Koza Seibo Yochien Undokai

Ko-za Say-bo Yo-chi-e-n U-n-do-ka-i.  Meaning Koza Seibo Catholic Preschool SPORTS DAY!!!!!!!!  And it is HUGE.  It’s almost like a mini Olympics with races, performances and dances.  Undokai is a part of every school in Japan, and has been since the Olympics were in Tokyo.

Things got started pretty early for a Sabbath day and started off with a sort of opening ceremony.  The coolest part is they have the kids do some of the speaking on a microphone in front of everyone.

Opening announcements

Opening announcements

Marching around the track

Opening Ceremony parade

And then there’s the dancing, it took Jake a moment to warm up to the idea of participating in the singing and dancing but he sure didn’t take as long as he normally does to warm.

Jake doing the opening dance

Jake doing the opening dance

This is one of Jake's friends S.

This is one of Jake's friends C.

This is C, one of Jake’s classmates, we met her mom and dad at another event the school had.

So after all of that dancing and opening announcement stuff, it was finally time for some of the sports stuff.  Jake got to run a race.  They had the kids who were next to run get into these rings on the ground, a sort of on deck runner circle.

The on deck runner's circle

The on deck runner's circle

On your mark…get set….

Look at that stance, doesn't he just look fast.

Look at that stance, doesn't he just look fast.

GO!!!!!!!!!

I'm runnin' I'm runnin'

I'm runnin' I'm runnin'

1/2 way ’round the track and he is in first place.  He’s wearin’ the red hat.

He's winning

He's winning

This is where my son starts looking around to see where everyone else is and just enjoy everyone clapping for him.  Normally this is ok if you are this far ahead, however, Jake has a tendency to stop doing what he’s doing, in this case running, or winning.  You gotta love that at this age winning and losing doesn’t matter to them, only to us older folks.  Ahhhhh, the innocence.

Oh….and the win!!!!!!

He actually managed to come across first.

He actually managed to come across first.

We got to take a break and have some lunch.  Taba-san made it in time to see some of the running and dancing, she even brought some fruit for the boys.  She’s totally cool and has really become a part of our family, she speaks to Jake in Japanese and he blushes.

Our mama-san came to check out the activities

Our mama-san came to check out the activities

After lunch there was a dance for the mamas/daddys and the kids.

Dancing with mama

Dancing with Mama

They even put on a show with the A-sans (5 & 6 year olds) as Eisa dancers playing with drums and dancing and all just like the ones down in Naha.

The kiddos doing Eisa dancing...pretty cool

The kiddos doing Eisa dancing...pretty cool

We all got to have some shaved ice, during the Eisa performance.

Jake and C having some shaved ice

Jake and C having some shaved ice

It was a good day. There was a relay race at the end that involved the parents.  We won(the red team), one guy came trucking around the turn and wiped out just like several of the kids did on their race.  That must have made them feel a bit better.  The weather was coolish, it sprinkled a bit around lunch time.  It was a very well prepared day, lots of practicing and planning must’ve gone into it.  Trying to communicate between Japanese who speak a bit of English and Americans who speak a bit of Japanese was a fun challenge.  They give the kids Monday off as a holiday from the sports day.

Of course everyone was a winner.

Nice job buddy

Nice job buddy

Jake struck this pose without any prompting from me, but it sums up the success of the day.

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The 10,000 Eisa Dancers

So…the other day Joelle took me out to my first 10,000 Eisa Dancers Festival.  Man was it hot, and the Eisa Dancers were pretty neat as well.  There’s something about hearing all those drums drumming and yelling that shook me from the inside.  To be honest it kinda felt like it did when I went to my first football game where my beloved Dallas Cowboys destroyed the Los Angeles Raiders at the Coliseum.  The thundering in my body gave me chills despite the warm weather.

Anyway, here are a few of the pictures….

Parking

Parking

Pretty cool, you just park your car over this blue thing and then after about 5 minutes the yellow thing pops up and you can’t get out until you pay.

Q

Q

This was right after we got there and Quinn’s hair is already sticking to his head.

T gettin' the info

T gettin' the info

So this is our Friend T, she whipped out her map and started to make communication with the natives so we would know if we were in a good spot or not.  She is great.

Regular people dancing

Regular people dancing

Everyone got involved in the parade and dancing.  These were people from right around where we were standing, there was a woman, a few moments before, helping them with their sequence of dance moves.

Kids

Kids

Even the kids got into the parade and the drumming and dancing.

The Crowd of Dancers

The Crowd of Dancers

Most of my shots of the long street with all the dancers turned out to be pretty bad, this ended up being one of the best if that tells you how bad the others were.  Anyway, really neat to see the long line of dancers all making the same moves at the same time.

Cute girl

Cute girl

This girl caught my eye because she had some good eye contact with all of us standing in the street, and a nice smile…one of the few.

Intense

Intense

As opposed to this guy, who I also thought was interesting because he not only was really into it but had such great, intense facial expressions, I though he was very Maori like.

The Entertainer

The Entertainer

And to not be out done, this guy, from one of the shops near by, when there was a lull in the drumming and dancing came out and…yes…that is a broom…with a flute…or…a flute…with a broom.  Of course then there’s always the stick with a flute on one end and a broom on the other…hmmmmm…curious.

Drumming girl

Drumming girl

This row of people were pretty fun to watch, they have the big drums that make that deep thump, thump, thump.  Again great facial expressions and some nice moves…actually now that I think about it their moves were pretty close to everyone elses moves but I got pictures of these guys and not the others.

It was pretty hot and we were there for about 3 hours we drank lots and of water but it still wasn’t enough.  I think Kira and Joelle ended up with some rash from just being skin to skin and it being so hot.   Despite the heat it was so much fun, we had a great opportunity to get some good, fun pictures, and see another culture celebrate with a huge parade and party. One thing that this reminds me of is how blessed we can be in the military, with all the chances we have to get overseas and experience different cultures and meet new people and have a chance to learn new languages, and see so much of history.  Of course to do this you have to have get off the base, but that’s a different story.