This was just before the kindergarten gate opened. You can see there was quite a line of people waiting to rush to the activities.
Some of the fathers got involved with making omochi all day. This is pounded sticky rice that is served with sweet bean paste or soy bean powder or seaweed. Actually omochi can now be made with an electric rice pounder but at festivals and public events these huge mortar and pestals are used and the pounder (with the hammer) and the rice turner (he has to stick his hands and flip the sticky rice every stroke so that it becomes evenly glutinous... Hopefully his head and hands don't get pounded too!) work together in rhythm.
Here is the omochi ready to be eaten.
This is a lousy picture but you get a glimpse of the kitchen and the mothers who are busy making curry rice and mixed rice to sell. No matter what event one goes to, when there is food being served all mothers will wear these kerchiefs (and sometimes masks). For that matter, at elementary school too, the children who are serving lunches that day will wear a kerchief or a little hat and masks too. This was a custom I just couldn't get used to. Whenever I participated in things at the kindergarten or the schools that had to do with food I inevitably forgot my kerchief. Even when I remembered I usually became distracted as it kept slipping off my head.
More fathers busy making fried noodles. I see they keep towels around their heads... Besides all this there were sausages being grilled, potatoes being baked. Some homemade bread and cookies were being sold and there was even a corner where Japanese green tea was being made and served by mothers in kimono.
Lots of games for the children to play. A ring toss booth, a felt making booth, an acrylic shrinking plate booth (the kids draw on acrylic and then it is put in a toaster for two minutes and the acrylic shrinks), a super ball catching game where the kids fish for super balls in a kiddy pool. Other things included a handcraft booth selling bead work and patchwork and hand made baskets. I picked up a few little things there.
And of course the raffle booth! The mothers at the kindergarten had made about 50 little things (coasters, draw string bags etc.) plus one large bed-size quilt and of course our patchwork group donated the quilt we made. At 12:30 the raffle numbers were drawn....
The second prize went to the Principal's husband! It happened to be his 60th birthday so that was nice. And the first prize..... Our pride and joy.... went to one of the kindergarten teachers!!! I assure you the raffle wasn't rigged! Actually when a quilt goes to someone closely associated with the kindergarten (as opposed to someone who has dropped in from the neighborhood) we all feel like we've won and there was much clapping and hurriedly e-mailed messages to let people know where the final quilts were destined. A great day!