In October there is a national holiday called “taiiku no hi”体育の日: sports and health day. It commemorates the 1964 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games. In recognition of this holiday, schools hold an 運動会 or sports festival. Zachary started school the day after undoukai finished last year, so this was our first sports day experience. The entire school is divided into 2 teams: red and white. They compete in a series of events depending on the grade level, with each color earning points for their team. Z was on the red team. Of course there is an opening ceremony with speeches, formalities and rajio taiso.
There were 19 events including relay races, 50 meter dash, tire pulling relay, tug of war, bean bag toss and rolling a giant ball around an obstacle course. It was really cute seeing the 1st graders competing. Here are some snapshots of my firstborn in action.
The 3rd and 4th graders do a special choreographed dance and it was quite entertaining.
Jack’s school also held an undoukai a few weeks after Zachary. Since it’s a kindergarten (preschool) there was less competition and more perfomance-based activities. Jack was very eager for his day in the spotlight.
It started with class performances with a few costume changes.
Then the individual showcase began.
It was so neat to see what he was able to accomplish after practicing for weeks. He’d come home from school saying that he could only jump over 1 box, or take only 5 steps on the bamboo stilts. Whenever we heard him lament that he couldn’t do something, we’d remind him that he can’t do that…yet = growth mindset!
At the end of the day, the boys were exhausted, but had an incredibly fun time. I love that the kids can experience yet another aspect of the Japanese school culture. Oh, and if you were wondering; Zachary’s team red won this year’s undoukai. Who will win next year?