Not much happened last week until the weekend. On Saturday I got to wake up nice and early to walk to the train station and catch a train to Kadogawa. Misaki picked me up at the train station and brought me to the community center where she throws her English school’s parties. Just like last year, I dressed up as something ridiculous that I knew the kids would like. This year, however, I made sure to go with something that wasn’t nearly as hot as the full Pikachu costume from last year.
I ended up being put in charge of blowing up balloons and actually blew up so many that my cheeks were sore the next day. I did not know that was even possible. Once the kids started showing up I got switched to name tag distribution duty. Lauren showed up shortly after that and the party got started.
I had run into one of my JTEs at the train station and she commented on how I always seemed to be volunteering somewhere. The truth is, I love working with elementary school students and these volunteering events can end up being the highlight of my week. These events are also becoming even easier as my Japanese improves. Kids don’t understand why you can’t understand them. They just think you’re ignoring them or being rude, so it is really hard to get them to like you when you aren’t able to respond properly. Granted, with the really young ones, they barely know their own language so sometimes they aren’t making sense anyway.
Still, it felt great being able to respond correctly when some kids were asking for help making bats-buckets out of cups, stickers, and trash bags. (I wish I had gotten pictures, but I was too busy trying to peel off the backs of stickers for five kids at once.) The Halloween party was a little bittersweet for me since it will be my last time in Japan, but there’s always the holiday party to look forward to.