A few weeks before the actual Easter Day, Hyuga held its annual Easter Festival. That morning I had another 5k in Kadogawa, but I told the organizers of the event that I would be happy to stop by. That somehow turned into me volunteering, but as that is the easiest event to volunteer at, I figured it would not be a problem. Anna was sweet enough to give me a ride back to Hyuga from Kadogawa. I was planning on going straight to the event, but Anna insisted on taking me home so I could have a moment to get properly changed and drop off my things. She then drove me to the park next to our train station and went back home to Kadogawa.
90 percent of the festival’s non-foreigner volunteers were students from my school, so I had fun walking around and talking to them while they worked and got ready. My job for the day was the same as my job last year: when little kids come up and say hello in English, give them a sticker. The kids had to collect 10 stickers and then they got a piece of candy. I wandered around throughout the afternoon, trying to interact with as many as kids as possible as well as bugging my own students from time to time.
At some point during the afternoon, an old man approached me. He asked if I was Jodi and then he had a weird request. From what I could tell, he said he had two granddaughters who lived in other areas of Japan and he was putting together a video of native English speakers reading books for them. I was in a weird mood, so I said sure, whatever while making sure to make looks at my nearby students and co-workers that said, “If I go missing, remember that this is the last guy you saw me with. Memorize his face.”
I didn’t really think I was in any danger, but it never hurts to make sure as many as people know where you are as possible in that kind of situation. We ended up finding a spot nearby to sit down. I read the book (a really bad English translation of a Japanese folk tale) and he recorded. Afterwards he thanked me and went on his way. One of my friends, a woman who owns an English school in town who helped organize the Easter Event later thanked me for taking a hit for the team (so to speak) and dealing with the guy so he did not bother any of the other foreigners (who speak very little English).
It was an interesting overall. From time to time my co-workers (who were working various booths around the festival) would pull me over to do interpreting for them if they were having trouble understanding some of the foreign university students who were also volunteering/ had brought their children along for the festival. It definitely made me happy to know that my co-workers regard my Japanese skills highly enough that they felt I could be helpful.
Later in the afternoon, all the visiting foreign students were invited to learn how to do our city’s dance, the Hyottoko dance. I joined them because I’ve always wanted to learn how to do it properly. The worker from city hall (another friend of mine) who were instructing the students pulled me up front to help him translate until Cameron, the city’s CIR could come over and help.
The event finally ended a little after 4, by which point I was absolutely exhausted. There was a dinner for the volunteers afterwards, but all I wanted to do was take a long bath and sleep. After saying goodbye to everyone, I headed home.