I would like to invite you to follow my adventure in Fukuoka, Japan this summer. Along with a Trinity Fifth Grader, I am participating in the Asian Pacific Children’s Convention for two weeks. Are time is spent meeting children from 60+ countries in the Asian pacific as well as staying with Japanese host families.
If you’re interested in this experience, please follow me on the Japan America Society of Georgia blog. Here is the latest post:
“APCC 2013- Assemblies, BBQ, and Smashing Watermelon”
Today we said goodbye to our friends at Kamo Elementary School. The last day before summer vacation for the students, there was extra excitement in the air. As part of the closing assembly, the principal read a story about the legend of the Kamo catfish. He translated and read each slide in English, just for us! Then we were each presented with a catfish figurine as a present. Our students then shared a sentence in Japanese thanking the school for hosting us. I was SO PROUD of them for their confidence and public speaking in front of 600 people AND using Japanese (that is no easy feat). The students also made little posters with pictures of our time together, tissue paper flower arrangements, and matted kanji calligraphy, which they gifted to us at the end of the day. Another highlight was joining the Sixth Graders for their ice cream sundae party! We had is all—fruit, chocolate candies, Japanese jelly candies, whip cream, cornflakes, chocolate sauce—I guess kids everywhere know what it takes to make an awesome sundae.
After school Haley and Poppy had a play date. My host sisters joined their families for a sushi party! They made their own sushi, and they were sweet enough to bring me some as well (these girls have sushi-chef written all over them!) They also baked random goodies. A favorite was hot cake pops. They used a cake pop maker, and filled it with pancake mix and random goodies (like Nerds candies). Apparently it was very tasty. I’m told that their play date ended with Poppy and Haley belting a very silly version of the United States national anthem (which made all the kids crack up). A good time was had by all!
Back together again for a BBQ at the principal’s mountain house, we drove deep into a huge mountain range, then all the way up the mountain. The view was simply stunning! Kenneth and Haley’s parents gave them casual kimonos to wear, which you’ll notice in the pictures. My host father was already there at work on the grill as we pulled up. Then the principal created a second BBQ on the ground where he grilled tons of meat, rice, and vegetables for all the kids (seriously- he is such a nice guy!) Kenneth and Quinn were “at home on the grill” (Kenneth’s words). They spend a good 2 hours turning meat, serving everyone, and thoroughly enjoying every minute of it. Parents, I hope you are ok with your kids grilling out on the driveway when they get home!
After A LOT of eating, all the kids lined to take their turn at whacking a watermelon. Literally. Just like a piñata, they each took a swing blindfolded at a massive watermelon. When it finally cracked, we dug in and enjoyed! After the watermelon smashing was a solid hour of fireworks and sparklers.
What a wonderful night! I cannot express enough how thankful I am to be here and to know these families. They are wonderful people and incredibly thoughtful and generous with our JAs. I hope one day we have the opportunity to return the hospitality.
Julia Kuipers, Fifth and Sixth Grade