On the 1st of December we went to Hasami again for our second round with the primary school students.
This time the kids were the main players – they divided us into pairs and were taking us around different stations they prepared themselves. What is worth noticing is that it was much less about the language than our other meetings with Japanese kids.
First there was a Manga club presentation (side note: in Japan children can sign up for many different extra curricular club activities from a very young age. Majority of people stay in the same club majority of their school career and it’s expected of them to be engaging and keep active within the club activities). Little girls explained to me the history of manga in Japanese and talked about their favourite titles. They also showed us some sketches of their favourite characters they made themselves. It might be because of surrounding visual culture but Japanese children seem to be very talented artistically. They can copy particular manga style spotlessly to the point it looks even professional.
The next station was also very notable – Calligraphy. What’s important to understand is that Japanese calligraphy and painting are very close to each other when it comes to use and roots. Kanji itself is a form of pictographic form of notation. Literature has much closer ties with painting in Japan than it does in European culture. That also explains particular brush movements in many of traditional Japanese paintings. But I’d rather have a separate post about that later on.
Anyway, kids had us write 命, meaning life.
Then we had other stops – playing with Japanese kendama, making origami, watching impromptu sumo match and martial art presentation.
After all of this we said goodbye to our little friends. Brendan took us to a nice italian restaurant, and then we went for a small walk. Hasami is a very interesting place known for its pottery so it was fun to see the reminders of that all around the city.