The Undokai Experience



Dear colleagues at IMS and JIPT,


As Sports Day Approaches This Upcoming Monday, October 10 Th , I Thought It Would Be A Great Idea To Share My Second Undokai (School Sports Day) Experience Two Weeks Ago While I Was Visiting My Family In Kobe, Japan. You May Already Know, but I have two younger cousins who are Japanese and Colombian mix living in Kobe. One of my cousins is a boy in junior high school, and his younger sister is in 4th grade. I enjoy spending time with both of them, and I do my . Best To Visit Them Frequently Last Month, I Was Invited To My Girl Cousin’S Elementary School To Spend An Entire Saturday Celebrating Undokai ; And So The Story Begins.



My day began with my alarm going off at 5:30 AM in order to arrive at the school’s gates at 6:00 AM so that my family could get prime seating at the event. Thankfully, whilst the day was not hot it was indeed quite .. windy The waiting time outside the gates went by remarkably fast as I chatted with other parents in line When the gates at the elementary school opened, I quickly ran to get a spot for my family in the grass; very much like a picnic, . my family would have lunch in this spot From the beginning, I was pleasantly surprised with the level of organization that the school had -! they seemed to think of everything Both parents and children were helping in the setting up process, doing tasks such as directing guests and organizing tables and chairs where the families could watch the day’s events.


The competition got underway just after 8:30 AM with a brief introduction; “! Good Morning” after that, the entire student body, in a flurry of enthusiasm, bowed and all shouted out a loud This is when I realized just how much this event means for these kids;. they were so intent on bringing home the prize, not only for themselves, but for their teammates as well The teams that got first, second, and third place the year prior must surrender their shield which symbolizes their triumph , similar to trophy. The racing events, that were divided up by grade level, started soon after. I, along with everyone else watching from the sidelines, watched closely to keep track of how each grade level did in each race. To keep the games fair they are divided not only on grade level, but gender; additionally, the events focus not only on physical games, but also mental competitions to give the less athletic children a chance to shine.


The Program Then Moved On As My Family Gathered Together For Lunch, My Cousin Joining Us In The Grass. Like Most Families, We Brought Our Own Bento And Ate Our Meals With The Children Who Were Participating. It Seemed Like Every Part Of The Event Was not only entertaining, but heart touchingly special as it brings the family together to share in such close bonding moments. One thing that I found to be quite entertaining was the song and dance performances which were set to foreign songs. Secondly, I found it sweet and supportive that many of the kid’s parents were present at the event. This was in stark contrast to my western upbringing where events like this are not very popular, especially on a Saturday. My favorite events of the day included the races, the hat snatching game that was quite humorous to watch, the pyramid stands that reached surprising heights, and the kindergartener relay race in which some of the youngest ones got emotional. This was one of my favorite experiences in Japan, and it could not have been possible without my family. All the children did their very best, and at the end they all smiled as they were all winners.


Undoki Showed Me A Great Side Of The Japanese Culture, Reminding Me Of The Work Environment At IMS. It Is Like I Am Part Of One Big Family Who Do Their Best To Help Each Other Reach Higher And Achieve Anything We Put Our Minds To In Order .! for all of us to win Finally, I can not help but to brag that my younger cousin`s team got third place in the overall competition My fellow colleagues, I really appreciate everyone’s time and support while interning here; it really makes me feel like I am part of this corporation who are just a big family.




Stiven Vargas