In January, Manami Iso, a teacher from Tamagawa Gakuen in Tokyo, visited Harker for a chance to see and experience the school first-hand. She observed several classes during her stay, including those taught by Eric Leonard, Katherine Molin, Colin Goodwin and Kathleen Ferretti.
Iso also got to do some teaching of her own. She showed several classes how to make carp kites (koinobori), which are flown in Japan to celebrate Children’s Day. She also taught fourth graders about the Setsubun spring festival, celebrated Feb. 3 of each year. During the holiday, a member of the household dons an oni (“demon”) mask while other members of the family toss roasted soybeans at them. This practice is said to purify the household and protect it from demons and bad luck. To demonstrate, Gr. 4 English teacher Goodwin put on the mask and played the part of oni while the students pretended to ward him off.
While staying at Ferretti’s home for the duration of her visit, Manami also got to see a number of California landmarks, such as Muir Woods National Monument and its famous giant redwoods, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Monterey Bay Aquarium.