“The Sports Day” In Japan, the 10th of October is sports day
The Olympics were held in Tokyo on the 10th of October in 1964. At these games, Japan was particularly strong in volleyball, gymnastics, judo and wrestling, taking 16 golds, 5 silvers and 8 bronzes medals. The total number of medals taken was 29, putting Japan in 3rd place in the medal league after America and Russia. Since this event, the 10th of October has been celebrated by Japanese people as a holiday for the practice of sport.
Tokyo Olympics in 1964
Therefore, around the 10th of October on a Sunday, elementary schools across Japan hold sports days. The whole family and the neighbors will come to the school from the early morning to cheer on and support the children. Mothers bring packed lunches and rice balls that they have made the night before, with treats such as Japanese oranges, persimmon fruit, chestnuts, pears and grapes that are specialties of autumn.
Japanese autumn fruits
Traditionally, a tent is set up in the center of the ground and a edges of this track that the supporters sit round and cheer on the children with all energy while eating, drinking and having a good time
All the students are split into one of two teams, the red team or the white team and compete in a variety of events including a tug of war, on-the-shoulders jousting and a running bread-eating contest. Representatives are chosen from each class to compete in a relay. The class members and best friends of these representatives lose their voices cheering on the students in these races. The runners feel increasingly nervous as the race approaches and they truly appreciate the support of their friends. The nervous are at their worst when the runners make eye contact with their friends and relatives watching from their seats. For many children this is their fist experience of competition.
The children all try their very best, all the while slipping, falling and getting covered in grazes. After the events are finished, everyone heads for home. On the way, the winners of the races swagger and boast about their victories and those who lost make excuses to their friends. The conversations about the day that take place around the dinner table are lovely and fun for the whole family.
Sport Day’s Events
The following day is a day off for the children. Sports days are held for children from the age 3 or 4 in nursing schools, throughout elementary, junior high, high school and university. The liveliest events are believed to be those held at elementary schools as they are great for the children and the whole family.
All Japanese people have found memories of their sports days when they were children.
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