Ibaraki Christian Kindergarten

October 17 & November 7, 2017

On these days, Onaca, Lizzete, and I (Brianna) had the pleasure of attending Ibaraki Christian’s very own kindergarten! It was an experience to go down in the books.

We made our way with Rory to the facility, to be greeted with utmost kindness, and of course cuteness by not only the staff, but some kindergarteners as well! Like most Japanese schools, we must take off our shoes. We could either sport the facility’s slippers, or our very own indoor shoes. After a brief tour of the facility, we were instructed to wait until being greeted by the respective kindergarten teachers. Once greeted, we were led into the classroom, only to be swept away by those oh-so-cute faces of the kindergarteners! We can justify this, they were NOT shy.

On the first day, October 17th, we were to teach the 4-year-old classes, Nozomi (hope) 1 & 2. To kick things off, we instructed them to gather and sit in a circle. Using our bodies and arms, we made a circle. They understood, and did as so.  The three of us introduced ourselves, and got quite the reactions, some I will not forget. Lizzete and I gave shortened versions of our names; Liz and Bri. When Onaca (AH-NAH-KA) introduced herself, we were received with giggles–I believe they heard onaka (OH-NAH-KA), the Japanese word for stomach. It was quite funny.  Moving along, we wanted to get the children moving (heh, see what I did there?). We began with Total Physical Response (TPR). We gave them commands such as: stand up, sit down, touch the floor, point to the door (ooh, that rhymes! I’m on fire!), stomp, and clap. We ourselves did it along with them. To be silly, we consequentially made them stand up, only to sit back down shortly afterwards. They got quite the kick out of that. Onwards, we gathered round back into a big circle and introduced them to body parts with pictures: head, shoulders, knees, toes, eyes, ears, mouth, and nose. For head, we had a picture of Monkey D. Luffy from One Piece. He was quite a hit. We then closed with “Head, shoulders, knees, and toes” and the “Hokey Pokey” and said our goodbyes.

The second and final time, we got a better understanding of the kids and how to use our time. Unfortunately, it is a process and will take much more than two times to perfect our lesson.  This time, we were with the Ai (love) 1 & 2 class. These were the 5-year-olds. Even though a year older, they were still not shy.  We pretty much did the same lesson, with minor revisions and better management of time. The 5-year-olds, however had a significantly greater retention of the vocabulary that was presented to them, and were much more responsive.

Overall, it was a great experience!

Bunkasai: The Culture Festival (Fall 2017)

Friday afternoon’s festival-goers.

We had a long weekend last week–no school Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday! The long break didn’t make for an empty campus though. In fact, it was more packed than ever! Why, you ask? Well, because it was the bunkasai! Or, in English, the culture festival.

The culture festival at Ibaraki Christian is a huge undertaking that all of the college clubs, the high school, junior high school, and kindergarten participate in. Wednesday was used for preparation and set up, Thursday the college opened their festival activities, and on Friday everyone’s activities were up and running for the day. Continue reading “Bunkasai: The Culture Festival (Fall 2017)”

Going to Hitachi Seaside Park


A picture of the kochia at Hitachi Seaside Park
Hitachi Seaside Park in Hitachinaka, Ibaraki

When I learned that Ibaraki Prefecture has been ranked the least attractive Prefecture for five years in a row, I wondered how this could be. I thought, we have mountains and beaches, the Fukuroda waterfall, the amazing Tsuchiura Fireworks Festival, and we’re not too far from Tokyo. It only began to make sense to me when I learned that Ibaraki is well known for its natto, the smelly fermented soybeans that Japanese people, but very few others, love to eat. If natto is Ibaraki’s claim to fame, perhaps the prefecture does not have much else to offer. Continue reading “Going to Hitachi Seaside Park”