Workshop by Anken Kidani
“Let’s make the background picture – Connect our feelings!”
The kaki tree planted on 26 February 2007 at Karako Primary School has produced fruit for the first time this year.
Since the planting, the school has been organizing a workshop of the Kaki Tree Project to pass on the stories of the school’s planted kaki tree and it’s now an annual event.
On 8 November this year, a workshop by Anken Kidani was held and 61 pupils in the third grade joined. This was the fifth workshop held at the school and first the picture-card show “Kaki Tree Parent and Child” was performed. Then, the workshop “Let’s make the background picture – Connect our feelings!” was held. Children were asked to express two feelings that they had at the time using watercolor and crayons on construction paper and at the end they connected the drawings to each other and posed for a picture in front of a row of drawings. Although some children were confused to express their “feelings” in the beginning, they soon began to freely express themselves and wonderful pictures were made one after another. Photo session was done in front of the drawings that were pasted on the school gymnasium’s wall. Those connected drawings looked spectacular. The drawings by children and the photo of each child standing between his or her own work and that of a friend were very nice.
On 31 October 2011, “Experience Kaki Peeling” and “Kaki Peeling Competition” were held at Takaho Primary School in Suzaka City to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the planting. The members of Takaho Regional Development Promotion Committee visit the school every year for the last few years to organize these events since the kaki tree planted on 1 March 2001 first produced fruit. As 4 pupils on behalf of the school visited Nagasaki in August this year and Mr. Ebinuma also came from Nagasaki to attend, the “Peeling Competition” was greater than usual.
Firstly, the 4 pupils who visited Nagasaki reported with pictures that they visited the bombed tree and its seedlings, attended the peace ceremony on 9 August and interacted with primary schools in Nagasaki City. Then, Mr. Ebinuma delivered a message and the third grade pupils did a presentation on their peace study. As the members of Takaho Regional Development Promotion Committee had gathered kaki fruit in the community to prepare for the competition, there were 2000 pieces of kaki fruit together with those from the seedling of the bombed kaki tree. Pupils from the 1st st to 6th grade formed groups and each group consisted of 20 pupils. Members of each group quickly peeled 200 pieces of kaki fruit with kitchen knives and tied peeled persimmons to a rope to make hoshigaki (dried persimmons). Then, 2 members representing each group took part in the peeling competition, which was held on a stage of the school gymnasium. At first, pupils were rather cheering quietly but then they got excited and thrusted themselves into the front and cheered like crazy. It was a fun event. The champion won with the length of 2meters 10cm and made a new record. The new plantings of the bombed kaki tree seedlings in 6 locations in 6 towns in Takaho area will take place in March 2012.
Watari Primary School was supposed to have the tree planting ceremony of the seedling of the bombed kaki tree on 13 April 2011. However, because of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant disaster, hundreds of people had to evacuate to Fukushima-shi and Watari Primary School was also used as one of the evacuation centers, and the radiation problem thereafter, the school had to give up the tree planting.
When three schools in Italy, Istituto Comprensivo Statale di Trenzano (planted the tree on 24 March 2010), Istituto Comprensivo Statale di Bagnolo Mella (planted the tree on 18 May 2011) and Istituto Comorensivo Statale di Gussago heard about the disaster in March, they collected donations to encourage children at Watari Primary School. Children in Italy collected donations little by little by selling kaki tree postcards and saving their pocket money, and sent it through Mr. Rosario Manisera of Associazione cultural italo-giapponese Fuji.
On 13 September we, Tatsuo Miyajima and Yoriko Miyajima, visited the school led by Mr. Tetsuya Kodama, an officer of the municipal office who was helping the project, and delivered donations from Italy. We passed it to Principal Eiko Yoshida and two pupil representatives, and talked about the project as well. Children gave us a cheerful message “We are going to use it carefully!.”
Watari Primary School has a total of 638 pupils with 4 classes in each grade. They did decontamination work in their schoolyard and the radioactivity level has reduced, however, even now children are allowed to play outside only up to two hours per day. The school’s sports day will be held but is also going to be a shorter 2-hour version. Despite these difficulties, pupils are trying hard at their indoor activities and indeed the school’s brass band won the Prefectural Governor’s Prize and the chorus group won the Gold Award in the prefectural competition. We were very impressed by the positive attitude of these children.