But today was Meg's first event as an official full member of the kodomo-kai. We met at the community centre at 8:00am and walked around the neighbourhood collecting 300 yen from each house. I have been on the receiving end of this activity before and always wondered what the money is for.
Now I know.
After an hour tramping around watching 18 kids scatter and scramble and run wild all over the neighbourhood banging on doors and collecting the 300 yen we met back at the community centre where we broke up until 1pm. The Grade 6ers (two of them) and their mums took all the money and went shopping. For junk food. 60 houses times 300 yen. 18,000 yen. 18 kids. 1,000 yen worth of junk food each. Wow. Actually they also bought bingo cards and a notebook, pretty pencil and pocket towel present for the 4 new Grade 1 students so it wasn't a whole 1,000 yen worth of sugary crap but still a lot.
At 1pm we met up and one of the men's groups drilled holes in tree lengths for us:
Then we pushed shitake mushroom spore infected plugs into each hole:
Thanked the men's club for helping, were instructed on how to look after our mushroom logs- must lie horizontally in a cool, dark, aerated, exposed to rain but not too much sun place. Must not lie on dirt. Must not dry out. Next year we move the log to upright and keep wet and in two years time we should have shitake mushrooms. Wow. I will do my best but I don't think Meg should get her hopes up for home grown shitake mushrooms... I'll be happy if it lasts 2 years without one of us forgetting and throwing it in the fire!
The first year kids' mums took the logs home (they are surprisingly heavy!) and left our kids there for three hours of junk food and games. Meg came home saying it was great fun, very noisy, there are lots of boys (this area is about 70-30 boys to girls for some reason) she ate so much junk food she couldn't believe it, she thought they should at least have had fruit (my kid!), she won bingo, she had a great time.
Who did she sit with? The other girl from her kinder.
Did she talk to any of the big kids (who will supposedly be helping her walk safely to school and back as of next week)? Nope.
Why not? Because she doesn't know them....
Oh well. I guess she'll get to know them eventually. It's a long walk after all!