年中行事を楽しむ会 Feel Japan
Pounding a big wooden mortar with a mallet sounds in a room of Hoshien, about twenty people gather around a mortar and watch a hard-worker's action to lift up a mallet and swing it down onto a big lump of steamed rice in a mortar.
Hoshien's program "Feel Japan" provided "Mochitsuki (making glutinous rice cake in Japanese traditional way) and Kakizome (The year's first calligraphy writing in traditional way)" to foreign students of International Students Dormitory on January 24, 2004.
This "Feel Japan" program started in April of 2002, wishing the foreign students for their more and deeper understanding of Japanese traditional culture and life style, in collaboration with volunteers of Japanese university students who gathered in reply to the appeal of Hoshien's staff.
They formed a kind of steering committee and have operated this program by themselves. Program consists of brief learning of Japanese traditional arts like "Ikebana (flower arrangement)" "Sa-do (tea ceremony)" and "Sho-do (calligraphy)", traditional life style like "how to make Japanese traditional home cooking", and traditionally seasonal events like "Hana-mi (cherry blossoms merry-making)", "Tanabata (star festival), "Hanabi-kenbutsu (seeing fireworks display)" and "Tsukimi (moon viewing party)" and so forth.
Ms. Shiho Yoshida, representative of the student volunteers, who is a student of Jochi (Sophia) University, said "Japan has many traditional things and events, however, some of them are now scarcely seen and met even if you live in Japan for long time.
We think it's a matter for regret that if foreign visitors who have much interest in Japan do not have any chance to meet such traditions of Japan, and also for us Japanese so as well. We feel happy if what we do "Feel Japan" is be of use for both foreigners and Japanese to make their/our living in Japan more interesting/fruitful one by knowing of and having interest in Japanese traditions."
Student volunteers come from different universities in Tokyo and they periodically get together in Hoshien to plan next event of "Feel Japan".
"All of our members seriously think how they can make their work of "Feel Japan" better one for giving opportunities to foreign people to have interest in Japan. They all have moderate but each different character which can make different good and nice idea, however, sometimes it makes the reason why consensus among us is not obtained so easily. "Ms. Yoshida jokingly confessed.
"We would like to appeal to foreigners who visit Japan: please be sure to come "Feel Japan" "...and teach us what they would like to know, to do, during their stay in Japan. It would be very helpful for us."
"Feel Japan" is held nearly once a month as Hoshien's program.
Feel Japan 年中行事を楽しむ会