JaPANDAsia introduces Pacific cultures to US students in Japan
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan – Students at Joan K. Mendel Elementary experienced the staples of Japanese and other Asian cultures firsthand Thursday during the school’s annual JaPANDAsia festival.
Volunteers from Yokota’s neighboring cities gathered at the air base in western Tokyo for the event, whose name is a blend of Japan, Asia and panda, the school’s mascot.
The day kicked off with an Asian fashion show, followed by cultural dance, music, cooking and martial arts demonstrations.
“This is so cool,” a boy said while watching a classmate wield a large wooden hammer to help make mochi, a Japanese rice cake.
Mendel students enthusiastically raised their hands to volunteer in a karate demonstration, and cheered on a group of classmates who wiggled around the gym during a Polynesian dance performance.
Other JaPANDAasia activities included Japanese calligraphy, marionettes, storytelling, origami, ikebana and Taiko drumming.