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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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