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On Friday 16th March 2018 four children, from years three and four, went to the AT7 centre for the Tokyo 2020 Coventry Pupil Conference. The event marked the start of Coventry pupils’ participation in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The pupils took part in workshops about Japanese culture, language and sport to equip them with the skills and enthusiasm to plan and lead activities linked to the Tokyo Games. The four pupils: Hermione, Heston, Gillian and Robert, attended this conference and became Tokyo 2020 Ambassadors for Coventry primary schools. They will play a leading part in planning cultural and sporting events over the next two years. Below is their account of the day.

On Friday 16th March 2018 we celebrated the Tokyo Olympics 2020. We did lots of Japanese activities like making sushi, learning their language and playing drums. At the beginning we were given a t-shirt saying “Coventry Young Ambassadors”. Then Noel Thatcher, who has competed in six Summer Paralympic Games from 1984-2004, winning a total of 5 Gold, 2 Silver and 3 Bronze medals, showed us his gold medal and he let Heston wear it. We took a photo with him and he told us how to say thank you in Japanese “Arigatou”. After that, we sat down and did a word search, we were all stuck to it, it was hilarious. Then we sat down and listened to speeches about the event.

Flower Arrangements (by Hermione and Mandiaya):

Our first activity was flower arranging. We had some oasis in a pot, which is material that is like a sponge, it sucks up the water for the plant so it can live. First we cut the stems of the flowers, so they were the right size and stuck them in the oasis. Next we made sure the flowers were not symmetrical because in Japan people think that asymmetrical is more traditional. Also, we had to make a triangle with the flowers, which was slopping from the lowest to the highest height. At the end the flowers looked stunning and smelt amaaazing!


Sushi Making (by Robert):

After the flower arranging I learnt to make sushi. At the table was seaweed and a pot of rice mixed with vinegar. On our hands were gloves, so the rice did not stick to our fingers. In front of me was a sheet of seaweed and I put the rice on it. After I put a strip of cucumber on the rice and I rolled it. When it was done I ate all six slices. It was fantastic to eat. It tasted like sweet and sticky gummies. Also I ate it really fast

as it was so good. The activity was amazing I got to make sushi and eat it. I would recommend it to everyone in school.


Japanese Language (by Gillian):

We learnt how to say our names in Japanese. We sat around a table and we were introduced to a man who spoke Japanese. He taught us “watashi wa [name] desu”. We also learnt how to speak informally, which was “boku [name]” and watashi [name]”. We talked around the table and said our names in Japanese. As I am a female I said “watashi Gillian”. Finally, we learnt about Hello Kitty and Puurin. We got the chance to take a picture with life size cut outs.

Origami (by Heston):

When break had finished we began to make a shirt out of paper. We did this through origami. Origami is the art of folding paper to create something out of paper. We were given one piece of paper and instructions. We had to fold the paper into quarters and then halves and finally turn it over to make a shirt. After the shirt making, we coloured it in. My shirt was bright red and Robert’s was a Minecraft pattern.

Group skipping (by Heston and Gillian):

We entered a room and was shown a sheet with the Japanese numbers on it. We had to say the numbers in Japanese, in order. After that we went skipping, sadly my sister could not join in so she was the photographer instead. She took lots of photos of us skipping. The skipping was really fun but really tricky. We had an additional member on our team from another school. When we were skipping we all had to jump at the same time. First we had to jump with the rope low, near the floor, and after that the rope got higher and Gillian, Robert, our new member and I could not jump high enough.

International Boys and Girls Day (by Gillian and Heston):

We came to a table which had cardboard rolls and other arts and crafts materials. A lady told us that in Japan they have festivals and one is for boys and another is for girls. For boys they make fish decorations. The first step is to get our supplies which

are: a toilet roll, coloured paper for scales, one googly eye, a stick and string. Then you put the scales on the toilet roll, stick on the googly eye, put the string through and hold it up with the stick. International girls’ day is to celebrate girls in Japan. In celebration of the festival, we made egg dolls. My egg doll was decorated with: coloured and pattern paper, some things that looks like string and pens to draw with.

Japanese Taiko Drumming (Heston, Robert, Gillian, Hermione and Mandiaya):

We came into the loud hall when something caught our eyes, we saw some older people playing the drums. When they were finished, we gathered around the instructor and he played a tune for us. It was a bit loud so the instructor had to put in his earplugs. We also had to cover our ears because it was very loud. After his performance we found our own drums. He taught us a rhyme “I like chips, carrots and peas”. We moved our hands to the beat and it created a musical rhyme. We then practiced it together and we had a twist where we had to say “HA!” when we were not hitting the drum. Afterwards, we played the beat while the instructor was playing too. We felt nervous at the beginning but at the end when we could do it we were overjoyed and relieved.

Heston: “Going to the event was amazing! I met lots of people and was able to do lots of things like playing the drums and arranging flowers. I wore a gold medal too!”

Hermione: “It was cool being there! I liked taking the photos and arranging the flowers.”

Gillian: “My favourite part was speaking Japanese and playing the drums. I want to do it in school!”

Robert: “The day was incredible! I enjoyed it because I had sushi, I ate six rolls!”