Monday, August 28

Sports Festival Koukou Style or Kakkoiiiii!

Invited by my friend Jen, I checked out the city's high school sports festival. Having seen pictures from last year's festival on Melissa's blog, I was psyched to go! Of course, my pictures are a far cry from what she got, but please enjoy these anyway.

The image above is from the red team's presentation. Each team prepares their own presentation that includes an initial chant with the flag, Japanese-style cheering (Oss!), drumming on metal barrels, dancing by a select group, clapping by that group in black there, and creative imagery with gloves, cards and/or fans. See my YouTube for some shots of this. The images might not be great, but you can get the idea. I really need a video camera...

Sandwiching the presentations were a TON of relay races, some plain, others with a twist. For example, this one, where the students had to run to the bar, grab a bagged bread in their teeth, carry it in their teeth to the chair, sit down and cram it all in their mouth, then run back to the start of the line to pass off their sash to the next person. Each student was given a cup of what I can only assume to be tea or water upon "finishing" their bread. And by finishing I mean stuffing it in their face to try to choke it down once they got back to their line. Of course, there were about 20 kids in each line, so it took some time.

Another relay involved running halfway around, pulling a name from a barrel, and having to run the rest of the way with your randomly-selected partner. The names included other students (perhaps from other teams), teachers and Jennifaa! Valiant effort, Jen!

The last event I stayed around to watch was a crazy twist on the classic Chicken Fight. In this version, three students hold up a third who wears a shogakkou (elementary school) hat - reversible red and white. Two teams duke it out, stealing each other's hats. The last hat standing is the winner.

And that was that. The day was great - the sun didn't come out until the end, so limited sweating was done by moi. I've given in to the Japanese way of layering clothes, so as to not embarassingly sweat through the only layer. I wish I could have gotten some better shots for you folks, but I enjoyed myself, saw some LMS kids and kyoto-sensei from my LES, got out of this house, and did something different!

My Rating: Kakkoiiii! Kids here think American kids are so cool, but man, the getup the dancing kids had going was SO COOL! Their hair, their outfits, their dancing, everything, was just so cool. And I'm almost 30 saying that! I know many of my American kids would have been drooling over the "look" of these kids. Enjoy, EP babies! Also, I'm really impressed by the preparation that went into this. The clapping and card-flipping was amazing, the organization of the whole event was ridiculous - I went "backstage" to try to say goodbye to Jen (she eluded me, sorry Jen), and, for example, they had big cards announcing the next event at the "entrance" to the field. Impressive. The whole thing. I guess that's what happens when you spend your summer vacation practicing. Sugoi.

Aaanyhoo, be looking forward to the [perhaps not as impressive yet fun anyway] events of the JHS sports festival in September!

Yossh, I'm off to Flickr and YouTube. Check out the rest of the images and what videos I can get up there. Please! Make it worth my while!

Happy Tidings, Neighbors!


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