Note: I refer to my base school as my "middle school." It is actually a junior high school. Thank you for your attention.
Aaaand other things!
I went to a festival called Owara Kaze no Bon and saw some beautiful dancers doing traditional Japanese dance. I went with a woman named Noppi and her awesome family - two girls, a little boy, and then her husband and her mother. We had a great time watching the dances and eating festival food - like ice cream sandwiches (a little different from the American kind; it's like a rice breading around vanilla ice cream) and such. It rained a little bit and we thought we'd have to leave early, but the weather let up enough that everything turned out okay!
A shop window
Dancers in the street, outside a house that had paid them to dance.
Pink girls, blue guys. That hats are traditional to the dance and festival.
The people who had requested the dancers
Just a pretty Japanese house
I had also gone to a Kyudo (Japanese archery) competition in the same week, and saw some masters fling some arrows across the court. It was amazing to see them perform, and inspired me to work hard at Kyudo. In fact, I'll be leaving for practice in a few minutes - I go every Monday and Thursday to work on my form. Maybe someday I'll get the chance to shoot an arrow.
Players getting ready to shoot.
The scoreboard - circle means hit, x means miss.
The members board...
See the relatively simple letters amongst all of the complicated chinese characters? ヘイリー アルト, it says. That says, "Haley Alt." I was recently added to the members board. C: Seriously touched, I've been welcomed into the dojo from the beginning...I won't let you guys down!!
My teacher's amazing stance. He does a lot of competitions, and he's third in the country. IN THE COUNTRY.
Sports Day was a huge event, as I describe in the video above. The art was sublime, and the kids were all jazzed to be there. Because this is the internet I can't put up pictures that reveals anyone's identity, but I'll try to work around that so you can see some awesome Sports Day activities and decorations!
A beautiful morning for Sports Day.
The red phoenix (the kids did all of these posters themselves, I was so impressed. Keep in mind these things are HUGE - at least twelve feet tall and fifteen feet wide)
The blue dragon (HOLLAAAA)
The white tiger
The scoreboard, early on
The tents in the distance, where the groups would assemble beneath when they weren't in a race, or relay race, tug of war, dance or other event.
A Japanese drum for the event
Everyone heading off to begin the games
Teachers in the distance
It was a really great event. In the end, all the teams were given awards. The team that got second oddly received no awards. The girl in charge, a third year, began to cry, and then all of the girls were crying, and it turned into a spectacularly emotional event. Then the lead third-year boy from each team came together and sang (more like screamed, it was great) a song, arms around each other, and the girls came 'round and everyone congratulated one another on their efforts. It was spectacular to see.
That's all for now. Hope you enjoyed!