Who do you think is better, Peter Pan or Captain Hook? There's only one way to find out.... FIIIGGGHHHTTTTT!!!
So, there was loads more I meant to write about while I was out in Japan, but lack of time towards the end, and just plain laziness won out. However, although we got back 2 months ago (where did the time go?!) I just couldn't leave this out...
The Labo Party.
It comes in many forms, shapes, sizes and colours. "Labo" is an organisation, mainly run by women, who teach English to Japanese children of all ages. But it's not the usual, dictated Japanese style of teaching, it's active, loud, fun and overall, chaotic. The contradicting combination of chaos and minutely timed scheduling is an essential part of the Labo party. At one party, for example, we were greeted with a very carefully timed schedule (think speeches that were allocated to last exactly three minutes!) which included a "Peter Pan Workshop".... The Labo tutors were a bit vague about whether they wanted us to run the workshop, and instead handed us a highlighted extract from the script of Peter Pan, which included a lengthy fight scene.
So we poured over the script and planned for all eventualities, but no amount of planning could have prepared us for the actual, crazy outcome; the Labo tutors put us into two groups, played a recording of some American kids reading the script extract and shouted "FIGHT!!" At this point all thirty odd Labo kids (ranging from ages 2 - 20) threw themselves into stabbing, shooting, screaming and generally madly pretending to kill each other. So of course we joined in too, with the Captain Hooks (Hamish and Vic) cutting and thrusting at the wily Peter Pan's (Me and Sam), and I think the crocodile made an appearance at one point too! Thus followed five minutes of hilarious, hammy death scenes, ending with thirty hysterically happy children and four exhausted actors!
Also, at the heart of the Labo party, is the overwhelmingly kind hospitality we received, time and time again. From the delicious spreads, cooked by the Labo tutors and parents of the children, to the one amazing we spent staying in the houses of Labo families in Fukuoka (what a hangover we had the next day from the party they threw for us!), to the lovely children and their tutors who greeted us, on arrival at our hotel, with a huge banner and hand-made paper garlands to wear round out necks! I can safely say, when the time came to "close the party", we were never really ready to go home (even if it sometimes took a couple of days to recover ).
Below are some fine examples of the Labo parties we took part in!