Thursday, October 1, 2009

Ball Toss

Four Teams throwing soft balls up into a basket.

The basket

Winner is scored by all teams counting together as they throw balls from the basket. Whoever is left counting wins! Listen to the Japanese numbers, I missed one, so it starts from two, 'ni'.


All the kids got together into two mixed-age teams (not much choice in this tiny school though!) for a variety relay:

Balancing a ball between two posts

Big kids pulling a little kid on a tyre.

double skipping.

Ever tried a three-legged race? This is several steps up - six kids coordinating their steps. Actually this kind of race is a really big deal in Japan. They have prefectural champions then the best teams go on to the nationals. The teams are bigger, about twenty kids. They work really hard and there's usually a documentary on TV about one team or another and how hard they worked.

Parents' Relay:
This is also a kind of varitey relay, 'unmei' or 'fate' relay. Instead of just running, they run to an envlope on the ground, placed randomly, and they have to open it and do what it says inside. Things like 'find two old men and run with them' or 'find a giant ball and run with it'. It means that it's just pure luck whether you win or not! This picture show two who got 'piggy-back a kid' as their fate.


The kids tying on their festival coats, or 'hapi' for their dance:


This is a traditional community group dance. It's origin is in the Obon festival, the Japanese festival of the dead. On this day, the deceased ancestors are said to return home to the 'butsudan' or Buddhist altar each family has in their home. There are lanterns set up to guide them home, and the dancing also helps to guide them home. But sometimes they do the dancing on other occasions too, such as School Sports Days!

A close-up of the ladies' hapi coats - pink with cherry blossoms. The writing says 'Koge-machi' the name of the town.

Video of the dancing:

Ball relay and Lunch

Tug-of-War ahd Gateball relay

Officials and things

Kids' Tents

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