Saturday, July 12, 2014

FOR PARENTS: Student Chekout & Closing Ceremony Information

8:13 AM Posted by Va Japanese Academy No comments
Information for July 13 Student Checkout

Access to the dorms:
Please do not arrive before 10AM;  entry will not be allowed before then.
Carrying items out of the dorm begins exactly at 10AM and everything must be out by 11:30AM. 
(10AM - 11:30AM). There will also be no allowance for entry after 11:30AM.

The Closing Ceremony begins at 12PM in the Blackwell Auditorium (where the Opening Ceremony was held).
The ceremony will end around 1:30PM.

Students of the GJA Academy will send reminders emails to parents later today and any other information.

If you have further questions, please contact

Thank you!

Friday, July 11, 2014

10 July 2014: Shopping in Carytown

7:11 PM Posted by Va Japanese Academy , , No comments

Word of the day: bijutsukan (art museum)

Today, the Japanese Academy visited the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Students were allowed to roam around the museum for most of the morning. After a few hours, all the students got into their companies toured the museum with the museum curators, visiting exhibits such as the Japanese and East Asian galleries. After the tour, we were able to enjoy some delicious Panera catering for lunch and then headed to Carytown.

-Matias マティアス

Kitchenware inside Tokyo Market

Today we were able to visit the shopping district in Richmond, called Carytown.  We went there in particular to visit a shop named Tokyo Market. The store featured various Japanese items  such as food, drinks, candy chopsticks, dining ware and much more. The students were excited to see many types of Japanese candy and snacks.


9 July 2014: GJA 2014 Variety Show!!

7:09 PM Posted by Va Japanese Academy , No comments

Word of the Day: ikimashoo (Let’s go)


Wooo, variety show! On Wednesday we, the students, put our talents on display in the academy’s variety show. The show was comprised of 23 acts (including a few surprise performances) which showcased the students’ and the senpais’ musical, theatrical, and artsy talents. Performances ranged from a tae-kwon-doe performance by Michael and Adam (which was interrupted by Brandon, Nate, and Antoine rendition of Rick Astley’s hit song, Never Gonna Give You Up), a recital of poetry by Sharon and Christina, and a human algorithm presented by the academy’s advanced class. To top off the festivities, the academy wished Chung senpai a happy birthday and his company showed a video of them thanking Chung senpai for all the wonderful things he has done for them. The feels were real...

-  Antoine
Nate, Antoine and Brandon "rick-rolling" during the middle of the show

Erik, Antoine, Adam, James and Lindsey singing I'm Yours by Jason Mraz

Thursday, July 10, 2014

8 July 2014: Curry Rice & Japanese Math

6:37 PM Posted by Va Japanese Academy , , , , No comments

Word of the day: Tabemono (food)

Caitlin and Melissa making vegetarian curry

Today the students served and prepared curry rice. The students were divided into groups (6 total) and each group began to make their own curry, with the use of basic ingredients such as carrots and potatoes, as well as “secret” ingredients unique to each group, ranging from garlic to chocolate. Each group prepared their curry from scratch, making the rice and curry stew separately, before mixing both together to create (a hopeful delicious) tonight’s dinner.

- Antoine

Japanese Curry Rice

This evening, Clark Sensei, a math teacher at Randolph-Macon College, taught us about Japanese math, and how it relates to religion, art, and history. Beginning in 1600, Japan entered the Edo Period, and for political reasons, the country was closed to all Western influence. This created an explosion of Japanese art and culture, and the environment was perfect for the development of mathematics. However, Japan was closed right before the European invention of symbolic geometry and calculus; therefore, it did not experience the explosion of new math techniques that Europe did. However, the samurai, being unable to fight, turned to mathematics as a pastime. They especially appreciated the aesthetics of geometry. In order to share the theorems that they proved, they hung the math problems on tablets, called ema, as offerings to the gods, and challenges to other worshippers. Clark Sensei showed the students pictures of Japanese temples as examples of geometry and religion intertwining.  One of these math problems was offered to the students as a challenge.

- Christina B. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

7 July 2014: The Star Festival~!

6:51 PM Posted by Va Japanese Academy , , , No comments

Rivercity Taiko Group performing for the GJA Students

Today we celebrated the annual Japanese summer festival of Tanabata, held every year on June 7th (7/7). There’s a legend behind the festival where two lovers, Orihime and Hikoboshi, get separated by the gods. Only on June 7th can they see each other again, and the Japanese celebrate their reunion on this day. The festivities usually consist of yukata (summer kimono), bon odori (dancing in a circle), games, lots of food, and fun activities for all. We also had the opportunity to watch a performance from River City Taiko, a taiko drumming group from Richmond. Everyone enjoyed the performance thoroughly! Afterwards, we sang the traditional Tanabata song as a group, and witnessed a short skit from the Tanabata company. It is also a Tanabata tradition to write down your wish on the tanzaku (wish paper) and hang it on the sasa (type of bamboo tree). Then we proceeded to the games, prizes, and fun. All of the sensei declared this festive event the highlight of the academy!


Lindsey and Suyun playing on taiko drums, performing the skills they've learned in taiko culture class

GJA Students wearing yukata, summer clothing and playing the taiko drums together

Monday, July 7, 2014

5 July 2014: Japanese Movie Night

6:12 AM Posted by Va Japanese Academy , , 1 comment

Word of the day: Kazoku (family)

Yahhou! やっほー

Yesterday the student’s in Otani sensei’s culture class were treated to another extravagant lesson in the art of the taiko drum. Otani sensei and Tomomatsu senpai taught students synchronization via repetition and utilized metronomes to instill that sense of togetherness amongst the students. Taiko drummers mutter short “battle cries” to communicate what move is being performed which include:

Don + Kon – Heavy hit
Su – Pause
Tsu- Light hit

The students utilized these simplistic motions to create an extended pattern of taiko drumming and rumor has it that a performance may be scheduled for the closing ceremony (spoiler alert). 

- Antoine

Saturday evening we had the chance to watch the Japanese comedy, The Magic Hour.  This followed the story of a young man under the employment to the town’s boss and his attempts to save his life and his girlfriend. When the boss demands to see the hit man, Della Togashi, the young man hires an amateur actor, who believes he is acting the role in a movie. Of course hilarity ensues as the young man pretends to be a director and lets no one know the reality of the situation.


Japanese Movie: The Magic Hour

Saturday, July 5, 2014

4 July 2014: Independence Day Celebration

11:28 AM Posted by Va Japanese Academy , , , , No comments

GJA Students preparing to walk in the parade in their hachimaki and happi
GJA Students singing songs in Japanese and waving to spectators during the parade

Yesterday, the Academy participated in Ashland’s Independence Day Parade. Students sang and greeted all the crowds with smiles and our group’s favorite word, yahhou! Afterword, we all hung out at the carnival. Some enjoyed crepes while others sipped on strawberry lemonade. Last night, the sensei called us all outside for what was listed on our schedule as “Rajio Taiso Part 2”. Lawless sensei had described to us how difficult it was the night before. Nervously, we all lined up and tried to mimic Otani Sensei’s complex movements. To our relief, it was all a prank! Sakamaki Sensei can out with all the ingredients for s’mores. The students celebrated the Fourth of July with s’mores, dancing, and some casual sports games. 

Today (7/5), we started our weekend with language class. The advanced class practiced shodo, while the beginners learned vocabulary and practiced their song for the closing ceremony. Later tonight, we will be enjoying our second movie night!

- Lindsey

GJA Students blowing bubbles, dancing and celebrating Independence Day