Today was yet another one of Japan’s plentiful national holidays: Health and Sports Day. I was asked a couple of weeks ago if I would participate in a relay race today with some teachers from Senami Elementary School, but didn’t quite know what I was getting myself into until today. The Senami neighborhood was having a couple or races: an Ekiden Takikai for the neighborhoods and a Road Race for the students. The Ekiden consisted of 16 legs, each varying in distance ranging from 200 meters to 2 kilometers, and going all around town. I went third and grabbed the sash (instead of batons they pass a beauty-pageant-like sash) from a guy who ran up a long, steep mini-mountain. My job was to run 1.7 km back down that steep mini-mountain path, over the river, and then down a street where my fans were yelling “Ooo gambare Naomi-sensei!!” I passed the sash on to the head teacher and am officially done running for the rest of the week!! The teams consisted of people of all ages living in the same general area. Some of these guys FLEW!!
Between the Ekiden and Road Race, I raced home to call home to see how Tom did in the Chicago Marathon. 3:53:47, PR WOO!!! Way to go daddy-o!! It looks like SS, Zubin, Erin, Jon and Mr. Howe all did すばらしい as well!!! おつかれさまでした！！ AWESOME!!
After the ekiden was the Road Race where little kids raced in age groups up and down the street. One of the cutest things is watching these kids and cheer them on ‘Gambare!!’ as they run by. I wish we had these type of neighborhood events in the US.
What better way to celebrate a day off and a great event than to go out with the teachers for a ridiculous amount of food and alcohol for lunch!! The teachers are all so friendly and funny at this school; I LOVE it!!