The other week my school held their culture festival. I think my last school must have held theirs during the 6 months when they don’t have an Assistant Language Teacher. One of my favourite things about the last school was the Chorus Contest where each class would practice and sing in a big competition. My current school doesn’t do this but the culture festival kind of made up for it.

It began with some short speeches. This was followed by some very short plays about some of the moral dilemmas students might face (think Grange Hill story lines). The first grade students then performed a spoken performance thing that is difficult to describe followed by a redition of the following song.

The Dance Club then performed a number of dance routines. Students are big on the school clubs in Japan. They practice after school everyday and sometimes on the weekends too. I sometimes see them practicing before school as well; as I am heading in of a morning. Anyhow, the Dance Club performed very well. This was followed by another drama about inappropriate photos on a mobile phone.

During a break several classes of Elementary School kids made their way into the audience. It wasn’t immediately obvious why they had turned up. The next act was the Science Club who were performing various experiments and the audience had to guess (multiple choice) was the outcome would be. Then the Elementary School kids sang a song while the Science Club proceeded to blow some form of smoke rings out of cardboard boxes with a hole in the side. I’m not completely sure of the science of this but it looked fun. The morning session was then finished off with a 30 minute production of The Lion King musical by the 2nd grade students. They had prepared the backdrop, costumes and such like themselves (with a bit of help from the teachers). It was a good performance.

During the lunch time there were things exhibited in class rooms. Unfortunately I had to look after one of the exhibits so I couldn’t wander round and look. I was looking after the English Club exhibit. The members (all two of them) had prepared a game of Sugoroku. This is a dice game were you move around a board and have to perform whatever action is described on the square you land on: in this case involving speaking English. I had thought that the students would mingle around the different rooms but they were frog marched in a class at a time for 5 minutes before being marched out again. This meant time to play the game was limited but I managed to work out a way for the whole visiting class to have a bit of fun.

My favourite part started the second half. The Brass Band. Not so much like a British brass band; more American in style. But still lots of fun to listen to. This was followed by two 3rd grade musicals. Each of the five 3rd grade classes had prepared some sort of musical or drama preparing costumes, props and backdrops (much like the 2nd graders version of the Lion King). They were perfomed earlier in the week and the top two were chosen to perform at the Culture Festival. These consisted of performances of Beauty and the Beast and Frozen. Each was about 30 minutes long. The whole thing was rounded off with a couple of speeches.

Overall it was a fun day but it did involve a lot of standing around. there were seats but they were all taken up by students and some of the parents who had been able to turn up (it being a week day). Standing room only. My feet hurt.