Tag Archives: sports

Kite Surfing Hateno Beach

One of the great attractions of Kume Island is the amazing white sand beaches, especially the chain of offshore sandbars known collectively as Hateno-hama. Just before Typhoon 1408 hit I had another chance to visit the beach with this year’s Nakasato Exchange. While the students were swimming and playing on the Nakano sandbar, I spotted a few kite surfers enjoying the mild winds and surf on Meenu Beach. Though I’ve never kite surfed, it was an amazing chance to get

2014 Kume Island Sugar Ride

Every year Kume Island hosts a large group of cycling enthusiasts from around Japan and the world. The Sugar Ride cycling event is a non-competitive ride around scenic Kume Island. It is a great way for cyclists to meet others and enjoy a ride together. All the courses have various stops for rest and refreshment. This year there were three options for participants, including 45, 90, and 130km. The longest “Challenge Course” included three rings around the island and gives

2014 Rakuten Eagles Spring Camp Begins

This year’s national baseball champions in Japan were the  Tohoku Rakuten Eagles. As Champions you might expect a bit of extra attention from the media and a lot of interest in their spring training. Normally based out of Miyagi prefecture, every year the Rakuten Eagles come to Kume Island in February to train for the upcoming season. On February 1, the Eagles kicked off their camp with a ceremony at the Kume Island Stadium, with tons of fans from around

2013 Kume Island Marathon

Every year the Kume Island Marathon draws participants from around the world. This year a typhoon almost managed to cancel the event (ferries were canceled), but still several hundred people managed to make their way onto the ferry. As with last year, I was asked to do photography for the event. I started out at Miifugaa, but then worked my way around to a few other locations. I ended up with over a thousand photos total from the day. I’ve edited

Two Summer Endings – The Last Sports Festivals

On Kume Island, the first semester of school is over and students are on summer vacation.  For two of those schools it is the very last summer they will be open.  Due to rural depopulation both schools will close, with a ‘new’ school opening next April.  The unfortunate thing about the schools’ closing is the chance that local traditions and culture will be lost.  On this ancient island, each area has its own traditions that have become entwined with school

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.

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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