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A kimono resting on table in preparation for JapANDasia at Joan K. Mendel Elementary School at Yokota Air Base, Japan May 5, 2015. JapANDasia is the school's annual Japanese and Asian culture festival.

A kimono resting on table in preparation for JapANDasia at Joan K. Mendel Elementary School at Yokota Air Base, Japan May 5, 2015. JapANDasia is the school's annual Japanese and Asian culture festival. (James Kimber/Stars and Stripes)

A kimono resting on table in preparation for JapANDasia at Joan K. Mendel Elementary School at Yokota Air Base, Japan May 5, 2015. JapANDasia is the school's annual Japanese and Asian culture festival.

A kimono resting on table in preparation for JapANDasia at Joan K. Mendel Elementary School at Yokota Air Base, Japan May 5, 2015. JapANDasia is the school's annual Japanese and Asian culture festival. (James Kimber/Stars and Stripes)

Kimono accessories resting on table in preparation for JapANDasia at Joan K. Mendel Elementary School at Yokota Air Base, Japan May 5, 2015. JapANDasia is the school's annual Japanese and Asian culture festival.

Kimono accessories resting on table in preparation for JapANDasia at Joan K. Mendel Elementary School at Yokota Air Base, Japan May 5, 2015. JapANDasia is the school's annual Japanese and Asian culture festival. (James Kimber/Stars and Stripes)

Ryan Decker and Autumn Sparks of Joan K. Mendel Elementary School in Yokota Air Base, Japan practice "kimono kitsuke," or the art of wearing Japanese traditional dress, May 5, 2015 during the school's annual cultural festival, JapANDasia. More than 160 volunteers participated in the festival to teach the elementary school students about Japanese culture and language.

Ryan Decker and Autumn Sparks of Joan K. Mendel Elementary School in Yokota Air Base, Japan practice "kimono kitsuke," or the art of wearing Japanese traditional dress, May 5, 2015 during the school's annual cultural festival, JapANDasia. More than 160 volunteers participated in the festival to teach the elementary school students about Japanese culture and language. (James Kimber/Stars and Stripes)

Autumn Sparks of Joan K. Mendel Elementary School in Yokota Air Base, Japan practice "kimono kitsuke," or the art of wearing Japanese traditional dress, May 5, 2015 during the school's annual cultural festival, JapANDasia. More than 160 volunteers participated in the festival to teach the elementary school students about Japanese culture and language.

Autumn Sparks of Joan K. Mendel Elementary School in Yokota Air Base, Japan practice "kimono kitsuke," or the art of wearing Japanese traditional dress, May 5, 2015 during the school's annual cultural festival, JapANDasia. More than 160 volunteers participated in the festival to teach the elementary school students about Japanese culture and language. (James Kimber/Stars and Stripes)

A Joan K. Mendel Elementary School volunteer ties an obi around a student practicing "kimono kitsuke," or the art of wearing Japanese traditional dress, May 5, 2015 during the school's annual cultural festival, JapANDasia. More than 160 volunteers participated in the festival to teach the elementary school students about Japanese culture and language.

A Joan K. Mendel Elementary School volunteer ties an obi around a student practicing "kimono kitsuke," or the art of wearing Japanese traditional dress, May 5, 2015 during the school's annual cultural festival, JapANDasia. More than 160 volunteers participated in the festival to teach the elementary school students about Japanese culture and language. (James Kimber/Stars and Stripes)

Music students from Kashiwagi Gakuen Kouko, a local high school, perform modern Japanese music for students from Joan K. Mendel Elementary School at Yokota Air Base, Japan May 5, 2015 as part of the school's annual cultural festival, JapANDasia. More than 160 volunteers participated in the festival to teach the elementary school students about Japanese culture and language.

