Traditions

Undokai

Undokai is a nationwide Japanese school event that is also known as Sports Day or Sports Festival.   I would venture a guess to say that every school in Japan has an undokai.  And in fact, our Japanese school back home, Orange Coast Gakuen in Huntington Beach, had their own undokai too.  At OIS, undokai was originally slated for Saturday, October 8, but fears of rain postponed it to Monday, October 10.  This is noteworthy because October 10th is actually the national holiday known as Health and Sports Day.  This date in history commemorates the opening ceremony for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, the first time that Japan ever hosted the Olympics.  Everyone has this day off!  Except us because we…

Shoe Rules

In Japan, when you arrive at just about any house, apartment, some businesses, some schools, some restaurants and on and on… you will step into an area called the genkan.  The genkan is the entryway of a structure where you will take off your shoes and leave them before moving further into the house, building or wherever it is that you have arrived.  When it is required, taking your shoes off in the genkan is a pretty strict rule. Here is an explanation of genkan from Wikipedia: –The primary function of genkan is for the removal of shoes before entering the main part of the house or building. Genkan are often recessed into the floor, to contain any dirt that…

Rice Everywhere!

Update:  the photo above shows a rice harvesting machine cutting down the rice plants.  Later a woman was stuffing the stalks into the machine and I think it was separating the grains from the stalk.  (October 14) I’ve been thinking about this rice post for a few weeks.  So I’m going to start it now, Tuesday, September 27, and see where it goes.  There are rice paddies all around us.  I thought that rice was grown in large, rural fields over acres with lots of water flooding the plain.  Stalks of rice plants for miles and miles.  Well, here in Minoh there are rice paddies tucked in between houses, in between stores, by the gas station, next to restaurants, just…