On 4th June, the 11th Ichigo Ichie Multicultural Playgroup for Child Raising Families took place at Cafe Kokoraku.
A total of 74 participants (including staffs) from America, Australia, China, Japan, Sweden, Taiwan and Vietnam joined in. We kicked off with an ice breaking activity by singing “If you are happy and you know it clap your hands” in 4 different languages. We had a blast singing it to a “rock” piano accompaniment.
Discussion - How to stay cool in summerNext we were shown with 4 different pictures; water sprinkling, haunted ghost house, “Nagashi soumen” - the flowing fine noodles and a wind bell. We were then asked “what was common in these pictures” and the answer was “summer”, which was the theme to our gathering for the day.
We got into small groups and discussed on how to stay cool in summer. Each group then presented their ideas one by one. On group came up with as many as 23 ideas. We would introduce the main ones as per below:
• going to the pool or take out the kids' inflatable pool or use the bath tube for young kids to play in the water at home
• freezing konyaku jelly and use it as a substitute to ice packs inside lunch boxes
• going to beer gardens
• eating shaved icy desserts “kakigoori”
• using the sunshade parasol (umbrella)
Where to take kids out to play in summerNext a participant, Ms. Gina from Hawaii, brought up the topic on “how to spend summer in Japan”. She struggles to spend the long Japanese summer vacation with her kids at home.
Our guest speaker, Ms. Reiko who is a tour guide at Nara, gave us ideas on where to take kids out to play (as she is also a mother of three).
• making ice cubes from juices using ice cube trays, or by adding gelatine into the juices and freezing it can be fun too as it turns out to be juicy jelly cubes
• making water bombs from water balloons (can get them from 100 yen shop), make sure to get the kids to promise on picking on the rubbish afterwards
• making fishes or other sea-animals “origami” and sticking them on a blue colour paper to look cooler at home
• making milk carton water flow tunnels by cutting open milk cartons and sticking them together into long flowing tunnels and let water flow through. Make swimmers or fishes out of foam trays we get from supermarket when buying meat or fishes and let them flow through the tunnels will add more fun to it, but if playing inside the house do make sure to “water-proof” the play area otherwise doing it outside will be less messy
• Yamashiro Forest Park – a place for river and BBQ fun
• Aoyama Swimming Pool – a public pool for Nara residents but also open to outsiders
• Kamo Planetarium – a reasonably priced place costing a few hundred yens only
• The kid's Science Museum of Photons – admission fees are free
• Jyoyo City Cultural Center “Bunka Paruku Jyouyou” - free for primary school kids, it is a very large indoor playground including a large ball pool
• Keihanna Plaza / Keihanna Park
• Observation Spots of fireflies, stag bettles and bettles (Kabutomushi) nearby the Goryoujinjya at Kamo Station
• Hiking at Kasagiyama
Having been introduced to so many different places to visit and to do during summer, we got into our small groups for group discussions on how we would spend summer. Various suggestions were given and a summary is as per below:
Pool-related suggestions -• Seika-cho local pool (indoor & heated)
• inflatable pool at our garden
• Imoyama Pool
• free trail lessons at local swimming schools
Leisure-related suggestions -• Shima Spain Village (Mie Prefecture)
• Fishing experience
• Shibamasa World (Fukui Prefecture – Japan's No.1 water slide)
• Whale watching (Wakayama Prefecture Taijichou)
• Anpanman Museum (at Kuwana City / Kobe City etc)
• Super World (Osaka City)
• Shiga Prefecture's Lake Biwa/ Shigarakichou
• Day Camp & BBQ
• Shirahama Adventure World (Wakayama Prefecture)
• Kyoto Aquarium (Dolphin show)
• Firework shows
Indoor-related suggestions -• movies
• libraries (borrowing books and attending story time events)
• Dream 21 (a facility located at East Osaka which includes an indoor gymnastic playground, planetarium, science museum and an outdoor park with a lake alongside. Reasonably priced)
Neighborhood park-related suggestions -• Keihanna Park
• Hikaridai 5chome Park (has a long slide)
• Kizugawadai Park (has a long slide)
• Shikanomae Park
• Kabutodai Park
• Toridani Park
Greetings and Story TellingAfter various group discussions, a new participant from Hong Kong (Ms. Lee C CHAN) taught us some greetings in Cantonese.
Finally Gina from Hawaii shared a story book with us titled “Why Can't I Fly”.
It was an interesting story about a cute monkey who couldn't fly. A young participant, Chizuru, joined in and helped with the story telling.
The 11th Ichigo Ichie gathering ended with many participants stayed behind enjoying their packed lunches talking among themselves.
(Reported by Lee. Photos taken by Shinichiro.)