I've just come back from the elementary school's Sports Day, probably the biggest school event of the year. Though I used to attend when my children were in this school (and ran around doing PTA jobs) now I'm invited to attend as a guest and I get to sit under a tent and drink cold tea.
So here are a bunch of pictures from this morning.
The school grounds all decorated up with international flags flying.
The tents are set up by the different residential areas where the kids feed in from. There are also school tents there for each grade, teachers and guests.
These are little sellers booths... private enterprises that float from event to event, setting up at school fairs and city festivals. Let's see, there is one booth selling snow cones, one selling french fries, another selling super balls that are swimming in water and have to be caught. I don't know what the last booth was. When I went by, families were still concentrating on the sports events. At lunch time the lines for these booths snake around the school grounds.
A typical event for the younger grades is the bean bag toss. All grades are divided into the Red Team and the White Team and throughout the day the two teams compete for points. On the other side of the playground the Red Team was throwing red bean bags into their basket at the same time.
This looks like tug-a-war and in a way it is. Bamboo poles are set out on the playground and at the bang of a starter gun the teams race to pull the poles to their side. As each pole gets claimed the team members race to another pole to help their teammates bring in still more poles.
This was part of an obstacle course. The children were racing around the track, jumping over hurdles and then crawling THROUGH these old carp kites that had once seen better days flying on Boy's Day. It took some skill for the children to make it through the whole kite without getting lost inside.
This event is the highlight of the day for me. This is called Kumi Taiso and I think I heard that it is a take off from Swedish gymnastics. The fifth and six grade classes (both boys and girls) start off in different solo positions that they perform at the sound of a whistle.
After two or three positions the children group into pairs...
And then into trios....
As the group gets bigger, the pyramids get taller...
Until 30 some students in each group form a tower!
Someone told me last year that when a group of Japanese exchange students did Kumi Taiso at their school in the States, the American principal about fainted. Oh my gosh! Are these kids insured?! I think they were asked not to perform again.
It may be dangerous but it certainly gives the children a sense of accomplishment.
And the last event that I stayed for was the WAVE. This was pretty good teamwork too. 60 some students all crouched on the playground with hands and arms knitted together as they made wave after wave after wave.