Fall Color in Hiraizumi

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.

Japanese maple beauty
Japanese maple beauty

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Visiting Schools and Mastering Movements of Mysterious Monsters

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 entire class at the entrance to Ueda Elementary School
The entire class at the entrance to Ueda Elementary School
Students ask SICE participants questions.
Students ask SICE participants questions.

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.

Early morning last minute practice of Yokai Taisou to make sure we can do it!
Early morning last minute practice of Yokai Taisou to make sure we can do it!

Here we are successfully performing yokai taisou  and then doing the hokey pokey with the students.




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Kindergarten and Kimono Time

Can I have a bite?

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.

The Earlham and boys team won!
The Earlham and boys team won!

Mrs. Kudou, a former host mother explained how to sew kimono

Zach is holding a sword passed down through the family.
Zach is holding a sword passed down through the family.

and then let SICE students try on kimono.

They all chose the kimonos they wanted to wear.


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Iwate University Kozukata Festival – Saturday and Sunday, October 18th and 19th

The festival started with the groups for each booth/tent putting up the tents.

We’ll figure it out!

Then we began cooking rice crispy treats. The booths opened at 10:00, and we sold the treats in three flavors, plain, chocolate and mixed.

Zach was our main artist for the poster.
Special rice crispy treat chefs

We were part of the International food booths. We had students from Xinjiang on one side and from Indonesia on the other.

Lots of great food to choose from.

Mixed flavor.
Mixed flavor.
Having a taste
Having a taste
Do you know where we are from?
Time for a discount price
Time for a discount price

Another day of festival tomorrow: cooking, selling, and eating good food! If you’re nearby, drop by and support SICE. The extra money made will go to support the tsunami disaster area.


Autumn Days in Morioka

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.

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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.


Hope is ready to listen to each student in the class introduce a friend to her. Good luck!

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.

Iwate University

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.

More later on Autumn’s increased appetite!

SICE Trip to Kyoto and Kobe, September 21st to September 25th

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.

At one of the gates of Nijo Castle.
Sunday morning we separated into two groups. This group is investigating the red brick aqueduct of Nanzenji, which was built in 1890.
Back together in the afternoon, walking through the many torii of Fushimi Inari Shrine.

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’re about ready to sit down and taste!
Communicative game!
Goofing off before taking a walking tour of the multicultural neighborhood.

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.

Entrance to Kobe's Chinatown.
Entrance to Kobe’s Chinatown.
Kobe Chinatown
Kobe Chinatown
Himeji Castle, Wednesday, September 24th
Himeji Castle

SICE joins Autumn Festival in Morioka

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!

Yuki’s making us all look just right.
We're "helping" pull the float around various neighborhoods.
We’re “helping” pull the float around various neighborhoods.
Standing in front of our float before the parade begins
Standing in front of our float before the parade begins
Standing behind the float before parade
Standing behind the float before parade
Dashi in parade
Having fun after parade - I love Iwate with heads "eating" local noodles
Having fun after parade – I love Iwate with heads “eating” local food

Time to collapse after a long, fun day!


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