Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Arigato, What an inspiring experience!

Posted by Picasa Mr. Ishikuro, we hope our actions back home will make you proud. You are a tough act to follow. Thank you for your efficiency planning our city visits and home stays.

To the Yanagawa group: You were amazing! I am looking forward to sharing pictures, CD's and DVD's. When is the reunion?

It took a whole team to take care of every detail

Posted by Picasa Thank you for all your hard work! If anything went wrong, we did not know it.

The Kokoro of the JFMF Tokyo Office

Thank you, Gracias, Arigato, Merci
I think I understood Mr. Ishikuro only at the end of my stay when I saw him reflect before his aikido demonstration:, . The only day I saw him smiling was before our good-bye breakfast, right before we got on the bus that would deliver us back where this magnificent experience started: Narita Airport. I know the whole group will do their best to honor the quality of work demonstrated by the JFMF Tokyo staff.

Posted by Picasa Thank youMr. Ishikuro and Kyoko for running an efficient and inspiring professional development.
I wish I had taken time to get to know both of you. Maybe life will provide opportunities in the future.
I wondered what are yout hobbies, Kyoko? When do "you all" have time to do anything else?

Friday, December 23, 2005

Follow-on Project Progress Report

Nihon No Ajiwai is a two part project. The project starts with an arts empowered Japanese immersion festival at Casady School. Knowledge acquired at the festival will be shared with institutions serving needy Oklahomans of all ages at Taste of Japan workshops.

The workshops will be organized and implemented by the Casady Youth and Adult Advisory and Action Council (YAC). The workshops will be crafted under the supervision of Carmen Clay, Rainbolt Family Service-Learning Chair and Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund Teacher in collaboration with Learn and Serve Regional Service-Learning Center at Camp Fire USA Director, Mrs. Kate Collins, the Japan Outreach Coordinator, Oklahoma Institute for Teaching East Asia, University of Oklahoma-Schusterman Center, Ms. Yukiko Yokono, the Japan America Society of Oklahoma former President, Mari Lesli, and Mr. Tom Warm, Okii Taiko, Sensei.

The arts empowered immersion festival is a one time, organized, engaging educational experiential learning opportunity in the Japanese culture through the arts. The festival’s goal is to raise awareness of the Japanese culture in Oklahoma in an interactive way. We feel that the Japanese culture, alive and well in Oklahoma, is one of the best hidden secrets of Oklahoma City’s multicultural tapestry. The arts empowered Japanese immersion festival will also provide the background service-learners need to take its message, in Taste of Japan workshops, to their institutions and to needy Oklahomas who might not otherwise be exposed to the magic of Japan unless, unpaid, enthusiastic teens deliver the cultural bouquet learned at the festival experientally.

The Immersion festival and Taste of Japan workshops will be under the responsibility of the Director of Service-Learning ( at Casady School (, Carmen Clay. Advisors to Mrs. Clay and her Casady students will be Ms. Yukiko Yokono, Mrs. Kate Collins, past JASO president Mari Lesli (Tozan Yume Yogiku), and Mr. Tom Warm. Ms. Yokono, Mrs. Lesli, and Mr. Warm will also help find experts in Japanese arts to provide instruction during the immersion festival and to craft the youth-led Taste of Japan outreach work after the festival.

Japanese international students from local colleges, and high school students dedicated to learning and serving will have a powerful voice in the organization and implementation of the festival and workshops.

The Japanese immersion festival through the Arts will be the seed of future yearly festivals aiming to break ignorance barriers and promote diversity as a source of unity and creativity.

The Taste of Japan workshops will also be a great example of people of different ages and backgrounds working together with a common cause.

Tentative Overall Schedule

December-February: Planning the Festival

February: Publicity and invitations

March: Nihon No Ajiwai Festival: Saturday, March 25, 2005, Casady School Calvert Hall and Middle School building classrooms. 2:00-7:00 p.m.

March-August: Taste of Japan Outreach workshops

Planning meetings schedule

Where? Casady School Harper Conference Center

Who? YAC members, Oklahoma Institute for Teaching East Asia, Learn and Serve, available JASO and Japanese International Students

When? 10:10-10:45 a.m. on Tuesdays and/or Wednesday. Saturday meetings as needed. Blog shared information.

What? Festival program, workshop development, seek sponsors, donations, marketing strategies, food tasting, advertising campaign

Outreach work for service-learners

Where? Boys and Girls Clubs, Kids Cafes, Nursing Homes,
When? Fridays from 3:30-6:30, weekends or during school breaks

Arts Empowered Japanese Immersion Festival Tentative Schedule and Process

2:00 p.m
. Welcome: Participants gather at Calvert Hall-Casady’s Cafeteria, background Japanese music sets the mood. Japanese international students dressed in Japanese Kimonos greet participants and escort them to their table. Tables decorated with donated floral (Ikebana) arrangements. Arrangements for sale at the end of the festival. Proceeds will go to future Immersion Festivals. Linings provided by Casady School. On the tables, participants find Japanese programs designed by Japanese International students and Casady youth. Welcome by a member of JASO, a college and a high school YAC. No Cost, all supplies should come from donations. The master of ceremonies will be a Casady YAC youth.

