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Sapporo Soka Kindergarten
February 3, 2012

Mamemaki (bean-throwing) athletic competition held outside in the snow

February 3 is known as “Setsubun” in Japan, and is traditionally considered to be the day that precedes the beginning of spring. To celebrate the occasion, the Sapporo Soka Kindergarten held a special “mamemaki” athletic competition at Nakayoshi Ground. Although the ground was still covered in snow, the beautiful sunny weather help to set a festive tone for the event.
The cold temperatures did little to dim the enthusiasm of the children of the sun when they headed outdoors. The children assembled at Nakayoshi Ground, where they were joined by red and blue demons representing the parents of “Nio-kun”, the child demon featured in the children’s story books. Once everyone was ready, the event got under way. Cheered on by the red and blue demons, the children took part in the “Children of the Sun Gymnastics”, followed by the “tama-ire” (ball in the basket) match and sled relay race. The children had a great time and poured all of their effort into each activity.
At the end of the competition the principal delivered a few closing remarks, after which the demons served hot chocolate to the children of the sun in the nursery room. The children were all smiles as they enjoyed their delicious hot chocolate following a day of playing hard outside in the snow. Along with the hot chocolate, the children were also given “beans”, one for each year of their age, to help drive the cowardly demons out of their minds. The strong, brave, and friendly disposition of the children of the sun ensured that the day was a resounding success.
The results of the athletic events are as follows:

Senior class tama-ire
1st: Sakura (cherry blossom) Class -34 balls
2nd: Sumire (violet) Class -31 balls
3rd: Himawari (sunflower) Class -27 balls
4th: Suzuran (lily of the valley) Class -22 balls

Junior class tama-ire
1st: Sora (sky) Class -17 balls
2nd: Yuki (snow) Class -15 balls
3rd: Hoshi (star) Class -8 balls
3rd: Bara (rose) Class -8 balls

Sled relay race (boys)
1st: Sakura and Hoshi Class Team
2nd: Suzuran and Sora Class Team
3rd: Himawari and Yuki Class Team
4th: Sumire and Bara Class Team

Sled relay race (girls)
1st: Suzuran and Sora Class Team
2nd: Sakura and Hoshi Class Team
3rd: Himawari and Sumire Class Team
4th: Sumire and Bara Class Team

Blue father demons and red mother demons make their appearance

Rehearsing the “Children of the Sun Gymnastics” together with the demons

Enjoying tame-ire in front of the cheering demons

Junior class students riding the sled during the sled relay race