On April 29, 2011, 37 first graders at Palolo Elementary School were in for a treat as artist Toshiaki Tomita visited from Japan to discuss the topics of family and food as part of the Department of Art and Art History’s Visiting Artist Program at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Mr. Tomita was very engaging with the students and encouraging of their artistic creativity. During the class period, each student was handed a few paper plates on which they were first instructed to draw their most and least favorite food(s) along with a brief explanation. The students then shared their drawings and explanations with Mr. Tomita and their classmates. On another paper plate, Mr. Tomita asked the students to draw a picture of their family members around a dining room table, carefully placing each family member in relation to themselves. The goal was for the students to focus on the importance of family and family relationships. Many of the students really enjoyed sharing their creative drawings with Mr. Tomita!
The students’ artistic endeavors did not end here. Mr. Tomita will be creating an art piece using the students’ artwork upon his return to Japan. The students and teachers are very excited to see this final art project! Interestingly, Mr. Tomita was able to learn about typical American or local Hawaiian foods that the children often eat, including oatmeal and lau lau, which people do not often eat in Japan! The Japan-America Society of Hawaii (JASH) would like to thank Mr. Tomita for a wonderful event, and Mr. James Jack, MA candidate at the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, for arranging this event through JASH. A special thanks goes to Palolo Elementary School’s Principal, Ms. Ruth Silberstein, and Grade 1 teachers Ms. Lily Masuda and Ms. Suanne Kim for graciously hosting us and for the delicious school lunch!