Day of activity: July 07th 2014
Last Monday morning’s scheduled activity was very interesting. Really. The presentations were a little long and very detailed, but thez gsve me a lot to think about concerning how much planning goes into a city (an interest of mine that has nothing to do with either my major or the job I sm am aiming for).
In the afternoon, my normal shyness-induced awkwardness was amplified by the addition of a new component to the game JanKenPon (a Japanese version of Rock Paper Scissors) where the ‘winner’ of the round points at their opponent’s face, says a phrase, and points their finger in one direction of four (up, down, left, or right) on the last syllable of the phrase. Also on the the last syllable of the phrase, the ‘losing’ opponent looks in one of the four directions, and prevents the ‘winning’ opponent from truly winning by not looking in the direction that they point in; if the ‘winner’ doees not straight out win (i.e. their opponent looks in a different direction), the dueling pair start all over again with JanKenPon until someone wins. Confusing, right? Now try learning that on the fly when neither party speaks the other’s language very well.
After this amusing activity, we went upstsairs to make Ikinari Dango and were able to see everyone in the aprons they had borrowed from their host families; some of the combinations of World Campus – Japan Participant and host family apron had the occational incongruous and hilarious results: Actually, Ellis had hinted about the design of his host mom’s apron while we were visiting Kumamoto’s Tourism Department that morning which lead me to guess that it was pink and frilly to which he answered with an affirmative. But, seriously Ellis, an apron that has tomatoes on the pockets is not pink! A combination of the following pictures is more what I meant when I said pink and frilly! Funny aprons aside, we had an interesting experience making Ikinari Dango (in a ‘I have no idea what the heck I am doing, but let’s see how this turns out’ sense of the word “interesting”).
The YMCA students were really good at including us in the process of making the dough (very sticky stuff), putting the anko on the sweet potato slices, and wrapping the potato & anko combo in a thin layer of dough. Afterwards, we ate a lot of watermelon while the dango were being steamed, and then we ate the dango shile they were still piping hot. (‘Su-i-ka’ in Japanese means ‘watermelon’, though the ‘su-i’ is not the same as ‘su-i’ which is one of the pronunciations for the kanji which means ‘water’.)
Finally, as we were saying good-bye to the students, I randomly got AKB48’s song “Koisuru Fortune Cookie” stuck in my head. For those who don’t know: “Koisuru Fortune Cookie” is the first song of the Japanese Medley which we participants of World Campus International perform at each Arigato Event. As a result, I started dancing a little of the choreography, someone asked me what I was doing, I answered with a Thinking that We Should Perform the Japanese Medley, and the whole thing snowballed until about half of us were performing with music and a fair number of the YMCA students were recording us. This impromptu performance, I think, was the highlight: a great ending to an already exciting day.