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Ready, set, chopstick away! At Japanese Children’s Day, kids raced to see who could transfer the most items from one bowl to the next using chopsticks in 30 seconds. Visitors got points for every marshmallow, gummy bear, and kernel of uncooked rice they successfully moved from one bowl to another. Not a surprise, the rice kernels proved to be the most challenging for all.

Children also created koinobori, the Japanese name for carp kites. Carp are a type of fish that swim upstream and symbolize courage and strength in Japanese culture. Workshop attendees, along with their parents, used their imaginations and creativity to create a majestic fish. Kids were able to customize their carps with colorful scales and googly eyes.

The last thing to do was to make their koinoboro kites “swim.” After placing a dowel on their carp kites, the kids sprinted over to the KID wind tubes, which brought the koinoboro to life.

Other activities during Japanese Children’s Day included mastering traditional Japanese toys Kendama and Daruma Otoshi.

Special guests from the JET Alumni Association of Washington, DC, who lived in Japan for a year teaching English in Japanese schools, joined us for the day to help facilitate our activities and share their knowledge. The Japan Information and Culture Center graciously loaned us the carp kite and traditional toys for the day.

Candice Taiwah & Lisa Hershey Zurer