Thursday, September 20, 2012

Branden and Noah’s first ever undokai together! Undokai 2012


Last Saturday, September 15, 2012, was our family's first ever joint undokai for both Branden and Noah! And it was awesome! Glad to get both of their undokai's out of the way in one fell swoop. One obento to prepare (not counting the town undokai of course) it was just a really really nice sport's day.  The weather was cloudy and overcast for most of the day. During lunch it started to rain for about 10 minutes but just sprinkles not downpour and then it stopped and didn't return. : ) So all things considering it was easy and fun for both the boys! And us. In this pic is the entire school population in this pic. Our school has 6 grades total of course 1st to grade 6.....however 4 of the 6 grades are with about 20 kids and 2 classes. So 4 of our schools grades has 40 kids but divided in 2 classes (of course some classes have 15, and some 18 kids but 20 is the average per class). So that's 160 kids for four of the grades and then the other 2 grades ichinensei and 3rd grade have only 1 class each. So give or take we have a school population of about 200 kids. So while it's certainly not the biggest population of kids in a shogakko in Japan, the bigger city schools have like 600-650 easy. It does have a fair amount of kids. But really 200 is not so much. We could probably end our undokai around lunch time, but our school is absolutely crazy about undokai menaing we really look forward to it around here all year long... and they stretch it out as long as possible so that's why our undokai lasts until about 3pm! It is a full full day. Amazingly enough our tiny town and I mean population of under 5,000. Has actually 1 other shogakko. It's on the opposite side of town which is funny since our town is so small. And I think their school population for all grades is like 30-35 kids for all grades (like 5 kids as first graders one year, 3 kids for another grade and so on, their school is super small), I'm seriously not joking about their tiny school population. lol.  And both shogakko's will merge into the same junior high in our town. 
Team red and their running lap before starting undokai, starting with smallest/youngest first! Here comes Noah!

I see you Noah!
Yay Noah!
Okay so team red and team white are separated and are about to cheer and scream for their team!
The ichinensei's got their race over with first. Noah was running on the far right lane. He came in 2nd place. The race is below.
Noah missing his 2 front teeth..... and 2 kids behind Noah is Sera. You know, last year these kids didn't really know each other. And only Noah knew Sera and vice versa. But this year, they've all blended into class. Everyone gets along. Noah has a ton of friends and during recess he goes out and plays soccer with his friends. And now they are all wearing the same uniform! What a difference a year makes right? ; ) I am starting to know the mom's in Noah's class. There are quite a few new friendships there for me, which is exciting. Including my great new friend Adele. And also there is a mom with twin boys in Noah's class, she's really nice too. I'm forming my set of friends with the mom's already. And wow....every thing's come together really nicely. Again, I hope it doesn't sound too corny but honestly it's true....what a difference a year makes!
Here's Branden doing one of his events.
Branden is not fast on land *but* he's really fast in the water. But you know, I love him regardless. : ) Noah on the other hand is fast in water and land. Where in the world does he get that from? Ha ha ha.
Well the bright side is, he came in 5th... he didn't come in 6th and also the bright side is he had a good time! : )
Noah about to run yet again. But this was not really a race but a rock, paper scissors game at the end.
Not sure if you can see that lady in the pink cardigan pointing away at Noah. Every time Noah had to be near that side of the field she'd be all pointing away all day.  Lucky for us, the people who have older kids or who have gone to this school for a few years know us and boy is that a relief. But you can always tell the new ones also or who are trying to get used to Noah.... the hafu... very western looking hafu kid being a new student there. There she was pointing away and a few others were also pointing away at Noah throughout the day and of course I had a few grandparents pointing at me and waving or smiling, lol. @_@ But yep, there was that lady pointing away with excitement or I don't know what...... Look hafu child about to run! And yeah.... you can see a few points here and there and the stares while he was doing his dance routine also, poor Noah.: ( I however have the good sense to know in a year everyone will be totally used to Noah, thank goodness. But for now the many points here and there we just sort of ignore them for the most part. Besides they soon figure out, the papa (Noboru) is in the Father's Club and they do carry some weight that club. And the mama (me) is quite involved at the school, so they soon get over the whole "omg your mother is an American" or the "omg you're half western thing" @_@ and just leave us be and treat us normally. So I know they'll adjust...they always do. : )   When Noah started yochien 60% knew us. but the 40% didn't and they were just gobsmacked every time they'd see Noah or I and yeah it died down after a while and everyone became normal around us and I was of course *very* involved at the yochien.

