Sunday 30 September 2012

How do you Undokai?

Undokai translated literally is Exercise Festival or I suppose sports Festival makes more sense and in Japan is is a BIG deal. The kids start training weeks ahead of time, there is dancing and races and gymnastic movements scary enough to give safety inspectors heart failure.

This is the first one we have been to at the school, so we didn't really know what to expect. We did get a paper through explaining that there is no room to sit down, which I actually preferred. It meant that I wasn't forced to sit in blazing sun and we could come and go as we pleased.

Everything started at 8.20am with speeches and what not and the all the kids and staff got up to do radio taiso - exercise to the radio. Now, because no-one had their own square metro of space to sit in, it meant that 1200 x 2 parents trying to get to the finish line to get the perfect photo but luckily the school had thought of this. This area from where I am standing to the yellow cones is the photography section. As each grade prepared for their race, the PTA officials allowed parents from that class to enter the area. At first I thought it was all a bit insane but it actually worked quite well.

As you can see, I managed to muscle my way to the front, Ebi-kun is in the far lane and came in 3rd.

Fortunately, we didn't have to sit and watch everything so we went and sat in the shade and chatted to there parents until it was time for the next event. This is tamaire, popular in kindy and schools. The kids do a dance then when the whistle goes they pick up balls and throw them into the basket.

After that we walked down to a cafe and had a nice long lunch and a wander round the book store and grabbed a coffee whilst the kids went back to their classrooms and ate their bento. We came back for the big ball race. The whole school is split into 5 teams, so each row of teams here are made up of 6 grades. They had to roll the ball over their heads without it falling off, very exciting!

Luckliy Ebi-kun had told us where to stand for the dance, so we got to see him in action with his pom-poms.

The last couple of events was the older kids doing the gymnastics and then the relay. Then the real fun started, how to get 1200 kids + 1200 chairs back into the school with PTA parents not having a clue what they are doing and sending the kids in all the wrong directions!

All in all it was a fun day, we all bought the sun and it finished by 3.30pm. Daddy-ebi nipped home and picked up the car so we could go straight round to the doctor to see about Ebi-kun and his cough. The Doc has admitted defeat and referred us to the specialist, guess where we are going in the morning...

So, how is sports day where you are? Do you love it or hate it?

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  1. 1200! 6 classes/year? Ours is 800, we really need the designated photo area for parents of that grade thing. What a good idea! Ours is just a free-for-all from the sidelines, and invariably some local Baachans with parasols park themselves at the front. Good thing we took lots of photos and videos in yochien!

  2. Hate, hate, hate!!! It was horrible having to do it and it is just as awful, 30 years later having to watch it!

  3. Haven't gone thru one but loved reading your day :)!!


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