Category Archives: Sports

Naha Hari Dragon Boat Races

Okinawa is Japan’s southern most prefecture.  Its comprised of around 160 islands* some of them very close together.  Since Okinawa is a set of islands and has such a long, rich history, it is no wonder there is a strong maritime tradition.  The Hari or Dragon Boat comes from Chinese culture and is one of many cultural items adopted by the former Ryukyu Kingdom.  The old country used the over-sized canoes to get between islands.  Over time, competitions between neighbors overcame war and

Spring Ensoku – The School Outing

Every Year students around Japan have days specifically set aside for school outings.  Unlike western field trip that usually have some sort of cultural theme, Japanese Ensoku are usually geared towards giving the students time outside to enjoy nature.   Elementary Elementary ensoku are usually comprised of a walk to local landmark or park where students play, eat, and learn.  The walk is a physical activity that gets the students outside and allows them to visit local areas in a

Spring on Sports

Spring is here, and with a new school and financial year in Japan come new ways to bind new co-workers together into a community.  In some places, this happens via sports.  Throughout the year, there are local competitions supported by the local government and other organizations.  The first competition for the new year was Softball and provided many companies the opportunity to build teamwork between old and incoming members.  Both Junior and Elementary school teachers formed teams to compete against teams from

Okinawan Sumo

Okinawan Sumo, also known as kakuyukai, is a form of the famous Japanese martial art practiced in the southern islands. A cross between Edo Sumo wrestling and judo, the goal of Okinawan Sumo is to toss your opponent on their back.  Unlike Edo Sumo wrestlers, Okinawan Sumo-ka generally wear a heavy gi (a martial arts outfit) tied with a simple white or red cloth belt. How to Sumo, Okinawan Style Okinawan Sumo takes place on a sandy patch of ground.

Let’s Walking

Sanpo is Japanese for a ‘walk,’ and it’s a popular pastime here.  From the bureaucratic samurai of the Tokugawa period who would wander among the cherry trees and write poetry, to modern office workers trying to keep fit, walking is still a much appreciated activity in Japan. Japan is also a land with a rising elderly population.  It has one of the longest life expectancies in the world.  As communities and towns have ever older populations it is also becoming ever more

Community Running

This weekend was another ekiden (a relay-type marathon) on Kumejima.  The one previously this year was for the Junior High School students from all over Okinawa.  This one was just for Kumejima.  There are nearly thirty aza (neighborhoods) here, and since Kumejima has been around for so long tensions can rise between the members and families of different areas.  Many have their own festivals, traditions, and ideals.  For a long time the various communities were organized into two villages, but not long

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