Obento 2012! Karaage, rice balls macaroni salad and potato salad and garden salad, hamburg, tamagoyaki, shumei, fresh grapes.
Chocolate cake for dessert.

Penny for your thoughts.
Right after lunch I had to get both boys ready for the musical performance they were about to do!
Noah wore sneaker socks for undokai but the note said for the kids to all wear plain white socks for the music performance and the picture showed socks a bit longer. So that's why Noah had to switch and I saw a few switched their socks as well. Sera did also.
And here's Branden during the performance.
I see Noah and Sera both wearing longer socks in this pic.
Noah's dance number is below. If you have ever seen Noah's yochien dances he has always been spot on. But the dance number last week he seemed to be a beat behind the rest. I am not sure if it was nerves since this was his first shogakko undokai or the heat since this was his first undokai outdoors ever. Or the pointing at him from folks that made him nervous or what but he was indeed a few steps off from his classmates.  But that's okay I love him to bits anyway.
They all got together the ichinensei at the end of the Mickey Mouse song and did jazz hands. Ha ha ha. : )
Noah about to do song #2.
Branden and the 5th graders.
The Father's Club about to have a tug of war with the 6th graders! This was also open to other father's too.
Noah about to compete in the tug of war rope pull against the white hats.
Grades 1-3 in the tug of war!
A very good action shot of Branden!
This part is funny! The father's club tries to always make the 6th graders last undokai at the elementary school very special. So the 6th graders this year pulled and tugged a huge piece of wood. Think tug of war but with a skinny long log. So they did their 2 times and the winning team was announced and that was it...or so they thought. This was decided since morning at the Father's club meeting a father would say over the intercom..."well white team congratulations but do you want to try beating us, you can bring team red to join you" Please come out to the field, we are..... waiting!!!!" And as the father's said this and how he said it was hilarious....  all the crowds and parents were erupting in laughter! People were clapping and cheering. laughing. And in walks the yellow shirts. Everyone knows who those yellow shirts are! And all the 6th graders march back into the field with huge grins and they were ready to end their final year at undokai on a high note! And we all clapped cheered and screamed our hearts out!
Noboru and the rest waiting...good luck 6th graders!!!!.
And when the gun was shot they went running full speed for the logs. And pull and yank as they did!
Pull, pull, pull.
That one 6th grade boy was holding on so hard, the Father's club won that log but he didn't want to give up! : )

Action shot.
One by one, they had more logs.
Noboru had a blast, Branden had a blast and Noah had so much fun at undokai! They all did!
Now that the undokai was over Noah immediately put his regular gym hat with the neck flap on.  And here he was playing with his friends and classmates. They line up by where you live. So everyone in his row lives in our housing community. Also, can you see the boy behind Noah he was the only one who brought his randoseru (Japanese school backpack) it says on the note every year bring your regular/street backpack not your randoseru but to be honest I didn't even notice. When us parents had to go over and get your child, she told him, "how come you didn't tell me you didn't need your randoseru today...nobody else has their randoseru! How embarrassing!" However it was okay....we all make mistakes plus she was all in good company.  Plus the bright side is they won't forget next year, right? : )  And she is a very nice mom and her son is always smiling and happy. And believe me... we all make mistakes like that. I know I have before 100 times over.... not with the randoseru on undokai... but I have made some unbelievable mistakes through the years.. ; ) So what did we all do....well, all of us, a handful of us.... standing within ears shot told her..."it's okay" In fact I didn't even notice, I said to her. And that gave her a chuckle. "Really" she said, "honest honest", I said back. Anyway just a cute little story about women helping and caring for other women even in little small teeny tiny ways...that may seem unimportant, but it really does matter and every bit helps. She felt so much better after we all chimed in like that! And that made me happy. 
Noah chit chattering away.
Hi Noah, ready for your shave ice? @_@ I know, I am. : )
200 yen each but you know they're huge, they are a once a year treat at this undokai. So, we always get them. Noah picked blue hawaii and peach, Branden picked grape and green apple.
I picked green apple and peach. Noboru had strawberry as usual. ; )
Our school always gives out "presents" every year after undokai. On the right is a notebook for Noah and 2 red/blue pencils. And Branden received a notebook and 1 red/blue pencil and 1 eraser. And there you have it, Branden and Noah's undokai 2012. : )