Went to my son's Sport's Day at his nursery school (保育園 hoikuen) today. Tomorrow is the national holiday Health and Sports Day 体育の日(taikunohi) so lots of schools organize their Sport's Day at this time of year.
Must admit that the loud movie theme music, wailing kids, constant clapping and a hot sun drove me back home after about half an hour.
The kids were divided in to two teams of "Red Hats" and "White Hats" like some ancient Tibetan sects and "competed" against similar age groups in such events as simple obstacle races, throwing balls into large boxes, building manga characters' heads with giant cubes and other fun activities.
Everyone was given a medal and came home about 3 hours later. The turn out from parents, grandparents and other well wishers was pretty impressive with everyone recording events on video and digital cameras, cell phone cameras and even the odd SLR camera. The teachers seemed to enjoy walking backwards with exaggerated high knee bends.
Read in the newspaper when I got home of a high school student dying of heat exhaustion in Kyoto Prefecture after the school baseball coach put his charges through a punishment training session after the team lost a game. It's amazing how organized sports change the higher you progress up the educational conveyor, one day you're running around with a paper frog on your head, 10 years later ending up dead from baseball drills - made a mental note to keep the kid away from the dreaded high-school baseball, aka yakyu, though he shows no signs of moving in that direction.
Sunday, October 09, 2005