November 1997F Children's Play: Horse riding game

Mieko Nagano : Oita city, Japan

The yellow leaves of big gingko trees in the guardian deity shrine are scattering here and there. A lot of children come together to start a game "Horse Riding." All the children, elder or younger, "toss coins", or "Jan-ken", all together to decide the winner and the loser. The winners will be "riders" and the losers will become "horse."

We have played it limitlessly. It wasn't easy to jump on the "horse" back, because we had to dash through the runway to get on it. Children in charge of "horse" make tricks not to allow the jumper to succeed. A desperate jumper who luckily got on the back is busy to keep himself or herself on the back and at the same time has to toss a coin. Sometimes the horse crush down by the heavy weight of the riders.

After the play, children rest onto the scattered golden and scarlet gingko leaves. Some of them pick up the pieces of the leaf to make a necklace or a laurel. Children's idea is limitless. They churn out something pleasant next by next. Before they knew, it is getting darker in the evening. "Let's go home as crows fly home to roost."

mieko@fat.coara.or.jp