At the time of this posting, Ross School Field Academy Japan is having more fun than most people should be allowed to have. The team has gallivanted southerly from one town to the next in search of all the wonderful ways Japan plays a part in the global effort of environmental sustainability.
Some postings back, we were in Nagoya, Osaka, Okayama, and Kurashiki. We stayed in local accommodations, learning about the efficiency of space. We spent a day wearing traditional Kimonos, not only exploring the value of social appearance and the importance of one’s place and position in society, but also honoring the customs and traditions of our host country.
We ventured farther south to Fukuoka and made new friends who graciously invited us to their Taiko drum practice. Students in the class practice for three hours every day after school and six hours a day on the weekends.
Later that day members of a local community center extended and invitation to the Ross team to join them in mochi-making.
Mochi is a delicious Japanese sweet rice cake. The process involved in making mocha includes cooking special mocha rice, using heat, water, and a hammer to transform the rice into a sort of dough. Finally, the mochi dough is divided into bite-sized pieces and rolled into mocha flour. The activity accompanies the general gaiety of public holidays and festivals, and as the students took turns pounding the rice, they played with the local children around the area.
In the evening, the students took part in some star-gazing as volunteers from the school set up three large telescopes to view several constellations, the planets of Mars, Venus, Jupiter, as well as the Moon. The students were left delightfully exhausted and overjoyed and grateful for the experience provided to them from the local middle school.
There was a tour of the active volcano, Sakura-Jima, near Kagoshima, the southernmost tip of Japan proper and, leading into today, the group has travelled to Hiroshima to begin its tour of The Atomic Bomb Peace Park.
It is a place of reverence and one to which the highest respect should be shown. The park is a place where the energy is high and the overall sound is low. People come from across the world to understand not only what happened here, but more importantly what significance this beautiful place holds for the future of our planet.
Ross School is here to learn, experience, and grow.