Friday, October 28, 2011

The 9th Children's Festival! 第9回の子ども祭り

I know it’s been a while since the last update, but let me tell you, it’s hard to get anything done in Kyoto in summer. Honestly I was having trouble not melting most days. This heat also means that there’s a distinct lack of events due to the overwhelming heat.


But now that Seika is heading into fall the calendar is starting to fill up again. For instance last Saturday we held the 9th Seika Children’s festival in the Mukunoki Center. The festival last year is still one of the highlights of my time here, so I was really looking forward to this. Like last year I worked at the Seika Global Network’s booth, where we supervised kids in making some crafts.


The children’s festival was started off with a couple of performances. A youth brass band covered a song from juggernaut girl group AKB48, which I don’t necessarily associate with a big-band sound, but somehow they made it work. Next, a group of preschool kids sang their hearts out, and though their pitch needed a little work, you’d be hard pressed to find a cuter choir. Lastly was the Seika boys and Girls chorus who will be performing at the National Culture Festival at the start of next month.


After the performances the kids scattered around the arena, trying a lot things at the different booths set up in the arena. We at the Seika Global Network booth, we wanted to teach the kids a bit about our sister city, Norman, and the state of Oklahoma. So knowing the long history of native Americans in the state, we decided to make dream catchers.


Other booths had kids trying out traditional instruments, learning sign language, playing with tops, and making paper fans with their pictures on them. The fire department even had a place where kids could try on a fireman’s outfit and learn how to make all kinds of knots.


Unfortunately I was suffering from a nasty cold, so I was initially less than enthusiastic. But the kids did a great job of cheering me up, and a lot of them remembered me (more likely my facial hair) and asked when I was coming back to see them.


Though I was about ready to collapse by the end of the day, it was great to be able to interact with so many kids, and teach them a little bit about one part of American culture.