Daily Archives: January 14, 2017

ISAK, Part 2 of 3

Following our afternoon in Old Town Karuizawa, we went up Mt. Asama to ISAK, The International School of Asia, Karuizawa. We were privileged enough to visit the campus and meet with a group of students for some discussion time and fellowship over a meal. The IB (International Baccalaureate) program requires students to engage in a CAS (Creativity, Action, and Service) Project. We met with students who had named theirs “Project Iridescent.”

This is the second in a series of three posts where MPS students will share their impressions of the relationships between MPS and ISAK, the mission and vision of ISAK in relation to that of MPS, and the content of the conversations they shared.

Here’s Annie Wertheimer on the mission…

The Miss Porter's School mission is one that stands out in the independent school world for its commitment to present ways of thinking and being as well as action in the future.

The Miss Porter’s School mission is one that stands out in the independent school world for its commitment to present ways of thinking and being as well as action in the future.

“The opportunity to visit ISAK was an amazing experience. I could see so many similarities between Porter’s and ISAK.

The mission of ISAK is very similar to that of Porter’s because it encourages students to go beyond the community where they live and to create change. We saw at ISAK how they really follow through on these words. All of the students participate in a CAS group project about a subject of their choice, something about which they are very passionate.

Sitting at dinner in a cafeteria (or dining hall!) after a long conversation in the dorm -- our afternoon at ISAK felt very much like being at home.  We hope to continue thinking about how to live out both of our mission statements, through our school work and lives outside of the classroom. As you read in ISAK, Part 1, we will probably be doing this in concert with one another, letting social media bridge the distance.

Sitting at dinner in a cafeteria (or dining hall!) after a long conversation in the dorm — our afternoon at ISAK felt very much like being at home. We hope to continue thinking about how to live out both of our mission statements, through our school work and lives outside of the classroom. As you read in ISAK, Part 1, we will probably be doing this in concert with one another, letting social media bridge the distance.

It was so amazing to see and experience a slice of life at ISAK. I know we all loved visiting the school and meeting the students in Project Iridescent as well as others in classes and at dinner so much!”

Come back for the third part of this series soon!

ISAK, Part 1 of 3

Following our afternoon in Old Town Karuizawa, we went up Mt. Asama to ISAK, The International School of Asia, Karuizawa. We were privileged enough to visit the campus and meet with a group of students for some discussion time and fellowship over a meal. The IB (International Baccalaureate) program requires students to engage in a CAS (Creativity, Action, and Service) Project. We met with students who had named theirs “Project Iridescent.”

Over the next three posts, MPS students will share their impressions of the relationships between MPS and ISAK, the mission and vision of ISAK in relation to that of MPS, and the content of the conversations they shared.

Here’s Jillian Landolina on relationships…

“The students of Project Iridescent at the International School of Asia Karuizawa, and the student body as a whole, welcomed us with open arms.

On our arrival at ISAK, we entered one of their brand new buildings - the tables and walls can be written on, the furniture is easily transformed, and the fluidity of classroom, study space, and leisure space were all signals of the culture and mission of the school.

On our arrival at ISAK, we entered one of their brand new buildings – the tables and walls can be written on, the furniture is easily transformed, and the fluidity of classroom, study space, and leisure space were all signals of the culture and mission of the school.

We spent a week navigating our new lives with our host families. The excitement we felt at being able to really communicate combined with the kindness the ISAK students showed us and the content of our discussion – women’s rights and gender stereotyping in Japan and beyond – led to almost instant friendships.

We sat with the students in Project Iridescent, a CAS project devoted to investigating and eradicating gender inequality in Japan.

We sat with the students in Project Iridescent, a CAS project devoted to investigating and eradicating gender inequality in Japan.

As a group, we talked and laughed for hours, sometimes discussing the topic at hand, sometimes sharing facts and details about our respective school lives, and we concluded our evening with a meal together. Facebook, snapchat, and instagram names were exchanged, and we found ourselves not wanting to leave ISAK when the time came.

At the end of our afternoon, we shared every way we could to stay in touch!

At the end of our afternoon, we shared every way we could to stay in touch!

I know we students intend to keep in touch, and we hope that our schools maintain our newfound friendship as well. ”

Come back to read parts 2 and 3 and see more pictures from our time at ISAK!

Return from Karuizawa and Gathering with Ancients!

We returned from Karuizawa, Nagano Prefecture, late this morning to meet with Ancient Yasuko Nagase ’96, who invited us to her home to help prepare a traditional Japanese meal. The heady mixture of ginger, fish paste, steaming daikon radish and dried, candied sardines blended together in a perfume of delicate balance.

Between meal preparations and calligraphy lessons, we talked about our experience at ISAK, the International School of Asia in Karuizawa. Their motto: “One life. Realize your potential. Be a catalyst for positive change,” sparked conversation about the role and responsibility of Porter’s students to “shape a changing world.”

We’re in good hands with this generation of creative, compassionate, and collaborative activists who believe in the collective power of change-agents. In a world that needs their determination and optimism, being part of their global conversation and contagious energy bodes well for the future.

At lunch, we were joined by Ancients Risa Ninomiya ’96-97, Akiko Kobayashi ’03 and Marika Ueda ’14, who spoke about their Porter’s experience, and shared insight about the changing role of women in modern Japan.

As is typical of a Porter’s gathering, conversation was lively, thoughtful, and stimulating. With the January sun fading from the iconic peak of Mt. Fuji, we said our goodbyes and walked through the Saturday streets to the train.