Day of activity: July 29th 2014
Today was a very special day even for World Campus Japan standards. In the morning we moved to a temple called ryusenji. It was built right next to a kindergarten as if the two were run by the same people. We learned that the temple we were visiting used to be a very important temple. Many years ago the temple was located in the heart of Ueno Park in the center of Tokyo. Since the temple was to be replaced by a museum, the temple was given away as a donation. The whole temple building which is far bigger than a house was moved to a place approximately 50 kilometers away from its original location. Since the temple was right next to a kindergarten the first thing we did in the morning was interact with the kids. The kids came over to the temple and their teachers brought with them a lot of materials that we would be using to make a fuurin (wind chime). We first split up in several groups, grouping one World Campus Japan member together with 2 or 3 kids. We then received all the materials to make the wind chime and got some explanation. The kids were extremely lively and eager to make a very nice wind chime. They drew and pasted stickers and other patterns on their wind chimes to make them as nice as possible. After we finished these wind chimes we visited the kindergarten and split up in 2 groups to eat lunch. After lunch the kids stayed in the kindergarten whereas all the WCJ members went back to the temple.
In the afternoon we got to experience shakyou. Shakyou literally means ‘the copying of Buddhist sutras’. It was a lot of work to copy all the several 100 Chinese characters with a brush and ink. Not just did it take a lot of time, the characters as I drew them were also very ugly and it was hard to fit it on the piece of paper we got. Nevertheless it was a good experience that I will never forget. We then had the opportunity to experience an old traditional Japanese game called kaiawase. Kaiawase literally means ‘shell matching’. From a large collection of shells in face-down position we had to find the two shells that had the same pattern. We then had to check if the two pieces of shell fit together and when they did, we were allowed to see the inside of the shells (face-up). In each of the shells were images. If the patterns on the outside of the shells matched correctly, the pictures on the inside were also a correct match. This way you could play a game with several people and keep track of the score. It was a great and fun experience. The day overall had a lot of variation in activities and all the activities were very characteristic to Japanese culture, making it a very special day for all of us!
Jurrien (The Netherlands)