This morning we visited an Elementary School in Hachoiji and performed a multicultural concert with a variety of dances and devotional songs in languages including English, African, Spanish, Hindi and Marathi for students aged between 6-12 years.
We were given an overwhelming reception from the young children as they embraced the live performances by dancing and singing along to the music. Half way through the concert we had a small break for the children’s morning recess, at which point we were mobbed by hundreds of smiling children. They ran to the stage to meet us and introduce themselves, with hi-five hand slaps and endless amounts of joy beaming from their faces. Despite the language barrier, we managed to converse and exchange compliments.
We then proceeded to the second half of the performance, with every one in the gymnasium, both teachers and students alike, joining in with the music. We ended the program with all the Japanese students dancing to “Bhangra” music in the middle of the hall. The atmosphere in the room was contagious with everyone dancing, singing & moving to the music – a truly joyful experience!
After lunch we visited the Junior High School, located next to the Elementary School and performed music and dance for the older students, aged between 12-15. Once again the students and teachers joined in by singing and clapping along to the music.
Our performances were followed by cultural exchange workshops with the students. In these workshops, the students had the opportunity to practice their English language skills and ask the Meditate to Regenerate volunteers about their respective countries and cultures. The students were very inquisitive about the different countries, their respective sports, cuisines and languages spoken. This exchange also allowed the M2R members to learn about the Japanese culture through the eyes of a child. It was very educational and amusing for both the students and M2R members.
This was followed by a mental silence exercise which gave the children an introduction to the benefits of meditation. This game allowed everyone to witness the power of mental silence. We taught the children to work collectively whilst counting numbers from 1-21. With varying results we then stopped the game and showed the children how to clear their thoughts and silence their mind. We then proceeded with the counting game and witnessed great improvements.
The students learnt the difference between the outcomes when you react, act silly as opposed to when you are truly calm, feel a response from within and then speak or act accordingly. This also taught the children to work as a group to achieve their goal while not overpowering the other children in their group.
Following the mental silence exercise, the children were able to work as a team instantly and without effort, their attention had improved and they were amazed at how quickly they could reach their goal.
At the end of our session, we were left with classrooms that were more settled than when we first started and the children were amazed at the difference they felt after only a few short minutes of mental silence.
To finish off an already beautiful experience we were then given afternoon tea with the school principal, where he asked for our feedback on his students and how they responded to the workshops. He was very pleased with our positive feedback and he thanked us deeply for visiting his school and sharing the Meditate to Regenerate experience with his students and teachers alike.