Friday, May 29, 2009

Senami Undoukai (Saturday, May 23, 2009)

In Murakami, the month of May signifies the month of Undoukais, or Sports Day Festivals in the elementary schools.  The first through sixth graders practice all month long for the final competition: Red Hats vs White Hats.  In fact, many of my elementary school classes have been canceled due to the Undoukai practices/rehearsals.  On Saturday, I made the effort to stay in town and watch Senami Shougakkou’s Sports Day Festival.  It opened with an opening ceremony where the Red Team chants to the White Team, then the White Team returns the favor.  The Red Team then Chants to themselves, and the White Team follows by doing the same chant to their own team.  After the bands march around, the kids wave their flags, and the Principal gives his speech, let the games begin!!  Along with the traditional races, relay races, beanbag-basket game, tug-o-war, and pyramid poses, each grade comes up with their own competition.  The 4th graders did races where they had to hit a tambourine a certain number of times, jump rope for however many counts, and crawl through something.  The third graders had some sort of fishing with magnet, carrying water race.  The kids seemed really happy to see me there and kept making me help them jump higher and higher.  I hung out with Rochelle (Riki’s mother), and we had our simple lunches next to mats and mats of families who had packed extravagant bentos.  

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