A pleasant surprise

By Aaron Weeks

Our March 18 Saturday class was an overall new experience for me with meeting the group of 20 KAKEHASHI exchange students visiting DC from Okinawa, Japan. I arrived at Columbia Heights Education Campus (CHEC), where we held the exchange, not really knowing what to expect or think about it because I hadn’t gone to meet the first group of kids from the KAKEHASHI exchange program, and was kinda lost in what was going on, but it was an enjoyable experience and it was much better than how I thought it would go. I made more conversation than I thought I would and overall found myself having a nice conversation with a Japanese student.

We also learned about Okinawan culture, nature, and history. The thing I enjoyed learning about the most was Okinawan music and the music scale that they use and how it differs from the Western scale. The Okinawan musical scale cuts out the fourth and seventh scale degree to eliminate half step intervals. Basically there are two less notes than a Western musician would expect! We also learned about Okinawan food and that also was interesting to me because of the mixture of cultures that came together to create the foods. We talked about champuru, a stir fry dish composed of different vegetables to bring out the best parts of everything. 

Overall the experience was new at first and I felt anxious about it, but as I acclimated myself to the environment I enjoyed myself more. I even got to make new friends and learn new information out of the exchange, and I’m excited to do it again!

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