I'd started to get the suspicion a while ago that they were taking the jumping rope far too seriously, even for Japan's perfectionist standards. There had to be a competition or something - would we challenge another school on their jumping abilities? As it turned out, today we had an inner-school contest, but it was still pretty awesome. All more-than-700 of them - I'm never going to stop being impressed by that number - spread out in lines. An entire class of thirty students on one rope, two by two with the girls facing one end, the boys the other. Two unfortunate students chosen for their stamina and arm-length to turn the rope and yell "Se~no!" (Ready, Go!) They had a certain period of time - maybe half an hour? I wasn't counting - and the highest number they got in that time was their record. I was a bit concerned at first for the first years, since they haven't been practicing for as long, but the competition were inside each year. The first year class that won got twenty-something jumps, and the third year class had 49!
Here's a meme for you - if there's anything you want to see in my apartment or around town, comment and I'll take a picture and post it. Unfortunately the company forbids pictures of the school and kids, but anything else is fair game. I'm also juggling with the idea of doing the occasional video-blog, which is just like these except with me on camera. Talking. Because I know how much you need to see my lovely face. Only I'd only do it if I had something good to say. Thoughts? "No, Emily, don't do it! Think of the children!"?
Since I can't show you my school, here are some videos other people took of theirs, which gives you pretty much the same feel, albeit camped up a bit for the camera:
First kid: "Well, well well... Well, okay!" heh.
Note the huge sinks with faucets that turn upside down to double as drinking fountains. These are in every hall, so you don't have to go into a bathroom to wash your hands. And the little slidey doors at foot level - who thought it was a good idea to give teenage boys their own slidey door to play with, I don't know...
The floor wiping, ha.
Kendo and Judo! So cool...