Nikolas Martin: Weaving

 I did my CIP with Kawasaki-sensei, a renowned fiber artist in Kyoto, where he taught us how to weave in his studio. From scarves to mats, Kawasaki-sensei and his wife Yuri-sensei, taught us everything from the basics to more advanced techniques for weaving.

I spent ~5 hours a week with them learning how to weave and it was defintiely one of my highlights of being in Japan. Kawasaki-sensei and Yuri-sensei are probably two of the nicest people I have ever met; always showering us with compliments and spoiling us with snacks every time we went (they were indeed delicious!).

For anyone interested in weaving, textile, or fashion-related, DO THIS CIP!!! It taught me so much related to my field of interest while also being in a very supportive and comfortable environment. However, I do recommend anyone going into this CIP to do a little research into weaving related vocabulary in Japanese, as it makes those first few times easier and makes communication with the senseis smoother if they can understand what you are referring to or asking about. As I said, please do this CIP! And if you do, tell my senseis I said hi!

Noah Bell: Kyūdo Lessons

A picture of me about to fire an arrow

For my CIP this semester, I had the opportunity to learn Kyūdo under Furuya Sensei at the Kyoto Budo center. For about 2 hours each week, we worked hard to learn the forms and etiquettes of Japanese traditional archery. Our lessons were conducted entirely in Japanese.

The experience was quite challenging at times, but super rewarding since you could see steady progress each week. On top of that, Furuya Sensei was super kind and had a good sense of humor. He was hard to understand at times, but he knew we were trying our best and would show how proud he was of our effort which made me feel super happy and grateful.

If you’re looking to learn Kyūdo, my advice would be to let yourself make mistakes because you are going to make a lot of them. There are so many practices that everyone around you will already know, so don’t feel embarrassed if you mess up or get corrected as it’s all part of the learning experience. Also, I would say to try not to worry too much about your success in hitting the target. KyÅ«do, like many Japanese traditional arts, is about form above all else. If you get the forms correct, accuracy will follow, not the other way around.

Will Johnson: Volunteering at Fukakusa Kindergarten

At Fukakusa Kindergarten I got the opportunity to play and interact with the students for a couple hours each week, doing things like solve puzzles, build LEGOs, and play card games. If you’re looking for a place to work with younger Japanese students, Fukakusa is great, and you get the chance to work with some Japanese students in English as well!

My experience at Fukakusa was different than what I thought it would be at first, a place where I would primarily use English and teach it to Japanese students. However, it turned into a place that was challenging for me with regard to my Japanese skills, as well as a great opportunity to learn about the culture of the Japanese education system. The staff there are amazing and do a great job of making you feel welcome and will help you out with any trouble you have!