Our friends put their daughter in a Japanese preschool and invited me to come to the year-end assembly. Ooo, a Japanese cultural activity! I thought. It was 3.5 hours…and so worth it! The kids began with a few songs, which started calmly and got progressively more lively.
Then came the dances—SO excellent! First the PIRATES! aaarrrggggh! These boys are four years old.
Then the three-year-olds did a Micky Mouse Club dance:
These girls are five. FIVE!! They’re so coordinated and cohesive. It was really shocking to see this kind of performance talent from an average preschool. This is not a dance school or anything! These kids are younger than I was in the earliest school performance I remember doing, where we talked about Texas history and did the Cotton-Eyed Joe in third grade. Whoa—I was TWICE as old then as these kids are here! Shocking.
It wouldn’t be a Japanese Cultural Experience without Ninjas, of course. These boys are four, and the teachers made all their costumes. Only the five-year-olds’ parents had to make theirs. These teachers work all day with the kids, then stay at school until 7 p.m. or later working on stuff like this. It explains a lot about the Asian kids I went to school with. They must have thought we were super lazy!
More adorableness from the three-year-olds doing an Aloha dance below. The students not performing each dance were seated in the auditorium. By ‘seated’ I mean they had seats. The reality of it was that they were all bouncing in place, doing the arm movements and whatever motions they could manage in perfect time with the performers, so you’d look over to the right side of the room and all these tiny kids in their matching white shirts, suspenders and plaid bottoms are popping around like popcorn. So cute!
This one is one of the best, I think, and of course comes from the five-year-old girls again. This dance was called, “Go Girls,” and I told my friend who brought me, “I don’t care if they are five; if the Go Girls come out with a workout video, I’ll buy it!”
And despite the fact that all the performances were done by quarter to three, the program did in fact last until 4 p.m. (all 3.5 hours), because Santa made a surprise appearance, complete with a southern accent and a Japanese interpreter. I asked my friend’s seven-year-old why Santa wasn’t Japanese, and she explained that of course Santa is American even if we’re in Japan. I said I thought he’d speak Japanese at least; otherwise, how will he know if he’s supposed to eat the cookies and milk if he can’t read the note? Easy, she said: he reads every language, even if he can’t speak it. There you have it.
Santa shook every student’s hand, and each child got a hand-made present with their name on it and a gourmet mini cake. These people know how to do preschool! Merry Christmas, from this Japanese preschool to YOU!!