UNDOUKAI - Japanese Sports Day at Salesio Shizuoka Japan
On, Saturday 1 June, the Year I to 6 annual sports day was held at Salesio. Students have been preparing for weeks. Although similar to our Sports Carnivals, there were distinctly Japanese touches.
Being Saturday, there were extended families present, complete with picnics. There was a great atmosphere. Competing for your team and participation were of prime importance.
Races were exciting, especially with the Taiko style drumming that underpins every event. The PE staff, and all the teachers in fact, were quite amazing. It was rare to see any of them standing still.
The day had students from Year 1 to 6 competing in all events. There was a Red Team, a Blue Team and a White Team, corresponding to the A, B and C classes for each year. The final event was a relay run by students starting with Year 1.
The baton was passed to competitors from each year in succession up to Year 6. Tension built as the lead kept changing. It was very exciting.
Highlights for me were the uniquely Japanese touches. Kibasen, which means Horse for the Battle, based on Samurai traditions, involving a team of 4 students, 3 supporting the feet and body of the ‘rider’, who attempts to steal a hat from the rider of another team - a chaotic free for all with teachers hovering closely to prevent falls. Another was ‘Ouen Gassen’, (the battle cry), complex choreographed chanting and movement routines, meticulously drilled and performed with power by each team.
The day was a great mix of sport and entertainment with a strong sense of community.
Mr Mike O’Brien - Dominic College Exchange Teacher in Japan