Bees in the MPR! The Mitsubachi Ginza Bee Project Visits ASIJ

On November 13, second grade students had a special visit from The Mitsubachi Ginza Bee Project, a non-profit organization that sets up hives on the top of commercial buildings in central Tokyo. With them, they brought some bees. Beth Kelley (elementary school teacher) reports on their visit  and the small, fuzzy, flower-pollinating friends they brought along.

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The Mitsubachi Ginza Bee Project first set up hives on the top of commercial buildings in Ginza in 2006. A decade on, the project is a regular supplier of honey to local businesses and continues to provide food for thought on the relationship between the urban and natural environments. Their aim is to raise awareness for sustainable living in Ginza’s urban setting through organic honeybee farming and honey harvesting.

Having recently finished their unit in bees and pollinators second-grade students wrapped up the section with a visit from representatives of The Mitsubachi Ginza Bee Project, from whom they learned the important role that bees play in our lives. The key message they brought to our students is that we want our food world to be produced by bees and there are ways we can nurture this kind of environment.

Demonstrating the importance of natural pollinators, Albert Einstein once said “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would have only four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.”

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It was fascinating to learn that even in the city, there can be a place for bees to live and do their important work. Students learned that in Japan there are two types of honey bees. Visitors went on to teach the anatomy of these insects—they have four wings and live for about one month. They also produce about one teaspoon of honey in their entire life! We already knew that bees are important to our food supply, but know we know that some people keep bees just to protect them!

The presentation exceeded our expectations, and we would like very much to welcome  the Ginza Bee Project back again next year. Every student and all the teachers thought it was exciting, intriguing and educational! We would like to give a special thank you to the Japan Center as well, for helping to organize this visit.