Japanese students represented their country at the International Festival on November 12th at The New School in New York City. The International Festival was a kick off event for International Education Week, which is an international effort for encouraging exchange and understanding of cultures of the world, supported by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education.The International festival was a great occasion that students from all over the world talked about their countries and broaden their understandings of other cultures. The countries represented by students were, Brazil, Colombia, Germany, India, Japan, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Norway, Nigeria and United Kingdom, to name a few.

Colorful photos from IEW at the New School in 2007

With the generous help of the Japan National Tourist Organization (JNTO), Japanese students were able to introduce various parts of Japan; pamphlets were great visual aid for students from other countries, including the United States, of course. Also, the short greetings listed in the pamphlets were a great conversation starter. Yokoso! Japan pocket Kleenex donated by JNTO were popular as the package had a beautiful photo of cherry blossoms and a Japanese fan. The students brought some Kaki-no-tane (spicy rice crackers) and sweets, and those snacks provided a glimpse of Japanese tastes.

The festival was not only about the country tables by student volunteers. Music and dances from different countries added a festive atmosphere to the day of the international celebration. All in all, the International Festival was a fun filled day of learning world cultures through five senses. And definitely the Japanese students contributed to the grassroots diplomacy. Finally, I would like to thank the JNTO who generously donated materials for the Japanese country table.

Fumiko S.