A sports festival is an event that takes place at many Japanese schools, typically during October according to my host family, though during my previous homestay I definitely participated in an elementary/junior high school festival that took place in June. It was rather brutal, heat-wise, so I was glad to hear that they were holding this one in cooler weather.
Mini Monster attends a daycare and they apparently had their Sports Day this past Friday, but on Saturday, my host mom asked if I wanted to go with them to see the Montessori School sports festival. It seems that they were going to have a small event for prospective students (which Mini Monster is) and younger siblings of students.
Heck, why not?
The whole school was festooned with international flags and many, many parents and grandparents had gathered to see their kids compete.
I use the term ‘compete’ loosely of course. In the case of the races, a parent had to accompany each child to make sure that they ran in the right direction, didn’t stop in the middle to dig in the grass, or start crying and refuse to continue.
They still did better than I would have expected out of a group of three, four, and five-year-olds. My host father asked if they had sports festivals in the US and I replied that I remembered doing similar things starting in elementary school. He asked about prsechool.
I spent the next ten minutes controlling my laughter and explaining the phrase ‘like herding cats.’
This was the first event that started after we arrived at the school. Each team had to push a large ball down to the end of the field, around a cone and back. The first team to cycle through all of its memebers won. This was probably the biggest venue for confused crying and being tugged along.
Tug of War they could handle on their own, though there were a few mishaps. Check out the first dude on the green team.
They were really happy when they won. No prizes though.
One of the more amusing events was the mom’s “egg” toss. Whoever got more beanbags into the basket won, with the moms of each class competing.
Mini Monster could have cared less. He was more interested in listening to his dad’s mp3 player and trying to get through the gate you can see behind his mom’s head. That, or stealing other kids’ toys.
The prospective students and younger siblings event turned out to be a race across the field toward a student who was holding out a bag of veggie chips. Everybody “won” of course and Mini Monster got into it. His dad had been really afraid that he would be the only kid to not run, but he took off sprinting when he saw the incentive.
A bonus picture of everyone’s stuff. This was on school grounds, but at least 100 meters and out of sight from the main area. Everybody just left their picnic lunch and ther stuff there, knowing that it would left alone. Amazing.
I tried to find some info on the web about Sports Festival, since most of what I know comes from manga and J-dramas. Kids Web Japan, an excellent site, didn’t have a concrete definition, but you should check it and the adult version, Web Japan, out anyway. Wikipedia had a small blurb at the bottom of their article on Sports days.