Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sports Day

Today was my daughter's first experience of a sports day at primary school here in Japan. Trev and Gill were great sports and came along for the whole day to catch a glimpse of another side of Japan....

Most sports days here are very similar and consist of normal running events and many other "not so normal" events. For example children riding on top of human "horses" and trying to take off the hat of their opponents, throwing many small balls into high baskets, catching balls in baskets on your back etc. etc. There were also traditional dance performances and a Tai-chi demonstration. Of course on top of that there is also the main event - lunch to deal with as well. Although many families now order their lunches from shops, we stuck with tradition and I got up early (5:30am...) and my mother-in-law also got up early and our combined efforts meant we had plenty for both lunch and left-overs for tea!

Almost all Japanese sports days work on a "team spirit" concept rather than an individual performance one and today's sports day was no exception. The students are split into white and red teams and they can earn points in each event for their team. There are no records of individual performances and everyone cheers for the team rather than the individual. At the end of the day the points are tallied and the winning team is presented with a big flag.

Because our school is reasonably small (47 students in total) the entire community is involved. There are many events for community members - some combined with the children and others just for the adults. Trev participated in 3 different events in total - including one where my daughter needed a 50 plus partner.
All in all a long day, but a reasonable introduction to another side of Japan. We are taking bookings for next year's experience now.....
By the way, I have made the photos quite small, but if you click on them you should be able to see them in a larger form.

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