Children take 'Journey to Japan'
At first, a visitor might have thought he had missed the whole thing, or had come to the wrong building.
He was looking for a large group of kids, from grades two through six. But as he listened, there was absolutely no noise to be heard as he stood in the lobby of the Fine Arts Center.
Then he walked into the banquet/meeting area, and there they were, all seated on the floor, wearing kimonos. Hardly a sound. If someone had dropped a pin, it would have been audible.
A Japanese tea ceremony, you see, is done with decorum and quietness.
It was all part of the annual, week-long Summer Enrichment Camp at East Arkansas Community College.
“This week the camp is ‘A Journey to Japan,’” said Lindsay Midkiff, director of Continuing Education at EACC. “And today (Thursday) is the last day. They are doing a tea ceremony.”
As part of the ceremony, the students are also having some “sushi-like” food, mostly fruits and vegetables, and, of course, tea.
The ceremony continued, the only sound an occasional soft giggle as the children tried to master chopsticks – something most of them were managing faster than adults.
“They’ve done the rituals around the tea ceremony,” said Midkiff. “They’ve studied about the culture of Japan throughout the week. They’ve done several projects; they have made fans. And they are wearing their custom-made kimonos that they designed themselves.”
After the tea ceremony, the kids were going to make a presentation to their parents, “to show everything they’ve learned and done,” said Midkiff. “They’re going to say their numbers (one through 10), they’re going to sing a Japanese song. And they’re going to show their parents all the projects they have done this week.”
Then it was remarked how charming they all look in their kimonos, and Midkiff agreed, “They are so cute! It’s been a really fun week for them.”
The Summer Enrichment Program is done every year at EACC.
“These children have been recommended by their teachers in area schools to participate in the camp,” said Midkiff.
Students from Forrest City and Wynne took part in this year’s Summer Enrichment Program.