Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Homecoming? Prom?

I don't think so.
Instead of having dances like in America, Japanese schools have festivals such as "運動会”(undoukai) or "体育祭" (taiikusai). In this case, sports festivals.

There are three grades in Japanese high school (First graders, second graders, and third graders). Within these grades, like American schools, they are separated into different classes. However, classes are separated depending on the courses one wishes to take. (For example- Some classes specialize in English, while other classes spend most of their time learning about computers).

Around the time of the sports festival, the school is separated into teams. Each team consists of a class of third graders, a class of second graders, and a class of first graders. The teams are not based off of which subject they major in, and so every team varies.

After each team is chosen, the third years come up with a theme, a color, a costume, and a dance for their team. (My team was 神-god, with a yellow costume).

For about a week and a half, my school only had morning classes, and in the evenings we had 運動会の練習 (undoukai no renshuu) Practice for the sports festival. Practicing took the rest of the day (and it was hard and tedious). (And, of course, practice had to be after lunch, the hottest part of the day, and in the middle of a field with no shade). By the end of the day we were all sweaty, hot, tired, and sometimes even grumpy.

The main event of the sports festival is when each class dances.

Most of the dance music came from anime (Japanese cartoons) and the dances were... well... not at all like American dances. They included chants and hand motions to make designs and to affect the audience.

But the sports festival doesn't just have these dances. There are relay races and cheering contests, and etc. Besides the dance, I only participated in the relay races (peer pressure from my classmates) because I was the fastest girl in my class.

Each event is judged and the team that wins, is rewarded with melon pan (yum!).

My team's banner

White team during one of their dances, they won.

1 comment:

  1. Holly: I can see you in the first photo! You look great! Thank you for these detailed insights about your cultural activities, and your pictures are so exciting as well.