Village of Happiness (しあわせの村)

Despite having a slightly creepy name, there was nothing too strange about `The Village of Happiness`, except maybe the snakes!


The Village of Happiness is HUGE and there are heaps of things to do there. If you live near Kobe it may be a nice natural way to spend a summery day - http://www.shiawasenomura.org/index.shtml (they have an English page too - http://www.shiawasenomura.org/html/village_of_appiness_kobe.html)


The kindergarten where I work now had a one-night camping trip in the mountains of Kobe last Thursday.


We took a whole bus-load of 4 and 5-year-olds and a few teachers to a very cool playground, the camp site, the sento and the forest (where we took a discovery nature hike).


Teaching kids in Japan is so different from back home. In most western countries (or so I have heard), teachers have a very strict `hands off` policy to protect children from sexual abuse / and to protect teachers from accusations of such abuse. In Japan, the exact opposite seems to be true - during my orientation for my current job we were encouraged to hug, pick up and comfort children who are upset etc..


Myself, and 2 other female teachers took 1 group of female students to the sento (public bath) where we ordered them to strip off and enter the bath area.


It was so weird. All the old ladies who were bathing there at the time stared at our odd group (15 naked Japanese girls, and 3 fully clothed teachers) while we cleaned them off and made sure no one drowned in the bath.


All in all, a very exhausting, but memorable little journey!

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