The 35th Sports Day (2014) held in Zamami Village was a great success. The event took place on a hot, sunny, and clear October 25th at the elementary-middle school on Aka Island. For those who attended the entire event, it provided to be a long but entertaining day of festivities from 9:00 until 14:30.
The event began with the would-be athletes of the day marching around the track. Competitors were grouped by community. The five sub-villages comprising the larger Zamami Village included Geruma (blue), Aka (red), Zamami (yellow), Asa (orange), and Ama (green). While sports day events in other parts of Japan are often reserved primarily for elementary and middle school students, Zamami Village extends the activities to all of its communities members, adding an extra degree of hilarity to the competitions taking place throughout the day.
Running races (relays in particular) dominated a majority of the Zamami sports day schedule. During the five and a half hours, teams of both kids and adults ran relays of various lengths including 400, 800, 1000 meters to list a few. The local assistant English teacher, Michael, won the 5k. Even spectators were given a chance to participate through games interspersed throughout the relay races.
The eisa dance performance by the Geruma elementary and middle school students was likely the highlight of the day for any tourists in attendance. After performing to two songs, the students called for spectators to join them on the field for a final dance. Following the eisa, everyone in attendance listened carefully as event coordinators raffled off free prizes ranging from new bicycles and kitchen appliances to ferry tickets and body soap.
Sports Day 2014 came to a close with a riveting tug-of-war competition between the three islands of Zamami Village: Aka, Geruma, and Zamami (including Asa and Ama). In the first round, Zamami was able to out pull Aka’s competitors after a long and tiring bout. The second round, featuring Aka and Geruma, was a swift Geruma blue victory against the red Aka. After winning a quick round of rock-paper-scissors, Geruma’s representative chose to remain on the same side of the rope, and the Zamami team lined up along Western half of the rope. With bang from the starting gun, the battle commenced. For a while, it seemed like team Zamami would pull out a victory, but in the last few moments of the grueling battle, Geruma came out on top.