Friday, September 22, 2006

Sera Junior High school Sports Festival

Let there be pyramids made of people!

Yes, and there were! These pictures are from my students practice. The actual sports festival got Typhooned, so we cancelled early halfway through the relays and other events so we didn't get to see the real cool things like bamboo pole climbing and tug of war. But enjoy these quick snapshots I took with my keitai (cell phone).

Let there be exercise!

So what exactly is a 'sports festival'? Well here they call it an Undo-kai. Every school has it and it consists of track and field events mixed with cultural games unique to Japan. Every (EVERY!) student must participate, because in Japan nobody is left out. The society teaches homogenious integration from a young age and the various festivals are a way for the Japanese to unite and come together with a common goal and the celebration is one of both cultural and sociatal value.

Sei No!

When I say everyone I mean everyone partakes in this festival. In fact the entire school was delayed for three weeks as students prepared. Even the handicapped kids were required to do some of the easier events such as dancing and running. Since the first three weeks of school were prep time for the sports festival I had very little work, but I got to play with the students and get to know them. However, remembering names is a little difficult since I work at ELEVEN different schools. Yet, this is my main school, so I'm making an effort at memorizing the students names.

I find that the girls names are easier to memorize, mainly because they are more sociable and try talking to me even though most of the time they just want to know why I smell so good. Which brings me to the great ponderance... Japanese guys don't use deodorant. The women perfume up like crazy but the guys are perfectly content being sweaty and smelly. So ponder this, if a school has no air conditioning, all the teachers have been outside helping with the sports festival and we all come back for lunch sweaty and stinky-- you bet everyone is interested in why I smell like "Aqua Reef," how could they not when everyone else smells like a pair of stinky socks.

Obviously the girls are most interested, after all I am probably the first man they've ever smelled who had a scent other than 'sweaty hairy man'. The question of "Why do you smell so good?" threw me off at first. By the seventh time of being asked this I wondered what was going on.

Let there be broken bones and NO lawsuits! Only in Japan! This school only had one broken bone, whereas some of the other schools has five and seven students who went to the hospital with fractures, bruises, and dislocations. Suprisingly all of the accidents happen on this one event --the pyramid! But I say its worth it, after all, nothing is as cool as a human pyramid! Woo!

I asked my Japanese fiance why my students, even the boys, were so interested in the way I smelled? She said it was because, "Japanese guys never wear deodorant. Ever."

I reminded her that the girls, even my 14 year old students have feminine smells and use perfume, to which Sayaka replied, "Not the guys. They don't use anything."

To which I spoke my mind telling her that sounded a bit odd. She informed me that that's how it is in Japan, and that it's the Japanese way, and that's how its always been.

Of course I had to say, "Well that doesn't make any sense. That's like saying only the Japanese women brush their teeth and the men are completely fine with stinky rotting teeth."

She told me she hadn't thought of it that way and agreed that Japanese men would be wise to pick up on the popularity of my scent, or at least the effect it has on everyone. Not that it's easy mind you, most of the deodorants in Japan are weak sprays and nothing like a good bar to rub up under the armpits... I have to import my deodorant just to keep smelling nice. At least all my students think so. Thanks to Old Spice I smell like the ocean breeze, and I'm darn proud of it!


Peter in Japan said...

Good pics! I went to my son's school which is an English school, and quite small ninzuu-wise. So it wasn't as much fun as this, I'll bet.

Tristan Vick said...

Hey Peter,

Thanks for dropping bye and saying hello!

I love your blog by the way! And J-List rocks!