The third day of our research field trip to Okinawa Islands included a cultural exchange meeting with local high school students in Yaeyama Commerce and Industry High School. Upon entering the territory of the school, we were amazed by how amazing and gorgeous it looked. Multiple-story buildings, made of white stone, symbolized every high school that you might have seen in numerous anime, movies, and series. 

As soon as we stepped into the acting hall, we were met by a group of cheerful and hospitable high schoolers, who warmly greeted us. It was very touching to see how they genuinely tried to communicate to us in English, so we expressed our gratitude in Japanese, which came very helpful throughout this meeting. 

First, members of the local performing arts club, which mainly consisted of female high schoolers, demonstrated us a traditional local dance, embedded with harvesting motives. This beautiful dance, as well as the accompaniment of the traditional music instrument called “sanshin”, included scenes from a life of local farmers, who were engaged in plowing the earth, planting the seeds, gathering the leaves and celebrating the harvest. Every move, every music note, every step was thoroughly coordinated, which was breathtaking to watch. 

After that, we were offered to perform the same dance with them. Our group was divided into two smaller groups: musicians and dancers. While musicians were learning to play sanshin, we, dancers, learned the dance moves. I was chosen as the main performer, who opens and closes the whole performance, so I had more responsibilities on my shoulders. But with the help of another main performer – Yura-san – I was able to completely repeat all dance moves, earning her and others’ applauses, which was very heartwarming and nice. Other members of our group also did well and together we performed a very beautiful local dance, moves of which I still remember. 


When the dance was over, we exchanged gifts with the members of the club and took some photos to remember this wholesome experience in the future. The members of the club were very nice and polite and my overall experience from this cultural exchange meeting is completely positive, so I would like to thank our professors, who could make this precious event possible.