Yesterday was the yochien undoki (sports festival), in Japan it is a really big event and the kids spend weeks practicing for the big day. I must admit I was dreading it a bit after hearing so many people complain about it but it was actually good fun, very much a family event. It was an early start, we needed to be there by 8.30am which, if you are Japanese means turning up at 8.00am. There are 3 grades at yochien, Ebi-kun is in the middle, most of the events the classes worked as a team and competed against other classes.
This was one of Ebi-kuns favourite events, there are lots of balls and they have to pick them up and throw them into the basket, the class with the most balls in 2 minutes wins.
Doing the hurdles, I must say Ebi-kun has a very unique technique which involved him doing a type of pirouettet as he landed.
Each class performed a dance, all the practice paid off, the daces were all really good and quite long routines.
Each grade had a their own game, now if you say wheel barrow race to me, this is what I think...
Photo Credit: Redmasterdon
But the little kids had a different wheel barrow game, they had to take their super-cute little wheel barrow and pick up the parcel, there were different sized parcels but the kids all picked the biggest ones, which kept falling off their barrow, amusing! They had to take their parcel to the parent and then give them the parcel, the kid then got into the wheel barrow and mom/dad wheeled them back to the start so the next kid could have a go.
I was impressed that they also organised an event for the little brothers and sisters that haven't started yochien yet, they all 'won' a balloon and a goodie bag and another for the bigger kids who now go to school. There was also quite a lot of parent participation. Like the kids, the parents of each grade also had events to join. I got signed up for the mat race. Basically there were 5 big mats in the middle of the yard and a team at each end, the idea was to get as many mats as possible, 3 to win. There was a lot of talk of strategy before we did it, obviously no one was an expert on the mat race since we lost 4-1!
We all had lunch together in the classroom, and I got up really early to make mine - as if! I decided that I wasn't going for Japanese since it takes me too long to prepare. I cooked the chicken the night before and the rest took next to no time to throw together. So we had.. pocket sandwiches with ham, cheese and lettuce (and cute shapes cut out of the bread), avocado and cucumber salad, cheese and pineapple skewers, backed chicken thighs, mozzarella and tomato salad, kiwi and some home baked cookies. Yum!
After lunch there were a few more events. Here is Ebi-kun and daddy doing the tricycle race, the kids have to pull a parent sat on the tricycle to the middle then they get off and daddy gives the child a piggy- back to the end. There is one little girl in Ebi-kun's class and she is tiny, all skin and bone, I was amazed to see her pull her dad along.
The weather stayed good for us, it would have been nice to be a little more over-cast but it didn't rain so we can't complain. There were no medals or class trophies handed out, it was very much a team building experience, emphasis on co-operation and team work, not on winning. Before they left all the kids got a goodie bag inside was a velcro ball toss game, origami paper and a big balloon.