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Sep 26, 2019

Holmdel Students Travel, Serve Community in Japan

holmdel students travel to japan 2019

This summer, students and teachers from Antinanco Earth Arts School, a 501c3 community organization based in Holmdel, visited Japan to participate in tea ceremonies, talent shows, engage in Japanese-English language exchange through songs, games and art, and learn traditional Japanese shodo (calligraphy).

According to its website, Antinanco Earth Arts School is “a coalition of teachers and community leaders committed to preserving and providing public access to traditional and indigenous knowledge, and providing education beyond the classroom walls through nature experiences, hands-on projects, multi-generational mentorships, cultural exchange programs and environmental conservation projects.”

holmdel students japan 2019

Following the trip, the Antinanco Earth Arts Team said, “Amidst the kaleidoscope of colorful memories that the adventure left in our hearts, the most memorable moments were spent collaborating with Japanese students and local people on community service projects. Our participation in Japanese school lunch and daily school cleanup by students left the most profound impact on us.”

holmdel japan travel 2019

Called Gakko Soji (school cleansing), the practice has its roots in Buddhist teachings, emphasizing the importance of keeping the mind, body and surroundings clean. There is no need for janitors or lunch aides in Japanese schools. It is each student’s duty and responsibility to ensure a classroom is left clean and organized.

“Seeing kids clean, mop floors and even scrub toilets with a smile, we got a glimpse of a valuable perspective promoting care for the surroundings, collective responsibility and happy service,” the team said.

holmdel students japan 2019 nj

The experience was made possible by Manabiya Project, a Japanese coalition of teachers and community workers led by Yasuko Kimura. Manabiya works to help children to learn from diversity and accept each other’s differences.

For more information about Antinanco Earth Arts School, visit Antinanco.org.