Music students from Kashiwagi Gakuen Kouko, a local high school, perform modern Japanese music for students from Joan K. Mendel Elementary School at Yokota Air Base, Japan May 5, 2015 as part of the school's annual cultural festival, JapANDasia. More than 160 volunteers participated in the festival to teach the elementary school students about Japanese culture and language. (James Kimber/Stars and Stripes)

Students from Busonjuku, a local karate school, demonstrate the martial art May 5, 2015 during Joan K. Mendel Elementary School's annual cultural festival, JapANDasia at Yokota Air Base, Japan. More than 160 volunteers participated in the festival to teach the elementary school students about Japanese culture and language.

Students from Busonjuku, a local karate school, demonstrate the martial art May 5, 2015 during Joan K. Mendel Elementary School's annual cultural festival, JapANDasia at Yokota Air Base, Japan. More than 160 volunteers participated in the festival to teach the elementary school students about Japanese culture and language. (James Kimber/Stars and Stripes)

Students from Busonjuku, a local karate school, and Joan K. Mendel Elementary School of Yokota Air Base, Japan practice the martial art together May 5, 2015 during the school's annual cultural festival, JapANDasia. More than 160 volunteers participated in the festival to teach the elementary school students about Japanese culture and language.

Students from Busonjuku, a local karate school, and Joan K. Mendel Elementary School of Yokota Air Base, Japan practice the martial art together May 5, 2015 during the school's annual cultural festival, JapANDasia. More than 160 volunteers participated in the festival to teach the elementary school students about Japanese culture and language. (James Kimber/Stars and Stripes)

Students from Busonjuku, a local karate school, demonstrate the martial art May 5, 2015 during Joan K. Mendel Elementary School's annual cultural festival, JapANDasia at Yokota Air Base, Japan. More than 160 volunteers participated in the festival to teach the elementary school students about Japanese culture and language.

Students from Busonjuku, a local karate school, demonstrate the martial art May 5, 2015 during Joan K. Mendel Elementary School's annual cultural festival, JapANDasia at Yokota Air Base, Japan. More than 160 volunteers participated in the festival to teach the elementary school students about Japanese culture and language. (James Kimber/Stars and Stripes)

Students from Busonjuku, a local karate school, demonstrate the martial art May 5, 2015 during Joan K. Mendel Elementary School's annual cultural festival, JapANDasia at Yokota Air Base, Japan. More than 160 volunteers participated in the festival to teach the elementary school students about Japanese culture and language.

Students from Busonjuku, a local karate school, demonstrate the martial art May 5, 2015 during Joan K. Mendel Elementary School's annual cultural festival, JapANDasia at Yokota Air Base, Japan. More than 160 volunteers participated in the festival to teach the elementary school students about Japanese culture and language. (James Kimber/Stars and Stripes)

Taiko drummers from Oume Daiko, a local traditional Japanese drum club, demonstrate their art to students of Joan K. Mendel Elementary School May 5, 2015 during the school's annual cultural festival, JapANDasia at Yokota Air Base, Japan. More than 160 volunteers participated in the festival to teach the elementary school students about Japanese culture and language.

Taiko drummers from Oume Daiko, a local traditional Japanese drum club, demonstrate their art to students of Joan K. Mendel Elementary School May 5, 2015 during the school's annual cultural festival, JapANDasia at Yokota Air Base, Japan. More than 160 volunteers participated in the festival to teach the elementary school students about Japanese culture and language. (James Kimber/Stars and Stripes)

Taiko drummers from Oume Daiko, a local traditional Japanese drum club, demonstrate their art to students of Joan K. Mendel Elementary School May 5, 2015 during the school's annual cultural festival, JapANDasia at Yokota Air Base, Japan. More than 160 volunteers participated in the festival to teach the elementary school students about Japanese culture and language.

