Gladstone students given a taste of Japanese culture
ALMOST 1000 students visited another corner of the world yesterday at the Gladstone Regional Art Gallery and Museum.
The venue opened its doors to the region's schools as part of Saiki Children's Day, an annual event designed to offer local kids a glimpse into the lives of their peers in Japan.
The special day is modelled after Japan's Children's Day, a national holiday and centuries-old tradition that celebrates children's health and happiness.
Saiki is Gladstone's sister city in Japan.
Visiting students were treated to Kabuki-style face painting, kimono and happi coat dress-ups and a range of Japanese art and craft activities.
They made origami samurai helmets, paper bullet trains and colourful harajuku bracelets, as well as collages of cherry blossom trees and the great wave of Kanagawa.
Kin Kora State School students Mjae Wilson and Brady Blake, who both study Japanese at school, couldn't get enough of the day's activities.
"We've made waves, we've had our face painted, we've made bracelets," Mjae said.
"There's lots to do. When we were at school we painted cherry blossoms."
Both Mjae and Brady were big fans of the Children's Day concept.
"I like the idea of having a day," Brady said.
"It's pretty exciting," Mjae agreed.
"In Japan they have a lot of different stalls but they also have things like kites during the day."
Gladstone Regional Art Gallery and Museum public programs and promotions officer Maddie Cook said 931 students were due to come through the doors yesterday.
"This year's actually a record breaker ... it's crazy," Maddie laughed.
"Every year gets busier and busier.
"Often (the students) learn Japanese at school, so it's another way of tapping into that as well, another way of learning.
"It's always a good day, it's a really fun time for all of us as well."
The event was started by the Gladstone Saiki Sister City Advisory Committee and supported by Gladstone Regional Council.
The concept of sister cities originated shortly after the Second World War as a way to encourage understanding between nations - and ultimately move towards bringing about world peace.
Australia adopted the practice in 1980.
Saiki, a coastal city of similar size to Gladstone on Japan's southern island of Kyushu, has been our sister city since 1996.
In addition to Saiki Children's Day, the Gladstone Regional Art Gallery and Museum works with students in Saiki to conduct a children's art exchange every year, as well as a combined exhibition of photographs.
The remaining craft activities and dress-ups left over from Saiki Children's Day will be available for use by the general public until 5pm on Saturday, May 27.