The 4th book reading and culture event was held in cooperation with the north branch of the Ikoma Library on December 9th at the north community center ISTA Habataki introducing the Egypt and its culture. This event is a continuation of the collaboration with the Ikoma Library based on the cooperative agreement with Ikoma City to increase interaction between the community and NAIST international students. From NAIST, Habiba Hesham, an Egyptian student, and Robert King (CISS), who acted as MC and translator, participated in the event along with 11 Ikoma families (18 children (ages 2-11) and their guardians) that were ready to learn more about Egypt.
After the library staff opened the event with greetings and announcements from the library, Robert King (UEA, CISS) then greeted the participants and led everyone in doing 'Head, Shoulders Knees and Toes' to get warmed up. This time the librarians chose "From Head to Toe" by Eric Carle to read and a librarian read the book in Japanese followed by Hesham reading it in English. As the book was being read, children moved along with the characters in the popular children's story.
For the culture part of the event, Hesham gave a presentation on Egypt and Egyptian culture, introducing the long history of Egypt and historic sites. Both parents and children alike listened attentively as famous relics and ruins were introduced and, in the questionnaire following the presentation, many respondents said they wished they could visit Egypt and view the history firsthand. Hesham also introduced the Grand Egyptian Museum and other Egyptian cultural events in Egypt and Japan as well.
Following the presentation, Hesham explained an Egyptian game where participants get in a circle and lay their hand together, right on left. One person begins by touching the next person's hand and saying Sunday. This continues around the circle until it come to Saturday, when that person has to try and hit the person's hand next to them to knock them out of the game. After this they start with Sunday again, knocking people out until there is only one person left. Older children and adults broke up into groups and tried the game. While it seems quite simple, the faster it goes, the easier it is to make a mistake, and participants laughed as the pace got faster and faster.
After the game, there was a coloring time where children could choose between Ra, the god of the sun, a cat or tutankhamun's mask to color. At that time, she also introduced Egyptian hieroglyphics and some of the children tried to write their names in hieroglyphics as well.
The event ran a little long but the children were very interested in the event and everyone came away with more understanding of Egypt and its culture. We will continue to cooperate with Ikoma City to create new opportunities for international students and Ikoma citizens to interact and get to know each other. The next library event is scheduled for March and we will work with international students again to make an interesting and educational event for children.