Taiko drummers from Oume Daiko, a local traditional Japanese drum club, demonstrate their art to students of Joan K. Mendel Elementary School May 5, 2015 during the school's annual cultural festival, JapANDasia at Yokota Air Base, Japan. More than 160 volunteers participated in the festival to teach the elementary school students about Japanese culture and language. (James Kimber/Stars and Stripes)

Taiko drummers from Oume Daiko, a local traditional Japanese drum club, demonstrate their art to students of Joan K. Mendel Elementary School May 5, 2015 during the school's annual cultural festival, JapANDasia at Yokota Air Base, Japan. More than 160 volunteers participated in the festival to teach the elementary school students about Japanese culture and language.

Taiko drummers from Oume Daiko, a local traditional Japanese drum club, demonstrate their art to students of Joan K. Mendel Elementary School May 5, 2015 during the school's annual cultural festival, JapANDasia at Yokota Air Base, Japan. More than 160 volunteers participated in the festival to teach the elementary school students about Japanese culture and language. (James Kimber/Stars and Stripes)

Taiko drummers from Oume Daiko, a local traditional Japanese drum club, demonstrate their art to students of Joan K. Mendel Elementary School May 5, 2015 during the school's annual cultural festival, JapANDasia at Yokota Air Base, Japan. More than 160 volunteers participated in the festival to teach the elementary school students about Japanese culture and language.

Taiko drummers from Oume Daiko, a local traditional Japanese drum club, demonstrate their art to students of Joan K. Mendel Elementary School May 5, 2015 during the school's annual cultural festival, JapANDasia at Yokota Air Base, Japan. More than 160 volunteers participated in the festival to teach the elementary school students about Japanese culture and language. (James Kimber/Stars and Stripes)

Alexander Richardson, a second grader from Joan K. Mendel Elementary School in Yokota Air Base, Japan, makes a cheese "gyouza," or dumpling, May 5, 2015 during the school's annual cultural festival, JapANDasia at Yokota Air Base, Japan. More than 160 volunteers participated in the festival to teach the elementary school students about Japanese culture and language.

Alexander Richardson, a second grader from Joan K. Mendel Elementary School in Yokota Air Base, Japan, makes a cheese "gyouza," or dumpling, May 5, 2015 during the school's annual cultural festival, JapANDasia at Yokota Air Base, Japan. More than 160 volunteers participated in the festival to teach the elementary school students about Japanese culture and language. (James Kimber/Stars and Stripes)

A Joan K. Mendel Elementary School volunteer cleans an "usu," or a bowl used for making the Japanese rice dessert mochi, May 5, 2015 following the school's annual cultural festival, JapANDasia. More than 160 volunteers participated in the festival to teach the elementary school students about Japanese culture and language.

A Joan K. Mendel Elementary School volunteer cleans an "usu," or a bowl used for making the Japanese rice dessert mochi, May 5, 2015 following the school's annual cultural festival, JapANDasia. More than 160 volunteers participated in the festival to teach the elementary school students about Japanese culture and language. (James Kimber/Stars and Stripes)

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — More than 160 volunteers from Yokota’s neighboring cities visited Joan K. Mendel Elementary School on Tuesday as part of the annual JapANDasia cultural festival.

The performers put on two concerts, a karate exhibition, a dance recital and a traditional Japanese puppet show. They also taught the students how to make some popular Japanese foods, wear a kimono and create the art of origami.

Susumu Sunaga, a Japanese-language teacher at Mendel, said the school has put on the cultural festival for more than 30 years.

“This festival helps our students understand who their neighbors are outside of the gate,” Sunaga said. “They see traditional Japanese and modern cultures and have a chance to practice Japanese language because many of our presenters cannot speak very much English. It is very helpful and, I think, fun for them.”

The festival caps off a year-long study of Japanese culture and language before summer vacation. In November, the school will resume its exchange student program with an elementary school from Saitama prefecture and continue their regular visits with local sister schools.

“It is a unique experience for our students to be able to learn Japanese from native speakers in their native country and can really help our students when they return to the states,” Sunaga said. “It is a very popular and important part of our program.”

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