Last week I went with my English Course kids to Summer Camp.  The point of the camp was to give the kids an opportunity to interact with native English speakers.  The kids had a blast and for the most part I enjoyed it. The only thing was that my presence was pretty much unnecessary, so I wonder why the school asks the ALT to go along considering it’s an extra expense for the school.  This wasn’t a rinky-dink place; out in the middle of nowhere, true, but this joint was nice.  The lodge the teachers stayed in was basically a hotel.

Whatever the reason, there were some moments that I’m very glad I got to see.  The skits the kids put on where pretty funny.  When they were first starting I wanted to pull my hair out because they did what the students at this school (and elsewhere I suspect) always do when told to make a skit: make it about Doraemon, Anpanman, and/or Momotarou. Doraemon and Anpanman are popular children’s show characters, and Momotarou is the protagonist of an old Japanese story (not sure if it counts as a fairy tale).  At least the students twisted things up a bit; one group had Doraemon turn evil in the end, another group had Doraemon help Anpanman look for Cinderella’s glass slippers, and one had Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger help Momotarou fight the Ogre King instead of the monkey, dog, and pheasant that appear in the original story.  Oh yeah, and Momotarou pickpockets the Ogre in the end! XD  But the best one had to be the weird, sort of Romeo & Juliet and Macbeth crossover skit.  Although, with this one I saw the hand of the camp counselor in it waaay too much, as I seriously doubt that any of my kids could’ve come up with this on their own.  Anyway, it went something like this:

Witches: *Stirring pot* Double, double, toil and trouble.  It’s done! *Put potion in cup with straw*
Juliet: *walks in* I’m thirsty!
Witches: Have some juice.
Juliet: *Drinks* It’s delicious! … …urk! *dies*
Witches: Hahaha, Juliet is die! [sic]
Romeo: *runs in with sword* Where is Juliet?!
Witches & Some Guy: We hate Juliet!
Romeo: I will defeat you! *Fights Guy & Witches, who fight with battle axes, kills them all*
Romeo: *goes to Juliet’s body* Oh no…oh, some juice. *Drinks* Yummy. *Dies*


XDDD  Romeo’s timing was eerily close to Jim Carey’s.

Another highlight was when nearly all the boys went to the “Beauty Parlor” in the activity “My Town USA” and let the counselors put a bunch of ponytails in their hair and bright make-up and different color nail polish. ^o^  I also went ahead and asked if I could join the camp counselor doing face painting during “American Carnival” because I couldn’t stand to see the travesty that is people who can’t draw doing face painting because they think that anybody can do it.  Sure, anybody can draw a simple star or heart, but for that matter, anyone could draw that on themselves.  Even if all the kids asked for was a star or a heart, I would ask them if they wanted a simple one or a more complicated one.  They all wanted jazzed up versions, so I obliged.  For example, by drawing rays from the star, or putting filigree inside the heart.

In general, being at this camp reminded me a lot of being in City Year.  We played many of the same games just that with different names. Well, there was one thing we never did as City Year Corps Members: lead the kids in a round of a game whose name I always thought was “Gigolo.”  Online I’ve seen it spelled as “Jigalo,” “jig-a-lo,” and “jig-a-low.” I don’t know if the game’s name then is supposed to mean “male escort” and no one knows how to spell it correctly, or if the name’s supposed to mean “do a jig and get down low.”  Since the time I was in elementary school and learned how to play it, I thought it’s name was supposed to be “gigolo,” so I thought it was kinda funny to be teaching Japanese high school students how to play it.  Of course, there’s nothing necessarily dirty about the game; if you choose to dance suggestively during your turn (which, when I was in school, most kids did…) that’s one thing, but I guess to the Japanese students at the camp it just sounds like a fun nonsense word. ^_^;

I took a bunch of pictures of the students since it seemed none of them had brought cameras.  After getting back home I printed them out. I’ve been giving them to the kids if I happen to see them. Since it’s Summer “Vacation” I don’t teach any classes, but some of the kids and teachers are still around doing club activities or preparing for taiikusai.  Oh, and then there’s me; sitting around for the most part.  But I have had some busy days now that the new JETs are in town.  But more on that later.

Anyway, back to the photos.  Some of the kids were really happy to get them, I don’t know if they didn’t believe me when I’d said “If you want a photo, I can take one for you and print it out.”  Others took them like “meh” even though they had jumped at the offer. (One boy asked me for like 10 photos!)  I was like WTH?  It’s not that I expected a “thank you” and a bow, I thought it would make them happy, so the reaction deflated me a little.  I didn’t spend too much printing them out since I got the smallest size, but I did spend my time going to get it done, then separating them to give to the people in the photo…one kid even told me he didn’t want the photos and gave them back, even though he had asked me to take them!  I was really surprised because it was a really polite kid.

I don’t get people sometimes.

Maybe they just enjoy posing for the photograph and don’t care to see the picture itself?  I’d understand the notion if this was 1725 but…

Whatever.  I tried, and there were some kids who were genuinely happy, so I should think about that instead.  ^o^

Anyway, here are some photos I took of just the Camp. Enjoy!

The camp is called Global Arena. The building at center is a restaurant called Green Grass. The one to the left was a restaurant and shop. Our kids paid in the restaurant with fake American dollars (which I assume were backed by real Japanese yen paid in advance as part of the camp fee). I don't know if they went to the shop.

I liked how the sunset sky went with this tree lit from below.

The view from my room.