Saturday, February 13, 2010

Karuta Day

Today at school was karuta day. It's only for an hour of the day, but it was interesting to watch and most of the kids had fun since they'll be studying the next few weeks for finals. "So what happens on karuta day?" you ask...well, let me show you :)

All the kids pile into the gym and are divided into different games. I have no clue as to the rhyme or reason of the groups, but I'm sure there was some as it was a tournament. There are some kids who are scorekeepers, time keepers and announcers on stage.

The kids sit in a circle and there are a bunch of cards laying on the floor. The cards have one half a Japanese poem on them. I believe the poems are taken from some old traditional book and are known as "The Hundred Verses" (it's in the name of the game in Japanese). The announcer reads off the first half of the poem and the kids have to race to put their finger or hand on the card that has the second half of the poem. See the video below to hear the announcer read/sing the poem.

The video above doesn't show it all that well, so see the picture and the video below as to how the kids choose the right card.

This isn't a game just played by kids. In fact, I have a friend here who plays it competitively at weekend tournaments. There are all sorts of strict rules to that, but the way the kids play was mostly just for fun. Each homeroom is a team, so it was a contest to see which homeroom could get the most points. Here, some students are keeping the tally to see who won.

It was fun to check out the kids playing the game, as I use a version of it in some of my classes with English vocabulary and phrases. The gym was freezing, however! It's been raining the past two days nonstop, so the sun hasn't been out to help warm it up! It doesn't help that in the gym you can't wear your shoes, so I was walking around stocking footed!

Will be back soon with an update from marathon day and a Mexican dinner with friends! Be sure to check out the videos on my blog if you receive this by email!

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