Field Days

Some people think sports days are just for kids, so the Shikoku JETs took it upon ourselves to prove them wrong.

Saturday morning, bright and early, we boarded a train for the depths of Tokushima, heading to our very own, grown-ups-only sports day.

We were picked up at the tiny station by some Tokushima JETs who took us to the big campground we had hired out. We ate a quick lunch, changed our clothes and headed for the giant field nearby on which we would spend the rest of the day dignity-less and free.

The weather was perfect, which made a nice change from the freezing conditions we have been experiencing recently!

We were randomly assigned teams by colour (I was in the nifty blue team) and given bandannas to wear, before the MC (if you will) of the day explained the first round of games.

There was paper, scissors, rock (but with running involved), a game in which you try to pull your opposing team’s member off a stool with a rope, and a human pyramid game which magically didn’t end in any broken bones. We managed to come out with one win, one loss and one draw (mostly thanks to well-timed whistle blows, I admit).

The second round of games included sumo wrestling (I beat a girl quite thoroughly), dragon’s tail (make a conga line dragon and try to pull the ‘tail’ off the other team’s dragon) and the game where you try to throw someone off balance without touching them. We were less excellent at this round, mostly because none of us could figure out how to play the dragon game without injuring team members.

The third and final round included a game like basketball, but on your knees and with tackling, stuffing the ball under your shirt, biting and wrestling allowed. We were excellent at that one. There was also capture the flag, which everyone was rubbish at, and the knot game which put us all a little too close together after a day of running around.

That was the end of the official events so we bummed a ride to the supermarket off an unsuspecting Australian and picked up food for dinner. And wine (was going to leave that out, but I knew Granny would see right through me).

We showered, put on warm clothes and all snuggled up by the barbeques to hear which spirit animals we had been assigned.

To explain; all the games had ‘spirit animals’ associated with them. Instead of having a winning team, winning certain games would push each team in the direction of certain spirit animals.

The blue team was deemed to be crafty and quick, so we were presented with stones with fox (きつね) written on them.

We had a big, noisy dinner that we cooked over a barbeque in the middle of our table, and talked with people from all over the island. I couldn’t believe there were so many cool people living so close to us that we’d never met!

The rest of the night was spent drinking wine and playing card games with new friends in the cabins that we had hired, before retiring to our tatami rooms and sleeping bags.

It was a slow one the next morning but we eventually all dragged ourselves off floor (like out of bed but different) and sat on the veranda in the sun with whatever coffee and food we had managed to procure.

We had somehow managed to trash our cabin, so we did a hefty clean up before begging rides and heading to the train station.

I think it freaked out the passangers on the train when fifteen dirty, slightly smelly and exhausted gaijin got on with pillows and sleeping bags, but since I slept most of the way back I wasn’t too worried.

Field day was a total blast; I love being a grown up cos it makes pretending to be a kid again so much more fun!

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