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Mino Cultural Events

Evening Community English Conversation Class
 We taught two different levels of English conversation classes to over 40 students, ranging from kindergarten students with their parents to middle-aged adults. These classes were held twice a week throughout five evenings during the two-week stay in Mino.  The students were eager to learn English from native speakers, despite the serious Typhoon 21 that occurred on September 3rd. Many kinds of people came to speak English with us, including a film reporter from the local cable TV station.
This event was so popular, that it resulted in having it covered by local newspapers and a cable TV station.

Cooking Class
 On August 25, 2018, visitors and natives cooked together as part of the cultural exchange. We learned how to make two dishes, one from each side of the world: Japan’s Okonomiyaki and Pasta with Italian Tomato Sauce from the Western culture.  The Japanese participants learned that American fathers/husbands often aid in the kitchen, sometimes doing all the cooking. Afterwards, we enjoyed eating these meals together!

 Kindergarten Visits
 We visited four different kindergartens, consisting of three, four and five-year olds. After eating lunch with the children, we did some English games and songs & dances. Soon, the children treated us to some traditional Taiko drumming.
 We found the staff to be dedicated, empathetic, and very supportive of the kids. In addition, the staffing numbers for the amount of children was excellent. All Japanese students take responsibility for cleaning their classroom, including these preschoolers. The children bent over on the floor, going back and forth as they wiped it clean. Not only that, the students also helped with the lunch, demonstrating how much of a collective project it is.

Zen Meditation

 At the Zen Buddhist Temple (Seitaiji-Temple) in Mino, we were briefly instructed by the monks in how to meditate, and did so for five minutes (although I couldn’t do it in the Lotus position ß Milton’s comment).

Utagoe Café (Song Café)

 On September 2, we attended the Utagoe Kissa, which literally translates into “song cafe”. Here, many of the elderly in Mino gather to sing Enka, a kind of Japanese song that brings elements of older Japanese traditional music. The sight by the amount of people that came was very inspiring, not to mention how excited they were to sing. With the microphone passed around, each member of the audience got a chance to lead, but often times the sound of everyone else singing drowned them out. We loved that everyone was excited and passionate about singing these songs.