Unfortunately, this will be the last blog post published by the students at the Academy. Thanks Mom for telling me that you liked it in a letter. Thank you to all parents and stray Google wanderers for checking out our posts. I know I had a blast working with the Blog/ Thank You Note Company, and I only hope the rest of our writing team feels the same way. Sayounara!
Upon arriving at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts today, our group was treated to an in-depth presentation of the museum’s entire East Asian art collection. It was especially intriguing to see how all the art was connected in style and usage. It spanned from Chinese, to Korean, and then finally to Japanese art and prints. We even got to see some interesting objects like decorative screens, intricate bowls and pottery, and sword handles.
We learned how to tell directions today! Now we can tell someone how to get the bank, park, or a Seven-Eleven. We can also name places on a map as well.
Due to the field trip, class was postponed until the evening. Today we reviewed the reports we did on the museum’s works and commented on them. Then, we wrote an essay on everything we did today and began to brainstorm caption ideas for the slideshow, making it a pretty eventful class!
Despite the extremely hot temperatures, after spending time in the air conditioned VMFA, everyone went to a local shopping district in Richmond called Carytown! We split into groups and visited various stores, with mainly everyone purchasing toys and snacks from Japan. Even though I live in Richmond and have visited the area before, I discovered many hidden gems and stores that I definitely plan to return to in the future.
Today’s recreation was going normally as usual; we all went to the gym and played sports and exercised. However, we were dismissed early and treated to a pleasant surprise; water balloons courtesy of the Undoukai company. With the 90 degree weather outside, it was a fun way to refresh ourselves. With only a few days left, I wonder what other surprises we have in store!
The kanji endeavor is truly evident as another grueling day comes to an end. We also learned how to connect adjectives and how the Japanese celebrate Christmas and New Year’s. Christmas is a more romantic festival in Japan (ours is more Christian-centric, since we give gifts to family and friends), but they do have an obsession with KFC chicken.
After interviewing the teachers and RA’s yesterday, we reviewed their responses in class, which, overall, were really insightful. We practiced taiko and finished writing our kanji for the front of the taiko; even though calligraphy is supposed to be calming, many of us were stressed out about getting our characters perfect! In one of the most memorable activities of the day, everyone worked together to construct long, complex sentences. Although, with all of us contributing different ideas, they didn’t always make sense!
Guest Speaker: (July 13)
After dinner, the whole lot of us went to Brock Commons for a lecture by a guest speaker today. She taught us a lot of new and interesting facts about Japanese government and bureaucracy, as well as filling us in on a few current facts that we missed while away over here with no internet such as the Emperor’s abdication. All-in-all, though it finished just slightly early, the presentation was informative and interesting.
So many kanji! The Beginner class learned more kanji, and began to write haikus with our knowledge of seasonal words. I’m no Matsuo Basho (a famous Japanese poet), but I did manage to write quite the beautiful piece. We also learned how to use past-tense adjectives, and combined them with our knowledge of past-tense verbs.
Today everyone in the academy had a taste of Japanese calligraphy and the tea ceremony. We were split into groups, and those doing calligraphy got to write their favorite kanji on rice paper, whereas those doing the tea ceremony learned its process, history, and even got to reenact it by drinking matcha and eating okashi. It was an interesting part of Japanese culture, and perhaps when I return home I might have a tea ceremony of my own!