5th Grade Studies Tibet in Japan!
Yesterday was one of the more memorable experiences I have had in Japan to date! Although I no longer teach English at Shinmachi Elementary School, I was invited back to the school by the 5th grade class as a special guest to talk about Tibetan culture. In preparation, I made a picture board touching on some important aspects of Tibetan culture I wanted to highlight. I also brought in some Tibetan music and a Tibetan kata, a white scarf offering used in many different formal occasions. Although I knew beforehand the students would be presenting their own Tibet studies to me and to other visiting teachers, but I had no idea how much work they had put into it. It was truly amazing! The 5th grade class was broken down into small groups, each assigned to present a different aspect of Tibetan culture! From the Dalai Lama and Tibetan Buddhism to Tibetan food, music, animals, and its its environment – almost every aspect was covered! As I walked around in the room taking pictures, I was truly humbled by the experience. To teach English in Japan is nice, but nothing compares to opportunities like today when I can provide a little cultural exchange.
One of the greatest aspects about working in Japan is that I have many opportunities to share about my Tibetan culture with the Japanese, both young and old. Whether it be, talking with a perfect stranger on the streets or in a formal setting – the chance to help preserve the Tibetan culture by sharing even a little is a rewarding feeling. For over half a century, Tibetans have been in a seemingly endless struggle to end Chinese occupation of Tibet, a noble fight that I have been involved in. However, with the rapid growth of China in recent years, I believe the focus of our efforts must be placed more on the preservation of our culture through education. Not to say, the popular “FREE TIBET” rallying cry should be abandoned, but more emphasis must be placed on educating the world of the uniqueness of the Tibet culture first. By taking this softer global approach through education, I believe this will better help inspire others to help spread the ultimate goal of Tibetans, which is independence. I encourage my readers unaware about Tibet and its ongoing struggles to visit my blog category: FREE TIBET – and help shed light on the ongoing cultural genocide occurring in China.