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Dear Students of West Middle School from Japan

Document of 11,June,1998
This is a very special program at Ohmurro Elementary School.  There are 528 students at this school.  When we drove up in our shuttle bus, the students were already standing out in their playground, ready for a special presentation for us!  The banner says, *Welcome, Rapid City Teachers, to Imaichi!*  The students had special speeches, dances, and games to show us.  They also played the *Star Spangled Banner* and the *God Bless America!*
These are photos of the opening ceremony.  The students in the lower picture are holding orange *pompons* and did a special song and dance for us with them.  These are first and second grade students.  Their elementary schools have students first through sixth grades.  You can see the Rapid City teachers sitting in chairs at the front.  We felt very honored!
The students showed us many Japanese games.  They were very much like our American early childhood games. One was like rock/stone/paper game combined with Red Rover Come Over!
The pictures of the children above are showing them doing special prayers called Hama ichimonme.  They reminded me of special team huddles before a game.  Below are the first grade students showing us a game.  IT was like Eeny Meeny Miny Moe, but you hold your hands in a circle shape.  (As I am typing this in my host:s home, I am listening to Nitty Gritty Dirt Band Ds.  Mr. Fidui loves American music!)
The game on the upper right is called Kagome Kagome!  It is the one like Eeny Meeny Miny Moe!  The students below are third graders.  They are singing a song for us.
The students above are also playing a song on their recorders.
These are students from the fourth, fifth, and sixth grades, showing us a special local dance, called suginamiki odori.
We were asked to join them in the dance!
These students are from their Brass Band.  They were very good! The music sounded very American, but it was their school song.  By the way, they ALL know their school song and sing the words very loudly.  Do we have a school song????
These are the closing ceremony of the program.  Mr. Rosby is giving a speech for the students from the Rapid City teachers.  No,not in Japanese.  Then we shake their hands.  The students love to shake hands!  The picture below is all of the students in front of their school.  We teachers are in the middle of this.  The students are just as crazy as American students. Do you see them putting horns behind our heads???
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