By Jenny Jimenez
On January 28, our Japanese Plus class was honored to meet the students in the Kakehashi program! This program allows Japanese students to come to the United States in order to learn about American culture as well as practicing their English skills. Kakehashi means bridge in Japanese and the students from this program and the students from the Kakehashi program connected by sharing aspects of each others’ cultures.
The Japanese students presented many stations in which they shared important cultural traditions; my personal favorite was the kimono and yukata station! Each student was paired with a Japanese student that would put on a kimono or yukata and while we were getting dressed, an explanation would be presented by the Japanese students.
My Japanese student was Yayoi and we had a conversation about yukata! She happily explained to me that yukata are worn in the summer whereas kimonos are worn in the winter because they are made of thicker fabrics. My yukata took the longest to put on in our group, but it was so beautiful! It had purple flowers on a red background and Yayoi put a large bow on the back of my yukata and let me hold a fan! Although putting on the yukata took a while to put on, I loved learning about this traditional dress because of its importance in Japanese culture. I especially loved talking to Yayoi because she clearly explained what the yukata’s importance was in Japan, as well as asking me questions about why I am learning Japanese and why I like Japan’s culture. I am so glad to have learned about the traditional dress but furthermore I enjoyed interacting with Japanese students who were extremely nice to us!
In this photo, you can see the American students wearing kimonos and yukata beside the Japanese students who helped dress us up!