On Monday, November 3rd, SICE took a day trip to Hiraizumi, a historical World Heritage site in Iwate Prefecture. The town was celebrating their autumn festival in the midst of beautiful fall color. We visited temples, gardens and the cultural heritage center.
Every year SICE students visit various schools as part of the Cross-cultural Educational Perspectives course. This year most of the visits took place in October. The most recent were to two elementary schools. We helped with English classes at both schools and spent the whole school day at one of them: interacting, introducing American culture, and learning a lot about Japanese elementary schools.
The schedule at our next school involves our presenting an activity to the 5th graders. We decided to warm up with Yokai Taisou, a very popular exercise involving mysterious monsters, and then teach the students the hokey pokey.
Here we are successfully performing yokai taisou and then doing the hokey pokey with the students.
Last Wednesday we spent the day at Hakubai Kindergarten. We played with the children, enjoyed seeing the youngest class eat their box lunches, and ate lunch with the oldest children. The “rock, scissors, paper” game was lots of fun. SICE and the boys played against an equal number of the girls.
Mrs. Kudou, a former host mother explained how to sew kimono
Fall has arrived in Morioka. The days are getting shorter and much cooler. Some of us pass golden fields of rice on the way to our middle schools or to Iwate University. The farmers are busy harvesting, perhaps partially because another typhoon is predicted to bring heavy rain in our area.
SICE students have settled into their positions as assistant language teachers in the public middle schools here. They spend two and a half days a week at their schools. It’s a wonderful opportunity to see Japanese education from the inside. Here’s a look at SICE ALTs in their classrooms.
Being in the classroom also involves helping individual students during class.
When not in the middle schools the students are taking classes at Iwate University. The new semester began the first of October, so there are various new students in the Japanese classes.
In Japan people talk about autumn being the season for sports, good appetites, and reading. Hopefully, we can enjoy all three.
The University Festival is next weekend. We’re making Rice Crispy Treats to sell. There will be food from all over the world.
We spent 2 days in Kyoto seeing various sites, especially temples and shrines. Then we moved to Osaka and Kobe, where we visited two international schools to explore alternative forms of education in Japan. We experienced a rush hour train ride on our way to the Korean International School. We also explored Kobe’s port area and Chinatown. On our last day we went to see Himeji Castle, which is one of the best kept castles of Japan.
We visited the Korea International School and spent all day there. We cooked some Korean food with one of the high school classes and later participated in an English class for the seventh graders.
We also visited kindergarten classes at the Canadian Academy to see English time for children who entered the school with no English language skills.
That afternoon and the next day we saw some famous sites in the area.
All of us joined two events in the festival of Hachiman Shrine in Morioka. Here are some pictures from the pulling of dashi, or floats, first around selected neighborhoods and then in the evening parade. It was about a 9 hour event for us! First we had to put on our tabi socks and zori sandals along with happi coats and special hats designed for our float. After eating a lunchbox with other members of our group, we began pulling. Elementary school children played drums and chanted and we wandered the streets. In the evening, our float lit up, and all the floats and fire-fighters band entertained the people of Morioka. It was a fun, but exhausting, day!