Last month at my Monday/Friday school there was a school festival. I’m not exactly sure what we were celebrating but it’s supposedly an annual thing. It’s very similar to what a bukasai (cultural festival) would be like in middle and high school here except there aren’t any performances. Each classroom plans out their own activity to show off to any curious customer. Think of carnie games in a fair, except kids are the carnies and there aren’t any prizes. The students aren’t restricted to their own classroom either—they’re all mixed up with other students of various grades and are assigned a classroom.
Anywho, on Monday I didn’t have any classes but I was invited to participate. It looked like a lot of fun so I agreed. In order for all the children to be able to participate as “customers”, they switch roles after a couple of hours.
I really enjoyed this event. Since I will never be able to attend a bunkasai (since they’re usually done on Fridays and I’m never at my junior high then), this was basically the closest I was going to get. All the kids were adorable. Some of them were running around the hallway with signs, advertising for their classroom while some were hanging up posters on the walls. When one went into a classroom, a student would walk up to you with a sheet of paper and explain the rules to you. Too cute.
Despite having four hours or so to explore the entire school, I was unable to visit all of the classrooms. I had so many kids asking me to come in and I did my best to please all of them. The games themselves were pretty interesting—6-2 had a bowling game where the pins were 2 liters full of liquid and you had to roll a soccer ball into them:
Records would be kept on the blackboard. It was pretty nifty.
Another classroom had a fishing activity where you had to “catch” as many fish as you could within the time limit. The “rods” were simply sticks with a dissembled paperclip at the end to serve as a fishing hook. There were 3 courses in all I managed to get in 3rd place in one but it was a pretty hard game:
One of my students was deeply moved that I took a picture of the pond and thanked me profusely. Aww.
There was also a arm-wrestling event. There were 3 difficulties and the fastest times to win were recorded on the blackboard. I don’t know why but my kids really wanted me to do it. I shrugged and went inside. I went to the “Hard” course and managed to win within seconds. Here I am on the records! :P:
And here is the 6th grader that I beat, who is now egging on one of my other students:
Not all the games were easy. One involved competing against a kid on how many beans you can pick up with chopsticks. I got my ass handed to me to by a 2nd grader. Another game was basically Charades. Since my Japanese is okay at best, being able to “guess” the correct answer in Japanese was basically impossible so my kids basically told me the answer in advance. How sad is that?
There was a PK shootout in the gym but the goal was extremely tiny; a kid basically was able to cover the entire goal post. Here’s Nishikawa-sensei trying to win it anyways:
I really loved this event and I’m glad I went to it, despite being pretty sick that day. I wish I had taken more pictures. This will probably be the last event that will involve my 6th graders before they graduate. I’m glad I was able to experience it!