Catching the tail-end of summer, 36 international students from more than 20 countries went on a trip on September 14th to learn more about Japanese culture.
60 kms away from Nagoya, students head to Ena City, Gifu Prefecture, to experience the rice harvesting. The scenery and quiet backdrop welcomed the students with good weather and golden rice fields, and over there they learned the traditional way to harvest: manually cutting the crop with a sickle.
In the afternoon, students were separated into two groups to participate in the different workshops: Noren and Rakkan-in.
Noren curtains, originally appeared during the Heian Period, are usually hung in door-ways and made using a multitude of colors, patterns, and fabrics. Nowadays, we can find them at the entrance of an Izakaya (Japanese pubs), sushi or ramen shops or an onsen (hot springs). Students’ works from this workshop will be entered in the Noren Contest and displayed in Nakasendo, which is one of the five main roads leading to and from Tokyo during the Edo Period of Japanese history.
The other group took part in the Rakkan-in workshop. Rakkan-in is the special square seal/stamp that Japanese people use to prove their identity from personal notes to official documents. It is designed artistically with an old font and usually carved on a piece of wood or rubber. Students experienced the process of making a Rakkan-in by hand-carving their names or signs with an artistic spirit.
At the end of the event, we had a group of professional Japanese harp players who let the participants enjoy a few soothing melodies, marking a perfect ending for the day.