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Rainforest: Inquiry into Setsubun October 16-20

One of our non-Japanese Rainforest student asked “what is Setsubun?” Many hands shot up. It’s about Oni. It’s about throwing beans. Oni can be red or blue. They are scary! We learned about Setsubun from one another, from books, and the internet. We used – a safe visual search engine for children.

We found out more about ehomaki, which has 7 ingredients related to the 7 gods of good fortune. Typical ingredients include kampyo (dried gourd), cucumber, shiitake mushrooms, tamagoyaki (rolled omelet) and eel, which represent prosperity, good health and happiness. We made our own paper ehomaki and ‘ate’ them in class facing a lucky direction We had fun pretending!

We watched a Kyoto Shrine Setsubun Festival held at Mt Otokoyama. We found out that they call out ‘Oni Yaro’ instead. Rainforest said, “But we say it different, Oni wa soto. Fuku wa uchi!” So we linked that to our central idea – even the same festival can be alittle diffrent in other parts of Japan. That was an insightful learning point for us. So it is similar, but different too! Well said, Rainforest! Throughout this line of inquiry, we will find out more about such differences and accepting them as part of the Japanese culture too.

Watching the video, we saw 4 orges (we learned another name for demon, oni) entering the shrine and how the priests and priestesses threw soy beans at the orge. Rainforest have been good Inquiriers and have been Open-minded in this line of inquiry – our IB Learner Profiles for this unit. Ms Chisaki read to the class a Setsubun kamishibai – the origin of setsubun and mame-maki bean throwing.

We had a good round of Show and Tell sessions. This is spontaneous and students will ask if they could bring a book, a toy or an item from home to share with the class. This helps build confidence in speaking to a group. More importantly, the child is motivated to share about something he or she likes. They are not compiled to speak English but because they want to share their interests and opinions. There are some ground rules. Firstly, they will have to ask Mum or Dad if the item can be brought to school. Then share 3 points about the item. What it is called? Why you like it? Where you got it from? We will have a comments and questions session after too. The presenter starts with “Good morning class. Today I have…” and lead the rest of the session. To close, “Thank you class for listening” and the class replies, “Thank you for sharing.”

The class is very excited about our Halloween Party. The event will be updated next week. Till next week, hope you had a fabulous Halloween Party and have great weekend!