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Zimbabwe x Japan

Today I had a relatively calm workday, if such a thing exists. I spent the morning editing--again!--that dang coffee article. Blech. But I think after one more final final round of cleaning it up the whole process will be done and it can go to print for the day after tomorrow's paper.

But in the afternoon I got to go to a pretty cool story. There's a Japanese office for international cultural exchange, and for five years now there's been an exchange with a group of traditional dancers from Zimbabwe, of all places. They come to Japan for a few weeks and tour around, performing at schools etc. Today they were at an elementary school in Kanazawa called Fudoujishou, which also has a requirement that all its students take lessons in traditional art like the shamisen.

All the students were set up on chairs in their gymnasium:

There were five Zimbabweans, four students and their teacher. They were all pretty young--between the ages of 12 and 15. They performed a variety of dances such a hunting dance, a marriage dance, a rain dance. In between they explained what they were wearing (goat tails and ostrich feather hats) and about their instruments.

The kids were suitably impressed.

Once their performance was over, the elementary school kids played a group piece on the shamisen in exchange:

All in all everyone was adorable and the newspaper had me write a small thing on the importance of traditional classes in school (which I do actually think is important in the same way I think that art, music, and drama classes are just as important as math in American schools).

So, who knows what tomorrow will bring. My family's daughter, Naoko, who I met last summer is in town for a week for some massage therapist convention thing in Kanazawa so that's mildly exciting. Otherwise I'm entering my third week no worse for the wear, but with a craving for McDonald's...


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100K Announcement


Thanks to everyone who has read and followed my journeys in Japan from 2011 to 2017. Your support of my adventures and observations means the world to me.

In celebration of Riceandramen finally hitting 100k views, I am pleased to announce that I will be running a giveaway!

I will send one lucky person a custom box of goodies from Japan that could include (but isn't limited to): snacks, stationary, character goods, traditional Japanese crafts and more. The only limits are weight and size and your imagination (I'll be keeping everything small and light to keep the shipping costs down).

Without further ado, the details and rules of the giveaway are as follows:


The giveaway will run from today, February 25 2018 JST/ February 24 CST to March 11, 2018 JST/ March 10 CST.You don't have to be in Japan to enter: since almost all of my readers are international, this giveaway will be, too. The winner will be picked at random and notified via p…