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7 Mar, 2008

International cultural exchange by "Hashi Pea"

We visited the school at 11 a.m., the appointed time. The population of Resolute Bay is about 200. 70 and more children of them go to this school. That is why we were convinced that the average age of the people in Nunavut is 24 except kids under 7.

When we introduced ourselves in the class where 8 children in the 5th grade were, they asked one unexpected question after another. For example, they asked our brother's and sister's name. They were probably interested in Japanese name. One girl said, "What's your mother's English name?"

I was surprised at the question, but answered, "My mother's name's Kayoko and it's just the name of hers because she's Japanese" But they had a blank look with me.I said, "Do you all have your own English name?" They answered that they all have an English and an Inuit name, and that some has taken it over from his or her family, relative or a person whom he or she has to do with. They all almost have three names except his or her family name.

So much curious fifth grade students for a new things

We let them see an Introduction DVD, "Hello Japan" about Japanese people today which lasts 8 minutes, which we borrowed from First North America Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Japan. They gave an exultant shout on the scene of Japanese children riding a unicycle skillfully, and wondered why Japanese grade school students in charge of school lunch wear a mask when they are doing tray service. When they saw a bullet train run, some said, "Isn't it a movie?"
At a short lesson of Japanese language, we all tried spoke out "Konnichiwa" as "Hello", "Arigato" as "Thank you", and "Sayonara" as "See you".

Serious for "Hashi Pea"

We presented them each pair of chopsticks as a souvenir donated by The International Institute of Hashi. As we expected, they made a racket with joy.Some used a pair of chopsticks perfectly in a short time, others had a hard time by grabbing the lower part of chopsticks, or couldn't sandwich a peanut with chopsticks.8 children were very hard to pick up peanuts with chopsticks.We tried the game called "Hashi Pea" which had been come up with in The International Institute of Hashi.

First of all we divided the 8 children into 2 teams, and made the teams face each. Naturally members of each team were in a row. And then we put a paper plate in front of each team.Then, a challenger moved a peanut onto the next person's plate in relay to the end.The team that can gather the peanuts on the plate for the limited time faster won the game.

It is very simple, but it was able to warm up the class enough.Closer 10-second count down to the end, the game was, so much more quickly they moved chopsticks! The result scores were 19 and 23, so it was a very close game.
We said "Koyanamik" as thank you as we left the class. They thanked us with "Arigato" which they memorized in the lesson.

Global Warming

In the morning we couldn't see even two meters ahead due to the blizzard, but in the early evening the sky became clear and rainbow showed up. At first I thought the rainbow as two pillars extended from the sea up to the sky, but I realized those were the verges of the rainbow that surrounded the sun.

The rainbow after blizzard

Wayne, a meteorologist, taught us carefully and patiently by showing satellite photos from a web site in Weather Station, his working place.
How to predict the weather, to know the wind blows. Noticing I tried to memorize the mechanism how wind is produced in high pressure or low pressure with a confused look, he touched me on a sore place, "You learned that in school, right? Didn't you hear your teacher say?"
"I didn't use to be so good at science but preferred Japanese language subject and literature",
I answered with a small voice.
Wayne said loudly with admiration, "Oh, it's romance! It's very nice!!" "I've been doing science as a job, so my head is full of data. On such an occasion, I read romance for a change".


Every time I make a phone call to Wayne in Resolute, I can hear his cheerful, pleasant voice like "Hai, moshi-moshi, Noriko-san, Ogenki desuka?" with a French accent. He is a big man with shining clear eyes. So, he is a boy himself with a big body. On the contrary, when it came to global warming, the look of his face became serious, that told me how hard he had been working on climate wave problems.

Wayne said, "Global Warming isn't an easy-explained problem and average temperature of some areas was up, those of other areas extremely down such as a part of China. But, per 1 degree Celsius rise in temperature here around the polar region, the world average temperature rises 3 degrees Celsius. Even so, it is difficult to notice the change going on because minus 30 degrees Celsius is very cold the same as minus 40 degrees Celsius.
But if you look at the change with care, you will see that the ground becomes frozen over later, the ice melts earlier than ever. People don't make any plan to fight without any impending trouble. It's way too late, if you start when you really are in trouble."

The sun like a fire ball

We looked at the sunset with Wayne. The sun was just like a Senko-fireworks sinking into the sea. Deeper the sun was sinking, more its shape became like a trapezoid.
Soon after the sun became a long extended sleeping line along the horizon, it had disappeared into the sea. "This is an effect under the low temperature. But, it was extended much longer long ago, and we were able to see the beautiful line a little longer." said Wayne.
His mustache was frozen white with his breath without notice.

Noriko Miyashita