Monday, October 6, 2008

Undokais - aka Japanese sports days

Undokais are a big deal for Japanese schools.

Held between September and October, they are easily the most important event in the entire school year. The whole school (principals, teachers, students, clerks inclusive) start practising for the various events of the Undokai from April. And they are often so big a deal that classes often get cancelled for Undokai practices.

Unlike Singapore's sports days, the Undokais here are not just comprised of athletic events. Dances, performances and games (involving students, family and the community) make up the bulk of it. Almost like a festival.

So, we spent the last 2 weekends attending a number of Undokais.

Some highlights below.

The classic relay, just that the baton was replaced with a traditional fishing flag (due to the area's roots as a fishing town)

Superb taiko performance by junior high school students.

A tricycle relay.

Unicycle show. Most kids, from first to sixth graders, can ride these toys ridiculously well.

Good old tug-of-war

Students cross-dressed as princesses (the boys) and samurais (the girls). They were supposed to dig their faces into the flour and retrieve the hidden mochi with their mouths.

Kindergarten kids before their Ponyo dance.

Principals who were great sports and cross-dressed to the delight of the spectators.

Me, in the middle, trying to figure out the steps of Owase Bushi.

Mr Tan Tan participating in two relay events. In fact, he became a celebrity that day, outshining all the locals by grabbing the fastest runner award.

Soran Mushi (a fishing dance), my favourite item. Breathtaking performance.

A gymnastics performance that was themed after the Beijing Olympics.

Families having their lunch break in the school hall. Apparently they went to the school at 6.30am that day so that they could book the best spots for their families.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

so many exciting events~ its a pity that you all r not into phorography. a lot of potential shots! :P how are you all doing?