Sunday, September 16, 2007

Blood, Sweat, and Tears :Midai JHS Sports Festival

These past couple of days have been long and restless. I've been at my school this whole weekend watching my students hold their culture/sports festival. The first day was non-stop dramas held by each class. For the most part I was fairly bored, mostly because I couldn't understand a lot of it since Japanese is my second language after all. I was super tired all day Saturday because I didn't sleep at all the night before. I blame my lack of sleep on the weather and ridiculous humidity.

Anyway, there's nothing really to say about Saturday's festival besides I would have preferred sleeping the whole day off. It's not that I wasn't interested in it, but it was super hard to keep my eyes open and my head up. The worst thing I can do right now is totally disrespect my school and students by sneaking off and taking a nap. So I just sat there as straight as I could and stuck it out. Right after I got home I passed out and didn't wake up till the next morning.

Sunday, today, was the sports festival. My students have been preparing for this sports festival for the past three weeks and it really showed. It was a whole day of wacky drills and relays where I didn't have to do anything but sit and watch. I did connect with most of the students today though, they now know me as "hijouguchi-san" which translates to "emergency exit man". I wore my cool little Japanese emergency exit t-shirt today to school and got a lot of attention for it. Everybody was surprised to see me with such a shirt on but I see everybody else wearing shirts with strange English on it all the time. So what gives? Either way, every body who saw it enjoyed my t-shirt and even asked me if they could have it. Chalk one more brownie point for me and the 3rd year girls...

As you may have noticed; my title was blood, sweat, and tears. Well, I saw a lot of all of the above just at the sports festival. Almost every event the kids had to participate in were borderline dangerous. For example, a lot of the events required the kids to bind each other's legs together which caused many falls and trip-ups. Nobody broke any bones but a couple girls spent most of the day laying on their backs in the nurse's office and I saw more skinned knees and elbows today than I can ever recall seeing. The kids were great sports and took their efforts seriously during the sports festival; so seriously that a lot of them cried when they lost or even cried tears of joy for being wrapped up in every thing. Japanese middle school students are leagues ahead of American students when it comes to maturity. I feel as if I am working at a high school sometimes.

All in all, I think my first school festival experience was a good one. I'll just completely forget about Saturday and remember the best day, Sunday. I took a lot of pictures. Unfortunately I cannot share most of them because I am not supposed to really have pictures of my students in the first place. So I will just be posting shots that I took from afar which should obscure their faces enough to retain anonymity. Tomorrow I plan to do nothing but sleep. Sleep I will! Yeeeeesssss......

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