Thursday, March 6


Yesterday was the Okurukai - or send-off ceremony - for the graduating 6nensei at the elementary school. It was a rather informal event, whose JHS counterpart was really fun and funny, even though I didn't understand everything, especially their inside jokes. Those 2nensei are excellent!

Anyway, for an hour and a half we were in the cold gym, heated only momentarily by the ginormous heaters pulled out for just such occasions. Basically the event is to have fun and to recognize the 6nensei informally before they graduate. While the elementary 6 nensei will go until the end of the school year, the chuu (JHS) 3nensei will end the school year a couple weeks early, supposedly to study before getting to high school. That's nice. They should enjoy their time off while they can, says me.

Ginormous Kerosene Heater

Soooo... the Okurukai consisted of giving the 6nensei presents hand-made by the younger kids, singing, playing some games all together, a couple speeches and towards the end, the traditional Japanese Pull-the-Cord-to-Make-a-Big-Ball-Open-Up-and-Dump-Stuff-on-You activity. The one the kids had made was pretty cool, but it took several tugs and intricate "strategery" to get the darn thing to open.

Finally, we engaged in another Japanese Tradition: the Confetti Line, where everyone lines up, perhaps in a snake formation, and throws confetti on the people being celebrated. Always fun.

Picking up.
By hand of course.

By the time we got out of there, a couple of my toes were numb from the cold, and I was glad for the 15 minutes of morning recess we were given. I was also happy to lose 20 minutes off of my first class, and happy to just let the kids play Go Fish with real cards. In English, of course, which they did just as naturally as could be. The power of second language-teaching in the elementary school.



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