Yesterday my was son’s first sports festival at his new school. I didn’t know quite what to expect, or rather I didn’t expect the right thing. I thought it would be like the sports festival at the deaf school where there were tents set up for spectators as well as students. I was wrong. We arrived later than everyone else to find that families had set up folding tables with parasols all around the field (dirt lot, rather), as if at a barbecue. All I’d brought were a couple of “sheets,” squares of plastic, to lay on the dirt. My sister-in-law showed up with a couple more sheets, but we didn’t have anything to shield ourselves from the sun.

My son arrived at school a couple of hours before the event began. I guess they had to do some last minute setting up because of the typhoon the day before. At any rate, when I arrived, he was sitting alone under the students’ tent with a shippu (What do you call those things in English???) on his neck. Apparently he’d pulled a muscle and it hurt to run.

Although the teachers managed to convince Jio to participate in the relay and the pom pom dance, he sat out on a couple of other events. He was pretty miserable the whole time.

Meanwhile, Lilia wound up playing with the only other disabled kid at the gathering, a little boy with a stub where his left hand would have been. I was happy to discover that there was another disabled sibling.


4 thoughts on “Undokai

  1. My son’s undo-kai (he’s also in grade one) was just one in a series of disappointments that I’ve experienced since he entered elementary school. I don’t even want to go back next year. I really miss the kindergarten — its undo-kai was great fun (as was the whole system).

  2. Poor Jio. Again, I find these cultural realities just incredible. At least I know what to show up with at various events. Do you ever feel in the “know”?

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