Japan · Saitama · Student Exchange · Travel

Volunteering @ Honjo

Fuyuzakura (winter sakura)! They actually appear in autumn and disappear before winter lol.

 

Hey gaizzzz! So one day I received an email that was sent to all SILS students on volunteering at an elementary school. They wanted people to present about their own country to Japanese elementary kids so the kids can learn more about other countries.

Super enthusiastic kids during Q&A after the presentation about our countries!

 

I’ve always wanted a go-to-an-elementary-school-in-japan-and-pretend-to-be-a-smartass-experienced-mature-teacher-but-actually-am-intimidated-by-everything-there experience. * -* So I applied for two days (mid-nov and beginning-dec) and I’m glad no one else applied cause I got both of them in the end lolol.

School lunch. Ate with the kids in their classroom *-* They were quite shy at first, so i tried engaging conversation by asking questions and playing scissors paper stone with them hahaha.

 

And it was really really worth it in the end because I got paid 3000 yen lol (didn’t expect that hehe cause it was supposed to be voluntary). AND my meals were all paid for (we ate at nice restaurants lol except for the school lunch). Also, I took the waseda shuttle bus there (it takes 1.5hours by car to Honjo, Saitama) and within Honjo we travelled around by car so transport was basically free for me. The best takeaway though was the awesome experience I got spending those two days at an elementary school and interacting with the cute Japanese kids!

The kids doing their warm-up before the games!
I love how the elementary kids wear coloured hats when they’re out of school grounds!

The staff from the waseda honjo research park (Uchiyama san and Ogawa san) were really really nice and I’m so thankful I got to meet such nice people :’D I gave them some bak kwa (pork jerky) from singapore on my second and last volunteer day! I hope they liked it lol.

The Honjo staff gave these to me! A manju (stuffed sweet dumpling) and some sweets!

 

I also like how they did this volunteer thing in pairs, so I always had another international student with me. It was really nice to learn about other countries. For my first time at this event I was with this girl from china and it was really cool how she was really proud to talk about the history of china and how great china still is. It’s strange because being in singapore, people around me have always made fun of chinese PRs (permanent residents) so I always wondered how those chinese PRs felt about their own nationality. Do they know? Are they ashamed? Does it bother them? I have to admit I didn’t really have a good impression of china before, but she made me view it in a more positive light, and I definitely want to visit china someday.

Their bags look so Japanese and anime-ish!

Their shoes are so neatly placed and the Honjo staff told us that they have awards for the most neatly placed shoes!

 

For my second time I was with a girl from vietnam. I wanted to go there so badly a few years ago but didn’t have the opportunity to. ๐Ÿ˜ฅ I learnt that they have like 6 tones in their language and it doesn’t sound like those tones are fixed. It must be pretty difficult to learn vietnamese as an outsider… :O

Made tofu!
Looks pretty gross but it tasted quite good (i mean…how can you screw up tofu right) ๐Ÿ˜›

I’ve always loved volunteering and liked sharing to people about the wonders of Singapore so this was a really amazing experience. Here’s to more experiences as awesome as this :’)

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