2:15- 2:45 p.m.: Japanese Taiko Drumming Session: Taiko Drumming -30 minute performance. Explanation of room assignements. Participants choose sessions. First come, first serve. Guides to sessions’ locations provided. Cost of Drumming performance: $300 for 30 minutes, a 10 member performing group expected.

3:00-5:30 p.m.: 30 minute sessions at McClendon Middle Division Rooms: Ikebana, Origami, Japanese Tea Ceremony, Japanese traditional dance, Japanese youth today: Games, sports, Anime, Manga, Music, Dance; Japanese Kites, Japanese Writing; A Japanese Memorial Fund Teacher Experience through the senses: $ 4,000 in supplies, Japanese snacks and adult experts' stipends.

5:45-6:15 Japanese Culinary Art demonstration at Calvert: Sushi preparation demonstration by a JASO member or a chef from a local Japanese restaurant.

6:15-7:00 Japanese Dinner: Menu agreed by organizers, non-alcoholic drinks and Grand Finale- TBA Cost of the performers 200?

Regarding the food, we are still working to secure food and beverages donations from local Japanese restaurants in exchange for free advertising. Calvert could be transformed for the Taste of Japan from 2:45-5:15. If the Japanese restaurants are unable to donate, with 300 people attending the cost will be as follows: At $15 a person, $4,500 at $20 a person 6,000. We are strongly considering charging for the food!

Outreach Service-Learning Work

Taste of Japan Workshops at Boys and Girls Club, Kids Cafes and Nursing Homes:

YAC members will re-enact aspects of the Arts Empowered Japanese Immersion Festival at Boys and Girls Clubs, Kids Cafes and facilties serving elderly oklahomas.

Cost: Japanese snacks and drinks, supplies for chosen arts activities, transportation (driver’s fee) of volunteers and/or children to and from the sites. $300 per site visit. Casady Service-Learning in-kind donations: bus, suburban, gas, director’s time for supervision and liability issues.

Budget with estimated expenses

Planning sessions costs: $100 per session (3 sessions) $ 300

Arts Empowered Japanese Immersion Festival costs 12,000
Taiko Drumming Performance : $ 300
Three 30-minutes sessions: Each Activity has a budget of $100 for adult facilitation, whether one or several people provide it and 300-500 for supplies for 60 people, 20 persons per session. Cost: 4,000
1. Ikebana: Mrs. Yokiko Burnett, youth facilitator pending
2. Origami-YeGeun ’06, Mrs. Tomoko Craig, Fumiko Street
3. Japanese Writing June ’07, adult facilitator pending
4. Japanese sports and games Justin ’07, Courtney Bloeser'08, adult facilitator pending
5. Japanese dance- Tanko Bushi: Deepika'07, Ms. Mari Leslie
6. Japanese Tea Ceremony: Tulsa might send an expert, youth facilitator pending.
7. Anime-Nanga: Maria Chaverri’06, adult facilitator pending
8. Japanese Kites-Houston Small’07: No adult facilitator requested. A group of students will help
9. Japanese Fulbright Memorial Fund Trip to Japan: Experience Japan through the senses: Carmen Clay’74, youth facilitator pending
10. Temples and Shrines of Japan: New initiative, pending

Japanese Culinary Demonstration: Pending. We hope to have most items donated, but we have to be prepared with a budget in case we only get gift certificates for the participants. Japanese candy, snacks, and parting gifts: Cost: $ 600. We will approach the Vietnamese Store Super Cao Nguyen: for donations. Japanese lunch boxes and drinks for all participants. Cost TBA, we are approaching Super Cao, the Tinker Air Force Base Commissary and local restaurants for prices and donations. So far we have gift certificates promised, but a weekend affair is a hard sale because that is when restaurants do their highest bulk of business. Total Cost at 15-25 per person: Cost $ 6,000

Grand Finale : A possibility is a singing and dance with audience participation finale. Cost: $ 200

Set-up and turned down Casady Crew extra hours, weekend crew cost: $200

Follow-on Taste of Japan Workshops $ 3,000
Japanese snacks and drinks
Transportation of Japanese International students to Casady
Miscelaneous Expenses
Youth transportation cost to request Ikebana donations to local florist and restaurants (Letter of presentation and donation request designed by youth)

