To watch a video on this event, please click here!
April 4, 2010 was a particularly memorable day at Smith’s School of English (スミス英会話). Smith’s School of English Tsukaguchi, Okamoto, Ohtsu, Kyobashi, Tsuruhashi, Kamishinjo, Fuse and Kawanishi Schools, a whopping 8 Smith’s schools, joined forces to hold the 2010 Joint Smith’s Cherry Blossom Viewing (o-hanami お花見) Event, the biggest Smith’s joint event ever held! We had a blast with students, friends and family, the total number of attendees nearing 100! The event was held in Osaka Castle Park （大阪城公園), home to heaps of cherry trees, offering breathtaking views of beautiful cherry blossoms in full bloom.
I from Smith’s School of English Tsukaguchi School and Edward from Smith’s Smith’s School of English Ohtsu School were the first to arrive at 8:0oam to secure a spot for everybody. Mike and Paul from Smith’s School of English Tsuruhashi School arrived soon after that and we all spread out blue sheets together on our spot, big enough to seat 100 people. Shortly afterwards Al from Smith’s School of English Okamoto School arrived. Smith’s School of English Fuse School, Smith’s School of English Kawanishi School and Smith’s School of English Kamishinjou School came later at the meeting time with our students and others coming to the event, which was 12:00pm. Mike and Paul took off and Al, Edward and I stayed at the park. As I do each year, I bought my breakfast at a Seattle’s Best coffee shop located at NHK Osaka (NHK大阪・大阪歴博アトリウム店) near our spot. Before going there, I happily heard 3 young Japanese ladies speaking in English on a sheet next to ours. They were probably doing so because of us. I immediately took out 3 Smith’s business-sized cards that have some Smith’s courses on the back, walked over to them, introduced myself in English and handed them the cards. We spoke in English. They were students from a Kyoto university and were very friendly. Hopefully they’ll join a Smith’s school one day! (^.^) After this fun encounter, I headed over to Seattle’s Best around 9:00 am. Buying breakfast at Seattle’s Best and having it at our hanami spot is something that I really enjoy doing each year. I bought a cup of coffee, a Maple scone and a muffin then brought them back to our spot to enjoy them there. Al and Edward were chatting about their schools. After having my breakfast I chatted with them too. Edward hacky sacked and did some juggling with his hacky sacks! Impressive! We all played some frisbee. Fun fun fun! Before 12:00pm Al and I went to meet our students and others and Edward stayed behind to guard our spot (his wife Chiharu was going to meet his group at the station).
Once everybody from 8 Smith’s schools had met (including Smith’s School of English Kawanishi School and Smith’s School of English Kamishinjou School) we all walked back to our secured spot to start the hanami event. The weather was perfect – sunny and warm. We enjoyed beautiful cherry blossoms while having a delicious picnic lunch. My Japanese wife, about 6 months pregnant, was at the event and so the hottest topic with my group seems to have been was my wife’s pregnancy. (^.^) I had the people in my group introduce themselves in English because I wanted them to do some English conversation (英会話)! They did a great job. I ate some sandwiches and brownies that my wife had prepared that very morning, which were delicious. We offered some brownies to the people in our group and a few other people sitting nearby including Mark Smith, founder of Smith’s School of English, and his family. Like me, Mark loves sweets. (^.^) It was great having him at this event and I hope to see him at other joint Smith’s events in the future. Kids from different cultures made friends there and played together as if they had known each other for ages. Kids really are amazing! Later on some of us played a game using English (“Scavenger Hunt”) and prizes (candy) were given to the teams when they completed the game. Both adults and kids enjoyed this game. Many thanks to Edward and Chiharu from Smith’s Ohtsu School for preparing the materials and prizes for this game. Eventually, after a fantastic afternoon together, we packed up and left. What a great day we’d had!
A few days later at my English conversation school （英会話スクール), Smith’s School of English Tsukaguchi School (スミス英会話 塚口校) in Tsukaguchi, Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture, a student of mine who had been to the event remarked that the Smith’s teachers all had had Japanese spouses. I realized that a lot of the teachers at the event, while not all, were married to Japanese people. There are now quite a few international marriages in the Smith’s School of English system, including mine! Isn’t this amazing and great? (^.^)
I hope that you enjoyed the video, which I prepared myself. (^.^) I thank John from Smith’s School of English Kawanishi School for the nice group photo of his that I used and Edward from Smith’s Smith’s School of English Ohtsu School for taking some nice photos with my camera that I used as well. Great work guys!
I look forward to next year’s joint cherry blossom viewing (o-hanami お花見) event at Osaka Castle Park （大阪城公園) in Osaka! I hope to see even more Smith’s schools there next year and you too!
Smith’s School of English Tsukaguchi School