The foreigners, who might seem a little intimidating and silly with our accented Japanese, are really nothing but students who are genuinely interested in learning about their culture and history.
Kansai Gaidai University (KGU) is in actuality, one of the biggest international studies university in the Kansai area, and Hirakata city is very much influenced by the hundreds of exchange students that comes and go every semester. In light of this, KGU had decided to start hosting an annual International Festival run by the exchanged students and CIE staff starting this semester. The festival is to reach out to the community and interact with them so that they will have a better understanding of KGU International Studies program and what all the gaijins (foreigners) that are walking their neighborhoods are doing here.
The festival took place in the park that is jsut right in front of our dorms. There were fun and games like jump roping and face painting for the children, informational posters and booths for the parents that I was helping with. The most exciting part is probably the entertainment portion which included everything from hulahooping to dancing and singing that everyone had prepared for weeks prior.
The response from the community was great. A lot of families came out with their children despite the chilly weather. I think the festival was a great way to connect with the city people to let them know that the foreigners, who might seem a little intimidating and silly with our accented Japanese, are really nothing but students who are genuinely interested in learning about their culture and history. All in all, I am proud to be a part of the first ever held festival here that will hopefully continue on for years coming.