At Mori no Ike, you can experience both traditional and modern Japanese culture—even trend-setting Japanese lifestyles—all while learning and practicing your new language skills. After all, there’s no better way to learn a new language than to incorporate new words and phrases into your daily conversation. It’s even better when you can use them while engaged in fun and interesting new activities.
And at Mori no Ike, there are plenty of authentic cultural activities from which to choose. Perhaps the best known of those outside of Japan are the martial arts. Martial arts are an important part of Japanese culture, encompassing as they do, cultural, physical, moral and spiritual dimensions. Villagers at Mori no Ike will be introduced to a number of them, including aikido, judo, karate or kendo, though exactly which ones will be offered each summer depends on the expertise of that year’s staff.
Mori no Ike villagers will also be encouraged to try their hand at traditional Japanese creative arts, particularly origami (paper folding), ikebana (flower arranging), shodo (calligraphy) or sumi-e (ink painting) and even raku-style pottery! Meanwhile, other villagers are introduced the centuries-old practice of さどう (sadou・tea ceremony) in our very own tea pavilion.
Just because you’re at Japanese language camp doesn’t mean you have to miss out on traditional camp activities. Counselors will make sure you find time for outdoor sports and games, including Japanese water-passing relays and はし (hashi・chopstick) races. Our soccer field includes a sand volleyball court, and is also used for a number of traditional Japanese games such as つなひき (tsunahiki・tug of war ), おにごっこ (onigokko・tag), だるまさんがころんだ (Daruma-san ga koronda・similar to “Red Light, Green Light”), and あひるあひるがちょう (ahiru ahiru gachoo・duck, duck, goose). At our waterfront you can swim and canoe by day and enjoy songs and smores by evening, all around a traditional summer campfire.
Matsuri (traditional festivals) are a large part of Japanese life and at Mori no Ike, we recreate several of them, not only for the sake of the living the language through culture, but the sheer fun of them. The most enjoyable of these is invariably the annual summer tanabata (star festival) in which villagers paint a mikoshi (portable Shinto shrine) before carrying it on their shoulders down to the campfire. Other engaging aspects of the festival are designing personalized kamen (masks), writing wishes and putting them on a tree, receiving your omikuju (fortune), and eating kakigoori (shaved ice).