Today I went to one of my favorite schools. This school is great because the kids are good and I do almost no work. The English adviser is really professional and does all the preparation, and I play with the kids almost all day. I always feel exhausted and happy when the day is over. The only hard part is balancing my time spent with the 1st-2nd grade crowd vs the time with the older kids.
Today was お誕生日会. Quick Kanji Lesson! Skip if you don't care!
=== Start Lesson! ===
お誕生日会 ＝ おたんじょうびかい ＝ O TA N JO U BI KA I
お, or 'O' is a polite prefix. This is Hiragana, not Kanji.
誕生日, or 'たんじょうび', or 'TANJOUBI' is birthday (OU is a long O sound, not a diphthong)
会, or 'かい, or 'KAI' is meeting, assembly, gathering, etc. It's also the root of the verb 会う, or 'AU' which means to meet.
=== Lesson over! ===
Every month of the year, this school has a birthday assembly. They seem to always fall on Thursdays, which is the day I am usually at this school, so I have seen quite a few of them. All the students gather in the gym and the ones born in that particular month come to the front. They sing a catchy song with crammed in lyrics based on the month - one part crams 10 syllables into 5 eight notes （十一月に生まれた, 'those born in november'）. Then the piano goes into a soft background melody reminiscent of Mr. Rogers and one by one a student announces the names of the students rhythmically, followed by their response (HAI!) and everyone claps three times. It's all quite cute and very well organized (by the strict music teacher).
During the song, the principal takes a picture of each student. After the song, each birthday boy and girl is asked a question. The question is different each month - The one right before summer vacation asked what they are going to do and why, and today's asked what comedian/performer they like and why. One of the sixth grade boys does it like an interview. He announces the question once and gives an example of how to answer, then he gets on his knees and holds his hand out like a microphone in front of the students one by one. If they freeze up he says something like '特にないそうです' which basically means the person has nothing special to say. The whole thing is very charming and I really wish I could better share the experience. I don't think a video from my little camera would capture it well enough.
I hope I'm there when they do it in January! Teachers join in!