On our second activity day in Omuta/Arao, we went to the Bambooforest to cut bamboo, because it grows really fast here in Japan, and kills the other plants. It was the first time for the WCI doing this.
First we went to a little shrine in the forest, which functioned as our headquarters for the day. After we arrived, we received an exorcism
from the 75 years old priest of the shrine. She wished us good health and that we went without any accidents throughout the day. After that, we split into two groups, one for cutting weeds and bamboo, the other one for the kitchen. They prepared the sllide for the Nagashi Somen noodles and the rest for lunch.
The bamboo-cutting-team made many things from bamboo, like beerglasses or cups, bracelets and plates, and chopsticks.
The kitchen team cut big bamboos in half and prepared them so that they could be used as a slide. Eating Somen out of this silde wasn’t as difficult as we expected. After Lunch, we had a lesson about the Japanese forests and the role of the bamboo in them. We also learned that bamboo is a really supermaterial, because it’s waterproof, antibacterial, and doesn’t break, so you can use it for everything.
It was a really fun day, but also really exhausting.
When I stepped out of the car there were a lot of children walking to school, however they all got somewhat distracted when they saw us huge foreigners in the parking lot.
We then all went to the library where we had our morning meeting with a giggling Megan leading the meeting. My first class was music with Juuso, Aileen and Nicole. The class started off with the students singing a song which i believe was the school song but it soon went over to origami. After another similar music lesson with another class we had caligraphy with the 3rd graders. We drew the kanji for earth, and I think that japanese kaligraphy is a lot harder than it looks… We then had swimming class but there was no chloride in the pool so it it tasted a bit funny… After a somewhat stressful lunch for my part due to students being very active even while eating, we went to the sports hall in order to prepare for the arigato event dances we wanted to show the students. The students were overjoyed and sang/danced along to some of the songs better known to the younger generation. We ended the event by dancing the macarena with all the students and playing “Oh! Alele!”.
The day was overall a great success and at the end of the day a student wanted all of our autographs.
Today we mixed ourselves with the students of Kumamoto Prefectural University. As most of them were English majors there were fewer struggles communicating than most World Campus Japan participants had on the average day in Japan.
When we arrived in the morning the students first welcomed us warmheartedly and then introduced themselves shortly. Hereafter also we foreigners introduced ourselves in short. The Japanese students then invited us to the front for a round of speed dating. All of us got about 30 seconds to a minute each to get to know the person opposing ourselves, after which we switched to another person.
The morning activities they had planned for us consisted of discussions about various topics. All of us being from different countries made the discussions a lot more interesting and everyone’s opinions varied greatly, making it into a wonderful learning environment about each other and each other’s culture.
In the afternoon we first ate lunch with all of us and then we had a surprise visit to the University of the one and only Kumamon, who performed some dances in the main cafeteria. Some of us had never seen Kumamon before and were either staring at his dances with admiration or with dullness. After one of us managed to sneakily hug Kumamon and take a picture, we all headed for the gym to fight out a dodgeball match! Because we were all pretty big fellows who played this game very seriously it was more like a dodgeball war. Especially when the teacher decided we should play with 3 balls at the same time… it became true ‘dodge’ ball! As a final match and as last event of the day we played World Campus vs. Kumamoto prefectural university and just guess who won!