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May 24, 2011 / Mika Riedel

Rainbow Crayons Debut

Today is May 2nd, and we’re in the middle of Golden Week (a string of holidays around the beginning of May). Many volunteers and groups from all over Japan have come to Ishinomaki to help out. One of these is Team Tokyo. For our (Yokochin and Tachibana’s) first time participating in Rainbow Crayons, we visited Watanoha Elementary, Ishinomaki High, and Kadonowaki Middle School.

We were nervous about visiting a refugee shelter for the first time. After introducing ourselves to refugees and securing a place to play, things finally started to get rolling. Although, in the beginning there were only three children, some more kids showed up a little later. I wonder if the kids are happy when Rainbow Crayons comes to play.

First, we played “Pop-up Doraemon” instead of “Pop-up Pirate” (Doraemon is a popular comic book character in Japan). However, maybe because there were different volunteers than usual, the kids seemed somewhat aloof. It didn’t seem like they were really getting into it.

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Rainbow Crayons was becoming boring. To try to spice things up, Yokochin and Tachibana relived their childhood by stabbing swords into the barrel.

“That was close!”

“Whew, I’m safe for now!”

“Waaah!”

We kept our spirits up and finally succeeded in making things exciting again: we made it so the losers had to do things like make funny faces or write out words in the air by wiggling their butts. The kids really got fired up!

After we had fun with Pop-up, we had a riot playing with balloons. At the end, we tossed five balloons up in the air and scrambled for them. With everyone whipped into a frenzy, it was a satisfying end to Rainbow Crayons.

…If an outsider saw us—six male volunteers hopping around like balloons—it probably would have been a surreal scene, almost like a fairy tale.

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When we were leaving, a little girl yelled to us “See you again” a bunch of times. That made us very happy, but we also felt sad that we couldn’t spend more time with them.

Today’s comments

Yokochin: I realized how many different types of kids there are.

Tachibana: It was tiring, but fun. I felt so satisfied.

Written by Kodomo Hinanjo Club on 5/2/2011.

Translated by Showta Asano and Daniel Sunstrum on 5/21/2011.

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