On 6 June I joined my friend, Hiroko, to the Japan International School in Amsterdam, to see a sport competition day for Japanese elementary school children in the Netherlands. There were about six hundred students participated in different kind of games. First of all, I was amazed that so many Japanese children in the Netherlands. I was told that before the economic crisis there were even more.

As expected, all programs were tightly scheduled and run on-time. Most people sit quietly and behaved nicely. It was so touching to see a group of 5 or 6 years old children took part in the sprint. There was also a game for two groups each consist of about 20 children. Each group had to go around with a long stick and at the end each child had to jump on top of it. This game only worked if the cooperation was very strong and everyone participated. Very good exercise for a team work.

The highlight was a group of sumo players with their kimono. Everyone clapped when they entered the yard. Apparently the sumo players stayed for a while in the Netherlands to join a commemoration of 400 years trade relationship between Holland and Japan. The visit to the school was only for about 30 minutes but they were generous to join one of the sprint run competition and distributed sweets to small children.

It was also nice to see that many decorations use the colour of the Dutch flag : red, white and blue. The spirit of multicultural society was hanging in the air.

Then came the lunch break. I joined Hiroko and two other families. They have prepared not only delicious Japanese lunch but they looked fabulous, too. Artistic value of the food was so apparent. I brough some Indonesian lumpia and the boys liked it so much. We all like something different, don't we? Other families had picnic lunch, too, quietly and dicipline. After the lunch, no single plastic, tissue or paper on the yard, simply clean.

I always like the Japaneses since I cooperated with them several years ago and then was invited to visit Japan. I know that what I see on the surface is only a tip of an iceberg but at least that tip is always smiling, kind, friendly and they all have delicate manner with each others.


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