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School Festival "Yamako-Sai" Held !

     Changing the name of the annual event from "Culture Presentation Day" into "Yamako-Sai (Festival)" for the first time in 25 years, the students tried their best to create new culture of the school by presenting various types of performances in and around the campus on a glorious June Friday. The theme of this year's Culture Festival is, as you can see in the pictures below, "Ichiren-Takusho (We're in the same boat.) The sky's the limit !"  Now, Mr. Philip Wilby reports what he witnessed at the time of the historical transformation of our school.   

School festival morning activities

     On Friday the 14th of June, Yamasaki Senior High School held their annual school festival. It was a wonderful time when the students of the school displayed their talents and exhibited all their wonderful creativity and artistic flair.


     The festival day started with an opening ceremony and all the school gathered in the gymnasium for the first series of performances. Each of the 3rd grade classes had prepared for the event, class 3-1, an all boys' class, performed a very exciting and energetic dance performance that “wowed” the audience!

     Next class 3-2, the all girls' class, performed a beautiful choreographed dance to the song “Kyun” from the Japanese girls group Hinatazaka 46.

     Class 3-3 acted a very funny skit that had everyone laughing, and then performed a very lively dance where Takashima Sensei, the home room teacher of 3-3, made a very grand entrance, cart-wheeling down the center aisle up to the stage. He then danced with the students during the climax of the song.

     Class 3-4 displayed a very entertaining movie and then class 3-5 provided a video that led into their happy and upbeat dance routine. Class 3-6 also started with a video introducing all the class members which then segued into their lyrical chorus.



Singing competition final

     After a short intermission the finalists of the singing competition that was held on the 5th of June, participated in the competitions final. Each class chose a song and performed it together as a chorus. From the preliminary round, the classes which advanced to the final were; 2-2, 1-4, 2-6, 1-5, and 2-5.

     Class 2-2 was the only all female class and they sang the song entitled “Letter to Tomorrow.” They blended their soprano and Alto parts and created a very pleasant harmony.

     Class 1-4 sang the song called “Rain.” Class 2-6 sang the song called “Sakura,” Class 1-5 sang the song called “Yell,” and class 2-5 sang the song entitled “Story.” Apart from 2-2, all of the songs were sung in chorus blending the four chorus sections of soprano, alto, tenor and baritone, and created beautiful melodies which were immensely enjoyed by the audience.

     Although each class sang wonderfully, the judges compared the quality of the harmony, volume, expression and team work, to decide which class would come first and second. Finally after deliberation the judges decided that class 1-4 had most satisfied the judging criteria and had made the finest performance. Classe 1-5 had also made a stellar performance and were rewarded with second place.


Afternoon activities

     After the morning’s performances by the 3rd grade students, and the final of the singing competition, the students were free to enjoy all the wonderful displays that had been prepared. Many families and friends from the community had also attended the morning’s spectacles, and stayed to enjoy all the other activities.

Displays and activities

     In the main building each of the first and second year classes had prepared games in their classrooms like bowling, fishing, or free throw basketball, and made vibrant and merry decorations. It was lots of fun to play all the games and laugh together.

     The culture clubs had also prepared gorgeous displays, such as the Flower Arranging club with beautiful flower displays, the E.S.S. club with a magnificent “Love” sign, and displays on foreign cultures, and the Art club with so many amazing and striking pictures exhibited.

     Students also could listen to beautiful Japanese traditional music from the Koto musical instrument while savoring Japanese tea at the tea ceremony corner, and delight in the beauty of Japanese culture.



Food and drinks

     Outside in the main square of the school, many stalls had been set up with a wide range of foods and drinks on offer.

     The third grade students, in addition to preparing the morning’s entertainment, also prepared delicious food for everyone to enjoy. The range of food was extensive including Japanese food like yakisoba and yakitori, and lots of western style food like pizza, cheese hotdogs, potato fries, baked corn, as well as sweets, such as ice-cream,caramel popcorn, and churros. There were also many tasty soft drinks and the incredibly popular Tapioca drink which has become a firm favorite of young people all over Japan.

     While savoring all the delectable delights, everyone was treated to entertainment from an open air stage.


Open air stage performances

     On the stage, members of the guitar club demonstrated their outstanding abilities by singing and playing many popular songs, and created a bright and energetic atmosphere. Interspersed with the songs were stunning dances performances by female students who had learned dance outside school, in their own time. The girls dancing were magnificent,with brilliant poise, presentation and panache!

     The school festival provided so many fun and exciting activities, delicious food, wonderful displays and excitement. Everyone worked so hard to create so many happy experiences.

     In western schools there aren’t really any comparable events that blend the cultural and entertainment aspects exhibited in Japanese school festivals. It is a wonderfully unique Japanese celebration that would be wonderful to share with people all around the world.