Reading books involving other cultures gives students a glimpse into that culture. Meeting someone from that culture gives students a deeper understanding. With that thought, students in Kelli Krieger’s graphic novels class celebrated the final book of the semester, “47 Ronin”, with a field trip to Kampai Japanese Steakhouse in Vestal, where owner and Japanese native Richard Matsushima discussed his culture.
“47 Ronin” is an old Japanese tale that highlights the changes Japan was experiencing during the feudal era. The story is about a samurai who commits a shameful act and what happens to him and his family.
Matsushima talked to the students about shame and what it means in Japanese culture. He discussed Japanese history, the different aspect of its culture, and the Bushido, (“the way of the Samurai”). Students enjoyed a hibachi lunch and everyone left with a signed photograph that included their name written in Japanese.
This trip was made possible by a generous grant from the Union-Endicott Education Foundation. Graphic novels is a semester-long English elective that runs both semesters at UEHS. Students learn about the history and development of sequential storytelling and read both fiction and non-fiction texts. Students also complete an extensive superhero unit.