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[REPORT] NYdV Explore Japanese Culture: Cultural Immersion Program at NYC Recreation Centers and the Leaders High School

As a Japan Foundation New York’s staff one of the exciting moments is to see and be part of the grantee’s event in person. I had a great opportunity to visit Leaders High School in Brooklyn NY to observe the Japanese Tea Ceremony and Koto (Japanese harp) workshop organized by NY de Volunteer. NY de Volunteer is a non-profit organization that provides social contribution programs (volunteer activities, etc.) to promote cultural exchange between Japan and the United States and they organize the Japan Club in Leaders High School to promote Japanese culture and to help the high school students understand and feel the importance of other countries’ cultures. JFNY currently supports their initiative with the Salary Assistance Grant for U.S.-Japan Community Grassroots Exchange Program.

The Japan Club meeting started with how to introduce yourself in Japanese. Next, there was an explanation and demonstration of the Japanese Tea Ceremony. During the tea ceremony, there were quizzes and other activities to deepen the interaction with the students. After the tea ceremony, there were Koto performances. The last piece played was Senbonzakura, which is well known in the United States among young people. The students naturally smiled as they listened to the familiar tune. After the performance, there was a Q&A session, and it was impressive to see the students actively asking questions.

At the end of the performance, the students had a chance to make their own Japanese tea called Matcha and they had an opportunity to play the Japanese harp Koto. By the end the Japan Club had a very deep Japanese cultural exchange.

Next Japan Club meeting will be in early April. Students will play Kendama and learn how to make Chicken Teriyaki. The biggest Japan Club event coming up in May is the Japanese Cultural Intensive Week. This program includes Japanese calligraphy, Karate, Japanese Tea Ceremony and Japanese food workshops. This will be the second year for the students to enjoy the Japanese Cultural Intensive Week!

For more information, please visit NY de Volunteer.

This event was supported through the JFNY Salary Assistance Grant for U.S.-Japan Community Grassroots Exchange Program.