Bittersweet goodbyes: The last activity day in Session one

Group photo with the helping staff of the stamp rally at Eruru
Group photo with the helping staff of the stamp rally at Eruru

Today we first started with a stamp rally event in an arcade mall.

We were divided into 8 groups and each group was assigned to a flower shop, a sports shop, a tea shop, a cafe, a Swedish restaurant, a Japanese snack store, a deli store and a clothes store.

We had students from National Institute of Technology, Ariake college (有明高専) to help us and we could chat with them during the stamp rally. When children and their parents came to the store they greeted us using “hello” and “my name is —-” in our own languages such as Swedish, Dutch, Spanish, Finnish and so on and if they were able to say the greeting words then we gave our stamp on their rally sheet. I was a cameraman during the event but I could see all the kids and parents seemed having fun with talking with us although they were nervous to say the words from the beginning and atmosphere in the all the shops were very welcomed!

It was the first time to have this event in WCI but it all went smoothly and about 120 people including kids and their parents registered to join the activity, which means we put our stamps about 120 times, but it was worth to it! The purpose of this activity was to bring kids to the arcade street and let them know what kind of shops there are. Even though we didn’t think we helped with the sales of the various shops it was a nice opportunity to get the people know the stores and hopefully this opportunity brings about an another one and that those who visited us would come back to stores to buy stuff in the future.

After lunch, we went to Omuta shrine where daija (dragon float) was exhibited. People living around this area join Daijayama festival since they are young so it’s very familiar festival and although the festival is in middle of July they start making daija and practicing ohayashi which is a traditional festival music sounded by drums and flutes from May.

After visiting the shrine, we came back to Eruru and had our session wrap up.

Everyone shared how they broke out of their comfort zone and one of their best experiences during the session. Let me share some experiences from people; trying to eat natto as much as possible even though they didn’t like it, using Japanese style bathrooms, practicing dancing and performing it on the Arigato events! It wasn’t all unconditional fun, sometimes it was difficult to accept other cultures or things, but if possible everyone tried to have new experiences and adapt changes.

It was only 3 weeks but we spent most of the time together and through every activity we got closer and all the time we spent together became memorable.

Thanks, everyone, for making this a great time.

To everyone
One, two.. GOOD JOB!!

Shoko Mizuno (Japan)

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