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Students from Joan K. Mendel enjoyed the beat of a different drum as performers from Ome Daiko a Japanese Taiko drumming group performed for the schools annual Japan-Asia Day on Tuesday.
Students from Joan K. Mendel enjoyed the beat of a different drum as performers from Ome Daiko a Japanese Taiko drumming group performed for the schools annual Japan-Asia Day on Tuesday. (Grant Okubo/Stars and Stripes)
Students from Joan K. Mendel enjoyed the beat of a different drum as performers from Ome Daiko a Japanese Taiko drumming group performed for the schools annual Japan-Asia Day on Tuesday.
Students from Joan K. Mendel enjoyed the beat of a different drum as performers from Ome Daiko a Japanese Taiko drumming group performed for the schools annual Japan-Asia Day on Tuesday. (Grant Okubo/Stars and Stripes)
Samantha McCraken, a 10-year-old at Joan K. Mendel Elementary School fashions a traditional Japanese kimono Tuesday for Japan-Asia Day.
Samantha McCraken, a 10-year-old at Joan K. Mendel Elementary School fashions a traditional Japanese kimono Tuesday for Japan-Asia Day. (Grant Okubo/Stars and Stripes)
Rio Karr, an 8-year-old at Joan K. Mendel Elementary School learns the how to weirld a Kendo stick from students at Kashiwagi  High School in Kanagawa Prefecture on Tuesday, as part of the Japan-Asia Day activities at the school.
Rio Karr, an 8-year-old at Joan K. Mendel Elementary School learns the how to weirld a Kendo stick from students at Kashiwagi High School in Kanagawa Prefecture on Tuesday, as part of the Japan-Asia Day activities at the school. (Grant Okubo/Stars and Stripes)
Fifth-gradersJennifer Shoup (right) Alicia Morgan and Chris Pegram learn the art of Ikebana - the Japanese art of flower arrangement for Japan-Asia Day at Joan K. Mendel Elementary School on Tuesday.
Fifth-gradersJennifer Shoup (right) Alicia Morgan and Chris Pegram learn the art of Ikebana - the Japanese art of flower arrangement for Japan-Asia Day at Joan K. Mendel Elementary School on Tuesday. (Grant Okubo/Stars and Stripes)
Students from Joan K. Mendel enjoyed the drummings of Ome Daiko, a Japanese Taiko group that performed for the schools annual Japan-Asia Day on Tuesday.
Students from Joan K. Mendel enjoyed the drummings of Ome Daiko, a Japanese Taiko group that performed for the schools annual Japan-Asia Day on Tuesday. (Grant Okubo/Stars and Stripes)
Kimono school teachers from Hamura City show fifth-graders Spencer Mack and Samantha McCraken from Joan K. Mendel Elementary School how to wear kimono during their Japan-Asia Day celebration Tuesday.
Kimono school teachers from Hamura City show fifth-graders Spencer Mack and Samantha McCraken from Joan K. Mendel Elementary School how to wear kimono during their Japan-Asia Day celebration Tuesday. (Grant Okubo/Stars and Stripes)

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Students at Joan K. Mendel Elementary School immersed themselves Tuesday into Japan-Asia Day.

Whether it was donning a kimono, arranging flowers or sampling Asian cuisine, the students got a taste of the local culture.

Japanese women from neighboring Hamura City helped 10-year-old Samantha McCracken into a kimono.

“It was really fun. I want to buy one when I get older,” she said. “It’s so beautiful. It’s tight, but beautiful.”

McCracken said she felt very fortunate to be living in Japan.

“I think I’m very special to get to do this,” she said. “There are so many things about the Japanese culture that can be explored.”

Others like Jackson Salmon, 9, enjoyed the beats from the Taiko drum group Ome Daiko.

“I really like when they hit the drums and it vibrates,” he said. “It’s so amazing how they do it so fast. Seeing it in person makes me want to try it myself.”

For Jennifer Shoup, the day couldn’t have come at a better time. The 10-year-old spent time Tuesday learning Ikebana — the Japanese art of flower arrangement. When she was done, she had crafted an arrangement that she plans on giving to her mom on Mother’s Day.

okubog@pstripes.osd.mil

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