As much as I love being considered "part of the family" at Kirita, sometimes it's nice to get "honoured guest" treatment. This Monday I happened to be teaching at Ofukanai (it's been about a year since my last visit!). I thought it was strange that they would want an ALT after the big JHS bunka sai (culture festival) weekend, but it turned out that they hadn't actually had their culture day yet.
Anyway, one of the activities for the ninensei to practice "if" clauses was to write the ALT (me) a fax to tell me about some news and to solicit a response of some sort (e.g. "Kumi broke her arm. If you are free, please come to the hospital with me."). It was good timing for such an activity since most students were able to tell me about the school festival and invite me to come. Even though they didn't actually give me the faxes (they handed them in to their teacher, of course), since I was duly informed about it, I decided I'd try to go if I could.
I found out from the JTE that the school festival would start at 9am. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of thinking the schedule would be similar to Kirita's (starting at 9am, but nothing really happening until the food things opened at 10am and performances, etc. going on in the afternoon), so I planned to go around 10am. Due to a very slow start to the morning, however, I ended up arriving around 10:45am.
As it turned out, I missed English speech recitations (well, I'd already heard them anyway!), sharing from the sannensei about the homestay in Canada (from when they were ninensei), and a music presentation by the sannensei. ^^;; Luckily I was in time to catch a good portion of the koma odori (horse dance).
At any rate, I got a very warm welcome when I entered the school. They gave me free food tickets (tempura udon and umeboshi onigiri) and when I went into the gym for the performance, they asked me to sit up front next to kocho-sensei! After the performance, kocho-sensei thanked me for coming and told me (all in impecable English) to please enjoy the festival.
I got quite a number of cheerful "hello's" from students and teachers. While I was looking at the stuff in the ichinensei classroom, I got...I guess you could say "accosted" by several (Horanai) elementary school students whom I'd taught a few times recently. They pretty much took (dragged =P) me around the rest of the day.
One girl, Miki, gave me one of her takoyaki. I shared my udon with the boy, Sho (?) since he didn't have any food tickets on him. Miki's father bought all of us frankfurters (on sticks!).
Apart from having more fun seeing the festival with people, it worked out well that I ended up hanging out with the Horanai students since they really enjoyed playing with my camera. As a result, I ended up actually getting photos of myself at the festival!
Originally I was planning on just dropping by for an hour or so, but I saw on the program that there'd be a choral competition in the afternoon (starting at 2pm) so I ended up staying until the end of the festival. All in all, I had a good time. If the festival turns out to be a different day from Kirita's again next year (assuming I'm still here), I think I'll try to visit again (making sure to come right from the start, though)!
For more pictures of the festival, see my Facebook album.
I've also updated/added some other photo albums:
Updated: Random Food (1 photo)
Updated: Japanese Kit Kat (1 photo)
New: Just Desserts