomore at Yokota High School, Japan, demonstrates taekwondo during Asia-Pacific Day, Thursday, May 3, 2018. (Leon Cook/Stars and Stripes)
Yokota High School students try the traditional Japanese martial art of kendo during Asia-Pacific Day, Thursday, May 3, 2018.
Yokota High School students try the traditional Japanese martial art of kendo during Asia-Pacific Day, Thursday, May 3, 2018. (Leon Cook/Stars and Stripes)
High School students learn Japanese calligraphy during Asia-Pacific Day, Thursday, May 3, 2018, at Yokota Air Base, Japan.
High School students learn Japanese calligraphy during Asia-Pacific Day, Thursday, May 3, 2018, at Yokota Air Base, Japan. (Leon Cook/Stars and Stripes)

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.

cook.leon@stripes.comTwitter: @LeonCook12

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