Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Another Day at the Elementary School <3

Today is the Uni's anniversary so no school! My plans: go to Meirin Elementary, go to Kuzuha, go to karaoke. I give this day 100 out of 10 stars :D

So I had to meet at the bus stop on campus at 8:45 am. It didn't hit me til last night that because the school is on holiday, that unless something is going on, the East gate (which is how I get to school, through the East gate) might be closed. I thought I'd leave a bit early. If it's not closed, I can get breakfast, if it's closed, I won't be late. It's funny how I actually made it early! I'm usually late for my 9am classes, but I can make it on time to meet for this.

It's raining... and yes the east gate was closed. I looked at the time and I still had 20 minutes which was enough time to get to the Main gate. Two girls are standing outside the gate, thank goodness, they are apart of the group because the campus is closed the guards are not letting people in without a good reason. So they are my good reason. We stand around waiting.... I think it was the Japanese students + 6 exchange (inc me). Only 4 (inc me) showed up. So we walk about 10 minutes to the school.

We arrive at the school, switch our shoes for slippers, and go to the boardroom where maybe the principal? speaks to us. He speaks Japanese so slow hoping we will understand LOL. I understood just fine. The school only has around 200 students, 1st-5th grade MINUS 4th grade... no 4th grade. In the boardroom we make name cards to wear and a poster where we write down a hobby we have. I put Karaoke and draw some pictures.

Next we head to the Gym where, for some reason us 4 international students go ahead with full applause. Yet another celebrity like experience. It was even more so because people were taking pictures constantly, EVEN THE PHOTOGRAPHER FOR THE HIRAKATA SHINBUN! So we are going to be in the paper :D When I find out when, I will buy a bajillion copies! In the gym we introduce ourselves to the students: name, nationality, and hobby.

Afterward, the first thing we do is watch the 3rd grade perform Eisar, which is a Okinawan dance I believe. It was awesome, and I had realized I left my camera in the boardroom ;_; The other American guy got a small video though so I want to try to swipe it. That is all we see of the 3rd graders. They leave and we play with the 1st and 2nd graders.

First game is TAG! Two students were chosen as "police" and everyone else was a "thief". The police tagged people and then when tagged the person and police held hands and they became police. You hold hands until you have 4 people the split into two. I got tag quick because I wanted to run with a kid and not away from one ^.^ THEY ARE FAST LITTLE BOOGERS! The game was timed and in the end only maybe 5 boys were not tagged.

Second game was Janken... Rock Paper Scissors. The lady wanted us to explain to the kids how we play in our home countries. I was first. I told them we call it "Rock, Paper, Scissors" then call go or shoot, whatever, maybe you call nothing just go. And the lady kept saying "Scissors, Paper, Rock" o.O Well, I learned from the Australian girl, that is how it is said there. Whatever. Mai, from Vietnam, had fun teaching how to say it in her language. So we marched around to this song, when the music stops, you play Janken with whoever is near you. The loser gets behind the winner and you start forming a train. I won once... but it wasn't fair because I think I lost at first but the girl thought I was confused and we did it a few times. I lose the second time around. We trained around and finally lost in the end. But it was so much fun.

Third game is hard to explain. It's called the Hunting Game. This one male teacher said these 4 phrases... then pointed twice going "AH!" then said a word. Depending on the syllables of the word, you formed a group with that number of people. It was pretty random, I don't think there was any winning or losing. For instance, if he says "kutsushita" that is "ku-tsu-shi-ta" 4 so you make a group of 4. At one point the teacher handed me the paper to read the phrases... I don't know if I did it right. But it was fun.

That was the end of playing with the 1st and 2nd graders. We gave them comments, thanks, and they went on there way. We took a short break and went back out there to play with the 5th graders.

The first game was long rope jumping. We were in two teams and timed for 5 minutes how many jumps we can get. I amazingly could run in the spinning rope, jump, and get out... after all these years. Pretty good for an old college senior :D We got 134 jumps I believe. And won.

The second game was Dodgeball... the dodgeball game from hell. I have NEVER played dodgeball like this!!! I play dodgeball, two teams, throwing balls, you get hit, you are out, if all your members get out, you lose. This... is the worst game ever. I am standing on my time watching for balls coming from the opposite side and a ball hits me in the back... and I'm like "WTF" it came from behind. So the teachers are telling me to go over to the other side, standing behind the team... then I realize that if you get out, you go behind the other team and throw balls from behind (which is how I got hit)! So not only do you have you have to pay attention to the people in front throwing balls, but the people behind as well.

Out of all the games we get to play again, it had to be dodgeball from hell. Three times. The third time, this one girl got hit in the eye, soon after my foot got stepped on, so I went over to where she was crying and comforted her. AND HERE THEY COME WITH CAMERAS!! I'm thinking "please don't take pics of her crying!!! especially because people will think I made her cry!!"

The games ended and we said our comments, thank yous, and the 5th graders went on their way. We headed upstairs where we went into one big empty room with two doors for two separate classrooms. We peeked in on two classes. I love the set up of the schools here. It's so awesome. After peeking, we entered a similar room, for another grade level, but not empty. Kids were playing in what we call centers (different groups doing different activities). We were going to do activities with them :D

Now, I think centers in America, I think coloring, board games, play doh, fun stuff. In Japan, it's totally different. The first corner (as it is called here I think, that is what we called it) I went to was juggling. I juggled cute bean bag animals with the little kids. I felt bad because they told me to choose my two favorite animals, and I picked two and started juggling them because I know how and they wanted to teach me how! SORRY! I let them teach me how to juggle with two people.

The second center was the spinning top. I spun some regular tops first then a girl taught me how to wrap a string around a top and let it go with the string. This I never mastered. I'm not sure what was harder... wrapping the string or letting it go properly. I was bad at both.

The third center, I played with this awesome toy that I want to find a buy. You stack these round blocks and with a little hammer/mallet, you hit them really fast out from each other one by one so the one you hit shoots out like a hockey puck and the others crash down. You have to do it fast enough so the stack of blocks do not fall over. It took me awhile to actually master this but I did! I know trick :D

The fourth center, I played with the cup and ball toy that I have experience with, but still not very good at. I learned a new way of holding it so I do better and I can flip it around but I cannot catch the ball still. This one little girl could flip it on its side and upside down and catch it every time. She was really good.

I did get pictures and video... but due to privacy I cannot post them. SORRY But if you are ever curious about the schools or want to see (especially that block and mallet game) just ask me :)

After leaving the school, I returned the dorm. Carly, Joel, and I made a quick lunch then began our walk to Makino, stopping for Carly to get money, then taking the train to Kuzuha. I have never been to the mall there. Nothing really good there besides Uniqlo but there is one in Hirakata-shi station, a bookstore, a sucky HMV... I think I'll go back before I leave because there was a Loft. I bought a new sweater at Uniqlo :D 2000 yen = a steal!

After the mall we returned to Makino and hit up Karaoke. Somehow we got out of karaoke very cheap. We payed 100 yen for 2 hours plus 200 yen for a drink... so 300 yen. My roomie was wondering how that happened because it is 100 yen per hour before 6 pm. Oh well. After singing we did purikura in my favorite booth with the monkey bars. My awesome friend Erin downloaded the pic so I have in my keitai now :D

All in all, today was awesome. I hate that I cannot share pics here of the school, but I can understand. Days like today, being at the school, bring me so much joy. I cannot remember when I felt so happy. Its days like these I wish someone from the JET Program was peaking around the corner and could see how much I enjoy it and really want to be apart of the program. I did mail in my application... so I can let it go until next year.