Saturday, October 25, 2008

A whole lot of culture

I've been busy.

In just one weekend I did all of the following things:

  • Watched the movie "The Five People You Meet in Heaven."
    I recommend it.

  • Enjoyed eating raw squid dipped in squid guts. Yes, again!

  • Ate the best sushi I've ever had in my entire life. Granted, I haven't had much sushi in my life. But from now on, this will change!

  • Went to a Hachinohe -- a town over an hour away -- with Kenji and the other Kuji ALT's to pick up pumpkins that we'll carve on Wednesday. Yay!

  • Played two games of bowling in Hachinohe. Minus the Japanese signs on the walls, it felt like we were in America.

  • Tried a piece of green vegetable cake. Not too bad, but not near as delicious as something like...fudge pie!! (Now that's my kind of dessert.) :)
  • Went "festival-hopping." (as I call it) In two days, I attended four different festivals!

The last item on the list is primarily what kept me busy this weekend. These weren't festivals like the one last month, which involved the whole city and had parades with grand floats. The festivals this weekend were culture festivals, (called a "bunkasai") where students display their everyday achievements and demonstrate performing arts at their school.

Festival #1: Yamagata Junior High School -- On Saturday, I went with Mayla to see her students perform a play and sing. Neither one of us understood the play's plot, but it was still entertaining to watch. The singing afterward was wonderful! It really doesn't even matter that I have no idea what the Japanese songs mean, the beauty of all the voices in the chorus blending together just about moves me to tears.

Festival #2: Yamane Junior High School -- Yamane was my first stop on Sunday, and I stayed long enough to see my students perform a cultural dance. (pictured below) I think they sang later in the afternoon, but I had a schedule to keep, so I couldn't stay.

Festival #3: Community Culture Festival --This was a different kind of culture festival since there weren't performances involved, and it took place in a community center. It reminded me of a craft fair because people from the neighborhood had tables displaying their handmade goods, such as these sandals...

And here's a wide shot of the festival...

I met up with my friend Kevin from church, who was working in the dining area. A variety of homemade Japanese foods (most of which I can't begin to name) were being sold at the festival by volunteers. Kevin asked me if I could stay and help serve since they were so busy. Sure!
I had fun working, and was given a to-go container of soba noodles for helping.

Festival #4: Okawame Junior High School -- I arrived at Okawame just in time to take this picture, and see all 90 of my students sing a song together.

After the group performance, each grade sang a couple of songs. Again, the music was so beautiful! I asked the English teacher what they were singing about in Japanese, and he said, "They want to fly." :)

So that was my fun weekend of culture and activity. This week I'll be teaching my students about an aspect of American culture -- Halloween! Should be a ghoul time, haha.


Lauren said...

I am glad that you were able to get a pumpkin that you are going to carve this week! I am also glad that you get do some Halloween thigs! I hope to talk to you soon!
Love ya!

Anonymous said...

Hey I watched the same movie this weekend, unfortunately I didn't do any other of that fun stuff. Just thought I'd let you know I love your blog, I check it everyday and look forward to all the post.

Dawn said...

Glad you have found some "American" things to do - bowling, pumpkin carving, etc. And I love the cool looking sandals. Have fun teaching Halloween.