Dec 1, 2013

Culture Festival (Middle School Edition)

Not long after seeing the nearby high school's bunkasai (culture festival), it was my junior high school's turn. Much of the day was spent in the gym for speeches, group dancing, skits that looked funny but I couldn't understand, and a very long choir contest. For a short time around lunch, students and their families explored the rest of the school that had been prepared and decorated for the big day.

Here are some highlights from my junior high school's bunkasai:

A 9th grader cutting his first jack-o-lantern.

I think the kids did a great job with them! Later these jack-o-lanterns would be moved to the "haunted house" (below).

The pumpkins were so large, what you actually see here are three pumpkins that were cut in half. The bottoms were left open so an electric push-button light could be placed underneath instead of a candle. I didn't understand why a candle was a big あぶない (danger), but having the kids cut the pumpkins with large knives wasn't? The office lady won't even let me use a knife at school. I think it's because I'm foreign, so I "may not know how to use one." Either that, or they'd feel responsible if the American hurt herself on their watch.

Chalkboard drawings in one classroom. I wonder why Japanese ghosts have white triangles on their foreheads? It looks like upside-down underwear to me.

Every class (two per grade) created their own banner with the theme "miracle." Below the two silhouetted figures is a painting of Asahi Junior High School. This banner won first place at the festival.

Playing with my elementary students who came to support their older siblings.
It is illegal to share pictures of students without hiding their identity.
I dressed up as a witch for the festival. The costume ended up getting me more attention than I'd bargained; I am now digitally captured on many an old Japanese man's camera.
One 9th grade class turned their classroom into a おばけやし (haunted house).

The haunted house was so well done. The students put up dark drapes along the windows, created a maze with chairs, and even hung mop heads from over the walls to scare you as you walked into it in the dark. One girl lay under a draped desk and put her hand out to grab people, like in The Ring. I went in with two elementary students and we all ended up screaming and laughing.


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