Saturday was undoikai - sports festival, which is a big deal in Japanese schools. The kids spend many hours practicing and there is a big excitement for the big day. It was very hit and miss on whether it was going to rain and get postponed. Since we had nothing but rain all week it wasn't looking good. We put out vibes to the big U and asked for it not to rain.
The rain did hold off for most of the day although the school was shrouded in fog which was kinda weird. They did decide to change the schedule a bit just in case!
There are almost 1400 kids in Ebi-kuns elementary school, that is a lot of kids to organize, most schools encourage families to bring a picnic and make a big day of it but there just isn't the space for 1400 kids and their families! So parents are encouraged to come and watch their kids just for the events they are in.
As everyone and their dog wants to be on the finish line to take photos, there is a strict system of shuffling parents in and out of the photo area. It actually works really well and everyone gets a chance to take photos. Ebi-kun came in a close 3rd...
Then each grade has a dance routine, that's about 233 kids dancing in sync, no mean feat! Until recently the 6th graders did 'the pyramid' as part of their routine but thankfully health and safety has enforced some common sense. So the pyramid has been scrapped (8 kids high, I have a post with pics here) and they did a more complicated dance routine.
Ebi-kun got to be on the cheer squad this year, he is one of the kids on the left cheering to encourage the rest of his team, each team has a big cheerleading shout off - I totally don't get it but the kids seem to enjoy it!
There are also games and races, very much about teamwork and co-operation, There are no individual winners only the team. This year they had 3 teams - if seems to differ depending on how many classes they have that year. Can you guess what colour team Ebi-kun was in? Good job he wasn't in blue!
The triangle thing is sekihan sticky rice with red beans. Top box has pink grapefruit, mini tomatoes, cheese wrapped with parma ham. The bottom box had carrot and red pepper salad, boiled egg and beetroot.
Unfortunately as the kids were getting ready for the last game, the heavens opened and we all got soaked. the undoikai was abandoned and the kids sent inside to get changed. Ebi-kun was gutted because his team came in second, only 5 points behind the winners. Every year I watch the score but I have no idea how they work it out! It seems to be extremely random!
All in all it was fun and we headed home early, snuggled up on the sofa to watch Jurassic Park, which I haven't seen since my uni days, I forgot what a great film it is.