Welcome back to school for the Year of the Dog 2018


Today was our first day back at school for 2018. Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu; Happy New Year 2018. We are already one week into the Year of the Dog, 2018 and we were so happy to be back at school again. We had all been off school enjoying the winter holiday break and during the morning, we had the opportunity to share our winter holiday stories with our friends and teachers. Some of us stayed in Japan, some of us travelled to our home countries and some of us travelled to see new places which were warm and sunny. Those of us who were in warm and sunny places snorkeled, swam in both pools and the ocean, wore T-shirts and shorts, slept on boats etc. Those of us who stayed in Japan had fun in the snow skiing and snowboarding and celebrating “Oshogatsu” with our families and friends. We  documented the conversation and will share it with you once our teachers have transcribed it.

We had a smaller class this morning because some of our friends are still travelling. We look forward to welcoming them back soon. New Year celebrations are different in Japan from other countries. We learnt about “Nengajyo” during the winter holidays and even sent one to our families. Nengajyo are special new year postcards which are usually sent in the first week of January. People send their wishes to their friends and family for a happy, healthy new year. We received a beautiful Christmas card from our friend YeonJae who we miss very much. She was in Petals Class last year and went back to Korea with her family last summer. We were so happy to receive her card and spent part of the morning, making one to send to her. We said “Won’t you come back to Tokyo” and “We can play together” and “We miss you”. We wrote these messages down on the card together with our names. We think that it may be a good idea to stick our faces on the card in case she is not sure what we look like…...photos are always a good reminder!

Since it is the start of the new year 2018, we looked at one of the tables, that had many straw things on it. There were some circles, there were two long branches from a pine tree, a golden crane, a fan, some berries, straw, white paper, gold paper, patterned paper, words in Japanese etc. We were not sure what these things were so a few of us, Griffin, Junto and Yurika, went with Shelley to the computer and looked up “New Year in Japan”. We saw some things that were similar to the ones on our table and then we noticed a tall one made from bamboo and pine, standing on the ground. Yurika said that she had one similar outside her house. We carried on looking at them and then Shelley told us that they are called “Shimekazari”. We then typed in “Shimekazari” on the computer and so many different ones came up on the screen. We saw ones with rope in a circle shape, a long shape and they had a variety of other materials as decorations. We decided that we would like to make a large one for our classroom so we chose to start off with making origami tsuru/cranes. They are really challenging to make, even for our teachers so Hisami guided us through the process. All of the ones that we made look slightly different and we were able to embrace the differences quite easily.

Tomorrow we will make something else to put on our “Shimekazari” and eventually we will create our very own unique one to protect us.

There is an explanation about “Shimekazari” on the door outside our classroom, together with some other information about New Year in Japan. We learnt that this year is the Year of the Dog and we found our picture for the year of the dog which we put up in our classroom. Last year was the year of the rooster.

We had our light panel out this morning with some transparent coloured blocks, see through rocks, bumpy see through coloured rubbery things, coloured cellophane and coloured see through Lego blocks. We spoke about the colours when we were looking through the cellophane. We put the coloured on top of one another to see what colour we could make. We also balanced the blocks on top of one another.

At the end of last term, we took the feet off the floor that marked where we stand when we wait to go to wash our hands or to the toilet. This morning, Kai showed us some footprints of animals and we looked at pictures of the animals that matched the footprints. We then selected one of the sets of footprints and tried to draw ones of our own. Charlie and Taiga made a lemur’s footprints; Mina made a koala’s footprints and Riou and Griffin made a tiger’s footprints and Mirai made a deer. We will make some more during the week and see if we can remember which animal’s footprints we made. Some of the  animals’ names are new to us.


We had a lovely time playing in the park because it was sunny and warmer than previous days. On our way back from the park, we discovered a slug high up on the wall of the alley that we walk through to go to and come back from the park. Hisami managed to reach the slug to bring it lower for us to see.

 We can’t wait to come back tomorrow and see more of our friends.

Love always, the children in Flowers Class.