Left: Expert Neil Rieske helps teacher Jeff Miltko try on some samurai gear. Right: Traditional samurai armor was on display for students to see.
Each school year, every grade level at Emerson Elementary Magnet School learns about a different part of our world. Third graders learn about Asian countries, and specifically are immersed in the culture of Japan. In addition to other activities, they read stories from Asian authors, including an anthology of Japanese legends by Eric A. Kimmel called Sword of the Samurai. This book is filled with legends about the samurai, and tales to teach children about the importance of honesty, manners and a peaceful life.
Last week, Emerson third graders were treated to a visit from Neil Rieske, a local expert on samurai life. Though Rieske donned samurai armor and looked ready for battle, he emphasized that the samurai took pride in using their brains over brawn to solve the problems of their day, saying, “A true martial arts master knows how to avoid a fight.” As a special treat, Rieske brought extra armor and dressed teacher Jeff Miltko as a samurai warrior.
Third grade Emerson teacher Beth Dalin discovered Rieske at the Asian Festival at Franklin Park Conservatory. He will be there again this year, to delight all who are interested in learning more about this unique time in Japanese history. This year’s Asian Festival wall take place on Friday, May 26 and Saturday, May 27. For more information, please visit http://asian-festival.org/.