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Japan Sports Day At Elementary School In Kyushu

Kids really look forward to it. The Japanese sports day is one of the most important days of the year for children allover Japan. It’s a day of expectations, performance and sweat.

That’s the day when the Japanese children’s parents and relatives are visiting the kids at school to see them perform on the annual sports day. The motto is: -”Do your very best!”

You can see it as a mini version of the Olympics, but for kids on outdoor school grounds.

For some parents it begins already the evening before. Tents need to be prepared, lunch boxes filled with lots of various Japanese food and other preparations for the game day.

In the morning hundreds of school boys and school girls stand in straight lines outside of the elementary school, welcomed by the school principal and all of the teachers.

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The audience including Japanese parents, relatives and friends are watching the show.

Among the thousand grown ups I could only see less than five foreigners – including myself. The rest are all Japanese. Immigration is not common on Japanese countryside.

The school children began doing their synchronized morning gymnastics together in a group. Everybody did the same movement at the same time.

A few selected kids were in charge of the rest of the group, showing how to do in case anyone would have forgotten the otherwise daily moves. After that the games began.

Children compete against each other in different physical sports type exercises.

All the kids wear different color caps to show which group they belong to. The two color groups are the red and the white. Those are the two colors of the Japanese national flag.

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Japanese parents wait in the shadowed areas below the tents. Because of that the Spring season temperature is above 30 C (86 degrees in Fahrenheit), it’s a necessity to have tents as a safe cover from the hot bright Japanese sun shine. The air is humid too.

I myself got so much sun burned that I looked like a red boiled shrimp. My light white Scandinavian body skin is not used to the Japanese hot temperature climate. Of course in a few days the skin fell off like from a snake. That’s part of living in South-West Japan.

The kids ran sprint distances, carried heavy objects (with painted face expressions), used odd tools in physical exercise challenges, danced in formations and of course tested their group strength.

Japanese boys pulled long bamboo poles and girls pulled their ropes in a tug of war.

To become the winning group the children had to synchronize their team work by pulling themselves into victory as one unit of individuals doing the same thing at same time.

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Not only their Japanese sportsmanship was tested, but only how willing they are to cooperate with others. Something that the team work people in Japan take seriously.

During ordinary open school days the Japanese school children can show their skills in writing Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji to parents and relatives who visit the children at school, but during the sports day it’s about physical effort and showing music skills.

Yes, music skills. School kids in Japan learn how to play various music instruments.

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When it’s time for the big sports day then the kids play music instruments in a march orchestra way.

All school children must attend. Nobody is left out. Everybody learn how to compose music.

Back in the days when I grew up as a child in Sweden then I went to a separate performance based music school, except for going to ordinary elementary school. It was my personal choice.

Here in Japan all children learn how to play music instruments. Not just one type of music instrument, but several different types of music instruments. They get live performance training.

It’s not comparable to have a professional music teacher teaching you in private classes like in Sweden, but instead all children here in Japan learn how to play music instruments. That’s a lifetime strength that kids can bring with them.

That’s amazing. At least to me it is. I was impressed by how skilled the kids in Japan are. Maybe they don’t realize it, but in my opinion they are lucky to have such school system.

Japanese parents take pictures and video record their kids with their hologram mobile phones, hologram video cameras and stereoscopic hologram digital cameras that take 3D images. At home the family can watch it all in replay on their hologram photo frames.

After all – hologram photo technology has been available in shops in Japan since 2010. Exactly before sports day in Japan the camera electronics shops run campaigns to sell new products. What’s the theme in the shops? Sports day! Take 3D photos of your kids.

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Filed under: Japanese Culture

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