Saturday, November 5, 2011

Dazaifu Elementary School Visit

Look at me posting two posts so close together!  Don’t get too excited, this will probably never happen again.  As the Internet is vacant at the moment I will consume my time with uploading photos.  Huzzah!

Our group went to a town just outside of Fukuoka (a 30 minute bus ride) to visit some ridiculously cute children.  They host a bazaar and festival and we were lucky enough to join the fun.  Here’s the photo scoop…

The school was definitely all about learning English.  The stairs had various themes including fruit, sports, and what you see below. 


We were all seated at tables with our very own name cards. This was only the beginning of the specialness yet to come.


This was the principal.  Very kind and very happy to have us there.  Thank you!


After a bit of opening orientation info we were greeted by the first round of kids.  They came in with signs up high to get us.  Cuuuute.


We first visited the lower grade classes.  Our class did a very cute trivia game where each round a group of four kids would stand at the front with a question and signs with pictures and we would have to vote and guess the answer to the question.  I got half of them wrong, oops.  During this trivia game they even sang us three songs and played us some music on their recorders.  Don’t you just love recorders?  I do!  (I still have one by the way…)


Their teacher was quite excited for the performance, and helped them along with this handy sheet music that he projected up on their classroom TV screen.  I wonder if that is the class motto posted next to the clock. 


An amazing group photo of our wonderful class!


Please also note that I am wearing slippers.  Inside the entire school you are to wear indoor shoes or slippers, they take their shoes off near the doors and store them in cubbies.

This was my little group of girls.  We played a game where you have to do “rock, paper, scissors” against someone at the front of the room, and if you lose you take a sheet of newspaper your entire group stands on and fold it in half.  That sheet gets small pretty quickly if you are on the losing team!  Very fun, and hilarious to see the kids try to pile on top of each other to stay on the newspaper as it got tinier and tinier.  The one on the far right in the photo was my favourite.  Yeah, yeah…not supposed to have favourites.  Well, I did.


Next our group moved on to one of the grade six classes.  There we were taught how to play the koto.  As you can see below it is a huge string instrument, and it sounds beautiful. 


You wear little finger picks to pluck the strings with.  Needless to say they were a liiiiittle bit too small for my giant hands.  I managed to get one on but by the end of our lesson my finger tip was about to explode from pain.


We learned to play the main chorus of “Sakura Sakura”.  Here is the worst quality video you will ever watch…I tried to record the kids playing but my camera is just horrid for video.  Just close your eyes and listen, okay?

Believe it or not, after being taught by these wonderful students, the group of us were all able to play this together!  Not bad for a first try. 

After we played the koto we then got to wander around the bazaar and eat lunch.  There were food stalls set up with lots of different things to eat, and a small area where they were selling various trinkets.  My big purchase of the day was a cute polka-dot tissue holder.  Japan is the country of polka-dots.  I love it!!!

Tissue pack

After lunch we were treated to a tea ceremony.  It was my first time and since being in the Tea Ceremony class at school I actually had a clue what was going on and why she was doing what she was doing.  Neat!


While waiting for the tea to be prepared we were given these adorable mochi (sweet rice dessert).  You can tell what time of year it was.  Too cute!


This guy made my day…


We were all given our own bowl of tea.  Please note the tatami floors (shoes off at all times).


Collecting the bowls from us.  Look at that beautiful kimono…I really want to go to a shop where you can try them on.  Definitely on the To Do list!


After the tea ceremony we gathered our things and made our way back to the bus.  What an excellent day!  The trip definitely was a highlight of my time here so far.  I’m sure the adorable children aren’t adorable ALL the time, but at least for the day they were really fun to be around and put on such amazing performances.  It was honestly touching to see how excited they were and how much they prepared for our visit. 

As I mentioned before, we attended a balloon fiesta on Thursday during the national holiday…but it was more like a bust-loon fiesta.  Okay that joke didn’t work at all, but I really don’t have much to show from it since the balloon competition was cancelled!  I’ll throw up a couple photos of the vendors eventually…but knowing me that will be three weeks from now, hah!

We are off to a sumo stable and local shrine on Monday, so let’s hope I get some better photos there.

Until then, take care everyone!


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