Date of Activity: July 5th
Even though we had visited an elementary school yesterday, the reaction of Japanese kids to visits of the World Campus group never fails to surprise. Whereas the children from the elementary school seemed to look up to us (even though we did not do anything exceptional), the reception of the kids from the kindergarten was of a different kind. Indeed, the focus of today’s activities were lay on our visit to the Megumi Kindergarten.
When we first entered, the children all acted quite shy, even after you had played with them for a while. This changed gradually during the day. After having fun making mochi and eating the delicious pieces of ‘rice dough’, we got to play with the small kids some more. Caution had been replaced with genuine fun, visible from the happy looks we received. Today was something special.
In the afternoon we were to visit the sword-smith Matsunaga Genrokurou, one of the few blacksmiths in Japan that actually makes katana not for the purpose of simply displaying them. The man talked with such vigor about his work, which reflected on our experience as well. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves even more than normal (and overly enjoying yourself is something quite inherent to the World Campus program, I noticed). Being allowed to try out pounding hot iron in Matsunaga’s workshop and swinging his swords, made the day even better.
Wester Wagenaar (The Netherlands)