Sunday, September 30, 2012

Elementary school Sports Day

Sports Day is a big event in Japan.  Bigger than Christmas!  Every single organization will have a Sports Day, usually in the autumn.  Yesterday I was invited to the elementary school Sports Day and after doing crosswalk duty for an hour and a half (children came first and then parents) I sat at the honored guests' table and enjoyed a front row view.  Lots of pictures today.

Sports Day begins with opening ceremonies.  The red team and the white team pledge to be honorable in their play and attitude.

I was sitting near the white team and all grades bowed their allegiance.

And before the day begins everyone must loosen up and stretch those muscles.

It was a beautiful day!  (We're expecting a typhoon tomorrow.)

Of course there are races.  Yoi....Don!  "Ready...Go!"

And ball relay for the younger class.

There is a tug-a-war with bamboo poles.

And dances.

And an acrobatic show put on by the fifth and sixth graders.  Start with solo positions.

Strong stomach muscles!

Dirty feet come with the day.

Then there are pair exercises.

And more...

 Next the students combine into trios.

 I wonder how they choose who gets top position.

 And the pyramids get higher!

Oh dear... I hope those kids on the bottom row have strong backs!

 Okay... a short exercise to develop some teamwork...  Keep that wave moving!

And then the finale...  Two pyramids were made from the combined fifth and sixth graders.  It was interesting to see how the pyramid was made.  A group of 6 or 8 children ran to the center...  Another group of 12 or more children knelt around them and the standing group bent over them.  4 or 5 students climbed onto the top row's backs and formed a "table" and then the final child climbed on top of them and the table "lifted".

A couple of teachers standing around the perimeter to push someone if they start to lean, or maybe to catch someone if they start to fall, but no mishaps this day.  What an accomplishment!

I enjoyed drinking cold tea and watching the morning events.  (I didn't stay through afternoon.)  And in the guests' relay (a whole 20 steps) I won a package of kitchen sponges!

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