Gallery: Japanese School Children

Photographs by Lola Kurland Gerchick
                 (All Rights Reserved)

Boys Clean Hallway

The following excerpts are from Miyazawa Kenji's (1896 - 1933) "Night of the Milky Way Railroad" (Masterworks of Miyazawa Kenji, translated by Sarah M. Strong and Karen Colligan-Taylor and published in 2003 by the International Foundation for the Promotion of Language and Culture, Tokoyo, Japan):

. . . The teacher pointed to a large lens, convex on both sides, that contained many shining grains of sand.

Girls Clean Hallway

"This is the shape of the Milky Way. We can imagine each one of these sparkling grains of sand as a star shining with its own light just like our sun.


"Our sun would be more or less in the center with the earth close by.

Kitchen Aid

"I want you all to picture yourselves standing at night in the center here and liooking out all around you through the lens.


"On this side the lens is thin, so we can see only a few shining grains of sand, in other words, stars.

Art Class

"On this side, and this side the glass is thick, so many shining sand grains, or stars, are visible and the fartherest ones seem hazy white.


"This is the way the Milky Way is explained today.


"Time is up, so I will wait until our next science class to discuss what the size of this galactic must be and to consider various stars within it.

Cafeteria Line

"Since tonight is the festival of the Milky Way I would like you all to go out and have a good look at the sky. That's all for today. Please put away your books."

Waving 'Hello' (or 'Good-bye')

For awhile the classroom was filled with the noise of the students opening and closing their desk tops and stocking their books, but presently they all stood neatly at attention, bowed, and left the room.

Lola Kurland Gerchick

. . . is a Grade 1 through 8 art teacher at West Point Elementary School in the Surprise/Dysart Unified School District of Arizona. In 2003 she was a recipient of the Fullbright Memorial Fund Teacher Program to Japan.