The first session we visited Kaiaze junior high school. All of the World Campus Participants/Staff split up and joined different teams to play dodge ball with the kids. These were not only kids from Kaiaze junior high school, but also from a Japanese school for deaf children. It was so much fun!
When we first joined our teams I found my way over to a small group of girls and talked to them a bit. I made a friend, Maho, and she was just so sweet. She would introduce me to her other friends and they’d all talk to me a little in Japanese, but since my Japanese isn’t all that great, I couldn’t talk to them too easily. When our first game actually started, I was usually with Maho, and her friends would come and go too. They found the World Campus guys on the opposite team scary and would always comment to me when one of the guys got the ball “Ah, hayai!” (he’s so fast!), “kowaii!” (scary!), or “tsuyoi!” (strong!). Maho’s best friend would just run behind us and duck down behind us – I felt so included.
Later in the day we got to plant rice in a paddy near the school. We all wore high socks that our host family had given us, and walked right into the paddy! There was such deep mud that you’d make a sucking noise when you pulled your foot out to take another step. All of the kids were laughing at the noises. When we lined up to plant our seedlings, I found Maho and her friends! We got to be together the whole time, and she helped me figure out how many to plant at a time and how to stir the mud so that it would be a good place to plant them.
I was so happy that I had been able to be with her again. It was really fun, and I’m really happy that I got the opportunity to plant rice seedlings while interacting with the kids as if really being part of Japanese society.
Kristen LaMier – Amerika