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May 10, 2011 / Mika Riedel

Chanbara with Paper Swords!

Today we spent the whole morning with activities in Hebita elementary school, Kadowaki junior high school, and Ishinomaki high school.

– Hebita Elementary School –
Here we played with three children. Two of them joined our Rainbow Crayons activity for the first time. Both were a bit nervous in the beginning, but made many friends quite quickly.
It started to rain while we were playing “Taka-oni”  in the school yard, so we went back to a classroom and played balloon volleyball instead. (“Taka-oni” is basically a tag game, but the chaser can not touch you when you are in a high position.) The teams were boys against girls, and everybody enjoyed it a lot.

– Kadowaki Junior High School –
Due to the bad weather last night, this was the first time after a long while that we did our activities indoors. The children were energetic as usual, and played with big smiles. Some of them invented their own new games, and then they taught us how to play these.

– Ishinomaki High School –
We played “Chanbara”. (“Chanbara” is a sport which players try to strike the opponent’s body with air-filled swords.) We made Kabuto (helmets) and swords out of newspapers, but the Kabuto didn’t really work well as they fell off quite easily. That’s why in the beginning the kids didn’t like the game as much as we expected, and we were a bit worried. But then they improved the strength of the helmets, and created their own tailor-made swords. So finally the children did enjoy Chanbara, and we were relieved to see them having fun.The children didn’t just randomly strike each other with the paper swords. They also played a game: Two kids first do paper-rock-scissors and then the winner is handed a paper sword while the looser has to protect himself with a shield. There are a lot of games we can play indoors, but Chanbara with paper swords is among the easiest ones because all we need is newspapers. In that sense, Chanbara may also be a very ecological game.

– Mangokuura Junior high School –
Another organization was using the gymnasium to play the Samisen (a three- stringed Japanese banjo), so we went to the Dojo (a training hall). The kids played with blocks, wrestled for fun, and generally did what they like.

– Oshio Community Center –
We did our activities in the hallway again because our room was being used for medical consulting. Because some of the children already knew us from previous visits, they cheerfully joined us right away.
Oh, my back is…

– Hebita Junior High School –
There were four children here. Some of them painted, drew, and made origami indoors, while the others played dodge ball outside. Some children created a play.

Many schools in Ishinomaki will start from April 21. It will be a big change for children in the evacuation centers, and I hope they will have a good start. We will watch their behaviour closely, and help them to adapt to this new situation.

Written by Kodomo Hinanjo Club on 4/20/2011.
Translated by Mika Riedel and Sebastian Riedel on 5/9/2011.


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