Tuesday, May 11, 2010
On Sunday we drove up into the mountains to the village of Atoichi where we found a wonderful example of an old, wooden school building. It was built in 1931, and apparently that makes it one of the oldest.
Most Japanese schools, especially post-war, look like abandoned prisons or factories (which is pretty much what they are in my opinion), but all the wood of this one made it feel quite humane.
One man I spoke to, about my age, said that when he was at the school there were 400 students.
Now there are 19.
There was a big room for practising Tea ceremony. On a chart in the entrance hall was a list of all the local community members, mostly elderly, who volunteer at the school teaching things like art, tea ceremony, etc.
In one of the hamlets that make up Atoichi, the youngest member of the community is 78.
There was a computer room with at least 10 computers, which probably means it has the best computer to student ratio in any Japanese school.
I wonder how many more years it will be till the school is closed and the building begins its descent to becoming one more Haikyo.
It was Sunday, but most of the student body were in the playground, dressed up for Matsuri.
Behind the school buildings are some paddies, where the students grow their own rice, and today was the annual Tauebayashi (Rice planting song and dance) Festival.