Monday, December 16, 2013

Elementary school marathon 2013

December 7th, 2013, Saturday was our school's marathon. In Japan, many schools have a marathon around this time of year. Because they had school on a Saturday, they would be off school on that Monday. The weather that Saturday morning? Really really cold! It started around 9am, I was there since around 8:20am and saw the kids walk from the school to the big rice field area. The kids would be running laps around a massive rice field. The older grades had to run it twice, but the younger ones had to run around it once. Once was pretty far. Hahaha. : ) Here are the kids in this picture walking in the distance towards the meeting spot. 

First graders being escorted by the 6th graders. Hi Branden. : )

The 2nd graders and their teacher, hi Noah!

All the kids hung out near the river bed until it was their turn. After they ran, they could stand near the finish line.

By the way, it was thought that it was unfair, that the 1st graders last year, ran with the 2nd graders. That was what I was thinking last year, and so were so many of us. @.@ But anyway glad it was changed. So the 1st graders ran first alone. And while they ran, the 2nd graders went to the restroom, also they took off their sweatshirts and sweatpants and got used to the freezing cold air, in just their shorts and short sleeve top. They stretched a bit with their teacher also. 

The teacher in plaid, but the rest were parents clicking and taking pictures. I was also taking pictures.

Not to worry kiddo, do your best and have fun! That's all we could ever ask for. : )
The principal gave the ninensei a good pep talk. 

You could hear in the distance, the 1st graders race was finished, so you knew they'd be blowing their whistles and the 2nd graders would begin shortly.

On your mark...get set...they all got in position. And the whistle blew and off they went!!!

That's #1 and #2 right here and yes that is Noah coming in 3rd.

All those girls on the sidelines looking on..."wow is Noah fast", you could, hear people in the crowd, say, "Noah-kun hayai"

I am so proud of you Noah! And look at that happy face, you had a good time and that's what counts!

And what were a handful of the younger siblings doing during the marathon? Playing in yet another massive field of course.

One girl brought her bear and would toss him up... way high and let him fall in the field. The others would  pick up debris and toss it at each other. Think along the lines of snowball fight, minus the snow and with field debris instead. Oh they ran and rolled... all over that field. Watching the fun they had, made me smile. They had a good, old time back there. : )

The marathon now long over for Noah, so their class got to sit along the sidelines watching the other grades run theirs. They also got to put their gym pants and sweatshirts and coats back on. : ) Noah and Lily, in deep conversation. They get along so well. She lives in our same housing community, she has 1 younger sibling. I think a sister, but don't quote me on that. : ) But I tell ya, Noah and Lily can talk for days. Talk,talk,talk talk,talk. ; ) She thinks he's just the bees knees and likewise, the feelings pretty mutual. Noah said she came in 4th with her running, for the girls. He was very proud of her and she was very proud of him. : )

Branden really dislikes running the marathon. He can play soccer for hours. Swims for 2 hours twice a week, so 4 hours and like continuous back and forth many many laps. Represented our school in the swim team.  But running? Meh, he's not crazy about it. I don't really blame him, because I like walking just like Branden does, but running, I'd prefer not. It's also important to note, 3 from his class said weeks in advance they would not be showing up for the marathon. And sure enough true to their word, they all came down with fevers that day. Branden really would have wished to not show up either. But, Noboru told him, in life there are many things you're not going to want to do, but they still have to get done. So, doesn't matter what number you finish, the important thing is, you showed up and you finished it, and you showed up all 6 years. I think Branden came in 22nd out of 42, so not terribly bad at all (the 5th and 6th grade boys ran together). This pic is of Branden running his 1st lap, he had to run 2 massive laps. I knew how Branden felt.... so as he ran passed me, I said.."you can do it Branden, I'm proud of you"

Branden's 2nd lap. And you can see Noah in his orange coat along the sidelines, he was screaming and cheering for Branden, "go Branden go!!!" Noah had his friends shouting "ganbatte" for his brother. : )

I know you hate this marathon stuff Branden and I don't blame you kiddo, but I am so super proud.... you did it! And I think that's pretty right on!

And now it was over! All grades raced and I got to go home for about 40 minutes.  Which basically means run home, go pee, eat a fast lunch and rush back to the school. This was a full day at school, Saturday, the day of the marathon. 

First and 2nd graders getting ready to get their medals. All grades if you get 1-3rd place, you get a medal. 

The rest of the school looking on. 

Noah getting his medal and paper award.  

Second grade marathon day class picture, will probably be on the wall next month or so. Top fastest 3 boys and their medals and top fastest 3 girls and their medals. The whole class is now ready for some fun! Some soup and obento while sitting outside enjoying some of their day.

Now it's time for you all to get out your obentos and also have some homemade soup the Father's Club made. This is a very fun and exciting day for everyone. They can all go and eat outside. Not a whole bunch of classes going on, just a few classes though still happening.
Now that the marathon is over, now it's time to unwind. Everyone had to bring, a lunch, a leisure sheet (sheet to sit on), thermos and a bowl and chopsticks. Noah having an absolutely wonderful time. 

