Sixth graders take a closer look at Tokyo during Intermission

For three days in January, the 6th grade students explored Japanese sights, traditions and activities through the Intermission program.

On Wednesday the whole class headed down to Asakusa. Wandering up and down the Nakamise shopping street leading to the temple, students kept their eyes peeled for traditional Japanese items, interviewing shopkeepers to answer questions about their origin and use. They also explored the temple and its traditions and rituals. The rattling of wooden sticks could be heard as students received their o-mikuji, hoping for a good fortune.

On Thursday, students chose from four different activities. One group headed to the Tokyo Kite Museum to draw inspiration and start sketching designs for their own kites, before finishing up the colorful designs and constructing the kites at the ELC.

Another group headed to the Edo-Tokyo Soba Center, where they made soba noodles from scratch – mixing and kneading the dough, then rolling it out with wooden sticks before carefully cutting it into perfectly-sized noodles. Of course, the final step was to enjoy the noodles for lunch!

A group of adventurous students formed teams and participated in the Amazing (Chofu) Race, working together to complete tasks and challenges. They solved puzzles; travelled by train, by bus, and by foot; and explored Jindaiji temple in a photo scavenger hunt.

Over the past few years, several activities have stood out as Intermission student favorites, and three of those activities took place at ASIJ this year as the Best of the Best. Students choosing this option started out their morning by constructing washi boxes and covering them with colorful paper. Next up was preparing lunch –yakisoba – which was enjoyed before heading out for a walk in Nogawa park, where Mr. Gibson shared fascinating historical facts (and fiction!) while exploring points of interest.

On Friday, we held our annual exchange with Chofu-Daiichi school. Students headed over to their school in the morning, where they were welcomed with a musical performance, before meeting their new friends and participating in a variety of student-led activities, from sumi-e and origami to dodgeball and games. After returning to ASIJ for lunch, it was our turn to lead activities: kickball and capture the flag, cooperative marble rolling and hula-hoop construction, Pictionary and Pick-up-Sticks. For over 15 years, we’ve been developing friendships with students from Chofu-Daiichi, and the students always enjoy a chance to meet new people and share in a day of fun and learning. (Erin Wick, MS Math)