A long standing tradition in schools in Japan is the ‘Bunkasai‘ or school festival. We have nothing even close to this amazing event in Australian schools and there is probably a reason for that.
The school festival is almost entirely organised by the students. What’s that you say? ‘The school festival couldn’t possibly be run by students, they’re not responsible enough for that!’ Well be prepared to have your socks knocked off because the students well and truely create this festival.
The school festival is usually 2 days long and does serve a purpose. It is a celebration of the achievements of the students in a multitude of ways. All of the clubs either perform or run a stall. (Clubs are compulsory in Japan. Students must be a member of some kind of club, be it tennis, brass band or math club.) Each home room class either displays their work (junior school) or creates an experience in their classroom/sells something (senior school). For example there are a number of haunted houses that are incredibly popular and one of the classes served traditional green tea. There was a Monster’s Inc. themed games room and a lab of science experiments you could partake in. Again, I stress, these rooms are all created by the students, with some help from teachers, but very little.
There are also performances throughout the day from different clubs. At Maddy’s Bunkasai the Brass Band performed and Maddy played Tenor Sax with them! They performed a very special medley of Aladdin tunes and the male conductor dressed up as Princess Jasmine. It was quite the performance!
At Georgia’s Bunkasai the Brass Band performed, as well as the Baton Twirling Club (incredibly impressive), Cheerleading Club, Choir, Dance Club (very popular – the screaming from the crowd felt like a rock concert), and the English Drama Club who performed Mamma Mia the musical.
The school festival days are used as advertising for prospective students and their parents, as well as being attended by alumni of the school, friends of the students and parents of the students. It is, as such, a very big deal for the school and a great opportunity to showcase their school.
We had so much fun at both Bunkasai festivals and were very impressed by the work that the students put into their festivals.