In Japan, the school year starts in April, so the kids I told stories with last September are now officially one year older. And so am I! But neither party was any less excited, I'm pleased to say.
At Tamaplaza Nozomi, I managed to stop the kids from climbing into my story bag for just long enough to give a whistle-stop Japanglish rendition of the marvellous Momotaro. Lots of people's favourite part of the story is the bit where Momotaro bursts out of the peach and shocks his new 'parents':
...but not this lot. I had thirty budding foodies on my hands. Like me, their favourite part is the bit where Momotaro gets his packed lunch:
Kibidango - a malty, chewy, utterly delicious Japanese sweet with which Momotaro bribes a bird
and a monkey
...to join him in his quest
to fight the demons of Onigashima
Soon, though, it was time to leave Kibidango behind, and go on to the next stop on what was becoming more of a food than a story tour of Tokyo nurseries, was the Umeboshi Plum Festival at Shouka Hoikuen.
I received an important piece of advice from some very wise thee-year-olds...
...about how you should NOT eat raw umeboshi plums. Three hours of indigestion later, I wish I'd followed it.
I was coerced into doing my first outdoor performance (in the rain)...
and into giving more piggybacks than my own back could really stand without complaining...
But it was only my back that complained. I had far too much fun to have anything to complain about. Although. I have to say, I'm pretty glad I escaped School Dinners: