Arigatoo Event

Group photo in shushu the arigatoo event place
Group photo in shushu the arigatoo event place

The day started out by all of us rehearsing for the Arigatoo Event at the Kori Community Center. The time went by so fast with people goofing around and enjoying each other’s company. Some of us even went to the nearby shopping center and had pictures taken in a Japanese photo sticker booth, or “purikura”. It was so much fun, even though we were in a hurry to get back to rehearsing.

Around 4 o’clock we moved to the location of the Arigatoo Event, Shu-Shu. It has a really pretty view over Omura, and you can see really far in clear weather. It was really nice to see how the landscape and mountains change with the time of the day.

Finally it was time for the event! Even though I was really nervous, I also knew that I was amongst friends and that it really did not matter if I may not be the best singer or dancer. They will cheer for me anyways. I am really amazed by how energetic and helpful people are! Everyone was really helpful and the night enjoyable. I will never forget this.

At the Arigatoo Event we had a lot of important speeches from the LOC and the representative of the mayor’s office for example. But what surprised me the most was that the venue, Shu-Shu, normally wouldn’t be open on that time, but due to the influence of the LOC’s we got to have this party in such a nice place. I am very grateful for this!

After speeches we had dinner with our host families followed by our dancing performances, picture slideshow of our time with our host families in Omura, thank you cards being read and ending with our singing performance. The last song I was really nervous about because I had a solo representing my country. But feeling the energy from the audience and my friend made me relax and I was able to have fun. It is not about having a nice voice, but the fact that you do it to create joy.

Then the local orchestra played and we all got to dance! It was SO much fun! I really missed dancing and being able to dance with both host families and friends was really nice. Everyone was happy, energetic and especially the boys drew attention with their group dancing. Everyone really gave it their all during this event. And I am really grateful to have been able to say “thank you” to the host families, LOC’s and everyone else involved in this trip in such an enjoyable event.

It is sad to think about this being our last day in Omura, but at least we were able to say our thanks and make people enjoy themselves, creating laughter and smiles. I am pretty sure not a single one of us will forget this day – ever!

Arigatou Gozaimasu!

Anna-Louise Lydom, Denmark

Visiting Nijinohara Special Education School

Nijinohara school students Omura
Nijinohara school students Omura

Today we went to Nijinohara Special Education School and played alongside the students there. After an introduction to the history of the school and what its purpose is we were divided into three groups. I was in group A along with Juuso, Aimee, Joseph and Towa.

After we had gone to our individual groups we did introductions in Japanese to the first-year students. After the introductions were finished we started playing games with the first-year students. The game was basically “fruit-basket” but instead of becoming a fruit you were to pick your favorite color. When everyone had picked their colors and I had my favorite blue we were told to pair with somebody of the same color. Some of the students were slower, some faster and some shy. However, there were not a single student or WCJ member who wasn’t having fun.

After a while the game ended and we moved on to the next game. The goal of the second game was to, after splitting into four teams, bring colored balls from one box out of three located in the middle of the room. You would go one at a time but you were only allowed to pick up the balls with a ladle. My team came in at the shared last place with 21 balls. The team that got in second place got 23 points and the winners had carried 24 balls to their “home”.

We then went over to saying our farewells, and the students had prepared a song which included the five of our names. All in all it was an amazing experience, not only did the students enjoy themselves, but I was recognized from last year by one of the teachers and ended up talking to her for a while.

Isak Odén, Sweden

Unique Access to Japan!