Yes, it has been quite a while since I last posted on the blog. Since my last posting I have been back to B.C., where I had to attend to some personal matters, not the least of which was determining why my left knee has been giving me so much pain. It seems the cartilage is damaged but, with the help of a few prescription drugs, and despite the fact that I am still hobbling around a bit, the problem is now well in hand.
Since getting back to Niimi on August 22nd, school has started and, so far September has been an eventful month. Sports Day (Undokai), fell on the 6th and, apart from graduation, it is the biggest event of the school year. It is quite militaristic and, in preparing for the event, the students spend hours on a hot playing field while the school band plays martial music, marching with legs raised high and arms swinging in perfect unison. It is far more disciplined than anything I have seen in a Canadian school.
In keeping with the Japanese tradition of emphasizing collective effort on behalf of the common good (as opposed to individual accomplishment), all of the Undokai events are team relay races that stress teamwork and cooperation. As they commonly say in Japan, “The nail that sticks up gets hammered down”.
On the morning of Undokai the painstaking preparations for the event are clearly evident. The stage, band area, tents, and food concession stand have given the playing field a carnival-like ambiance. Japanese tend to be quite formal so it is no surprise the opening ceremony speeches tend to go on a bit. The band plays rousing Sousa marches: Let the games begin.
The students give it their best and, with compulsory sports club attendance and a pretty healthy Japanese diet, they are very fit.
I’ll be more diligent about writing in the future!