This time is when I served food at Kashima Elementary's festival. I believe is was a fundraising festival, but to be honest, it was in December and I
didn't speak much Japanese then.
I was woken up one Sunday morning and my host mom said she was going to a festival ( for Japanese learners, 祭り=まつり= matsuri) at the local elementary school and asked if I wanted to go. I said sure, figuring it'd be a quick trip and definitely not realizing what an interesting day it would prove to be.
Once we arrived, I took a look at the stalls, which were filled with your typical festival foods and some activities for the kids. After the typical gaijin in a small town-craze, I was roped into helping sell food with random people my host mom knew. I was helping sell two dishes - some kind of mochi ball-thing and soup. The food, as yummy as it was, was not the reason this day was so much fun.... it was the four ojiisan's I got to work with!
When people would come to buy food, they would obviously ask who this crazy blonde gaijin-san was, why I was there, where I was from, etc. One of the guys spoke decent English, so he would help translate for me. Their answers were either I was their daughter, their mistress, sister-in-law, wife, cousin, twin, and very rarely, an exchange student. Sometimes they would say things in English which caused some confused faces of customers, but everyone working at the booth knew the game and would laugh together.
It was one the funnest days I had in Japan, and definitely one I will not forget!
I only managed to get one photo that day, but it was definitely the most important - a photo with my host mom and the ojiisans! (click for larger image!)
It was during this festival that I apparently said I would do the Japanese Speech Contest (I don't remember this) but regardless, that story is for another time.