TURNING JAPANESE: Grace O’Shannessy, 12, at the Japanese day in Kadina High School, Goonellabah.
TURNING JAPANESE: Grace O’Shannessy, 12, at the Japanese day in Kadina High School, Goonellabah. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Japanese celebration

KADINA High School was temporarily transformed into a school of Japanese culture yesterday, complete with origami, judo and sushi-making.

In a combined cultural day between Goonellabah Public School and Kadina High, students from years five, six and seven entered the realm of the traditional Tanabata festival.

Tanabata is a major event in July and August in Japan which celebrates the cosmological myth of two love- struck star deities, Orihime (Vega) and Hikoboshi (Altair), who were separated from each other by the Milky Way.

The festival takes place on the one day of each year when the two stars are granted permission to meet one another in the sky.

For 12-year-old Grace O'Shannessy, it was almost as good as a trip to Japan.

"My friends and I are really into Japanese culture," Grace said.

"We like the history and ancient beliefs and I love the art work too," she said. "I love manga and anime.

"I like the drama; they're so unrealistic they can really do anything and make up anything."

Meanwhile, Year 7 student Ella Younan was enjoying the challenge of rolling sushi with bamboo sushi mat.

"Mine sort of came apart in my fingers," she said.

"I think I put too much rice in. But it tasted good anyway."

Students also had the opportunity to juggle the intricate art of origami-making with the very physical sport of judo.

Kadina offers Japanese language as it's LOTE in Year 7 and is also planning to offer the subject in Year 9 and 10.

"We want to teach them culture as well as language," Japanese teacher Belinda Cherry said.

"We're trying to bring the world to them."

Principal Ian Davies said the school was building on the existing sister city relationship between Lismore and Yamato Takada with a few different initiatives, including regular visits from Japanese exchange teachers and Japanese culture and language programs run by Southern Cross University students.

"It's all about seeing what we can do to promote that relationship," Mr Davies said.



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