Friday, June 23, 2017

Day 7 - June 23

Kira Katich, class of 2018. Today was our last day of Ritsumeikan. We are all going to miss the friends we made there, and even miss the kind teachers who helped us throughout the week. This morning, we went though our usual routine of classes and had our last lunch with friends. After the lunch, several English and Art teachers took time out of their schedules to teach us how to make keliadescopes. We're not sure if it's a traditional art form or not, but it was still fun.

Later, we went to an advanced English class and played English speaking games to help improve their conversation ability and give us a chance to interact. Interestingly, the teacher did a one year study abroad at Pitt! After class was done, almost all students participate in club activities. In America, it's normal for students to go home after school, but here, almost all students are at school every day until as late as 7:00 practicing a sport or activity. We saw their baton twirling team (last year second best in Japan), their kendo club, judo club, and many other sports.

We went to their shodo (Japanese calligraphy) club where they performed what's called Shido Performance, a combination of song, dance, and calligraphy on a huge piece of paper. They wrote a beautiful poem and gave it to us to take home to display at school. Club members then taught us calligraphy and gave us a chance to practice. After club,  we met the principal who gave us all gifts to take home. Because this school is dedicated to international exchange and learning English, there are many non Japanese teachers, and even the principal is from Texas!

Once I got home, my host mom's sister and niece came over. I brought American candies and snacks for them to try and they loved the Rice Krispie Treats. I spent ,soy of the night talking with the niece, since we are the same age. My other is very interested inEnglish, so every night I spend some time helping her work on her English pronunciation. I think she is getting much better. At night we watched a scary movie as a family. I really feel welcome here and like I have become part of the family. Tomorrow, they are taking me to the most famous Shrine in Japan, Ise Jingu, which is a two hour car ride away. I'm excited to go, and also so honored by how they have brought me into their home. Monday morning when I have to leave will be so difficult.

With students around the school

Teaching English class

Making keliadascopes 

At shodo club

The banner the students made. The poem reads:
Gorgeous Like Flowers
With theSmell of Osmanthus
Feeling Delicate Like a Daffodil
With Grace like Cherry Blossoms
Gazing Into the Bright Future like a Sunflower
Meeting with the principal
Waiting for the bus for the final time

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