ALT Corner

Cultural Festival --- A Showcase of Talents

Before coming to Japan, any idea I had of Japanese high school cultural festivals was mostly from what I have read in manga, which had gotten me very curious and I often wondered if I would ever get a chance to experience it. “My manga was telling me the truth!” was what I had thought when I first experienced Wakoku’s Cultural Festival in 2018. I was blown away. There were so much creativity and talents showcased during the Cultural Festival.

The theme for Cultural Festival in Wakoku this year was “Gameshow”. By making use of the premises of games such as Minecraft and Biohazard and drama series such as Squid game, the classes transformed their classrooms into attractions such escape rooms, casinos (don’t worry, no real money was traded), horror houses or even thrill rides (Yes! Students built a ride in their classroom). Through a play of words (e.g. Class 3-8 used Biohazard as their premise and named their attraction 8nohazard) or the incorporation of their home room teacher’s name (e.g. Mr Sakamoto’s class attraction was Poppy Sakamotime), these attractions were given a catchy name. The students also drew posters by hand and plastered them all over school. Even the staircases were not spared.

Besides the class attractions, there was an outdoor stage where students held the Best Class T-shirt contest, danced to the latest K-Pop tune and played the guitar using the finger-slapping style. Even though the weather was sweltering, the performances on the outdoor stage attracted a large crowd of both students and guests such as parents and junior high school students. It was truly a testimony of how good these performances were for the crowds to endure such heat just to catch them.

Another highlight for Cultural Festival was the student bands. It is common for students from different classes and levels to form a band. Most of them do covers of a variety of genre of music but occasionally, a band will play an original song of their own. It amazes me because such bands are rare in Singapore and being a J-Rock and indie fan, I often read about how professional bands started out playing together in their high school years. Seeing my students play had convinced me that such traditional still holds. Who knows, maybe one of these student bands would turn professional one of these days.

Even though this is my fourth year experiencing a Cultural Festival, I am still in awe by the talents that I see every year. I am sure that this is one thing that I will miss when my contract with the JET Program finishes.