I’ve been trying to decide on my favorite thing about Japan, and even though I have list it by no means is completely accurate. This inaccuracy is due to the simple fact that is impossible to actually pick my favorite thing because I loved almost everything we did. I can however pick my least favorite, which was visiting the Fukushima TV station. Anyways…the first topic: Kindergarten!
I loved the Japanese kindergarten. As soon as we arrived I knew it was going to be great because all of the kids on the playground were running around yelling at us and waving. This is also made even cuter because each class has a color and all of the kids in that class were a hat in their class color so that their teachers and keep track of them. Another sign that kindergarten was going to be great: bunnies. That’s right the kindergarten has bunnies. I love bunnies and I think that all kindergartens should have bunnies at the front door. I think the furry little creatures make the students and teachers (and American visitors) happy. I also loved the fact that in the cleanest little kindergarten school they have bunnies, which are some of the messiest pets. When we went to class, the kids all went wild. There are about 35 kids in a class and each class has roughly 3 teachers. All of the kids are wearing uniform jackets and indoor shoes. Indoor shoes are the shoes that they change into when they get to school in the morning and after recess. Here is a picture of one of the classes.
We were able to visit the class during their weekly English lesson. The lady running around in a black jacket and skirt is the English teacher . She told us she had never spoken to a native English speaker, yet she did a very good job. We started by naming the animal on different flash cards and then making their noises. I got to make a cat noise: MEOW. After the animal game we sang a song here are the lyrics. If you ask me to sing this for you I will because I think this song is so much fun. I like to call it the panda song.
My name’s Panda. What’s your name?
My name’s Doraemon. What’s your name?
My name’s Panda. My name’s Doraemon.
How do you do? How do you do?
I hope you enjoyed that as much as I do. After singing time she read us a story about the animals and about a rooster who forgets what sound he makes and how is mistake ends up saving all the barn animals.
The best part of the class was after story time when we would sit at the front of the circle and she would hand different kids are name cards and they would have to come up and say “Hello. What’s your name?” to which I would reply “My name is Coco.” If the card they were holding matched the name on my name tag then they would give me the card. If it wasn’t a match then they would go to the next person. The cutest part of the whole thing was that they kept wanting to shake our hands while they were doing this.
On a side note, I told them my name was Coco for a few different reasons. The main one being that in the Japanese language there is not “t” sound. Therefore I was call “Corny” for the length of my trip. The second reason is that my name is ridiculously hard for small American children to pronounce hence the many names I have been called including: turnky, turkey, corny, corry, and coco. I figured I would just let the kids call me Coco since it was something they could pronounce. The best part of this is that in the second class I was sitting beside a little boy and he asked me my name so I told him Coco. He then proceeded to stare at my name tag and call me c-o-c-o. For the rest of the class he would on occasion lean over and tap my arm and say “c-o-c-o” and then just smile.
Oh well I guess. Anyways here are some more pics from the kindergarten visit. Let me know if there are any questions.
This little guy was so shy, but he kept wanting to sit so close to me. In fact we sat on the floor for story time and he was so cute because he just scooted up to me a close as he could get.
Unlike American students, the Japanese kids didn’t hug us. Instead they shake your hand. It’s so funny and cute to see so many happy little children and then watch them be so serious and businesslike with their handshakes.