Casady School Service-Learning Program in-Kind donations: Ink, copy machines, paper for invitations and flyers, phones, computers. Casady School Calvert Hall and Middle Division rooms, electricty, water, rset-up crew. Cost of driver (if bus is used) for transportation to and from the workshop site, Casady school bus, Casady Suburban ,Gas
Volunteers’ time ($17.50 per hour, quoted by the Corporation of National Community Service:

In-kind donations from youth volunteers: Organizers and facilitators time ($ 17.50 per hour, Corporation of National and Community Service)

Total: $ 15, 300 Requested grant amount from Japan Foundation: $5,000

Supplementary Materials: Due to the short period provided to write this grant before the grantwriter had to leave for a Japanese Fulbright Memorial Fund Trip to Tokyo and Yanagawa, the curriculm vitae of only the main adults and youth responsible for the festival were provided to the Japan Foundation

Carmen Clay: Rainbolt Family Service-Learning Chair at Casady School

Mari Lesli: Japan-America Society of Oklahoma , President

Tom Warm: Sensei, Okii Taiko, Japanese Drumming Group

Ye-Geun'06: Casady YAC Senior Chair, Casady YAC Youth Project Leader-Origami

Houston'07, Japan America Society Youth and Casady YAC Project Leader-Japanese Kites

Other possible collaborations: 2006 Japan America Society of Oklahoma, the Japanese Student Associations of local colleges and universities, the Japanese Embassy in Houston, the Asia Society of Oklahoma.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Last minutes in Tokyo: Sayonara Tokyo Charm

I walked and took pictures the last few hours free after the 10 city presentations were finished. I was exhausted, afraid to get lost, happy, eager to see my family and school back home. I was also very sad. I realized there was so much I had not experienced. Should I have done things differently? Did I take advantage of every minute?

As I looked at the beauty and intriguing Tokyo scenes, I was dissapointed that the daily eye and mind opening experiences surrounding me would not be part of my routine anymore.

I want to ask so many questions. I want to experience conversing in Japanese, not just pointing and using one word speeches. I do not think you can know the "Kokoro=Heart" of any place unless you communicate in their language.

My conclusions are from "my eyes opening my mind". We are different in the way we develop products that are useful to our communities, but we feel and demonstrate fear, hope, happiness, and kindness very much the same way. We all hold our families, our honor and our way of life in a high place. We all want a better reality for the future generations, a world without wars, a world where we can respect and grow from our differences, a world with peace.

The Art of Peace begins with you. Work on yourself and your appointed task in the Art of Peace. Everyone has a spirit that can be refined, a body that can be trained in some manner, a suitable path to follow. You are here for no other purpose than to realize your inner divinity and manifest your innate enlightenment. Foster peace in your own life and then apply the Art to all that you encounter. Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969) was history's greatest martial artist. He was the founder of Aikido, which can be translated as "The Art of Peace."

As I type and look at my pictures, the whole trip seems like a distant wonderful dream. I wish I were a poet or a writer to express how much this experience has meant to me, but I think it is almost impossible to describe it with words. It was a trip of a life time. I came to test my understanding of diversity as a source of unity and creativity. Well, I have taken a step in the right direction, but I am more certain than ever that "understanding diversity" will be a lifetime quest.

"Hasta la Vista" to the Tokyo Prince Hotel Staff and the JFMF Tokyo Office

Posted by Picasa I could not believe it. The hotel, travel agency and JFMF Tokyo staff were outside to see us off. As we got on the bus, they checked our passports and gave us airport instructions.

The hotel staff brought to the bus things that people were leaving in their rooms. They wanted to make sure they were meant to be left behind. What service!

A last minute walk : A beautiful waterfall

Posted by PicasaMy picture is not a good one. I wished you could heard its peaceful sound.

I should have brought a small tape recorder.

Last minute memories: A peaceful fall afternoon

Posted by Picasa

Last minutes to look around

The children's peace monument. Forever in my heart: The children of Tokyo and Yanagawa. Posted by Picasa

The Yanagawa group presentation

Posted by Picasa My group exits the stage after sharing our time in Yanagawa. We related our canal ride, the children's welcome by the canal, our official visits, and our home stays.

We entered the stage singing "Row, Row. row your boat" and we left singing "Leaving on a jet plane." We did not want to leave!. We had a great time!

I am a winner! A Pen Pal Project with a school in Nara

Posted by Picasa I do not know how many high school teachers signed-up for the Pen Pal opportunity the first week in Tokyo.

In Yanagawa, they told me to approach the JFMF desk upon my arrival to the Tokyo Prince Hotel. At the JFMF desk, they asked me to make some choices because there could only be one Pen Pal winner. I played their game and I won the opportunity for my high school students to have a pen pal program with a 9th grade English class from school in Nara.

I left with the teacher's name and the directives not to contact him directly until the JFMF office gave the go ahead.

Going around town

Posted by Picasa It was one of the coldest nights in Tokyo, but we were determined to see as much as we could.

Wonderful places were just a subway ride away!


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