Saturday, May 14, 2011

One-Day Ambassador To Japanese School

Studies apart, one of the many interesting things that I am fortunate enough to experience during my time in Japan is the opportunity to visit the junior high schools in Japan.

It was my second time visiting a junior high school in Japan, after my first experience in Aobadai Junior High School. This visit also came under the same program called "Sekai-ga Sensei" (世界が先生) that was organised by the International Affairs Division of Nagaoka City Office. To those who are new to my blog, you might wonder where Nagaoka is located. It is a second largest city in Niigata prefecture in the northern part of Honshu island, the main island in Japan. That is where I spent three years doing my diploma course at Nagaoka Kosen before I moved to Chiba late March 2010.


Konan Junior High School (岡南中学校).

By this time, some might have figured out that my second visit to this junior high school was done for some time back already. Yup, it has been more than one year already and here I am, blogging about my visit to Konan Junior High School back in March 2010 haha!

This program is a part of the Cross-Cultural Learning Project (国際人育成事業), where they invite volunteers consisting of international students and foreigners living in Nagaoka to visit selected schools in the city while introducing the culture, history, and customs of their respective countries to the school kids. This kind of opportunity doesn't come often and when I received the e-mail from Miss Ogawa Yuka, informing me that this school requested for international students to visit their school, I jumped onto this great news!


A small notice board placed at the entrance, to welcome the "international sensei".


Shoe racks placed next to the main entrance door. It just looks like the schools you see in Japanese dramas, ain't it?


Trophies and certificates, which represents the school's achievements in various fields. 


I was not alone for this program, as there were ten of us, including me who went to this school.


We were served with hot green tea by one of the teacher; on the right is the schedule for the day.


The school slipper just couldn't fit my long feet haha!

We were greeted with a warm welcome by Kondo sensei upon our arrival at the school. The coordinator from the city office, Miss Kotajima went to the principal's room, while we waited in the waiting room until we got the cue to begin our job as ambassadors haha! There were ten of us - three each from China and Bangladesh, and two each from Vietnam and Malaysia. Most of them looked really eager and excited to see the kids as they make some light preparations in the waiting room.

As I have joined this program once previously, I still had my materials such as PPT slides and posters with me; so I just recycled them haha!


I think the drawings is enough to convey the message behind it.


The students' toilet, just in case you have never seen a toilet in junior high schools in Japan haha wtf! Certainly cannot compare it with toilets in our schools, 
where sometimes you will find golden nuggets in the toilet bowl, or have to tip toe on floor flooded with pee haha wtf!


The reason why the toilet doesn't smell bad. The students are responsible to do regular checks on the cleanliness of the toilet every day.

Unlike my visit to Aobadai Junior High School, our time at Konan Junior High was kinda limited. Besides, we didn't really have much freedom to plan activities on our own with the kids because everything has been arranged by the school. Basically, they break the students into several groups and each participant will be assigned to a certain group. The session is divided into two parts - presentation session by the participant and interview session by the students.

Personally, I feel that the format is kinda rigid and there is not much flexibility for us to do other activities. However, since everything was already being arranged, I tried my best to fit into that format.


During the interview session, we sat in a circle and supervised by one teacher.


Each of them have prepared a few questions beforehand and they took turns to stand up and ask those questions.


Here comes the question of the day haha! Guess what he asked?

The first question I asked them was their impression about Malaysia, what they know about Malaysia. One of the answers I got was, Malaysia to him is something like an area full of forest! Haha, you tell me, should we laugh or cry at that statement? If that is the image our country has among the kids, I wonder what the grown-ups think about her.

Sometimes, I cannot blame them for their ignorance even though some of their questions can be really bizarre and funny. Despite all that, I couldn't contain myself from bursting into laughter at times, especially when they pose me really interesting questions, such as "Is durian the same as doria from Saizeriya?"

I guess you will only find that funny if you have been to Saizeriya and eaten their doria before.


The next session required the participants to introduce their countries to the students. I used PPT slides to give a short presentation about Malaysia.

To give them a better idea about our country, I made a few comparisons between Malaysia and Japan in terms of population, land size and time zone.


Here come the interesting part - to share with them some simple greetings in various languages.

I showed them greetings in two languages - Malay and Chinese. Only if I have done more homework earlier, I could have impressed them more if I'd written in more than just two languages; for example, in Tamil, Iban or Kadazan haha! However, I think I shouldn't be so evil because I guess two foreign languages is already a big headache to them lol!

To help them to pronounce those words properly, I wrote their pronunciation in katakana characters above those greetings.


Some of them looked really confused. I guess it might be the first time for them to see so many foreign languages written on the blackboard at one time haha!


Next was to let them try wearing some Malay traditional attire. I got these from Nur Hazwani, a fellow Malaysian who brought them. Since the girls were shy to wear the baju kurung, one boy sacrificed himself to be the female haha!


Another interesting part - food! For every kinds of food, I try to give a brief explanation on the taste, the ingredients found inside the dish and also any Japanese dish that is similar to those dishes. For example, "mee goreng" is "yakisoba-with-extra-chilly-sauce" haha!


"As for roti canai, it is made of naan after being compressed by an elephant". It just made it much easier for them to imagine and understand better, isn't it?


"It's very simple to wear a sari; just drape a long bright and colourful cloth around you body and use a stapler to ensure it doesn't fly everywhere when you go out".

The students are supposed to note down the information I shared with them as they'd to prepare a report at the end of the program.There is also a Q&A session where they get to ask any questions they feel like asking. Yes, just about anything, including how many girlfriends I have had previously haha wtf!

At the end of the session, a representative from the group of students gave an appreciative massage to me.


Yup, I did not make any typing error, as you can see from the program haha wtf!


The "appreciative massage" was presented by that guy who wore a baju Melayu. I know he had a lot to ask, but he was just shy in the beginning.


In return, I belanja them to some keropok lekor, which was brought there by Hazwani too haha!


One of them discovered a new way to tie the scarf. I don't know what style is this; probably ninja style lol!


A group photo with the kids and their teacher.


And finally, a group photos with the rest of the international students who became a one-day ambassadors for their countries haha!
It was one of my happiest and memorable days during my time in Japan and I am very glad to have the chance to meet with those wonderful kids.


Robinn T said...

so not ninja style okay! its was a DOROBO!!! hahaha

Kasian that guy who needed to wear the tudung man.. what happened to cheongsam and samfu? XD

so nice, they are all junior high school students right?

sakura said...

nice post! interesting to mingle around with the kids in Japan :)

DT said...

Hahaha... U r so cruel to make the boy wear Baju kurung,.....

CHR!SS. said...

lol, appreciation massage XDD

Kae Vin said...

I donno where you find your strength to update something as old as that. =.=

I can give you appreciation massage too if you tour me in Japan! XD

calvin said...

@ tempus:
lol! but they are friendly dorobo :P

i don't have any traditional costumes with me, and those baju kurung and baju melayu were not mine actually, but brought there by another malaysian. perhaps next time i should shop for some colourful cloths and make them wear saree haha!

yup, junior high 2 if i am not mistaken ; )

calvin said...

@ sakura:
thanks. yup, it was indeed a rare chance to get to experience this kind of thing =)

calvin said...

@ dt:
haha! what to do? nobody wanted to do it, so i just randomly chose him lol!

calvin said...

@ chr!ss.:
if i have noticed that on that day, i could've asked for one :P

calvin said...

@ kae vin:
that's because i work out everyday; hence i am strong haha wtf!

you made that offer voluntarily, so better make sure you keep your words :P