Since my schools were on end of semester holidays - I decided to take the train out into the inaka (farmlands) of North Eastern Hokkaido! My first stop was Engaru to take part in John's primary school's Halloween party!!!
We spent an hour Friday morning wrapping John in gauze and toilet paper to get a super Mummy effect.... but the second we walked in the school doors - little screaming kids came running from every direction jumping on us and tearing apart his mummy outfit!!!!!!!!! Within seconds he was de-mummified!!!
I dressed myself up as a pirate... thinking I could scare the kids off - but it didn't make em budge. Instead they jumped and swung on me like monkeys on a tree. My pirate hat, sword and belt were ripped out from under me.
Wow...... what a difference from my High Schools!!!!!!!! These kids had no ounce of the typical Japanese shyness and politeness I'm used to!!!!
I was exhausted after the first 10 minutes!!!!
John told me that the students were dressing up for Halloween and probably some of the teachers.... so we went all out on our costumes. I even waxed in a pretty nifty lookin 'stache on my pirate face... but when we walked into the staff room after being bombarded by the children - NO ONE was dressed up!!!!!! All of the teachers kind of froze when we walked in the door. hahahah.... One of the male teachers I think was really taken aback by my mustache. He just stared at me and was at a complete loss of words. hahaha....
But once we got into the classrooms it was great fun! With the 5-6 classes we played "guess the body part"..... We had grapes for eyes, spaghetti for brains, carrots for fingers, a carved potato for a nose, oatmeal for guts, ketchup for blood, a gooey ear from the 100 yen shop, corn straw for hair, etc...... We blindfolded the kids one by one as they stuck their hand in the mysterious scary box.... some were absolutely terrified! haha...
This is at the end of the game when we showed them what the body parts were made out of!
The school had already carved jack o lanterns and it was only October 3rd!!! I guess Halloween comes early in NE Hokkaido!
We also played "hot pumpkin" with the kids... They had to use a sentence to say: "I like..." then pass the pumpkin. When the music stopped I asked them to do a dance in the middle of the circle. But I think this freaked out some the kids cause they started bawling when I tried to pull them in the circle to dance with me!!!!!
I was lucky to come visit on that day - because we found out it was a Parents Day!!!! Which means a BIG BUFFET lunch!!!! Oh my.... I've never seen such tiny kids pack in so much food before! They fed us pizza, chicken, curry soup, tempura, veggies, potato salad, onigiri (a huge rice ball), tuna/mayo salad thingie, ice cream balls, juice, french fries and more.... All the kids waited patiently til everyone had their heaping plates of food and then we listend to an opening speech and then finally chimed in "ITADAKIMASU" and chowed down. Everyone at my table cleared their plates and even went up for 2nds and thirds... so to be polite I cleared mine! I could barely move after all that food.... uff...
This was my favorite student at the school - Akane. She was sooooooooo cute and stuck by my side the entire day! We even ate lunch together.... When her Mom came over to sit with us she turned shy and kept poking me under the table secretly. Soooooo cute!!!! She taught me some Japanese patty cake type of games and chattered up a storm in Japanese to me when her Mom left.
After lunch we had class with the hilariously fun 1/2's. The teacher brought a bag of costumes and hats for the kids to wear and we just played the entire time!
We also had a game where they had to say "trick or treat... please give me.... candy!" And then go around to us and the parents in the room trying to collect all 6 sweets cards.
At the end of the day we went in the gym to play... and guess what they play with??!!??!?!?!?
Japanese primary schools are rad.... I mean how cool is that that these little whipper snappers can just grab one of the dozens of unicycles off the rack and whiz around the gym!??!!?!
Why haven't American schools caught onto this amazing concept?!!?!
Then at the end of the day the wee ones put on their hard leather matching backpacks and helmets (?!!??!) before heading home!!!
Awwwww.... was a fun day!!!! I wish I was at a primary school once a week to get my dose of genki kids and games.... but man oh man is it exhausting!!! I think I still have some bruises, scratch and bite marks from the kids!!!!
And to finish a great day - the suuuuper nice staff and principal gave me this poster they made with the pictures they took throughout the day!!!! How sweeeeet!
For even more pics check out: http://callieinjapan.shutterfly.com/1011