Saturday was the third Japanese Sports Day I’ve gone to, the first being last year at Togane Chu and the second also being at Togane Chu when I visited their Sports Day earlier this year. Although this school is much much smaller than Togane (only 1/6th the student population) it was pretty much the same basic things. The students were divided into a red team and white team, but unlike at Togane they were even divided up within their own homerooms. Some competitions pitted homerooms against each other and awards were given to the classes that won those events, but the main competition was between the red and white team.
Most of the events were identical or similar to the Togane events. There were bizarre relay races, classes jumping rope in synch, and of course the obligatory “mukade” race where classes race against each other with their feet all tied together. Before the lunch break all the girls did a dance, but rather than human-pyramid building like at Togane the boys had synchronized vaulting along with the girls’ dance.
The thing most unique to this particular Sports Day were the elementary school events. Most of the 5th and 6th-graders from H-sho a handful of 6th-graders from M-sho (presumably those of them who’ll be attending K-chu next year) showed up and competed in a couple of events against each other. They did a tug-of war and a relay with current H-sho / M-sho students, former H-sho / M-sho students, and parents. So for about an hour, I got to see students from all three of my schools all together at once. It was almost certainly the only time that’ll ever happen, and it was pretty cool. (Incidentally, H-sho was victorious in both events.)
One difference between the K-chu and Togane Chu Sports Day that was not cool was my complete and utter exclusion from the entire event. At least at Togane Chu I got to participate in two events, but I was left out of everything. I wasn’t even assigned to the red or white team, but that allowed me carry out an idea I had to twist my headband so it was red on the left and white on the right, which led to some confusion and amusement of some students.
The best thing about the day was getting to take pictures. I won’t post any here, but because it’s such a small school I was easily able to get one or several pictures of every last student to remember them by.
There was an enkai in the evening which I attended, but it turned out to be the least enjoyable enkai I’ve yet been to. It was at a Chinese restaurant so unlike other events drinks were ordered and delivered pre-poured, which meant teachers weren’t going around pouring drinks for everyone and that meant far fewer teachers coming up to interact with me. By “far fewer” I basically mean zero, as the only teachers I spoke to all night were the ones to the left and the right of me. I’d already been harboring feelings of resentment at being left out of Sports Day, and that just augmented those feelings but I know it’s no big deal. At least it wasn’t all bad—the woman to the right of me had been a teacher at H-sho a few years ago and knew all the current 6th-graders and most of the other students as well, so we were able to chat at length comparing our impressions of some of those students.
She informed me that H-sho has its Sports Day on the 28th of this month, so I’ll get to see my first elementary school Sports Day then. Hopefully M-sho won’t have theirs on the same day, but if they do I’ll drive over there and check theirs out for awhile, though I’ll spend the bulk of the day with H-sho, which remains my current favorite school.