Of all the things in all the world whose presence I find difficult to endure, children, old people and dogs top the list. Wait, let's not get started off wrong; I have enjoyed conversations with children wise beyond their years, and I love meeting energetic, well-spoken, non-terrifying old people (however, there is nothing to recommend a dog). But nearly all are some combination of stupid, ugly and disgusting, and moreover they are ubiquitous.
It turns out that once per year, the university invites the general public onto campus to enjoy a variety of activities organized and held almost entirely by the students. This is in marked contrast to my Canadian university, where outsiders attract dirty looks at guest lectures and children anywhere outside the daycare invoke suspicion and discomfort. Anyway, the ryuugakusei traditionally play games with the hordes of anklebiters who swarm campus, and I had visions of my participation ending in tears, and I don't mean the children's. But I had to have a reason if I wanted to excuse myself, and "I hate children" was for some reason deemed inappropriate for an official form, so even the most resistant among us somehow all got railroaded into joining.
Preparation was scheduled for hours longer than was necessary, giving us plenty of downtime to enjoy the free lunch and bitch to each other about what a lost day it was. The ones who like kids had a blast, the few of us who didn't stood around awkwardly and tried to interpose those people between ourselves and the objects of our fear. We didn't have time to enjoy any of the other events, which was a pity, because the other native speaker and I were quite intrigued by the advertised "Somen Flow," whose font all but begged us to read it as "Semen Flow."
The event itself was a great success, attendance was impressive, the organizers did a great job and they should be proud of what they accomplished. A student leader myself, I can well understand the planning and effort that would be required for a project of this scale. I actually ended up enjoying myself more than I thought it would, which doesn't say much considering how low my expectations were. However, this is not because I have finally discovered the innocence and joy of childhood or any such thing, but rather because my group played Darumasan ga Koronda, meaning I was not required to interact with them in any meaningful way.