I'm quite a few blogs behind at the moment, but I hope to catch up over the next few days...
On Sunday there was the second biggest event of the year at my daughter's school (the first being the sports day...). Because we were in New Zealand at this time last year it was the first time that we got to be part of it. For me it started on Friday with cookie baking - 96 bags to be exact.... fortunately 3 other people came to help! Next all day Saturday was spent at school making donuts, popcorn and other delights to sell at the "bazaar" to raise money for the school. Sunday morning finally arrived and we were at school by 7:30am to put lots of rice into containers, fry chicken nuggets and chips etc. Those who weren't involved in this were in the gym making mochi by the bathtub full. The whole community gets together to pound the rice and shape it into balls ready to be thrown..... that's right - a very common event in Japan is to throw sticky rice cakes and then have people scramble around on the ground to collect them - fortunately they are put into bags first! I asked my husband what the meaning behind throwing the mochi is and he said... look it up - in other words another event that happens everywhere that people are forgetting the meaning behind. I've been searching, but have run out of time! From what I've found out so far, mochi are symbols of happiness and are therefore thrown to bring happiness to those who collect them (and black eyes to those who get in the way of those who really want them!). They are often thrown when a house is just having it's roof put on too.
After the big mochi throwing scramble the children all sang some wonderful songs - to a 4 piece band that some of the adults put together. The photo is of the entire school singing - a total of 46 children.
Once that was all over the "Bazaar" began.... if I thought the mochi throwing was a free for all then the bazaar was another eye opener. The scramble to get the best bargains went on for exactly 30 minutes and by the end of it completely lost my patience with the old grandmothers who were trying to pay for their purchases (I was on the cash register....) while pushing past all the others, quibbling over 20 yen and generally not smiling! But in the end the kids had a great day and I guess that is what matters. I came home and went to sleep!
Because the children went to school for both Saturday and Sunday they have Monday and Tuesday off..... great!