On Tuesday, June 23rd, we had a big day in Ishidorya. We first went to the Ishidorya Branch Office and learned about what goes on behind the scenes in the city. We then went to Yaehata Preschool and had a ton of fun with all the kids. We sang the ABCs, a song about fruit, and then danced and sang to head shoulders knees and toes. By the end of that we were all laughing with each other. After, we introduced ourselves (in English) to the preschoolers and Kelton read Johnny Appleseed. Before we left the preschool, the kids all gave us an origami crane and a box with candy inside. Later, we went to the Ishidorya History and Folklore museum to learn all about the making and history of Sake. We then walked a little bit to see the rice field art depicting a traditional "deer dance." After, we walked to the Ishidorya road station to get a picture with the Rutland Monument. Then, we stopped at a cafe for some lunch. Most of us had soba or udon noodles. Our last stop was the Kochi Promotion Center, where we gave a presentation about Rutland to some Ishidorya locals, learned about traditional Taiko drumming, made dango (rice dumplings), and then played games and drank green tea with some kids. It was a great experience and personally one of my favorite days in Hanamaki.
Today (June 25th), we went to the Hanamaki Kita Junior High School. At the school we participated in gym, science, and English class. In gym class we jumped rope with a giant rope and lots of students, and played dodgeball. In science class we made our own sparklers, using string and magnesium powder, and played with them. In English class we answered questions that the students spoke for us in English, and told them about our school and city. At the school we also ate school lunch, which was a curry vegetable soup, egg omelette, rice, milk, and fruit. At the end of the day, we did calligraphy, presented our student slideshow, watched the students perform a traditional dance, and helped clean the school. It was a very exciting day, especially when all of the students wanted our business cards! Finally, we took pictures with the students, loaded the bus, and waved goodbye as we drove away.
The last day (June 26th) my RISE group visited a school in Hanamaki was the most fun I had on my trip to Japan. It was a Friday when we visited Ishidoriya Junior High School. All of us entered into the gym full of more students than I have seen before. The dance was very impressive, and I wish I could do something of that skill. After the Welcome Ceremony, we toured the school which was very clean and beautiful. Our group had some extra time so we played a quick and fun game of basketball. After the game, we participated in a Traditional Tea Ceremony. It was very peaceful sitting on the Tatami mats and eating the sweet before we drank the tea. Lunch came after the Tea Ceremony and I ate a very good meal with some students. It was fun showing them the video of me dancing to a "J Soul Brothers" song with my host sister. I had mentioned that I like to play soccer, so a couple of very nice girls invited me to play. It was so much fun to play soccer with them and I miss the girls so much, they were very cute and friendly! I liked how nice everyone in the school was and open to talking to me and giving me hugs. The classes, such as art, were interesting because I like drawing and how friendly everyone in the class was. I was sad to leave the school because I made so many good memories that day. I hope to go back and visit Hanamaki again.