Even More Sports Day!

Sports Day: So enjoyable, I’m still writing about it a month later.

On of the more ridiculous events was Samurai Rides a horse, in which three students sport another student on their hands and shoulders, who then fights against a boy from the other team riding his own horse. Immensely dangerous, this event is banned at many schools, and is carefully supervised. I was still worried.

Another favourite was the teacher’s relay race. Teacher’s are all assigned to a team and some compete in the obstacle course. Women ran half a lap and completed three obstacles and men ran the full lap and all 6 obstacles. The teachers had to stack cans, jump rope, crawl through a tube and blow up and pop a balloon, but the best obstacle was only for the men.

They had to stick their whole face into a pan of cornstrach and search with their mouths for a piece of candy. Of course this resulted in their faces being covered in cornstarch for the rest of the race, which added to the hilarity. All day the red team had been trouncing the blue team, and the teachers race was no different. The red team anchor made up some ground and slid into the finish line.

At the end of the day, there were special routines by the team’s captains, who wore robes and danced in front of the teams stands. At the same time, the rest of the team was displaying their carefully choreographed panel routine.

At the closing ceremony, the students from the red and blue teams switched robes and danced together as a group. The day was amazing because I saw how much this tradition meant to (some of the) students. The blue team seemed genuinely happy when the red team’s inevitable win was announced, and the head student organizer cried when he gave his farewell speech.

Here’s a  video of the students singing the school song while doing another choreographed panel routine. I wish I could be here again next year!

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Japan and Canada – Cultural Adventures

One of the side goals of the JET programme is ‘grassroots internationalization’, a phrase I have heard so often this year I forgot it wasn’t a thing that people elsewhere said. Regardless of any slang I picked up, interacting with students and the community and teaching them a little about Canada was one of my favourite parts of living in Japan. While I am not sure that they understand what poutine is, or that it’s not cold in Canada all the time, at least they can accurately draw our flag, which is more than I can say for many Canadian students, or me.

I held a quiz this morning and the students could tell me that the most famous sport in Canada was ‘ice hockey’ and that the most famous food was ‘mapalru syrupu’, and that the capital was Ottawa. Of course, they also know that Avirl Lavigne and Justin Bieber are from Canada, and I think that endears them to the country more than I ever could. It was my last class with the second year students, and I am going to miss them a lot.

Teaching here definitely has it’s frustrations and disappointments, but it’s all worth it when a student finally greets you with something other than ‘how are you?’. My favourite new saying this month is “What’s cup Heather? What’s cup?”

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Sports Day at Omuta Kita

Last weekend we had sports day at my school and it was so much fun!

Here is a video of the blue team’s girls dancing to Avril Lavigne.

Excuse the part at the end where I start singing….

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Sports day

Sports day is an annual event at Japanese schools, and students are split into teams and compete against each other in a variety of events.

Today is the first practice I have witnessed, and it consisted of dancing, marching, panel working, singing and formation walking. What a day!

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Here is a short video of the entrance ceremony which gives you a view of the courtyard and some marching. Sorry for the shakiness and the part at the end where I cut off after a bug falls on me.

Japanese children practice this kind of marching every year for sports days and other ceremonies, and apparently the Japanese Olympic team has received criticism for their ‘military’ style marching in the opening ceremonies. So much so that the team is apparently reminded every year to walk ‘more casually’.

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Fitting in at work.

I got my own name tag at work today.

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Very exciting!

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Teaching in Japan

When Daniel Radcliffe exits the car at 1:00 and approaches the school, you can see a small bit of what my work life is here in Japan.

 

 

That’s right, my job in Japan is half teaching, half being a celebrity!

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