February is the month to throw beans, Setsubun.
By throwing beans at ghosts, or Mame-maki, you welcome luck into your house, an traditional event in Japanese culture. So, we had this mame-maki at Sasakko on February 2nd.
This time, three boys came to join Sasakko club.
As of staffs, there are three staffs from children’s center in Honjokagawa, Tokyo, three college students from student center in Emmaus, and a female student from Maijigakuin-Higashimurayama high school.
To begin with, we had the children make their own masks of ghosts.
They are very creative children.
They freely drew whatever they pleased rather than the assignment.
Yes, they are very creative.
“There would be no masks we can use for this event!!”
Some staffs desperately started to make the masks at their best.
The masks were truly well made, very realistic and full of punch.
Perhaps children were frightened by the pieces…well maybe.
As soon as the masks were completed, children cut them into pieces to the level of complicated puzzles by scissors.
Now the children caught the fire in their heart.
Their switch was turned on.
The male staffs from children’s center became their target.
But they are professional after all.
They possessed the capability to receive the overwhelming energy the children had.
Well, the preparation, stormy and full of drama, was done.
We started making boxes for beans from papers.
Female staffs exhibit their wonderful talent then.
They wrapped the children’s powerful energy with their gracefulness and kindness.
They taught the children how to make the boxes and other origami skills.
And now Mame-maki time (throwing beans).
Another staff who came by to see the event, Tatsuo, took the role of ghost, which no one dared to take.
Since most energetic children from Sasakko club came today, the even was harsh, but truly cheerful as if we were playing dodge ball (usually it supposed to be not like dodge ball though).
After then, we enjoyed the tasty beans. (We used peanuts in shell, so the edible bean parts were clean enough to eat.)
Almost 2 years of times has passed from the day of the disaster.
The words the president of an elementary school spoke lingered in my ears.
“The disaster is not over yet.”
By these words, he meant that the children become adults with the scars from the disaster carried in their hearts.
We want these children to have many opportunities to laugh.
We want them to spend more enjoyable times.
More than the memories from that day,
We pray that they will make joyful memories.
The children and staffs who came to join with us,
I truly give my thanks to you all.
Kenichi Tanaka, a Sendai staff