Every year there is an English camp at Mukabaki Community/ Youth Center near Nobeoka. The camp is open to about 60 elementary students and lasts three days, two nights. The camp has recently gained so much popularity that it was filled to capacity half an hour after it started accepting applications. In fact, the woman in charge decided to allow and extra 9 kids to participate. There are several students who come back each year and some who have come from the opposite end of the prefecture just to attend.
Last year I was supposed to work two out of the three days of the camp, however I came down with the flu and a nearly 40 C degree fever on the first day. I felt fine in the morning, if not a little tired, but by the evening I was shivering uncontrollably and swaying on my feet. But last year I was at the hospital a lot because I had to go for frequent check-ups with the surgeon who did my ankle surgery.
This year, though, I was only able to go to one of the days of the camp because of Chihiro’s wedding the day before. I did not spend much time with the kids, but I was able to help organize the other ALTs. We were given a two hour period to play games with the kids, so I worked with the other ALTs to break down the time and make different stations so the kids could try a lot of different games.
Some of the games turned out to be a little more dangerous than anticipated, but the kids still seemed to have a lot of fun.
After the games we had lunch with the kids and wrapped up the camp with a closing ceremony. I got a ride back to the train station with Cameron and one of the university students who had volunteered at the camp. After we got there, a bus-full of the kids from the camp arrived and ended up on the same train as us. A lot of the kids were heading to the capital city and further on the train by themselves.
A few of them hung out with us on the train, wandering between the group of other kids further up on the train and the three of us sitting at the back of the train. All I can say is that I’m really glad my Japanese has improved enough that I can finally understand kid-Japanese most of the time.