This article was originally published in the spring 2013 Harker Quarterly.
In February, Harker received a visit by two high school students from Tamagawa Gakuen in Tokyo. Akari Ito and Ayako Nagashima, who buddied up respectively with grade 11 students Monika Lee and Maya Madhavan, arrived Feb. 2 and spent the next month shadowing their buddies in classrooms and attending classes of their own. Classes they attended included stone carving with upper school art teacher Jaap Bongers, chemistry with Mala Raghavan, Pilar Agüero-Esparza’s painting class and Masako Onakado’s Japanese 5 class.
Ito also made a special visit to the lower school to teach a class of grade 5 students about Japanese calligraphy, showing them how to write words such as “dream” and “wind.” Students who had some proficiency in the art were challenged with writing the more advanced characters for “lemon” and “rose.”
The two students enjoyed a special farewell party in Onakado’s classroom on March 1, the day before their departure back to Japan, enjoying treats, playing games and sharing memories with their newfound Harker friends before making the trip home.