This weekend’s event overshadowed everything that happened during the week. One of the first friends that I’ve made here, Stephanie, is a homestay student and her host mother is an English tutor. Okaasan (which means mother) also volunteers at a local elementary school every Saturday. This Saturday was a special one since they were putting up an English learning day for all the kids in the neighborhood. Upon hearing about this, I asked Stephanie if I could come help as well, since I miss working with kids at a tutoring center back at home. Okaasan was so gracious that she let me sleep over so that we can leave together in the morning and so began my first stay inside a Japanese home. The house is indeed small, especially with the two giant dogs that they keep. There were doors connecting room to room, making it easier to move around and causing less traffic in the hallway.
In the morning, Okaasan made us an amazing breakfast that hit every single food group (see awesome picture). Afterwards, we head out to the school and unfortunately, it was a rainy day so not many students showed up. Nevertheless, we carried on with our English-learning activities like singing songs, recognizing numbers, letters of the alphabet and reading simple books. All the kids were a little shy at first but they quickly warmed up to us as their curiosity and enthusiasm to learn take over. It was a great day and we ended it by trying out some taiko, Japanese traditional drums. Stephanie played the drums for several years so she was a natural but I was off-beat and finding myself doing worse than some of the 7 years-old in the room. Then after we said our thank-yous and good-byes, we began heading back when Okaasan, being an amazing person, treated us to a delicious Italian restaurant where I ate what I realized was supposed to be for at least 3 people. After stuffing ourselves full with creamy pasta goodness, Okaasan dropped me off back at the seminar house and thus ended my adventure which I enjoyed immensely. It can probably one of the best weekends of my stay here, it wasn’t partying or karaoke but a different, rewarding type of fun that I hope other students will get to experience one day.