October in Japan is a month blessed with many pleasant, sunny days, following the end of the oppressive summer heat. It is at this time that many elementary and lower secondary schools hold undo-kai or athletic festivals. Undo-kai features a number of athletic competitions and performances. Footraces by individual runners, relay races where different classes compete, tug-of-war contests, three-legend races, team gymnastics, and dances are just a few of the possible events. Many parents attend undo-kai as well, often to cheer on their children. Thus, on the day of the event, the whole school is filled with a lively and festive atmosphere. For many children, part of the fun is having a band-cooked lunch outdoors with their parents and friends. Capturing images of their children on camera is a must for many parents, who arrive early to stake out the best chasing after their children. The word undo-kai comes from undo (“exercise”) and kai (“meeting”), and perhaps the camera-wielding parents are the ones who get the most exercise at undo-kai.
Updated: 26 September, 2018