When I returned to school after the summer break (way back in September ’16, with the worst of the summer heat abated, thank goodness), I found that my number of lessons had been cut in half at what was normally my busiest school. It turned out that this was to make time for the sports day preparations. As one of the biggest events of the school year, a huge amount of effort goes into making the day memorable, which means hours and hours of practice – not just for the events, but for the opening ceremony.
I’ll just say, based on the rehearsals I was able to watch at MS2, I can’t wait to see what the organisers pull out of the bag for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics opening and closing ceremonies, because damn.
I got pretty emotional just watching the sixth grade rehearsals (okay, yes I get emotional at things like this very easily), it was so poignant and beautiful. To give you an idea of the feeling, these are the songs they danced to in order.
One Summer’s Day – Joe Hisaishi (Spirited Away soundtrack)
This started with all the kids running from the corners of the sports ground into their places, and it was so quiet all you could hear were their bare feet hitting the ground.
Hero – Amuro Namie
This involved a lot of complicated and amazing balancing acts that I am almost certain would not be allowed in the U.K. because of Supreme Overlord Killjoy, Health & Safety.
Minna ga Minna Eiyuu – Yuna Shirayuki
This is the song that got me – it still gives me goosebumps. The kids danced with red, blue, yellow and green flags, in four blocks. It’s really hard to put into words how emotive it was. Just like at the beginning, everything was silent apart from the snapping of the flag material as they all moved in sync or in canon.
The funny thing is the song is actually from a commercial for AU – a Japanese phone company…
Near the end of the school year, at the goodbye ceremony for the sixth graders at MS2, a couple of the younger years performed the same dances for them.
Safe to say I wasn’t the only one crying that time.