Our 2017 Quilt

Quilting is an important cultural tradition used by Americans from many different walks of life to tell their stories and to share important episodes in history. This year, midpoint in the DC half of the program, Jacqueline Strong-Armstrong led students in a quiltmaking workshop designed to give our student participants the opportunity to tell the story of their 2017 TOMODACHI experience. Mrs. Armstrong is the mother of Rebekah Armstrong, a 2013 TOMODACHI USJYEP alumna. This is her fourth year leading our quilting workshop.

Check out the students’ individual panels:

Yuuki: I taught how to make paper cranes with Origami to DC kids, and I learned a lot of things from teaching them. I drew two paper cranes facing the same way because i wanted to show that people from Japan and the U.S. head toward the same goal, which is to make a better world through this program.

Bryson: Whenever our group has to go through a door, I make sure to hold it open. The open door on my quilt fragment not only represents my self-appointed job in TOMODACHI, but also the possibilities that traveling to new places creates. I left the space behind the door blank because the possibilities are endless, and I wanted to reference the ukiyo-e art style.

Daniel: I made a drawing of the game dominoes because that is how the DC and Japanese boys broke the tensions on the first day we met.

Ryotaro: I drew this picture of two people facing each other because we can understand each other by looking and knowing each other. The left side represents the Japanese with little diversity and colors; the right side represents Americans, with two colors for African Americans and wihite people, who make up the majority of the American population. Between the faces, a red eye (symbol of the Japanese flag) is looking to the American flag from the bottom. There are some struggles looking between the narrow space between the noses. Also the bottom space is narrow. However, when looking through to America, I think my perspective was broadened in the end.

Raven: For my drawing, I drew a United States flag and Japanese flag being combined to show the friendship between the US and Japan.

Hide: I drew this blue bird. This represents my hope that I want to see all over the world and I want to be more free like a bird, as I think very much in this program.

Skyy: I drew a picture of a Japanese person holding an American person’s hand. I drew it because of the friendship we formed between the Japanese and Americans in the TOMODACHI group.

Chi: For my quilt, I drew a globe with the American and Japanese flags on their respective sides and TOMODACHI written in Japanese between the flags. I chose to do it because I really like the kanji for friend. So since TOMODACHI means friend in Japanese, I wanted to display the friendship between the US and Japan.

Rey: I drew a picture of a handshake and colored in with the flags of America and Japan, which represents friendship and strong bonds between two people from completely different countries. The American hand has music and hearts coming out to show people can feel connected through music. The Japanese hand has sakura and hearts flowing out because cherry blossoms were a gift from Japan to DC and I feel the respect whenever people in DC explain about it.

Shawma: I chose an Afro, representing me, showing my heritage. The US flag is my country and it is beside the Japanese flag, because it represents our relationship.

Natsuho: I drew a heart between two persons from Japan and the United States, because I saw friendship between Japan and America and I hope we will be TOMODACHI forever.

Ko: I drew two marks – equal (=) and infinity (∞). It means equal forever. I drew Japanese and American flags within. And I drew the rainbow flag. I made it look like a race track – meaning “unite as a human race.”