Welcome again to JJNN for Wednesday August 27th, 2008. Today we will be taking about more games played in Japanese schools.
I was planning on doing a report on a new MMORPG (Massive Multi-player Online Role Playing Game) called Lucent Heart but it is impossible to actually enter the game because of all the people that pounced on the game when it started. I guess I can't really complain because it is a free role playing game. There are a lot of people that loved the other games put out by the same company so I guess I should have known I would not have been able to play on the first night. If I get a chance to play LH before next week I will give a report on that next week.
Instead of LH I want to talk about more games played in Japanese elementary schools. Last time I talked about dodge ball so this time I guess I will go for the other classic game. Well, not really game but set of games. The dreaded TAG! (start the dramatic music).
I think we have all played tag at least once in our lives. It is the classic "run away from someone" game. Tag in Japan is exactly like that as well. The terminology is a little different though. Instead of saying "it" to point to the person that everyone is running away from they say "oni." Oni actually means demon. I guess that makes sense, I know i would run away from a demon.
Did any of you have an special rules for the way that you played tag? Or, did you have any special tag like games? In Japan there are so many different types of tag. It is sometimes hard to keep up when the kids run up to you and ask you to play tag. You have to ask them what type of tag and if there are any special rules. After all that I am made to be the oni nine times out of ten. Bah
Any way a couple of the popular tag games that we play at my schools include the Japanese versions of freeze tag and a game the kids call "Tasuke Oni." Freeze tag is just like in America where if a person gets tagged they can't movie. They can move again if someone else that is not it goes under their legs and "unfreezes them." Tasuke oni is sort of like freeze tag, but instead of a person freezing they have to go to jail. All the people that are in jail can link hands if any other person touches them they can all leave jail. This is a great game if you are not it. If you are it you have to spend all your time running.
Below is a picture of tasuke oni. I think it will only make things more confusing, but it might help some of you out there so I am going to put it in the post.
There are a lot of other types of tag that they play at my schools as well. One that comes to mind right off is called "maru dashi." The game starts off with the person that is it standing in the gym outside any of the circles that are painted on the floor. When I say circles on the gym floor I am talking about the ones that are their for basketball and other games like that. All the other students pile into the circles, which are safe zones. If a kid gets tagged outside the circle or pulled outside of the circle they also become it. I don' like this game because it almost always leads to crying kids rubbing their hurting shoulders.
Any way, it is now time for the word of the day. Today's word is 鬼(おに). It is pronounced oni and means it or demon. The name for tag in Japanese is oni-gokko which means to act like a demon. A funny name for a kids game when you really think about it.
That's it for today. See you next time at JJNN.