Hyuga’s Coordinator for International Relations (CIR), Cameron, has been doing a lot interesting programs in Hyuga. One of his events this year was a sports day which mixed Western and Japanese games. Sports Day is a very Japanese event and a traditional part of the Japanese school year, so it seemed like the perfect chance to introduce a little internationalism in a format that Japanese kids could easily understand.
Laura and I were the only foreign volunteers, other than Cameron himself, so we ended up being the team leaders. After choosing our team name, (The Red Phoenixes), the first event was a ball tossing game, called Otedama (I think), that I’ve only played once before. There is a net on a pole and the goal is to toss the beanbags/ balls that are spread around the pole on the floor into the net. You’re only supposed to throw one ball at a time, but the professional teams (there are professional teams) apparently grab a bunch of balls at once and chuck them at the net, hoping some go in. I tried to find a video of them, but had trouble tracking one down.
After that we did an obstacle course set up around the perimeter of the gym. Then it was time for some ultimate frisbee. The kids really loved this, once they figured out how to play. Ultimate frisbee is not really a sport here, which is kind of surprising considering how popular it could be.
Then we had a lunch break with bentos with 100% beef meatloaf. I was so excited as I normally can’t have hamburgers, or the like, here because the mince is normally a mix of beef and pork.
After lunch we played charades. Then it was time to go home. I think the kids all had a good time, so hopefully there will be an even bigger turnout for next year.