Dan and I recently met with the wonderful group, Glocal Mitaka.
Glocal Mitaka are a volunteering group in the area of Mitaka (which will be our new home from August), who bring together international students from Mitaka and the wider community, with local people. One of the volunteering opportunities that really appealed to Dan and I was the reading group. Volunteers get together to read books in various languages to local children. The idea is that young children are exposed to different languages and cultures, and grow in their understanding of the world.
The experience was wonderful! It was special to watch the children grow in confidence throughout the day and start to interact with the reading. We worked in groups of three or pairs and would each read our story to the children in both Japanese and English. My favourite moment was when a little girl shouted out “Neko!” which means Cat, when I was reading the “Whose that behind the tree?” book. Adorable!
We were a little nervous before taking part, as we were worried we wouldn’t be animated enough. Turns out, when faced with a group of attentive kids you can bring book characters to life, even if you’re feeling a little shy. Overall, it was a wonderful experience and an afternoon of fun for everyone!
We can’t wait for the next time we volunteer with Glocal Mitaka.