Being active is a huge part of Japanese culture (the life expectancy in Japan is 84!!) and there is evidence of this found at the very core of Japanese society : education. Just like every other high school in Japan, my school hosts an annual "sports festival" every fall that is an all day, 15+ event, full student body participation kind of a day. Sports festivals have been going on for many many years in Japan, which is why I felt the need to put some vintage edits over these photos. There is something so classic about the blue, red and white headbands all the kids wear which inspired me to keep things simple and old school.
Everyone gathered at 9am sharp to being the festivities.
First order of business: a pep talk from the principal.
second order of business: proper stretching by all 900 students.
A fan favorite...the boys spray water in the girls faces before they have to dig in a bowl of some powder (chocolate, soy bean powder, flour, or green seaweed) in search for a piece of candy!
A massive tug-o-war.
mid-day break to watch the brass band perform.
Ending the day getting in very organized lines.
I took a lot more photos of the day, but I think i'll leave it here with these few. The thing that always impresses me the most about this event is the organization that goes into it. Every teacher is given a 20 page packet of the days events, laying out each race and each student running in it. The senior sports students help facilitate the whole event; marking the relay lanes, lining kids up, being referees, keeping time and MCing everything. At the end of it all, students are given awards for certain events, and the team that wins the most point collectively gets a trophy and cartons of orange juice. An event like this reminds me of what a unique country Japan is, and how certain traits are embedded into every single Japanese child growing up, whether they like it or not. It's a system that works here in this nation, and one so vastly different from the one I grew up in. It's fascinating for me to witness all of this from the ground level and I am grateful for all the tiny, authentic moments I get to capture on camera!