Noah was having such a wonderful time because he was sitting with his best friend Naoki-kun. Sitting under the sunshine. It was still cold outside, but at least the sun was shining. 

Branden and Genki in the Adidas sweatshirt, and 2 friends, they were just chilling and having a blast outside. We really want the kids to enjoy their marathon, win or lose. 

Tonjiru, this is the soup the Father's Club made, it had, pork, daikon, carrot, potato and other stuff.
This was not an observation day, however the 2nd grader parents were asked to show up the last class to observe their math class. They are knee deep in multiplication table learning right now. This was Noah's artwork on the outside of the class hanging. Everyone picked a book and recreated a page of the artwork in whatever book they chose. Noah chose, "treasure of crocodile grandpa" horrible translation sorry. : ) 

This says, we caught many zarigani!!! Our school has many classes held outside in nature. Since we live in the inaka (countryside) they brought a note home a few months ago, saying, please show up, with rain boots, clothes you can get dirty in, and a net and a bucket, and homemade fishing pole, it had to be homemade. I blogged a pic of Noah's homemade fishing pole months ago. Anyway they went off, walking down with their teacher and a helper teacher, what do zarigani eat? Where do they live? They spent 2 class periods outside, 1 class period walking the countryside collecting crawfish/zarigani and then walking back to the school. They watched them, journaled their zarigani activities, did they eat today, etc and a week later they returned the zarigani back into nature. 

This excursion they went to go and walk to a nashi/pear farm and went picking nashi and got to speak with the nashi farm owner (someone's grandparents farm in the class) and they each brought a small bag of nashi home with them, they also got to eat nashi/pear at the farm that day. : ) Our school is really big on getting life experience, cooking or going fishing, picking nashi/pears. Learning to sew, planting rice, each class has their own veggies they grow. Noah's class has 2 pet turtles, the teacher brings them to her house on the weekends. Branden's class has fish. 

All of their 2nd grader excursions or field trips or even mini field trips are on the wall in the pictures above the artwork. And their artwork is pictured. 
Math class. The way they learn their time tables here is amazing. They can say them super fast, they are all memorized. Each child went up in front of the class and went 1-9, with such speed. I really enjoyed watching Noah's class. Now school was officially over with, however we also had class meetings, all grades after school that Saturday. I usually divide my meetings time-wise between the 2 grades, Noah's class and Branden's. But, I had to be at Branden's meeting the whole time this time, because we were to be talking about graduations stuff, yearbook stuff and junior high uniforms. So Branden's meeting was really important, something I had to hear from beginning to end this time. 

Outside Branden's class. Branden's artwork was not there because it had won an award and was being displayed at the plaza. Branden is seriously very talented with his artwork and drawing and painting. 

Two from the class were picked, Branden's and Saya's. That is his teacher in the corner of this pic, putting out pamphlets what the meeting would be about for that day. I grabbed my copy and went and sat down. 

See these white name plates each table has? On one side it has your child's name on it, so basically you will sit on your child's seat. And Branden's teacher likes for the class to write special messages each time, to their parent each meeting. So, I always get a new and different message from Branden each meeting, I attend. lol. So do the other mothers too. 

This is the note Branden left for me. I didn't correct it at all, that's just what he wrote, exactly word for word, as is. I did write him a small note, a reply and placed it in his yellow tray in English...My note just said, "thank you for the awesome note, loved it!!! Also, please keep your tray a bit neater kiddo, love mom" lol : )  The 2 mom's behind me said, Branden- kun, always writes your notes in English, that is so cool, however we are always wondering what his notes say. I just chuckled and said probably same stuff yours says. : ) And we all laughed. : )  The teacher said she would like all of us 6th grade mom's to be at the school December 17th so we can also confirm when the tailor, takes measurements for their junior high school uniforms. She also said all pictures need to be turned in December 20th, last day of school for the yearbook. Branden and Noah were waiting in the school library for me while I was in the meeting. So many notes to write down for the meeting, dates and little things I can't forget. Branden's class is on the 3rd floor, then I went to the 2nd floor and picked up the boys, from the library, then I went to the first floor and went to Noah's class, the meeting was over... but manner-wise, I bowed and apologized to Noah's teacher for not being able to be at the meeting, I told her Branden is about to graduate in March and so many last minute details we needed to discuss today, she said she totally understood. I did collect the pamphlet from Noah's meeting and we headed home. OMG! What a long day. I was up since 5:45am, making 2 obentos/lunches and breakfast, on the go all day long, we 4 all went to Saizeriya (cheap but good Italian restaurant chain here in Japan) for supper that night. We were all tired and needed a break. : ) 
Noah's medals, the one on the left is from the 1st grade and the new one, he got this year is on the right.  Awww. : )  Anyway that was how our family spent December 7th. It was marathon day over here. : )