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Suikawari in the Bronx

Updated: Sep 16, 2018

In August, we headed up to the Bronx twice to conduct our Explore Japanese Culture Program for the children of the St. James NYC Dept. of Parks & Recreation Center Summer Camp. For our first trip in early August, we taught Japanese culture to the 6 to 7 years olds and later in the month we had the 8 to 10 year olds for our program. To bring some Japanese summer fun to the children in the Bronx, we played suikawari with both age groups. Suikawari is a traditional Japanese summer activity of trying to smash a watermelon with a stick while blindfolded, somewhat similar to the game of pin the tale on the donkey except you are trying to smash a watermelon so you can eat it.

But before we did that, on our first visit to a new location we teach the children about Japan and Japanese culture as we want to share the great things about Japan and have them appreciate Japanese and their culture. More generally, we want them to appreciate how differences can be fun and interesting. As always, the children enjoy learning about Japan as we make it fun through different games and activities. The American children are always shocked when we tell them that Japanese school children have to clean the classrooms and toilets at their schools.

Of course suikawara was the highlight of the program as the children get to try and smash the watermelon and eat it. Even the camp staff got in on the action. We had several watermelons and each group was able to smash their watermelons after a few tries. We had big watermelons so we had enough leftover to share with the center's other staff.

Summer is coming to an end so we wish the children at the summer camps we visited the best in their upcoming school year. Maybe we will see some of you at the after school programs at the centers this school year. Thank you to Essence at the center for hosting us.

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