A few weeks back we had our second annual Jidai Matsuri (Festival of Ages). Here’s a link to last year’s event. This year was a lot different than last year’s because the students were much more involved (I think it was because they somewhat knew what to expect, and what was expected of them) and interactive.
During this event the Japanese students build replicas of area temples from Kyoto, and create clothing for their avatars that is historically accurate to the time period of their temple. They break up into groups and the American students come and visit their buildings and interview them with a list of predetermined questions.
Here are a few pictures from this year’s event:
A few of the temples for the Festival of Ages
A Japanese student at her building ready for questions
Modesto students descending on the event
A Modesto student conducting his interview of a Kyoto student
This year we had an open video conference link up so that the students could communicate face-to-face. During the event there were not a lot of conversations going on, but as students started finishing there were groups of students forming on both sides of the link to talk. One pair of Kyoto girls sang a few songs for the Modesto students. After they applauded, the girls stated “You’re turn now!”. The assembled Modesto guys stumbled through a rendition of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer for the Kyoto Girls.
Kyoto girls deciding on a Christmas song to sing for the Modesto students
Getting crowded in front of the Polycom video conference unit
I had to leave for another appointment, but the teacher who ran this lab that participated in this event said the video conference stayed open for over an hour with active participation from both sides of the camera. Many of these students will be traveling to Kyoto this Spring Break to meet their counterparts in this project. An exchange has existed for 18 years now. The flow of students stopped after the 9/11 attacks, with the Japanese starting theirs back up a few years back. This Spring Break will mark the first exchange from Modesto to Kyoto in eight years.