Japan-in-a-Suitcase Visits Lanai High and Elementary School on the island of Lanai

Volunteer Mrs. Noreen Kawachika teaches a 1st grad how to look at a picture from a new perspective

On Monday, March 7, 2016, the 350 students of Lanai High and Elementary School (LHES) enjoyed presentations of Japan-in-a-Suitcase (JIAS) by Japan-America Society of Hawaii (JASH) staff member Becky Ebisu and Volunteers Karen Fuse and Noreen Kawachika. This was all made possible through the kind and generous grant from the Atsuhiko and Ina Goodwin Tateuchi Foundation. This grant supports JASH’s Japan-in-a-Suitcase program yearly to continue the presentations which share Japanese school life with the children of Hawaii.

The students absorbed all the information presented with such energy and enthusiasm that the 11 presentations whizzed by pleasantly. Together, the presenters were able to serve 13 classes within one school day. In addition, JASH presented two origami books to LHES Principal Elton Kinoshita for their school library.

Thank you to Lana’i High and Elementary School’s curriculum coordinator/counselor, Jennifer Ka’aikala, for making all of the arrangements.

Volunteer Karen Fuse helping LHES second graders try on Japanese yukata worn during the Obon season

JIAS is a free program offered to elementary schools in Hawaii. It is one of five JASH educational programs aimed at teaching the concept of “different perspectives” and is aligned with the Hawaii Department of Education Content Standards for Social Studies and World Languages. The major goal of JIAS is to nurture students’ sense of inquisitiveness and help them to look at objects and issues from different viewpoints. This is accomplished through a hands-on demonstration of items used by children at schools in Japan. JASH believes teaching these concepts at an early age will make them more open-minded to new ideas and people of other backgrounds. The secondary purpose of JIAS is to teach children about Japan’s unique culture and to appreciate Hawaii’s special relationship with Japan. The young students at Lanai High and Elementary School now understand this rich cultural relationship first-hand.

JIAS presenters with LHES’s coordinator Jennifer Ka’aikala in front of Lanai Elementary

Grade 1 at LHES learning how to greet their sensei in the morning