Friday, November 25, 2011

Seika Festival 2011 / せいか祭り2011年

 As November comes around, it’s time again for the Seika Festival! With over 35,000 visitors last year, the festival is far and away the biggest event of the year, and despite a bit of rain and clouds, it went off without a hitch this year!

Like last year, I was posted at the Seika global Network booth, where we held a small international photo contest, using photos from out sister city, Norman, Oklahoma. We had the kids and their parents pick their favorite picture and then handed out balloons. We also had information about Seika Global Network and Norman up, and a lot of people seemed really interested to learn more about our sister city!


Wandering around the festival during lunch, I saw different stalls selling all kinds of fresh fruit, toys, takoyaki, and all kinds of other things. There were hands-on activities too, set up by different groups and organizations in Seika. At one for instance where you had to try to power a TV with a bicycle. There was even a giant inflated Mario which kids could bounce around inside of.


Inside the Suikeien were different dance performances, covering every genre from hip-hop to cheer squad. Additionally, all kinds of different bands performed at the Music Street concert, though my favorite was probably a group that looked like regular salary men, but rocked like Spinal Tap.


 The whole festival was a lot of fun this year too, and it seems like many kids and adults were interested in our sister-city. Here’s hoping everyone who came out had a great time and that next year is just as fun!


Monday, November 14, 2011

Our guests from Oklahoma・オクラホマ州からのゲスト

As part of the 26th National Culture Festival held in Kyoto this past week, Seika got a visit from some very special guests. Students from the University of Oklahoma’s school of dance and the marching band came to Seika to show off their skills.


The students visited both Higashi Hikari Elementary School and Seika Nishi middle school, where they got to perform for the students there and afterwards interact and play with them. The performances were great, and I especially enjoyed the dance portion, which was very modern and really grabbed the attention of the kids in the audience. Of course the marching band was exciting too, most of all when they performed big band versions of some classic Japanese songs.


At Seika Nishi middle school, after the show our guests from Oklahoma broke up and went to different first year classes for some closer interaction. The middle schools students taught them how to write their names in Katakana, make origami and speak some Japanese. The students from Oklahoma also took the time to introduce their state and answer some questions about life in America. Some even brought CDs and gifts for all the kids!


Although people seemed a little shy at first, it wasn’t long before everyone was laughing and having a lot of fun. Though I had originally thought it might be necessary for me to interpret, after a while I realized that everyone was having a better time communicating directly, even with the language barrier. Since I no longer have much trouble speaking Japanese, I had forgotten how much fun it can be trying to communicate and break through the language barrier with another person.


Although they could only stay in Seika for a short while, we all hope they had a lot of fun, and made some good memories about our town to take back with them.