Going to work on Tuesday started my Christmas week full of dressing up, present giving and the magic phrase “Merry Christmas”. We started of at Kuki Kindergarten where we held the first Christmas party for the extra curricular kids. Me and Teru jumped into our Santa costumes, which we would soon become very accustomed to. The kids arrived dressed in various Christmas tree, Santa and reindeer attire. We kicked the party off with getting the kids to make their own Christmas cards. Although, Teru had learned from the Halloween party and bought stickers rather than using paper and glue as to make the task manageable and not a messy disaster. This took up most of the time and it was particularly stress free, the kids seemed to entertain themselves by shouting random Christmas related words. When this was over we realised we had forgotten the Christmas flash cards so I wasted time by entertaining the kids by lifting them up in the air and throwing them around, surprisingly they loved this and lined up for more. We ended the party by giving them a present if they successfully said “Merry Christmas”. First one down. It was then back to work for a normal day of work.
On Wednesday it was Fukuoka preschool’s turn to have their Christmas party. After again getting changed into our costumes you could hear the kids shouting “Mite Santa-san! Mite Santa-san!” as they could see us through the window in the door. For this party we got the kids to do some colouring-in as to make a Christmas card like thing. I was impressed by the artistic talent as I saw purple, orange and yellow Christmas trees everywhere. We got them to write their names and one kid made me laugh as he wrote his name backwards. I thought this was because Japanese is meant to be written right to left but still this doesn’t really work with writing English. Again we finished the party by getting the students to line up and say “Merry Christmas” to me as to receive their present.
On Thursday morning I had another appearance as Santa-san, although this was not at one of my schools. I was called in by a french lady that teaches at a Kindergarten in Hanyu, a town near Kazo, basically as I was white. Regardless of me being skinny and far too young, my whiteness is still convincing as a Santa. I really did not know what to expect for this appearance as I hadn’t really been told much apart from that I was needed. So I got picked up by this french lady and was whizzed off to this school. Her English was good but sometimes it seemed a little rusty as she obviously didn’t have to use it much as her Japanese was perfect but nonetheless she would have to be translator for the morning. Upon arriving I got changed and readied myself to be Santa again. This time was a bit different as I had to be in front of a whole hall full of school children, maybe about 100 students, not just a class that I was familiar with. To be honest I was the worst Santa ever. At first the children took it in turns to ask me questions. This was quite difficult as it had to be translated back and forth and it just made my mind go blank. My answers we so inappropriate and included: “What does Santa like to Eat?”… “urrm Pizza”, “Where do you live, Santa?”… “urrm I live in Kazo, ahh no I mean the north pole”. Although they didn’t seem to mind. I then played rock, paper, scissors with them and with the winners I had to give them a big hug. Then to finish up I had to give everyone a present and say “Merry Chirstmas”. After about 50 children my mind was a haze and I completely forgot what was going on. I said “Merry Christmas” far too much. It was a strange morning but I was rewarded with a Christmas card, wreath, and poster made by the children which made it worth it.
Then on Saturday was the last of the Christmas parties. This one was held at Intersect SFL for some of our students. This one was much more relaxed. We got the kids to draw designs on their own Christmas sack. We made popcorn for their snack time. Played a rock, paper, scissors tournament (this is somewhat popular in Japan) and ended on “Merry Christmas” and presents. Afterwards I took my costume off with a little bit of relief that that was the last time I would have to be Santa-san.