Imagine field day for high school kids. In Japan it is called tai iku sai.
“Sports Day” is probably one of the most impressive events I have been to since moving to Japan. There were four teams and each team had a team captain. The captain coordinates everything and is usually a 3rdyear boy student. Each team also has a giant sculpture mascot and a 5 minute long choreographed dance/cheer in costumes handmade by the students themselves. The events the students competed in would be considered dangerous in American schools. They never would have been allowed. Many of them just involved the students being in pain. Please look at these photos.
This year was also unusually hot and humid, even for Japan. There were many kids passing out from heat stroke. The first few kids who passed out were terrifying to me. The teachers ran over with a stretcher loaded up the large high school student and carried him off to air conditioning. The student sat inside and drank water for about a half an hour and then hobbled back onto the field like nothing happened. Over 30 kids passed out from heat stroke sometime during the day. After the first 5 I wasn’t too concerned anymore. In fact, I actually found the way that the students and teachers handled the matter kinda funny. In a Texas high school there would have been EMT’s and ambulances, but in Japan after 30 minutes you send them back out into the heat. Practical.
At the closing ceremony there was a choreographed folk dance all the students, and some teachers, participated in. It was adorable. There was also a large sculpture.
Here is a bunch of the video that I took of the day! enjoy!