It’s been really busy at work these past few months, and now that I have some time off for the holidays I am catching up on posting to the blog. The one major event that I have not written about yet was the Jida Matsuri: Festival of Ages held on the island back in November. The Kyoto students put this event on for the Modesto students.
The goal of this event was to share the history of Kyoto with the Modesto students, a cultural exchange. The event recreated traditional wear, samurai gear, and structures from six Japanese time periods – Meiji, Edo, Azuchi-momoyama, Muromachi, Kamakura, and Heian. Everything for this event was created by the Kyoto students in the weeks prior to the festival. As you as you can see from the above picture, they put an extraordinary amount of work into their outfits and displays. The clothing even used flex path and would blow in the wind, a very nice touch.
Kyoto students manned their stations and the Modesto students moved between displays, interviewing the Kyoto students with a list of scripted questions:
- What is the name of your time period?
- What years mark the __________ period?
- What is the __________ famous for?
- Tell me something about your outfit. Can I have a copy of it for myself?
- How do you write “___________ period” in Japanese characters?
- Who were the Emperors or Shogunates during the __________ period?
- Tell me something about this temple/shrine.
Temples and shrines were assigned as extra credit, so not all of the Kyoto students had them on display at their stations. Each Modesto student was giving a set of interview sheets that they had to complete during their interviews to complete this assignment. A map showed where on the island each display could be found. We’ve had to distribute our activities across our three islands so as not to overload any one island during activities like this. The good news is that we placed our order for another new island, which we expect to come online early in January. This island will complete our vision for one large 2 x 2 island.
Map of student displays for the event
Thankfully, the problems we were having with Second Life were mostly resolved prior to this event (except for a problem with voice on the Kyoto side). The Japanese students had put a lot of work into building objects on their island to share the history of Kyoto with the Modesto Students. We had a lot of student participating from both groups, which made this a very successful event. Some of the Modesto students were in labs that we kept open at our two high schools while others were logged in from home (this took place after school late in the afternoon in California).
Student interviews in progress
Most of the students got through the different stations in the hour allocated for this event. The Kyoto students were using open text chat to conduct their interviews since we were experiencing problems with voice. This actually worked out very well, as often there were two or three conversations going on at one station concurrently.
After the event, many Modesto students stayed on and socialized, only logging off when the labs closed or they were called away for dinner. They Kyoto students had to leave at the end of their morning class. Many Modesto students now have copies of the outfits from this event in their inventories. Here’s one Modesto student wearing her new Japanese outfit.
This was a fun and informative event of cultural exchange. This is the type of exchange this project was created for. Chris Flesuras in Kyoto envisioned and organized this entire event. His students are really getting a handle on how to build and create using the Second Life tools. I look forward to our next event.
Chris is in the states for the holidays, and we are getting together this week to plan out the next few months on the island. A new year brings new opportunities as we work towards this summer when the Kyoto students are coming to Modesto for four weeks, three weeks attending summer school with the Modesto students. They will create a DVD of their visit and travels in California to take home at the end of their exchange. It should be a lot of fun!
More pictures from this event can be found at our flickr page.