Sunday, September 21, 2008

Katsuura Shogakko Undokai, 2008.

Yesterday was the Undokai, the Sports Festival, at one of my elementary schools. It's a small school, with only about 55 or so students, total, from grades 1-6, [below is the entire complement of kids] which makes it all that much more awesome. Not a lot of students, really nice teachers and staff... there's a real sense of community and togetherness, of which they've made me a part. Which I'm quite grateful for.
From 2008-09-20

From 2008-09-20

Nope, it's not "I love New York!" it's "I love NuYama!" Nuyama is the neighborhood in Katsuura that I was a ringer for on Sports Day.
From 2008-09-20

One of the parents at the school, who volunteers and teaches English with me, made up a bunch of Nuyama Tshirts for a bunch of folks, me included, with witty sayings written on the back.

Mine says something like "suketto gaijin," which is the term that the NPB [Nippon Professional Baseball] uses for foreign baseball players in Japan. My shirt is awesome.
From 2008-09-20

From 2008-09-20

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Japan at 10AM. God bless you, Japan.
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From 2008-09-20

From 2008-09-20

Attack of the Killer Munchkins!
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Attention!
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Ready!
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Go!
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Returning Jr High school kids/Katsuura alumni.
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Stretching out the adults...
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One of these English teachers is not like the other adults. [Hi Akemi!]
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And again, not quite like the others. ^-^
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The closest I get to a dramatic pic.
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You do not get much cuter than this.
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When racing, don't forget your purse. My JHS students exemplify the Japanese female spirit.
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I've been to Katsuura dozens of times, and I swear this is the first time I've noticed this Sphinx like statue.
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The bread race... you have to snatch pastries off of line with your teeth, no hands. [Yes, this girl is kind of cheating.]
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In Japan we occasionally are forced to capture the children with nets. This is rarely talked about.
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Prepare for liftoff.
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Synchronization.
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White men can, on occasion, jump just a little bit.
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The spoils of jumping rope... [but not winning.]
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Attacked by giant spheres.
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Small world... Halfway around the planet I come across somebody wearing a t-shirt name-checking the military base I spent 17 years growing up next to.
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This being Japan, a picture was required, after a friend explained to him why I wanted it.
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Perhaps the most artistic jump-roping-ball-carrying picture ever.
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Barefoot in the grass. Which is awesome. My vibram fivefingers are spoiling me.
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Tug o' War!
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While last year my group was able to emerge victorious, and get the free case of beer that accompanied winning, this year there was no repeat. We went 2-1, but that was just not good enough.
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If I had to pick one thing that defines Japan, it might be synchronized dancing. Seriously.
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Baskets and beanbags a flyin'.
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Much footracing was to be had.
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From 2008-09-20


Full album here:


And here's a vid I edited and threw together for the day.

Katsuura Shogakko Undokai from Rob Pugh on Vimeo.

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