Winter School Festival

As another year in Japan came to a close, another year of the winter school festival came.  For the unaware, my Monday/Tuesday school has a nice school festival where kids get in groups, make their own carnie games and run them for half of the day.  Students switch off on who’s operating the games and who is checking them out.  Me being a mere “assistant teacher”, I didn’t have to worry about the logistics nor taking care of kids.  It’s my day to just wander around and play a bunch of games!  How can I not like it?

Kids are also assigned to carry signs and walk around the school, promoting their game.  It’s fun to see them get so into it.  I was asked by so many kids to visit their games that I had to run from place to place.  The games were a lot of fun.  This year I was a lot better in the “Mystery Box” game mainly because my Japanese vocabulary is bigger than last year.

What's inside?

What’s inside?

The classics were also there including the shooting range (using rubber band launchers), bowling and the coin drop.


First place!


 6th graders posed as soon as they saw me taking pictures.  They also demanded I play their version of the coin drop.

6th graders posed as soon as they saw me taking pictures.  They also demanded I play their version of the coin drop.

My favorite new addition to the games list was a live-action Whack-a-Mole game.  The kids did an excellent job making this work and I had so much fun beating the bottles they put up senselessly.

Whack a mole!

Whack a mole!

I ran into Nishikawa-sensei a few times.  It wouldn’t be a Winter School Festival if I didn’t run into him.  I’m pretty sure he’s a fan of fooling around too.

A kid telling Nishikawa-sensei that if he can hit i there, he'll get a billion points.  He did.

A kid telling Nishikawa-sensei that if he can hit it a ball there, he’ll get a billion points. He did.

The pinnacle of the festival this year was oddly enough Balloon Volleyball.  Usually when I play this, I play with a group of kids.  This year however, since Nakae-sensei had previously did a 1-on-8 match and got the top score, the kids asked me to try to beat his record.  The time limit was 5 minutes and I had to get 14 points.  Not wanting to lose, I was up for the challenge.

Let me tell you, even if it’s just Balloon Volleyball, a 1-on-8 match gets extremely tiring.  The kids were well aware of my disadvantage and always kept had me running from place to place.  I kept up though and was in the lead.  Then they changed their tactics and started spiking the ball, over and over.  This was the sign for me to go all out on some 6th graders.  What ensued for the following minutes was me mercilessly spiking the ball on them, blocking their shots,  or just doing tricky shots that they would fail to recover.  Meanwhile the kids keeping score were cheering me on by saying stuff like “You’re getting there Diego-sensei!  Keep it up!” or “Only X amount of points left!  You can do it!” I ended up scoring 17 points, crushing Nakae-sensei’s record.  All the kids were singing praises about how awesome I was.  It was really fun but holy hell was I worn out by the end of it.

The end results!

The end results!

And thus ends another Winter School Festival.


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