Today we spent the day watching the Sports Festival at Kamo Elementary. It is a big community event that draws a huge crowd.
The teachers and students had prepared a huge number of games and races that were performed on the sports field. Lots of marching in line, whistles calling to action and start pistols (which interestingly were used for indicating the end of the race almost more frequently than the start). There were four teams Red, Green, Blue and Yellow - identified by little bands on the children's caps. Lili was rooting for the Blue team.
There were some great baton relays - the audience really got into cheering for those. Here is one of the photo finishes.
One of my favorite events was throwing beanbags into a basket. There was a limited amount of time and each team had its own basket, and after the start pistol went off there was a crazy flurry of beanbags in the air. If you got the bag to the smaller tin above the basket you got more points.
So many of the races were just in good fun - like throwing a big dice and then tying the corresponding number of team members' legs together and running (=hobbling) in a tied up group. Or a parent and child team relay. Lots of laughter!
After lunch break there was a special dance everyone was invited to participate in. It was not that simple, but I managed to follow the little girl in front of me who knew the steps down pat. I did not want to make a poor impression as we were the only non-Japanese at the entire event and I knew there were lots of eyes on us. In fact, Dante had several kids come to crowd him after the event to take photos with him!
At the end of it all Lili got to meet Tose, the winning boy from the Blue team. He is the son of the Buddhist priest in town, here photographed together with his sister Huku and Dante. Of course, Taeka-San knows their family well.