Tell me about Japanese Undokai (Sports days)

Tell me about Japanese Undokai (Sports days)

School Sports Festival for Kids! Anyone can be a hero on this day. It’s also a day for Dads to fight!

For some kids, it will be an important day to determine his or her position in the hierarchy of class. The event will also strengthen the unity of each class.

For Dads, it will be a day to fight to obtain respect from his wife and kids by getting a nice spot to watch the whole day event. As spot will be taken on First come, first served basis, some people will wait in line in front of the school gate all night before the event. His mission will be accomplished by getting best shots of his children through the day. (Well, such video will be rarely watched until his children gets married!)

For Moms, they work hard to make a luxurious lunch box bento in order to beat other moms! This is kind of a way to express their love to their children, although kinds are usually too excited to eat and end up eating only 10% of the whole.

Recently, some schools make rules to prevent some parents from go too far to express their love on this special day. (Ex. It will be harsh for some children without luxurious lunch. Some schools do not allow anyone to wait all night or have children to eat in the classrooms and only parents eat outside.) I agree it is not good to go extreme, but it is unfortunate these tendency will eliminate opportunities for families to make fun memories.

Some schools give all members the first place in a footrace in order to avoid having a last children in a race. Other schools no longer allow cavalry battle races and artistic gymnastics considering they are too dangerous for children. It is my greatest regret these trend will spoil opportunities for children to grow in a society.

The above is true with some schools but not all. A lot of schools still have a great Undo-kai. If you find a neighboring school is lively some day, please check it out and participate to give cheers to children who enjoy a day of the event. Especially a class competition footrace held at the end of the day is superb!

by totowatanabe

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