by Bill Gordon

Friendship Visits
Hirobuchi Elementary School
November 13, 2001

Talking About
Statue of Liberty
Although Hirobuchi Elementary School does not have a Blue-eyed Doll, the third-grade class had great interest in the Friendship Dolls because of a visit earlier this year to nearby Hirobuchi Kindergarten, which has one of the dolls sent by American children in 1927. Also, a book on the school's history has a 1927 photo of the school's welcome ceremony for its Blue-eyed Doll, but the doll has not been found. Hirobuchi Elementary School was founded in 1872, just a few years after the Meiji Revolution, during the decade when Japan's modern educational system was established.

I was accompanied to the third-grade class by a couple of special visitors. The 30 students in the class enjoyed seeing Ms. Toshiko Saito, who had retired in March after teaching at the school for many years. She is an active member of the Miyagi Blue-eyed Doll Study Group, with whom I had the opportunity to talk with the following morning. The head of the town's Board of Education also observed the class.

Showing Photo of Miss Miyagi
At the beginning of the class, I was very surprised to receive about ten drawings of what the students thought I looked like before they met me. The drawings were all quite good, but I did not recognize myself in any of them, and none of the students guessed how little hair I have on the top of my head.

After the students completed a Japanese grammar lesson, they had a chance to ask me questions. One boy had great interest in the Statue in Liberty, and he asked me three or four detailed questions. After answering what is in the right hand of the Statue of Liberty, he stumped me with the question of what is she holding in her left arm.

At the end of the class, I had an opportunity to show the students a few items from America, including a photo of Miss Miyagi, the Japanese Friendship Doll sent to America in 1927. The time at Hirobuchi Elementary School was very enjoyable but also quite short, since I had two more school visits scheduled for the same day.

Third-grade Class

Friendship Visits - November 2001

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