On March 14, I was incredibly excited to find that I had been selected as a participant in the Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund (JFMF) Teacher Program to Japan for June 2008. In a little over a week, I'll be on my way to Japan, along with 159 other teachers for a three-week experience of a lifetime. Getting ready to go has been a whirlwind of activity, especially since my school year ends only two days before we leave!
Several years ago, as an art teacher and the editor of SchoolArts Magazine, I was fortunate to spend two weeks in China, teaching art to elementary students and presenting to art teachers in Beijing and Guangzhou. That life-changing trip was my first experience with Asia and I am eager to now discover Japan firsthand.
A number of years ago, when I worked as a project coordinator for the North Texas Institute for Educators on the Visual Arts at the University of North Texas, I helped develop art curriculum materials for a regional Japanese festival in North Texas called "Sun and Star." I am now very grateful for all the research I did at the time on Japanese art and culture and even happier that I still have all those materials. You can read some of them at http://www.art.unt.edu/ntieva/artcurr/asian/wabisabi.html.
Another fortunate alignment of the planets is that there will be a number of art teachers along on this trip. My plan is to invite them to write articles about our experiences for the magazine, to be published in the next school year. I, of course, will do the same, much as I did after returning from China.
I'm taking my laptop to Japan and hope to be able to get online and continue this blog, especially to stay in touch and add photographs. Konnichiwa!