Thursday, March 5, 2009

March 3 Girls Day in Japan

Did you know that in Japan March 3 is known as Girls Day? Little girls dress in kimonos and in their homes they set up a display of their porcelain dolls. This photo I took on March 3, 1970 on Okinawa with my Japanese Pentax camera. The girls in this photo were the girls in my first grade class at Zukeran Elementary School.

They all now would be in their early forties. My how time flies. I wonder what all these sweet little girls who were the daughters of U.S. Army soldiers stationed on Okinawa are doing today. Are they married and living somewhere in the U.S? The little girl on the right with the flaming red hair was an exceptional student. She was already reading on a high school level when she entered my classroom in August of 1969. For our holiday Christmas show I had her read aloud the Gospel of Luke of the Christmas Story. Everyone in the audience who heard her read the gospel were totally blown away for she read with such great expression.

This photo was taken under the porch eve of this open design school that was located very, very close to the army headquarters on the island. Every time a helicopter carrying the top Army brass landed or took off from the headquarters you had to stop teaching for about five seconds because everything being said was drowned out by the roar of the helicopter. And believe me with the Vietnam War still in active warfare then this happened several times each and every day at the school. In my classroom I had the children of lowly privates as well as full bird colonels.

To see how this same DOD school looks today go the schools website by clicking here:

You will find a slide show and an updated photo of this same school where I taught for two years: 1968-1969 and 1969-1970. To the right in the school photo you will see the same school wing with overhead porch. We went outside every time we left our classroom to go to the library, gym, music room, and cafeteria. The roaming primary Japanese culture teacher visited our classroom three times a week and taught us all some Japanese phrases like arigato (thank you). And from this web site you can explore other DOD schools in the Pacific as well as Europe. Have fun exploring.

Final thought for today: I hope these little girls held on to their Japanese kimonos for I'm sure that they are very valuable today and hold priceless memories for these American girls.

News Flash: I think it is appropriate here since we are thinking of the Pacific to mention that my friend and fellow blogger Dragonquilter has now posted the most beautiful pictures of a family wedding she attended this past week in Hawaii. Stroll down my blog roll to find her blog and take a look. So beautiful! And the flower girl in pink almost stole the show!

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