Continuing with my recent theme of “things that are cool in
January in Japan”: poetry memorisation contests!!! 百人一首 is
a card matching game that dates back to the medieval. Players sit in a
circle around a set of cards that feature one hundred different poems. The
caller begins reciting the poem, and players race to identify and take the card
that features the second half of that poem. Students get very competitive,
slamming their hands down on cards sometimes after hearing just the first word.
Although it originated as a game, the educational benefit of having students
enthusiastically memorising great works of poetry is obvious. You can buy
beautifully illustrated sets of cards with calligraphy by famous artists, but
we bought a set from the 100 yen store. It cost 500 yen. Go figure.