Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sports Day in Japan

Sunday was Sports Day in Japan. This event, I attended at the local school is known as an Undokai. It happens every October. The whole family goes to watch the 1st through 5th graders demonstrate their talents on the school's athletic field. I mean everybody from newly born babies, to cousins, Aunts, Uncles and even Grandmas, Grandpas and in-laws-No Exceptions !


For some unexplained reason, even if it was cool enough to snow after Summer ended, it always turns out to be 90 degrees in the shade and feel like the dog days of August when Undokai day rolls around.

Today was no exception. Here's what a bazillion kids look like at 9AM while the Mayor and every bigwig in the PTA gives their speeches about how good school is for you, I'm  guessing.

Somehow, I always manage to show up late and miss all that stuff.






They have all kinds of relay races and team challenges. Like two guys stuffed in Paul Bunion's shorts racing against two other guys wearing bloomers that'd fit the Statue of Liberty.

By the way, have you ever looked real close at Lady Liberty's face?  I think it's really a dude !

Anyway, back to the athletics.

After running around in the hot sun all morning everyone takes a lunch break. Picnic-style, everyone gets to go to the tents the parents pitched and sit in the shade, eat, drink and get ready for the really hot-blistering sun that comes out after noon.





Some of them even get to dress-up in the Eisa Dancing outfits, wear turbans and beat drums while marching, jumping and high-stepping for the crowd's entertainment.

When the Eisa is over, there's plenty more relay races, ball games and competive events that take place. The kids watching and waiting have tents to shade them along the edges of the field so, they don't get too sunburned.






The last event involving children is Gymnastics.  The real athletic ones form human pyramids while the rest of them do what, I guess you'd call Modern Dances.



Then, the smart parents, who's kids are done with everything, start sneaking away.

The final act is a Tug-o-War. It's supposed to be between the men and women teachers. But, what really happens, because there's more women teachers than men, is, after the men loose the first tug, they recruit any innocent bystander they can get their hands on and demand a rematch!

Cameramen are exempt because we've been in the hot sun all day long. More later.....

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