Fall In Japan: Part 1

Fall in Japan means three things for an English teacher: 1) School Festival, 2) Speech Contests, and 3) Halloween.  First up, school festivals. 135th Akeno Middle School Festival

School Festivals are weekend-long events that every school holds sometime in September. On the first day, there is an art show of the students’ work, various music and dance performances, and each grade puts on  a play that they’ve written and produced themselves. The second day is dedicated to relay races, scavenger hunts and other sporty games played in the school yard.

The students plan and execute most of the festival by themselves; it’s amazing how responsible they are. They I can’t really imagine American students pulling together to put on a production like this, or American parents and teachers even letting them try. A brief quote from Lao Tzu, Asia philosopher: “If you don’t trust people, you make them untrustworthy.” Just something to think about.Art making Centipede Race2nd Years School Play





On the sports day of the festival, no one competes individually- every game is played in a team, and some of the races required extreme amounts of group cohesion and cooperation. There was a thirty-one-legged race, which is like the three-legged variety, except that the entire class participates as one team. The students line up side by side, and eveyone straps their legs to their neighbors’, meaning that most people have both legs tied, not just one. My third-year students ran this race at a sprint that an unbound person would be happy to keep up with. Equally impressive was the centipede race. It’s like the thirty-one-legged race, except the students line up in a straight line, and their legs are tied to the person in front of them and the person behind them. Here is a video of that race. The yelling is actually counting, so that everyone can keep the same rhythm move as a group.  P1000422



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