Hello and good day! Welcome to the Kashima Art Institute, a school for gifted youth and higher learning! Our capacious campus sits on top of lush green pastures, showcases an elaborate assortment of trees and our school is comprised of 26 buildings, each labeled from A to Z with the majority providing free housing for our wonderful students! Quick history overview: The institution was originally a shrine built to commemorate the shinto kami, Takemikazuchi, otherwise known as Kashima-no-Kami, Takefutsu, Toyofutsu, or Ikadzuchi - the thunder god. Since its founding during the 7th century, the shrine has been a place of significance to Japanese martial artists and shinto practitioners alike, many of whom still make pilgrimages to the sacred temple! The institution is also home to the legendary Kashima Shinkage Ryu, headed by the current shihanke, Ienao Kunii, and his league of masters. During the mid 20th century the school was built around the shrine and over the years has produced some of the world's most esteemed minds, effectively establishing a place for itself among the worlds most prestigious leading academic institutions! Now before we begin the tour please allow me to properly introduce myself!
My name is Ellie Hampton, and I'm an exchange student from the United States of America. I'm a member of the school's Leadership Committee, Yearbook Committee, the Campus Gazette and the Student Volunteer Committee! I share the responsibility of planning school events with my peers in leadership and serve as a medium between the student body and staff faculty. I'm usually taking pictures of the campus' beautiful scenery and its lovely students, or assisting my Yearbook teammates in fastidiously overseeing article submissions while assisting in designing page layouts! Whatever it is, I strive to make the yearbook prim and presentable, because anything less would be un-ac-ceptable. Here at the Kashima Art Institute, I'm also one of the foremost journalists with my very own column! Be sure to pick up a copy of the school paper at any of our campus' designated recreational and food facilities; my articles are always entertaining; and the paper is absolutely free! And finally, as a member of the Student Volunteer Committee, I take on unassigned tasks, like being a teachers aid or a campus tour guide. Well, that's pretty much all there is to know about little ole me, but before we proceed, I'd like to ask each of you to please turn off your cellphones and any other electronic devices as we have much to cover on our perambulation, and very little time to do so; so please keep the distractions to a minimum. Okay, now if you will, please take another moment to make sure your ID cards are on you, we will need them for later. Thank you!
The Kashima Art Institute has several courtyards throughout its enormous campus where you'll often find students socializing in their respective cliques or engaging in typical activities such as conversing in-between classes, playing kick the sack, drawing, reading and writing, eating or even meditating! Our institution has a fairly strict policy of keeping school grounds clean, however, so eating on a campus courtyard is a privilege. Students who fail to adhere to campus policies regarding foods and liquids will have their courtyard eating privileges stripped, so please refrain from leaving trash on the ground or spilling drinks and making messes. Any other physical activity besides kick the sack is restricted in the courtyards. As with the policies regarding eating, there are consequences for breaking the rules; so please, no playing catch with footballs or baseballs and no horsing around or fighting while in any campus courtyard. Insubordination will have the school's Disciplinary Committee on to you in a flash, and they've got a reputation around here to be very hard on fellow students who break the rules. Alright, let's move on to the lobby, shall we?
Upon entering the main building of the school, building A, you find yourself in the lobby, which is replete with an aggregation of plant life. Ferns, azalea, camellia, cherry blossoms, maples and lotus are neatly arranged here, giving the lobby a natural, warm and exotic atmosphere that leaves visitors with an experience that is truly majestic! Approaching the elevator you see the school's community board. The community board is a complex computer designed with state-of-the-art technology that utilizes exclusive components and unique circuitry which allows for accelerated computing on a 500x350 inch plasma touch-screen! Allow me to demonstrate. First, I place my card on to the designated ID checkpoint on the screen. This will bring up the menu interface which I can then use to check the school's academic ratings, records, teacher faculty dossier, student body dossier, sports records and a multitude of other things, but the most important uses it has for newer and exchange students are the class scheduling and campus navigation features. A truly remarkable advice! Now, building A serves as the base of operations for both the Leadership Committee and the Student Volunteer Committee. Surrounding the elevator are several branch-offs leading to the main recreational and infirmary facilities as well as the cafeteria, the main library, the auditorium, the school museum and two of the student committee headquarters. The elevator itself will take you to the headmaster's office.
Continuing into building A through the first fork on the left path will bring us to the institution's main infirmary. You won't ever have to worry about waiting in line to be treated, however, because there are numerous infirmaries spread all across campus, one in each building! And thanks to the corporations who sponsor our school, our medical treatment facilities are inimitable, and even surpass many of the world's premium hospitals!
In addition to the the infirmary-standard methods of medical treatment, the head nurse, Shelby Arredondo, along with her student med-aides, are all trained in the Kashima Shinkage Ryu's traditional martial principles of anatomy, herbal medicine as well as Chinese acupuncture! ~~~*** cellphone's 'ringtone' goes off ***~~~ Oh um, ehehe.. wow this is embarrassing. I've asked you all to turn off your cellphones but left mine on. Please forgive me. Alright, on to the museum!
The next fork on the left path in the lobby takes you to the museum. It holds a large collection of some of Japan's rarest artifacts of historical and mythological significance. Among its possessions are the fabled Tonbogiri spear that is said to have been wielded by the famous warrior from Mikawa, Tadakatsu Heihachiro Honda, as well as the fabled Bokuden blade, which according to legend is the shintai, or spirit body, for a feudal samurai named Tsukahara Bokuden. As the story went, Tsukahara was a samurai who trained under the two founders of the Kashima Shinkage Ryu after he was found alive on a battlefield. Under the care of the two grand masters, Tsukahara recovered from his injuries and was offered to train with them until he made his return to his overlord. Intending on improving his combat skills so as to never become a victim in ever again, he agreed. Years later, they say that the samurai transcended into a demonhood after losing his humanity from spewing so much blood in over 70 recorded battles. After his retirement as an officer he is rumored to have taken many lives before finally being slain by another samurai who trained under the same masters. The legend goes on to say that his spirit was sealed away into the sword by a blacksmith who was reported to forge blades of impurity, theoretically the only kind that can beget the soul of the corrupt. What a fascinating story! In any event, it is usually during this part of the tour we that would showcase the mythical sword, but it is currently undergoing its ritual cleansing ceremony in the headmaster's office. Nothing to stress over, though, you'll have plenty of opportunities to view the mystical blade, along with the Tonbogiri and the rest of the Museum's artifacts later! Let's keep it moving, people.
The third fork on the left path brings us to our next destination, the library! Though it only has two floors, our library is one of the biggest school libraries as it is generally estimated to be the size of five football fields! Countless rows of bookshelves filled with an abundance of books, both academic and novelesque, run along the interior of the room. I know, one would probably wonder at this point how a student is ever to find a specific book for their studies or leisure, yes? Well don't fear, our school has developed a simplified way of book searching. Once again, the student identification card can be used to access unique features to our school. Go ahead, everyone. Give it a try! You have time to wander the library now, we'll be taking a break for the next 10 minutes before proceeding.
On the way to Building B we pass through the wetlands of the Ukishima Marsh where there are even more exotic plant forms. The marsh is also teeming with exotic wildlife found here you will most frequently see the Hyla Japonica, or 'Japanese Tree Frog', the