To uphold the standards of the International Baccalaureate Program in teaching inter-connectedness and international mindedness, IB juniors visited the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens on Jan. 3 in Delray Beach. For the past three years, juniors of the program have toured the well-known Morikami Gardens to gain background information and a better understanding of Yasunari Kawabata’s Thousand Cranes, a required reading. The day’s events included walking around the historical gardens, eating a bento boxed lunch, and observing a traditional tea ceremony.
For Japanese junior Kai Ito, a visit to the gardens made him feel as if he was back in his homeland.
“Being Japanese, the Morikami was an extraordinary experience. I really did feel like I was in Japan, and it brought back memories of when I used to live there from 1st to 4th grade. I really want to thank the IB program for giving me such an amazing experience,” said Ito.
Simultaneously, a trip to the Morikami initiated many students’ interest in a culture they may not know much about. Watching a traditional tea ceremony gave students a glimpse into the customs and practices of the Japanese people.
“Ever since visiting the Morikami and reading about the tea ceremony in class, I have been fascinated with Japanese culture. The field trip inspired me to research more about Japanese gardens and the customs and culture of Japan’s unique artistry. There is something about Japanese culture that makes me want to further study what we were introduced to in class and at the gardens,” said junior Adrienne Cassel.
The Morikami Museum and Gardens was founded in the 1970s after George Sukeji Morikami donated the lands to Palm Beach County. Initially the land of the Yamato Colony, a settlement of pioneering farmers from Japan, Morikami donated the land in an attempt to preserve the memory of the colony that eventually broke apart. According to the official website of the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, “The Morikami will continue its mission to preserve, protect and interpret Japanese culture and the Japanese-American heritage.”
The Morikami houses six connecting gardens, each of which represents a different period in Japanese history. Designer Hoichi Kurisu, wanted each of them to be inspired by famous gardens in Japan. The gardens include a bamboo grove and a separate bonsai exhibit.
“One of the incredible experiences of the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens is that you actually feel like you have left the United States and are now in Japan. We had a lot of great experiences and got to see women dressed in kimonos and hear them speak Japanese,” said IB teacher Mrs. Linde Barrett.
Trips like these allow the IB program to present new subject areas to students and teach them about the inter-connectedness in a globalized world.