Sophie Kanetani: Yoshida Jidoukan

For my CIP I volunteered at Yoshida Jidoukan which is an after school program that kids go to after school and while their parents are still at work. At this particular one, there are kids up to around twelve years old but the majority of the kids are in second and third grade and there are about sixty of them. Of course I can’t interact with all of them but I try to meet and play with a different group every week. It’s easy to pick out groups because the children form cliques amongst themselves and I just walk up to one of them and start talking to them. The kids are all really energetic and love to ask me questions. They also make fun of my Japanese but I was expecting that so it doesn’t really bother me. Although I have worked with kids before I did learn some new things, in particular, about myself during my CIP visits. I learned that I’m not a very outgoing person and that it is difficult for me to put myself out there, even with young kids who won’t judge in the same ways that fellow adults do. But because each visit we were supposed to try out a small task that we had come up with ourselves, I had many chances to improve myself in that aspect. I tried to talk to small groups of children and I slowly got more comfortable. 

2 thoughts on “Sophie Kanetani: Yoshida Jidoukan

  1. Haha, the kids at my nursery made fun of my Japanese the first week too! After that, they either 1) enjoyed teaching me new words 2) said whatever they felt like saying and repeated it for me if I didn’t understand 3) tried to communicate, but walked away if I didn’t understand what they said the first time.

    We both played with kids, but our experiences probably differed in some ways because of the age difference. The kids I played with were no older than six years old, and most were much younger than that. They played with toys in the sandbox, collaborated with each other to build things with the toys and sand, and sometimes had disagreements with each other and cried. What kind of things did the kids do for playtime at your CIP?

  2. Yeah the age difference was a little different. I bet understanding what your kids were saying was even harder because little kids never make sense even in English. The whole time I was at my CIP it was playtime because it’s an after school program, not a school. So we did all kinds of things including playing with legos, building ramps to shoot marbles down, and playing games outside like darumasan ga koronda which is like the American red-light green-light. What was the most interesting wast that the kids all separated into little cliques so every week I tried to hang out with a new group of kids and the dynamic was always a little different.