Tuesday, October 04, 2005

I Love Japanese Sports' Days!!!


How do I choose? I can't. I simply can't. I want to show you all of the pictures! But I've managed to narrow it down (a bit). Here are some of the highlights of last Wednesday...

First off, some student pics. My goodness, aren't they beautiful? These are some of my 3年生 (final year of junior high) girls. Some of my favourite girls. In my school, there are 15 classes... five of each grade. Each class is numbered: 1-1, 1-2....1-5, 2-1, 2-2.... all the way to 3-5. Got it? Each class then has a colour: 1 is red, 2 is blue, 3 is yellow, 4 is green, and 5 is pink. The students wear headbands in their class colour all day, and they also have pom-poms and flags in their class colour. Therefore, these girls are from 3-3. It's cool cause the teachers get really into it. Lots of them dress in their class colours, resulting in pretty humourous outfits, especially since the three teachers who each teach class 5 are all men! Sometimes the students make t-shirts for their teachers with their signatures all over the t-shirts.


These girls are from 2-2, a blue team. Check out their cool flag. Their teacher's name is Masayo Kurihara, so on the flag they wrote, "Masayo's Children" and they signed all their names! They also gave her a blue t-shirt done in the same style as the flag. In this picture is also Imayasu sensei, an English assistant I teach with. She was in our blog earlier when I posted about the mandolin concert we went to earlier this year.


And some cool guys from 3-5, just chilling....


And here are two of the aforementioned "pink" teachers. I never got the picture I wanted of them posing together, but this will do just fine. One of the third year team events was a class tug-of-war. It was awesome to watch. The teachers got right into it, cheering like crazy for their classes and waving their class flags around. 3-5 did well, but they did not win. In the end they were beaten by 3-3, the class that also came won first for the whole event.


There were many events held throughout the day, including tug-of-war, class jump rope, races, whole-class races, crazy relays, four-legged races, "slow" bicycle races, etc. But for me, the favourites were always the dances. Each grade learned a traditional (well, and not so traditional) dance. And then, they performed it as a whole. Our school has about 600 students divided across three grades, so that meant close to 200 students dancing all together at one time. Very cool. This picture is from the end of the first year dance. The teacher in red is there in case anyone falls! They pulled it off perfectly.


This picture was taken after the second year dance, the "Matsuken Samba," apparently named after some popular Japanese entertainer. At first I thought they were just saying "Mexican Samba" with a really bad accent! Haha! As a surprise to the students, Yamano sensei, the head teacher of the second years, came out in the middle of the song and danced on a small stage at the head of all the students! A definite crowd pleaser! Especially since he didn't really know any of the dance moves. He just kind of stood there awkwardly shaking around his pom-poms! Nadine, didn't I give you the exact same head piece before we left for Japan last year? I hope you wear it for Halloween this year with your new students!

And only one more picture, I promise...


Yes, here I am, dancing the Soran Bushi with my third year students. This was a big moment for me. I absolutely love the Soran. It is a very traditional dance. Many of the students got to wear those beautiful red and black happi coats. I was so nervous, I spent the whole night before the taikusai practicing the dance moves with a video I borrowed from a teacher. In this particular move, you are supposed to go down as low as you can. It's a week later now, and my butt and thighs have FINALLY recovered. Let me tell you though, it is one heck of a good workout! We got a standing ovation and an encore, that I half cursed at the time! Let's just say that my moves were a bit stiff the second time through. But it was such an awesome experience. I got it all on video, too. And I think it brought me even closer to my students cause they saw my efforts, and my interest in their culture. My relationships with them were already good, but I've noticed even warmer attitudes this week. It's great. And with that, my last taikusai experience comes to a close. This is definitely one of the Japanese experiences I will most miss...

3 comments:

Karen said...

Wow!! It sounds like you had an awesome day! Great photos!

Anonymous said...

Kathy, I am soo proud of you for doing that dance. wow, that looks intense. You are so great, and I must say I am jealous that you were in a dance. i miss doing dances with a group. it is quite the experience. That's great. Love ya, Suzanne

Anonymous said...

its so great to have my internet up and running again after over a month (or was it two?) great to read and see what you're up to. love you and miss you and am so proud of you. erika