For what I am certain will not be the last time, my over enthusiasm caused Mina an embarrassment today. It was her very first sports festival, an autumn ritual for all Japanese school children, and I caused a false start in her first ever race. She was standing on the starting line, cute as ever, I cheered her on “Go! Mina, Go!” and she went. Too bad the starting whistle had not yet been blown. Why did she have to choose that moment in time to finally start listening to me and following directions?!?!?! No, it was all my fault and next year I will keep my big mouth shut. She did not listen to me however, when I called after her, “WAIT!! STOP!!!” She kept on like a thoroughbred all the way to the white tape and took first place in a race against herself. Then they sat her down with the other kids who had already raced and did not let her go back to race against her friends. I was almost in tears I felt so badly, but she was fine and it did not end up spoiling the day. Her grandfather congratulated her on her first place win and there were other events that she enjoyed more, such as the dance she did to the Totoro theme song with her class mates and the race she participated in with her dad as her partner. The morning culminated in a dance routine in which all of the students participated. Now, I had thought that the song was called “Chiki Chiki Boom,” at least that is what it sounded like the other mothers were calling it. When the music started I was relieved to hear the familiar notes of the “Tiki Tiki Room” song. Whew! “Chiki Chiki Boom” sounded a little risqué for pre-school children! So, as always in Japan, I live and learn. Perhaps by the time she graduates I will have it all figured out.