Fun day of Japanese

15th October 2004 at 01:00
The international committee at my former school, Beverley High School, East Riding of Yorkshire, are a group of staff interested in promoting the international dimension across the curriculum. Last year we decided that we should take Year 10 off timetable for a day to do "something a bit different".

The vision for our Japan Day, concluding with an outdoor concert for the community by a dynamic group of drummers, was born.

The aim was simple - to gain knowledge and interest in traditional and contemporary Japan. Making learning fun was also a priority. Having forged links with a school near Tokyo, we wanted to create an interest in the country. All activities were hands-on and lasted for at least half a day, with students choosing from a range of workshops. Japanese staff from our local universities assisted the teachers and sponsorship money ensured we could make the day one of quality.

We had workshops on judo; the religion Shinto and the star festival Tanabata; textiles, including the kimono; making and tasting food; kite-making; Japanese film; a day-long art workshop casting kanji characters in concrete; taiko drumming; a virtual trip to Japan; green tea; geisha and gardens, and of course, learning to speak Japanese.

The school canteen provided Japanese dishes for lunch, with chopsticks being the order of the day, and the library became a big fact-file on Japan. Local radio and television teams also arrived, adding to the excitement.

Angela Martinson

Deputy headteacher, Newland High School for Girls, Hull

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