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Konnichiwa from JAPAN

The following are extracts from emails sent from the partner school in Japan

"I'll tell you some Japanese words. Hello is konnichiwa. Goodbye is sayonara."

WHERE WE LIVE: We are students in Aki High School. We live in Kochi prefecture in Japan. Japan has four main islands. Kochi prefecture is on the smallest one located in the southern part of Japan.

OUR SCHOOL: Our school was built 100 years ago and is surrounded by mountain and sea. We can see the Pacific Ocean from our school. It is very beautiful!!

We have 7 lessons at school every day from 8:35 a.m. to 4:10 p.m. We study math, English, Japanese, classical, literature, biology, social studies, P.E and other things.We wear school uniforms. We don't like them and their colors. Because they are not cool!!

lunch FOOD: I am Maki. My favourite food is fruits. I am Tomoko. I like pink grapefruits. I am Sawako. My favourite food is tako-yaki. It is made of octopus. I am Ai. My favourite food is yakisoba, or fried noodles.

We will write about our lunch. Our high school has a lunch room. Our cafeteria is very good. We can eat delicious food there. The menu is breaded cutlet meals, Chinese noodles, fried chicken and so on.

Do you know mochi? Mochi is Japanese food. We introduce mochi. Japanese rice cake is mochi. It is a very famous food. The colors are white, pink (red), green or other colors. The shapes are rectangles, rhombus or circles. Rice cakes are often toasted.

Onigiri is a rice ball. Generally, we put Umeboshi (a pickled plum) inside the onigiri, and then we wrap the onigiri in Nori (seaweed). Ohagi is a rice dumpling covered with a very sweet bean paste. We eat it on the days of the autumn equinox and the spring equinox.

My favorite food is tempura. Do you know tempura? It is traditional Japanese food. Shrimp and vegetables are fried in batter to make tempura. It is very delicious.

My favorite food is ramen. It is noodles with barley malt, bamboo shoots, meat, and long green onions in soup. Have you ever eaten ramen?

festival FESTIVALS: My prefecture has a festival in the summer. It is called "YOSAKOI MATSURI"! "MATSURI" means festival. I took part in the festival this year! In the festival, everyone dances. Many teams take part in it every year. 190 teams joined it this year. I enjoyed it very much. Many people dance in the streets for four days.

In Yosakoi people use"naruko". Naruko are clackers made of wood. The sound of the clackers are part of the Yosakoi dances. The Yosakoi style has a charm and I think it strengthens a relations between young people old people. I'm glad it became one of the national dances.

KITES: On Japanese New Year's Day Japanese children fly kites. Kites are made of bamboo and traditional Japanese paper. We put strings on them and we run and raise them. There are different sizes and designs. For example, one design is of traditional Japanese kabuki or an animation character. Our city holds a kite-flying contest in January. This contest has many prizes.

HOBBIES: My hobbies are listening to music, reading books, playing the piano, playing basketball and sending mail to my friends. I like Japanese pop and punk music very much!!

I like to listening music (I like Hip Hop, R&B, and Pop), reading, making clothes and hanging out with my friends. I'm learning tea ceremony and ballet.

My hobbies are listening to music and singing songs. I belong to the brass band club. I play the flute in this club, but I am not good at it. But I enjoy this club!

match between classes SPORTS: My favorite sport is badminton. I take part in the badminton club in our high school. I have played badminton for ten years.

I go to a Japanese archery club after school. I belong to the Japanese archery club in my school. It is an original sport in Japan. Do you like sports? Japanese archery is difficult for me, but I enjoy it with my other club members.

I like watching soccer games on TV. My favorite soccer players are Koji Nakata and David Beckham. Koji Nakata is a Japanese national soccer team player.

I will answer your questions. My favorite sport is basketball like you.

Our school has a sports festival once every two years. This year it was held two weeks ago. The sports festival is very tiring but everyone co-operates together. I think this is important. I enjoyed it very much. The sports festival was the last one for me.

We played various games in teams. We had a 100 meter dash, a tug-of-war, a relay, and other events. In our grade, girls did a dance and boys did gymnastics.

JAPANESE SUPERSTITIONS: We have many superstitions in Japan. For example, snakeskin is a lucky charm. If we carry a piece in our wallets, it is believed we will become rich. But I do not know the reason why and I wonder if it works.

When we come back from a funeral, salt is usually sprinkled on us before entering the house, because salt is thought to be sacred. So a sumo wrestler sprinkles it before he wrestles.

And "four" and "nine" are unlucky numbers in Japan, because the sounds of the words are the same as the words for "death" and "struggle". ... But we think four-leaf clovers are very lucky, because we can't find them easily. Seven is considered to be lucky, because the Japanese have the Seven Gods of Good luck, Shichifukujin. Generally, if the number is connected with life or good things, it is a lucky number. If it is connected with bad things, it is consider to be unlucky.

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